If you’ve got limited space and want some extra planting, have a piece of fence you’d like to cover, or a pergola that needs some interest and colour, then what you need is some climbers.
In smaller gardens you can add extra planting simply by putting up a bit of trellis and planting some climbing plants. It’s one of my favourite ways to add colour and texture to a garden without letting yourself in for loads of extra work. Also, climbers grow much quicker than shrubs, so will cover a fence, trellis, or pergola in a couple of years – some of the more vigorous ones can be up and over an arch in a single growing season.
So here are some of my suggestions:-
Climbing roses: don’t be scared of roses, they’re remarkably tough and some of the modern varieties are disease resistant, so no need for spraying. I love Crown Princess Margareta, a gorgeous gold rose that flowers its sock off and smells delicious. Other favourites include ‘A Shropshire Lad’ (peachy pink) and ‘Falstaff’ (rich, deep, velvety red) – both heavily scented and repeat flowering. All these roses are by David Austin – log onto their Web site and choose from their massive catalogue .
Clematis: so many different varieties to choose from and all flowering at different times of the year. There are some that will even flower in the depths of winter. I love Clematis alpina ‘Frances Rivis’ (blue flowers in early spring), Clematis ‘Vyvyan Pennell’ is my absolute favourite, it produces fabulous double lilac flowers in early summer, then single blooms later in the year. I choose clematis that complement the climbing roses and plant them together.
Jasmine: Trachelospermum jasminoides is a great plant - an evergreen that produces heavily scented white flowers during the summer. Another favourite is Jasminium ‘Fiona Sunrise’ - deciduous, but with stunning lime green foliage and scented white flowers in summer.
Honeysuckle: many different varieties that produce intensely fragrant flowers at different times of the year. I like Lonicera ‘Halliana’, Lonicera ‘Serontina’, and Lonicera ‘Dropmore Scarlet’.
For a shady wall or fence try Vitis coignetiae, a very vigorous, non fruiting vine with huge leaves that turn fabulous fiery colours in the autumn.
Ivies have a bit of a bad reputation for being invasive. For some evergreen colour try some of the smaller leaved varieties such Hedera helix ‘Glacier’ and Hedera helix ‘Goldchild’. They’re not quite so vigorous and you can keep them in check.
Actinidia kolomikta is a superb climber, quite vigorous and grown for its decorative leaves which have cream and pink tips.
Akebia quinata is also knows as the Chocolate Vine. It has purlish brown flowers with a Vanilla scent.
Solanum ‘Glasnevin’ is a blue flowered, vigorous climber and is related to the potato. Its can get a bit too enthusiastic, but just chop it back regularly to keep it in check.