Hedging your bets!
Charlie Pridham, from Roseland House Nursery, on how to maximise the use of your vertical spaces to grow more climbers - 31 March 2017
The way we plant climbers here at Roseland House has been influenced a lot by having to find homes for over 500 of them in what is not a huge garden, so planting them in groups up the same supports was initially just to give more of them homes.
Rosa 'Madam Alfred Carrier'
It didn't take long, however, before a beneficial side effect of this strategy became noticeable to our garden, visitors, especially those locals who come on a regular basis, with comments on how we always seemed to have lots in flower. Indeed some areas do stay in flower for extended periods of time with May to November being achievable.
I am very much a fair weather gardener so I am not unduly concerned with the winter but I do like the garden to look good during the other three seasons. Although climbers are used to sharing space, so can be planted very close to one another, many are also large growers potentially so it is a strategy which involves us in having to keep the peace from time to time.
For example on a single obelisk you could plant Lonicera caprifolium for Spring, Clematis 'Etoile Violette' for early Summer, Rosa 'Madam Alfred Carrier' for summer and Clematis 'Vanessa' for late summer/Autumn, not only have you extended the year but also ensured against one plant maybe having an off year; with so many plants in the one place you will not notice if one has an off year!
Clematis 'Etoile Violette'
Charlie Pridham and his wife Liz run Roseland House Nursery, a nursery that specializes in growing climbing plants and who are holders of National Collections of both Lapageria and Clematis viticella cultivars.
All text and photos copyright the author.