You are probably sat in your garden right now, sipping a cool beer, or a glass of punch, and pursuing your flowers, the lawn and your hanging baskets, with a sense of satisfaction. For those of you who are not, who are looking at patches where nothing has grown, a bare wall, a shady aspect or an arch where no plant will take root, take heart, for this article is just for you.
Climbing plants can cover a multitude of sins, so long as you pick the right one. There’s no point planting a slow growing wisteria if you want a quick fix to hide an unsightly garage wall for next summer. Likewise, climbers that need to spread their roots will suffer if placed in a pot. Once you know which plants thrive in certain conditions however, you are ready to plan for next year. And here to help you are some guiding tips:
Sunny and dry borders
Jasmine and Passion Flower make excellent choices for sun traps as they cope well in sunny temperatures, the area should be quite sheltered however, and both climbers will cope with partial shade.
Try Star Jasmine or Confederate Jasmine, these provide a glossy, evergreen foliage with dramatic blooms and a glorious scent in the summer. Will grow to a height of 9 metres and spread to 3 metres. Secure it to a wooden trellis or plant near a path, doorway or window as it needs something to grow against.
North and East facing walls
North-facing walls do not receive sunlight and can be very cold places for plants. Likewise, east facing walls only receive the morning sunlight, but there there are a number of plants that can cope with these conditions well.
Climbing Hydrangea prefers a shady or north facing wall, it is a little slow to get going, but is very low-maintenance climber. You won’t see much for the first couple of years but after that expect huge white lacecap-style hydrangea flowers measuring up to 10in across.
Honeysuckles are perfect for north-facing walls, if you are after a scented variety, try ‘Serotina’, this will bloom from July to October so long as you keep the soil nice and moist, they will grow to 7 metres high and spread to 1 metre.
Finding a plant that will climb from a pot is tricky, but not impossible. Morning Glory is a hardy climber that produces masses of stunning, striped blue and pink blooms all through the summer. This twining climber will grow to 2 metres tall. Or try Clematis Pixie, which will provide you with small pale green flowers in April and May. It is best placed in a tall pot, then it will fall down the sides, spreading to 1 metre with a height of 1.5 metres.
Frame an arch or pergola
There is nothing better than sitting under a pergola with the scent of roses all around you. The Rose ‘Albertine’ is one of the best climbing roses and it very low maintenance. A well-known, variety, complete with elegant, cupped salmon-pink blooms that appear in early summer. It will grow quickly to 13 feet and is ideally suited to growing up a wall, tree or pergola.
Or choose a beautiful clematis, such as this Clematis Mon Amour, which has a gorgeous blue flower. It grows up to 2 metres tall, and the flowers reach a diameter of upto 10cms. The colours need to be seen to be believed, stunning deep blue-violet to purple-violet with more purple in the middle. Ideal for climbing over arches or any structure.
Hide an eyesore
Finally, if you are looking around at your garden right now, and wishing you could cover up that old tree stump, the next door neighbour’s unsightly fence, or you have an ugly looking garage wall, do not despair you need a fast growing climber that is up to the task. Solanum, otherwise known as the Chilean potato vine is a blue flower with yellow stamens and grows quickly to around 15 foot high in a year. The flowers appear continuously from mid-summer to mid-autumn and you should choose the ‘Glasnevin’ variety as it flowers more prolifically.