As we talked about garden boundary options last week, you might like to hear about some climbing plants that can be used to good effect around the perimeters of the garden. A word of warning first though – when I’m called in to design garden plans, clients often assume that planting climbers is a good way to disguise an unattractive boundary. It can work, but you have to be careful, as you could end up drawing attention to the very feature you’re anxious to conceal.
Climbing plants have hugely varying rates of growth, with some taking years to make any visual impact, while others can run riot and create another problem for you to solve. Some climbers will need support such as timber trellis or garden wire secured to the boundary, while others will attach themselves to walls or fences by means of aerial roots, which are very difficult to remove if you want to clean or re-paint the wall. You also need to consider whether you want an evergreen or deciduous climber, and whether you want to go for attractive foliage or whether flowers are more important. Last but not least, the maintenance needs of climbers vary widely, with some needing hardly any, others needing just an annual trim, and some, such as wisteria and climbing roses, look stunning but you need to know how to look after them. Here are a few suggestions for different situations to get you thinking: Hydrangea petiolaris – this selfclinging, deciduous climber will tolerate shade so its white blooms can brighten up a north or east facing wall. Akebia quinata – also known as chocolate vine, attractive deciduous leaves and unusual purple – pink pendant flowers in spring.
Lonicera japonica “Halliana” – this Japanese honeysuckle is semi - evergreen, meaning it will keep its leaves in a mild winter, and although its flowers are less showy than deciduous varieties, they have a lovely fragrance.
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