Green Fingers I Wish

Friday, April 20, 2007

Whether you want flowers, scent or spectacular foliage, container-grown climbers can be planted at any time of the year, as long as the ground isn’t waterlogged or frozen.

Unless your climber is self-supporting, you need to make sure that it has something to cling to. Trellis is ideal, but if you have a fence or a wall, you will need to fix up a network of wires. On walls, hammer vine eyes into the mortar, 1.8m (6ft) apart, and make a series of horizontal rows, leaving 45cm (18in) between layers. The first row should be 30cm (12in) off the ground. Thread wire through the first vine eye and pull it back on itself and twist a few times to secure. Do the same at the other end, keeping the wire taut. Cut off any excess. With fences, drill holes through posts and fit eyebolts. Secure wire the same way as for walls.
How to plant a climber

1. Water the plant well and allow to drain.
2. Dig out a planting hole about twice the size of the pot and half as deep again. It needs to be about 30cm (12in) away from the wall or fence, to ensure the climber gets plenty of moisture – the soil can become very dry near the base of a wall. Lightly fork the bottom of the hole.
3. Knock the plant carefully from its container and if the roots look congested, tease them out gently before planting. Place in the bottom of the hole and make sure the hole is not too deep or shallow.
4. Clematis should be planted 6cm (2.5in) beneath the surface, but the top of the root ball of other climbers should be at the same level as the top of the soil – test by laying a cane across the hole. Fill around the roots with soil and firm with your foot.


Water well and mulch to suppress weeds and conserve moisture. Bark chippings or leaf mould are perfect. Spread out stems and tie to the supports with garden twine. To ensure the climber thrives, water well for the first few months after planting and ensure it doesn’t dry out in sunny weather.
Climbers to try
For shade

* Hedera (ivy) – glossy leaved climber
* Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris (Climbing hydrangea) – self-supporting with white flowers
* Humulus lupulus ‘Golden Tassels’ (hop) – golden leaved hop

For sun

* Rosa ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ (rose) – blousy deep pink, scented blooms
* Passiflora caerulea (passionflower) – exotic flowers
* Wisteria floribunda ‘Alba’ – scented, white pea-like flower

Fragrant flowers

* Lonicera x Americana (honeysuckle) – Yellow flowers, flushed red are heavily perfumed
* Akebia quinata (chocolate vine) – red flowers with chocolate scent
* Jasminum officinale (jasmine) – tiny white flowers pack a powerful perfume


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