Climbing plants are a useful and attractive addition to most gardens. ‘Useful’ because they’re brilliant for hiding less-than-sightly areas, and attractive because you can pick anything from autumn foliage to bright flowers. We’ve put together some ideas for which plants to choose, and how to display them in your garden.
First, choose your plants. Flowering climbers are a good source of colour in the garden, and can add interest to a corner or fence. Among the most popular flowering wall climbers are roses, clematis, honeysuckle and jasmine. Roses aren’t true climbers so will need to be attached to the wall or support with twine, while both clematis and jasmine will put out tendrils to attach themselves. Roses need a little more care and will require pruning, which is always a challenge if they grow too high!
Clematis, honeysuckle and jasmine are easy to grow, and jasmine and honeysuckle are also deliciously scented. Some varieties of these plants are deciduous so will look stunning in summer but a little less than impressive once they’ve lost their leaves. If winter cover is important, you can go for a winter-flowering variety of clematis, jasmine or honeysuckle which will keep its leaves.
Virginia creeper is a prolific foliage climber that’s very easy to grow, and will reward you with a mass of spectacularly-coloured leaves in the autumn. It is also deciduous so will loose its leaves in the winter. Evergreen foliage climbers include ivy, and there are some beautiful varieties on the market with attractive variegated leaves. If you’re planning to grow ivy up a house wall, though, you need to keep a strict eye on it and trim it regularly as it can be very invasive and damage brickwork.
If you’re using free-standing stakes, you have the choice of the wall climbing plants as well as smaller options such as sweet peas and legumes.
Next, decide what you’re going to grow it up! You have the choice of a free-standing support, which can be used anywhere in the garden to add architectural interest, or using an existing wall or other static support. Even with an existing support you’ll probably have to give your climbers a bit of a hand by attaching a trellis or wire framework to give them something to hold onto.
This Forest Garden Infinity arch, £256.95 from Cuckooland, is inspired by classic Roman architecture. It’s ideal for creating a striking focal point in your garden and has been designed as a sturdy support for climbers.
This lovely metal Barrington honeysuckle trellis, £55 from Garden Trading, needs to be placed against a sturdy fence or wall, and is designed for training clematis or honeysuckle giving them proper support to bloom beautifully. It will also look attractive in the winter when plants aren’t flowering.
Also from the Garden Trading Barrington range is this spiral plant support, £14.99. The spiral shape not only gives climbers extra support, it also looks attractive when plants are past their best.
Another way of adding year-round interest and colour to the garden is to use a cane topper. These sit on top of a garden cane and make them stand out so that you don’t accidentally poke yourself in the eye when weeding! They’re available in a vast range of colours, shapes and options.
We’ve picked out this little robin, handmade with clay in the Cotswolds. They’re hand-painted and finished with a matt glazed and then fired in a kiln for durability. They cost £8 each plus postage, and are available from the English Spice Garden via Etsy.
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