Climbers that won’t suffocate your garden.
Last week I gave a few examples of climbers that will cover a fence or a wall these were all high flyers that would reach 10 or 20 metres. This week we will concentrate on climbers for the smaller garden. As many of them are not so dense, their use is not to hide an eyesore behind them but to add height and volume to your garden and to be enjoyed in their own right . Lets give a few examples:
Botanical Name: Passiflora . Common Name: Passion flower: Twining tendrils.
The passion flower has recently become more readily available. The display of its stunning, historic flowers, outdoors are possible in this country, but only if they are in full sun and well fed. If you are not lucky to get it to flower it will still add an exotic look to your garden, with its deep lobed leaves and twining tendrils. With a bit of protection it will keep its leaves in winter but even in a harsh winter when it will die down it will happily grow again in spring from its roots.
Botanical Name: Jasminum. Common Name: Jasmine : Self clinging and evergreen.
The jasmine flower (pictured in this article’s header) is steeped in middle eastern and Asian history . It is therefore never really comfortable in our climate . But in a sheltered spot it will thrive in most of the U.K. giving you years of pleasure. Jasminum Officinale is the most common species you will find. The bush will twine around anything and can grow to 10m but since the leaves and stems are so small and wiry, it is very easy to keep in check. The beauty of the plant is its fragrant flowers which have a heavy scent similar to the houseplant jasmine which is usually sold tied around a wired frame, one plant is enough to fill the room with a heady scent.
Botanical Name: Lonicera . Common Name: Honeysuckle.
Honeysuckle needs no introduction, it is the classic summer flowering climber. Everbody likes the smell of honeysuckle even though it might not smell anything like its name , honey. It will make a mass of leaves before it starts to flower, and often the flowers are only produced at the end of the twigs. The way to get round this, is to keep trimming it before it becomes an untidy shrub with flowers only above your head.
Instead of climbing shrubs you can also try climbing perennials and annuals.
Botanical Name: Lathyrus grandiflorus or L. Latifolius . Common Name: Evarlasting or Perrennial pea.
The sweet pea family is common to be used as a back of the border climber . There are sweet pea competitions to see who can get the longest stem with the most flowers on it, and with a lot of work it can be your hobby plant. There is however an alternative with smaller flowers yet still highly fragrant, and that is the perennial sweet pea .
Both species have pink, red or purple flowers, but there is also a white variety Lathyrus latifolius ‘Albus’.
Botanical Name: Tropaeloum . Common Name: Flame Creeper
This is not such a common climber as it is quite fussy . It requires cool moist soil but it is not fully hardy. However, it puts on a spectacular display in late summer of dainty red flowers.
Another option to add height to to your garden is to use free standing shrubs that don’t need support and are happy to be put behind the border growing width-ways without covering your border.
For example the Photinia red robin has recently made an invasion in many a suburban garden. It does not need much root space and can be trained to cover the back of the border . It will keep supplying you with fresh red foliage, excellent for flower arranging. As they turn green with age cut them off and new red leaves will come your way. Even in the winter it is semi evergreen and most of the leaves tend to stay on the bush – disease free and will grow anywhere!
If you are really feeling creative why not grow an apple tree in an espalier form tied to the back fence. As the planting time is Autumn- Winter , we will write about this in a later article.!
Sorry it is such a short article this week but the mini heatwave this past week has made me prefer to sit around just watching my plants grow. Even when I went to the allotment the heat was unbearable and it was impossible to do any physical work, I just watered the veg and had a few beers with fellow allotmenteers. Always remember to leave the left over beer for the slug traps, it doesn’t mater if its lager,beer or stout, the slugs love them all they will drown in anything!
Next week : Harvesting is underway, savour the glut.!!
Enjoy your gardening week!