Sometimes in gardens there are nice things to do (such as wandering around gazing at flowers with the odd bit of weeding or admiring new things in an Oscar Wilde aesthetic type way) then there are ok things to do (light weeding/tidying) then there are things that you have to grin and bear (areas over run by weeds, major digging). The other weekend I was firmly in the things that needed to be done camp when the whole day was taken over by trellis....
It seemed like such a good idea at the time, to get a load of new trellis (50% off! Everyone likes a bargain!) this was to go all along the side of the front garden as it would hide an ugly wall and collapsing fence, look smart and hide next doors bins. I’ve also been feeling guilty about the front garden as my heart is firmly in the back...it is also tough going with really rubbish heavy clay soil incredibly cloying in winter and rock hard in winter....the soil is also only about a foot deep over solid concrete. However this is the year it will have a revamp and look better (we are an NGS garden don’t you know...) I have plans for beautiful festoons of climbers and some kick ass late autumn show stoppers...I will also try and sneak in some exotics (officially it is more cottage garden)
So we stood in the garden surveying the scene...the first thing was a decision to remove some old brick walls which divided the bins as they were a bit rubbish and we thought this would make putting up the trellis easier....about an hour and a half later after lugging 5+ wheelbarrows of bricks to the far end of the garden I wasn’t so sure. My approach to DIY was also different from the families...I’m a bit more ‘oh just bung it in and nail it’ the others were a bit more ‘mmm so if we have a 7mm drill bit we need this rawplug’ They also did things like use a spirit level?!
So needless to say as the sun sank on London we were left standing in the mud trying to put up the 4th panel of 11. Ug! However on Sunday afternoon once the slaves finished up, it does look good. So this has got me thinking about climbers.... I am such a fan of climbers as exotic garden wise they bring the kind of wild nature taking over look as they take over fences and trees... So front garden I have bought a Holbenia and Stauntonia, both have nice waxy looking exotic ish leaves, and fragrant flowers. Can’t wait
|This is my idea of hard work, standing at the back directing the slaves.....|
Kiwi: is probably my favourite exotic climber as I love their big leaves, and bold powerful looking new shoots which look ready to conquer. Sadly they haven’t yet conquered Camberwell, but I am still hoping
Virginia Creeper: this is probably my next fave for taking over.....good vine for festoons and getting jungly with it
Clematis armandii: again big and vigorous....the leaves have that dark green gloss which is deep jungle. Perfect for hiding a fence. I also like Clematis montana for its vigorousness; this is the fastest growing fence hider....
|The Clematis montana climbed all along the fence and onto the railings in a couple of years! although quite a classic garden plant it can provide a jungly backdrop|
Passion flower: Every time this flowers it still amazes me as the flowers as so complex and stunningly exotic. A very jungly plant as it gets everywhere reaching for more territory. I haven’t had much luck with the pale pink or blue versions, and the hardy one was only zaped once on a cold wall in that really harsh recent winter but overall I couldn’t be without this plant.
|Passionflowers covers the wall to the right, their flowers dripping onto the terrace. Tracheospermum on the railing at the far end, its scent filling the air evocative of steamy nights in foreign climes...|
Tropaeolum: I used to grow the flame flower which I loved loved loved for its penetrating red flowers, however it never really lasted more than 2 seasons and so I have given up on it. I also grow T.ciliatum which is supposed to be a rampant invasive plant, but it has been minding its business quietly for a few years.
Trachyospermum jasminoides: I so love this plant, and when in flower can perch nearby breathing in the heavy scent thinking I am many miles away. So so nice, and although it grows slowly it is worth it. Last year it got to the size where it scents our terrace, dropping flowers gently onto the chair below. *love* The regular jasmine is also great and I have it in a few places as it does look nicely jungly, however scent wise is nothing on the Trachyospermum
Aristolochia: this whole family is on my wish list, large leaves and off flowers that look carnivorous. Yum!
Ipomea: I wish these grew well for me....how does the convolvulous get to be huge, but my seedlings only a few foot!
Climbing roses: ok ‘rose’ is a bit of a dirty word for me but I am a fan of the climbing ones such as those MASSIVE ones that you see taking over trees as when you look up close the stems are as thick as your arm and look like something from a King Kong jungle. I also like them from a security angle as no sane burglar will cross them....
Campsis: another plant I probably should give up on but I want them to work too much. How can you beat their exotic orange flowers? Sadly the two I have sulk...one is about 4yrs old and about a foot, the other about 3ft L Please grow my pretties!
So a bit of a climbers ramble...there are of course loads more and I have it on the list to try grape vines, don’t get me going on hops, I’m not sure about climbing hydrangeas and although I think there must be an exotic looking honeysuckle I haven’t found one yet.