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Go vertical with climbers

By | Aug 26th 2010 | 3 min read
By | August 26th 2010

Landscaping with hosea omole

Climbing plants have a place in every garden. They are especially useful whenever space is limited. They unlock the possibility to have some greenery in the vertical space.

By their very nature, they also make perfect screens when dividing up a large garden into smaller outdoor rooms.

Besides climbers, few other groups of plants do a better job when it comes to softening hard elements and tying them to the natural landscape. Left to rumble over a bear structure, they transform it into nature’s ally.

The structure ceases to be an intrusion in the natural landscape and provides much needed support to the climbers, hence making the transition between the manmade and natural worlds smooth.

Climbers are some of nature’s easiest plants to propagate and establish at home. In fact, the problem with climbers is often controlling their vigour rather than getting them to thrive.

Here are a few tips to help give your garden an extra green dimension.

Support Mechanism

True climbing plants have the means of supporting themselves onto other plants, garden structures and walls. They do so by using tendrils, curling leafstalks, adventitious roots or by twining.

Although some shrubs such as certain roses and bougainvillea are not natural climbers, they are usually classified as climbers because they can be trained and tied to artificial supports to function like climbers.

It is important to understand the support mechanism of selected climbers in order to design the right structure to support it.

Climbers with tendrils, curling leafstalks and those that twine will require some kind of frame such as a pergola or arbour to hold on to. You could also have them climb over a tree or a large shrub. Be careful though; some of the vigorous ones will quickly swamp the tree and even kill it.

Plants that cling on by means of their adventitious roots will require a large textured surface to stick on.

Cutting Back

Most climbers often need cutting back to keep them from overrunning the structure they are grown over. This is best carried out just before the beginning of the rains when they are likely to grow most actively and recover from the trauma. In the case of flowering vines, pruning may also be done annually to improve flowering.

Wide Range

There are very many types of climbers that grow very well locally. Here are some common ones you can consider:

Trumpet Vine: Trumpet vine is a rapid grower and prefers full sun. They produce beautiful, showy flowers with colours that vary from orange to yellow. They grow and cling to their supporting structures with root-like attachments. It is important to provide good support in their early life as they can grow quite large and heavy over time.

Ivy: There are different types of ivy, but all are fast growers and will cling easily to walls and stonework. You should, however, be careful when planting them as they can damage the structure that supports them.

Morning Glory: This is an old fashioned vine that is easy to grow and will twin around anything that crosses its path. But they call it morning glory for a reason: the flowers will close in the afternoon heat.

Black Eyed Susan: This is a short, annual vine that especially grows well in containers. They are characterised by small yellow or orange flowers with a dark centre hence its name. They grow so easily you can often find them growing as wild flowers.

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