Gareth Austin - Decorate the fence with year-round colour
Many of us will have some climbing plants in the garden, Clematis Honeysuckles and Roses are just some of the more popular types we may have. Climbers are great for making use of the fences and walls that surround our gardens, by covering these hard features we not only make a more colourful garden, but we also create spaces which are more calming and relaxing to be in.
However many of our most common garden climbers are non-evergreen, leaving these walls and fences bare during the long winters, this removal of foliage not only leaves the walls lacking coverage it also removes potential habitats for birds and other garden visitors.
There are many fine climbers you can plants now in your garden, which will give you foliage colour all year in the garden, and will provide some flower colour at other times of year.
Evergreen climbers I’d recommend you give a whirl:
Evergreen Honeysuckle (Lonicera henryi) is a plant which thrives in our more damper climate, giving a great cover to oil tanks, fences, walls and through trees. Using its stems to twine around support it will quickly start to thicken up and the flowers, which are red in colour, are plentiful in the summer – these in turn are followed by berries which the birds adore!
Photo: Evergreen Honeysuckle (Lonicera henryi)
Evergreen Clematis (Clematis armandii), this Clematis has leathery foliage which is oval in shape and a habit which scrambles and twines up through plants, and using wires will cover fences and walls with ease. The flowers are bright white and plentiful in the spring – the dark foliage highlighting the bright white of the flowers.
Photo: Evergreen Clematis (Clematis armandii)
Evergreen Hydrangea (Hydranea seemanii), Similar in stature to the more common climbing hydrangea, this also has the white flowers but as the name suggests evergreen foliage, instead of the more common climbing hydrangea which has non-evergreen foliage. The evergreen Hydrangea has an advantage over the above two plants in that it doesn’t require any support to climb on, not for this plant is the use of wires or trellis, as the Hydrangea produces aerial roots which stick onto the surface, allowing the plant to cover any surface or fence.
Photo: Evergreen Hydrangea (Hydranea seemanii)
In the garden centre you visit you may also find Evergreen Climbing Roses – look out for Mermaid, a pale yellow flowering rose which retains its foliage all winter, and also the Evergreen star Jasmine - Trachelospermum jasminoides, which has the most wonderful scented white flowers in the summer months.
So as you can see, there is more to evergreen climbers than just Ivy plants…although Ivy are fab too!!
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Gareth Austin is a broadcaster and lecturer in Horticulture. Join Gareth on Twitter @GardenerGareth or connect via Facebook to enjoy his regular adventures in the world of Horticulture. www.garethaustin.com