Caring For Wall Plants And Climbers

Most plants which are either natural climbers or which can be trained as climbers, may be used to clothe pergolas. Planting of permanent specimens such as roses, clematis, wisteria and the like, may be done in autumn or spring. Temporary plants such as climbing’ annuals, used to clothe the pergola quickly, pending the plaining of more permanent specimens, are planted in the spring.

The soil surrounding the pergola posts is often rather poor and usually contains bricks, hall-bricks and other rubble, used to hold the posts upright when they are fixed in position. It is best. Therefore, to set out the plants at least 1 in. away from the posts. If the soil is naturally poor it pays to dig out a fair-sized hole for planting and use better soil. Rather than replace the poor soil round the roots. Most plants will do well in a mixture of equal parts of good loam, leal-mould and moist peat plus a handful or two of bonemcal. After planting. A temporary cane may be put in plan, leaning from the plant to the pergola post so that the plants may be led in the right direction as they develop. When they grow long enough they may be lied in place to the post. Using raffia or soft string. Even those plants which twine naturally will need some tying in their early stages.

Climbing and rambler roses are excellent for growing against pergola posts but their long growths should be tied in regularly in case the thorns catch on the clothing of people walking through the pergola. This can be overcome by planting the thorn-less rose, a vigorous Bourbon climber, which bears a long succession of delightful cerise-pink flowers. Otherwise there is a wide range in many colours of climbers, ramblers and climbing sports of hybrid tea roses, all easy to grow.

Clematis have an almost equally wide range and include many very vigorous kinds such as the spring-flowering, white or pink Clematis montana which will quickly climb up and over a pergola. It is essential to make sure that the roots are in the shade, either by planting on the shady side of the pergola, or, better still, by placing a piece, or pieces, of flat stone over the roots after planting. Another point to watch is to avoid kinking the stems, either when planting or afterwards when hoeing near the plants.

Wisterias, too, climb rapidly once they have become established. They have an odd trick of hanging fire for their first year, refusing to make any growth or even to come into leaf. So don’t feel that your plant is dead if it doesn’t put forth any leaves in the summer after planting; it will get going later. You can help it by spraying ii overhead with water in the spring and early summer. This often makes it start into growth. The thin new growths need some support in the early stages but later turn hard and woody. There are few finer plants for a pergola as the growths can be trained over the top so that their long flower trails hang down in early summer.

Honeysuckles are easy and very worthwhile pergola plants. By planting the Early Dutch honeysuckle, Lonicera periclyme-num belgica and the Late Dutch variety, Lonicera periclymenum sero-tina, it is possible to have honeysuckle in fragrant flower from June to September or October. These are but two popular kinds; there are many others.

The Sweet Jessamine (Jasminum officinale) is another suitable pergola plant with fragrant flowers. It produces its while blooms from June to the autumn. It grows strongly and its long shoots may be trained up and over the framework. To give the pergola interest in the dark months the yellow-flowered Winter Jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum may be planted. It is normally seen against a wall or fence but does equally well when its green, whippy shoots are lied up to a pergola.

If the pergola is built in the late winter or spring it may be too late or difficult to buy permanent plants such as those described above. But the feature ncvd not be without interest in the summer and autumn months, for there are several annual climbers which may be planted in late spring, and ‘stand in for the permanent plants, which will be planted later in the autumn or early spring. The pluning glories (ipomoeasi) grow quickly to a dozen feet or more and produce a long succession of blue or pink convolvuluslike flowers. These open in the morning and are over by noon but are so beautiful that they should be planted whenever annual climbers are contemplated. The climbing nasturtiums provide shades of yellow, bronze and red until the first frosts and these, together with the related Canary creeper (Tropaeolumpere-griuum), are excellent climbers which should be in every garden.

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