This week’s Design Dilemma…

17 Feb

This week one of my clients came to me with a familiar issue regarding climbing plants.


In today’s increasingly overlooked gardens and the desire to soften modern brickwork, I am often asked to cover boundaries and walls with some form of planting.
I have a list of favourites that I usually specify but I always come up against the same old issue – ‘ I want it to cover instantly, it must be evergreen, it must have flowers, and it must be maintenance free’ !!!
We’ll I’m not sure such a plant exists – if it does please tell me about it !

Those that insist on the fast option usually end up with this…….


Whilst in their heads they’re after this…..


In my own garden I go for the overgrown look……


But this does entail a major attack every few years to keep it under control.

I generally specify roses on south / east or west facing walls as they grow at a rate that can be managed. The problem with the Clematis Montana and jasmines of this world are that they grow so fast that they just get away from you before you have a chance to establish a good framework of branches on a suitable trellis or wire support. A rose may not cover your wall in a season but you can manage its progress and once established it is relatively easy to keep it under control.

The same can be said of espalier fruit trees and wall trained shrubs such as ceanothus


On north facing walls I’d go for hydrangea petiolaris , pyracanthus and garyya elliptica

If you want a bit of blousy amongst your climbing roses , grow a Clematis vitacella– the easiest form of clematis – late flowering , simply needs cutting down to the ground in spring and then will flower on that summers growth.


Which climbers would you recommend ? Let me know !


3 Responses to “This week’s Design Dilemma…”

  1. Penny Padovani February 17, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    Well I would strongly recommend Clematis Armandii. Always green, flowers have wonderful scent, and needs very little attention. I planted two on a shed two years ago and they are already well over the roof. They are in full sun for half the day, and don’t seem to worry too much about frost, not that I get a lot of that, but they have been snowed on and survived. Am enjoying your blog Emma!

  2. Aunty Betty November 16, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

    Ems – one of Will’s favourites for covering walls with beautiful scent and delicate flowers is Trachelospermum Jasminoides. xx

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