Blooming climbers to hide your fences, and more!
We all have something in our garden that we would much rather hide. Perhaps it's the neighbour's dilapidated fence line or the side of your boring shed?
In our garden, I wanted to add depth and interest. New Build gardens can feel boring and boxy, especially in the early days and age of the property. And after having a literal blank canvas, I wanted greenery, flowers and interest, quickly.
In my quest to hide the neighbours through the fence, I did lots of research and found plenty of stunning climbers that would be a fantastic addition to any garden.
So what climbers should you consider?
Clematis armandii 'Apple Blossom', is an excellent spring-flowering evergreen climber. It has peachy-pink tinted blooms which appear very early in March or April with a strong almond-like scent.
Roses are indispensable in the garden for looks and scent, and there are a huge range of super fragrant climbing types to choose from, like dark pink Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’, or pale pink ‘The Generous Gardener’, both of which will repeat flower through summer if deadheaded. Climbers can be pruned in late winter.
Among the first shrubs to flower every year, Chaenomeles bear small clusters of red, pink or white blossom along its bare branches before the foliage appears, and can be easily trained to grow up against a wall or fence, tying the branches on to horizontal wires in a fan shape. It will grow in full sun or partial shade in any almost any type of soil.
One of the most popular climbers with garden designers is the evergreen star jasmine Trachelospermum jasminoides, which has scented white flowers in summer and deep green, shiny leaves that sometimes turn red in winter. It grows to about 9m and will tolerate most soils and situations, though it is happiest in a sunny, sheltered spot.
Wisteria is stunning with fragrant grape-like clusters of flower racemes cascading in shades of purple-blue and white in spring. But these woody deciduous climbers get big so need lots of space and support, and a twice-yearly pruning to keep them well behaved and flowering profusely. A good cultivar to search for is W. floribunda ‘Multijuga’, which has the longest blooms, draping down almost 1m each.
For scent, nothing beats sweet peas, which can be sown undercover from February, or bought in early spring as seedlings and planted out after the last frost. Top varieties include the bicolour, strongly scented 'Matucana'; 'Erewhon' which is excellent for cutting; and the dark-hued 'King Sized Navy Blue'. Keep picking the flowers and the plants will keep producing them through to early autumn.
Common honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum, is a magnet for wildlife, with nectar-rich, tubular white and yellow flowers to attract pollinators and red berries for the birds. The intense fragrance of the blooms is stronger at night time. As it is originally a wild woodland plant, it needs to have its roots in the shade and its flowering stems in sun or part shade, and will quickly grow to 6m given the right conditions.