Climbers, Twiners and Wall Shrubs

Climbing shrubs and roses may be used with great advantage in every garden in three ways. First, up the walls of a house or garden shed; secondly, to cover poles and pergolas, short walls and fences, dead tree stumps and unsightly objects; and thirdly, to grow amongst trees and shrubs m the shrub border. This last method is particularly valuable for spring flowering shrubs which have a large framework, e.g., Forsythia and Syringa. Clematis growing among conifers is a lovely sight. Often, two climbing plants close together and allowed to intertwine produces a good result – e.g., on a fence Lonicera flexuosa to give an evergreen cover, and Clematis to give flowers in summer; or the pillar rose Zephyrine Drouhin and Clematis Jackmanii up the wall of a house. By far the most valuable use of climbing plants is against the house, when they add a new dimension to the garden, and bring it right up to the house.

Walls also allow us to be very adventurous in our choice of plants, since it is possible to grow plants from very warm climates in many parts of this country, given the protection of a south or west wall.

We list in this section a comprehensive range of climbing plants for every position and use. For the first time in this section we have included those shrubs that benefit from the extra warmth afforded by the protection given by the walls providing a micro-climate, and in some cases these shrubs can be more satisfactory in covering walls than some of the more vigorous climbers which are difficult to keep pruned and lied in when they have matured.

Varieties that are self clinging are mentioned as being so in the text. Most other varieties need a certain amount of help, and the simplest way is to tie them to a network of wires, or to fix a background of trellis work. These are available all year from the Garden Centres.

Except where stated, climbing plants are best pruned and trained during the early spring. All varieties respond well to mulching.

ABELIA. Choice late summer flowering shrubs, needing a sunny sheltered position, best

results being obtained when planted against walls. The only pruning necessary is to

shorten the thin wiry branches when they become too straggly. They prefer a light

loamy soil, and are lime tolerant. floribunda. An evergreen shrub needing the protection of a south or west wall. The large,

funnel-shaped flowers are rosy-red and produced at the tips of the branches in June. Up

to 10 ft on a wall. x grandiflora. The hardiest variety producing small funnel-shaped flowers, white tinged pink

on long arching branches, a useful semi-evergreen shrub as it flowers from July well into

the autumn. Old wood may need pruning out after flowering. 4 x 4 ft.

‘Francis Mason’. Handsome foliage plant, the leaves being attractively splashed green

and yellow. The scented white and pink flowers are produced continuously throughout

the summer. 4 x 4 ft.

schumannii. A deciduous shrub with slender arching shoots, covered in summer and early

autumn with lilac-pink flowers. Somewhat tender but will always shoot from the base

after an attack of winter frost. 3 x 3 ft.

ABUTILOIM. Needs the protection of a warm south wall to give of their best.

megapotamicum. A most graceful evergreen shrub from Brazil. The bright red and yellow

flowers are lantern-shaped and are produced in the leaf axil, on long arching branches all

through the summer. Some protection may be needed during the first winter. ACACIA. The ‘Mimosa’, will grow in southern gardens without the protection of a wall, when

they make small to medium sized trees. In less favoured localities a south or west wall is

required. dealbata. Racemes of fluffy yellow flowers are produced during April, set off by the delicate

fern-like foliage. Hard pruning is necessary after flowering, rhetinodes. One of the hardiest, lime tolerant mimosas, but in less favoured gardens it is

best to grow it on a south or west wall. The pale green fluffy yellow flowers are

produced throughout the summer. Interesting rather than beautiful. ACTINIDIA chinensis (Chinese Gooseberry I. Attractive, hardy, vigorous climbers suitable for a

south or west wall. Very large ornamental leaves and the young shoots covered in

conspicuous red hairs. In July and August fragrant creamy-white flowers are produced

followed, in favourable summers, by brown-skinned elongated fruit or ‘gooseberries’.

Successful pollination should occur if male and female plants are grown together. Male

and female plants are offered on the Garden Centres.

kolomikta. A choice and slender climber of great beauty. During the summer months the heart-shaped leaves are attractively marked green, cream and pink. Must be planted in full sun for the best variegation. 15 ft.

AKEBIA quinata. A quick growing and unusual climber for a south or west wall. The attractive, semi-evergreen leaves are composed of leaflets. Scented chocolate-purple flowers in May are followed in very hot summers by violet sausage-shaped fruits.

AMPELOPSIS (Virginia Creeper)

BERBERIDOPSIS corallina (Coral Plant) (E). A lax climber or scandent shrub up to 1 2 ft for a sheltered shaded wall. Dark green, heart-shaped foliage. The bright crimson flowers produced singly or in small racemes appear from July onwards. Needs a deep rich, lime free soil.

BILLARDIERA longifolia. An uncommon twiner from Tasmania. The drooping flowers in June are green and yellow, but the oblong deep blue berries are the main attraction; 1 in. long. Suitable for any aspect. 8 ft.

CAMELLIA. The Camellia is probably one of our most spectacular flowering evergreens. Normally planted in woodland conditions they will, however, give an excellent display when given the shelter and protection of a wall. There are very few subjects that will thrive on a north and east wall, but providing they are reasonably protected from prevailing winds Camellias will thrive. They are particularly effective on a west wall when their flowering capacity can be increased by the ripening of the wood by the sun. The right type of soil is important. Camellias like a moisture retentive soil, well drained and free from lime. It is also helpful to incorporate adequate quantities of leaf mould and peat when planting, and once planted to mulch annually. Camellias make excellent subjects for tub culture, and these can be attractively set off when placed against a wall. It is essential to plant in a lime free compost. Camellias flower in late winter and early spring.

CAMPSIS (Trumpet Vine). Often seen in Mediterranean countries where they create a spectacular display with vivid orange trumpet-shaped flowers cascading over the tops of walls. Flowering is increased during long hot summers. x tagliabuana ‘Mme Galen’. A vigorous climber up to 15 ft.

Vivid orange flowers on the tips of arching branches are produced from late summer onwards. Needs a south or west wall. Self clinging. Prune tangled and untidy growth in February or March.

CARPENTERIA californica. An evergreen shrub requiring a sunny south wall and good drainage, when it will grow to 4-6 ft.

Beautiful white flowers with prominent golden-yellow stamens are produced in June and July. Stock limited.

CEANOTHUS. The evergreen Ceanothus are amongst our most spectacular flowering shrubs, with their dense clusters of flowers in various shades of blue. They are outstanding when trained on a wall. All spring flowering Ceanothus need to be pruned immediately after flowering, this entails shortening back all those growths that have flowered to within a few inches of the base. arboreus Trewithen Blue’ (E). A large leaved variety with large panicles of deep blue

flowers produced in spring. May be damaged in severe winters. 8 x 6 ft.

‘Autumnal Blue’ (E). Possibly one of the hardiest evergreen Ceanothus, producing a fine display of deep blue flowers throughout July, August and September. Prune in April. ‘Burkwoodii’ (E). Bright blue flowers, freely produced through summer to autumn. ‘Cascade’ (E). Bears its bright blue flowers in clusters, on long arching sprays during spring. x veitchianus (E). One of the most popular forms. Dense heads of bright blue flowers produced during May and June Probably one of our best blue flowering shrubs.

CELASTRUS orbiculatus ‘Hermaphroditus’. Vigorous climber with striking seed capsules, opening to reveal an orange-yellow inside with contrasting red berries. Foliage turns yellow in autumn. Suitable for climbing old trees, pergolas, etc.

CHAENOMELES (Quince). Still popularly known as Cydonia or Japonica. Tough and generally not needing the protection of a wall because they are perfectly hardy, none the less they are particularly attractive when planted against a wall. They will thrive in semi-shaded positions on north or west wall. Warmer aspects will bring them into flower early in the spring, when their flowers, in various shades of red and scarlet look particularly effective against the bare branches. Since their habit tends to be lax and spreading they are useful on low walls, or under windowsills. Plants grown on walls respond to regular pruning to encourage their flowering capabilities, and this is best done immediately flowering is over.

CHIMONANTHUS praecox (Winter Sweet). Although perfectly hardy planting against a warm south or west wall will encourage it to flower earlier in life. The waxy flowers are pale yellow in colour and rather insignificant, but their fragrance is unsurpassed, a shrub that should be more widely grown.

CHOISYA ternata (Mexican Orange Blossom). Appreciates the protection a wall can give from

the cold east winds, though needs ample space to develop.

CISTUS (Sun Rose). Being a native of the Mediterranean region, Cistus appreciate and will

thrive when given a sheltered position at the base of a south wall.


CLIAIMTHUS puniceus (Lobster Claw). An attractive shrub requiring a well drained soil against

a south or west wall. The spectacular brilliant red flowers, reminiscent of a lobster claw,

in pendulous racemes are produced in early summer. Best results are obtained if the

plant is supported and tied on to the wall. COTONEASTER horizontalis. One of the most popular shrubs. When planted in the open it

will spread horizontally, but given the protection of a wall it will show off its characteristic

‘herringbone’ pattern to advantage. Noted for its autumn interest when it is covered

with brilliant scarlet berries. Suitable for north or east walls.

CRINODENDRON hookerianum. Worth growing against a wall in colder localities. Requires

a cool, moist, lime free soil, and a sheltered wall affording some protection from the hot

summer sun.

CYTISUS battandieri. Needing plenty of space in which to develop. This is an excellent plant

for training on a south or west wall. The silvery-grey Laburnum-like leaves are virtually

evergreen, and are a pleasing foil for the erect, cone-shaped, yellow flowers appearing

in July, which have a perfume reminiscent of pineapple. After flowering prune out any

weak growth and shorten any lateral growth, not needed for training to two or three

buds. DESFONTAINEA spinosa. A desirable evergreen which needs an acid peaty soil in partial

shade, and a sheltered position. The unique scarlet and yellow trumpet-shaped flowers

are mainly borne in July. Holly-like leaves. Many fine specimens are to be found growing

against walls. FORSYTHIA suspensa. The most colourful climber for a north or east wall. If fastened to a wall

or fence it will quickly cover an area up to 15 ft with its golden blossom in early spring.

Give it plenty of room to spread. Prune out old flowering wood after flowering and tie in

new growth during the summer. FREMONTODENDRON californicum ‘California Glory’. An outstanding wall shrub for a warm

south wall. Although not completely hardy it is well worth trying in a sheltered position.

Plenty of space is needed because of its rapid growth. The distinctive three-lobed leaves

are evergreen, except in the coldest winters, and the large, Mallow-like flowers are

golden-yellow and produced irom spring until autumn. GARRYA elliptica (Tassel Bush). A distinctive evergreen whose great beauty lies in the long

silky catkins produced in February. It is generally trained on a south or west wall, but can

be grown satisfactorily as a free standing bush in the shrubbery; much hardier than

generally supposed. We supply male plants as only these carry the fine long catkins

which are so attractive. 1 0 ft.

‘James Roof (E). A vigorous, evergreen, male clone producing remarkably long catkins

during February. Will succeed on a sheltered north wall or a free standing bush in a

sunny location. 10 ft.

GRAPE VINES. These can be grown on south or west walls.

HEBE. The speciosa varieties do particularly well when placed against a wall or fence. Among

the best varieties are Gauntlettii, Great Orme, Simon Delaux, Midsummer Beauty and


HEDERA (Ivy) (E). Indispensable self-clinging evergreen climber. Also useful for covering tree stumps, unsightly objects, and for ground cover.

canadensis ‘Variegata’ (‘Gloire de Marengo’) (E). A handsome variety with leaves dark

green at centre, merging silvery-grey and bordered with cream. 1 2ft.

colchica dentata ‘Aurea’ (E). The large glossy leaves are lime-green with a gold

variegation. 1 0 It.

‘Paddy’s Pride’ (E). The large leaves are attractively splashed green and yellow. Vigorous

variety useful for covering unsightly sheds, walls and tree trunks. 15-20 ft.

helix ‘Buttercup’ (E). Young leaves are a bright golden-yellow, turning with age to pale yellow and eventually pale green. Pretty variety.

‘Glacier’ (E). Small leaved variety, centre of the leaf is grey-green surrounded by a distinct

white margin. ‘Goldheart’. A beautiful variety with a distinctive splash of gold, surrounded by a band of green. HONEYSUCKLE. Please see under Lonicera.

HYDRANGEA petiolaris. An extremely hardy, self-clinging Hydrangea, with an abundance of flat, creamy-white flowers 6 ins across in June and July. Especially suitable for a north wall, or covering old tree stumps. Sometimes slow to establish. ITEA ilicifolia. An attractive and unusual shrub. The handsome, evergreen, glossy, holly­like foliage is attractive throughout the year. During the summer the small, fragrant, greenish flowers are produced in long, elegant, catkin-like racemes up to 12 ins in length. In less favoured gardens it is best grown against a wall or fence 6 ft x 4 ft.

JASMINUM. The Jasmines are popular and completely hardy climbers. They are easy to grow and all varieties have slender salver-shaped flowers.

nudiflorum (Winter Jasmine!. The bright yellow flowers are produced along the leafless branches during late autumn and winter. Perhaps the most cheerful of all our winter shrubs and excellent for indoor decoration. Avoid east facing walls. After flowering the main shoots should be shortened, the remaining flowering shoots should be lightly trimmed. ar,d the new shoots tied in position. 1 2 ft.

officinale ‘Affine’. A selected form of the fragrant white summer Jasmine. Large white flowers tinged pink from June to October, vigorous growth, reaching 30 ft if trained. Avoid north walls.

x stephanense. A vigorous climber suitable for climbing over a fence or out-house. The young shoots are sometimes variegated creamy-white while the fragrant pale pink flowers are borne in clusters during June and July. 15 ft.

LIPPIA citriodora (Aloysia citriodora). The Lemon Scented Verbena is the most strongly scented shrub we grow. The leaves, especially when crushed, smell strongly of lemon, and the slender panicles of pale mauve flowers are produced in August. Liable to suffer in winter it is best given the protection of a south or west wall. Prune fairly hard in March. 4 x 3 ft.

LONICERA. The Honeysuckles have always been popular, and are best when covering arches and rambling over fences and sheds. Honeysuckles like a good moist loam, and their roots in shade. Little pruning is required and then only to tidy up the plants; this can be done in the spring.

x americana. A free flowering scented hybrid with white and yellow flowers, tinged purple outside providing a spectacular display in late June and July. Up to 30 ft.

‘Dropmore Scarlet’. A strong, tall growing climber producing in July to October clusters of bright orange tubular flowers 1 8 ft.

x heckrotti ‘Gold Flame’. A shrubby climber with flowers which are a rich golden-orange outside and yellow within, produced in late summer.

japonica ‘Aureo Reticulata’ (El. A variety with netted golden-yellow variegated leaves.

The yellow flowers in summer are inconspicuous. 15 ft.

flexuosa (repens) (R). An almost evergreen variety, with foliage tinged reddish-purple White flowers from red buds contrast admirably and are produced from June to October. 15 ft.

‘Halliana’ (E). A vigorous evergreen with sweetly scented biscuit-coloured flowers

from June to September. 15 ft.

periclymenum. The native wild Woodbine. Creamy-yellow flowers, touched with pink throughout the summer; the most fragrant of all Honeysuckles. This variety will thrive anywhere. – ‘Belgica’ (Early Dutch Honeysuckle). Extremely scented flowers from May to July, rose-purple on the outside, yellow within the lips. Very popular and easy to grow. 15 ft.

‘Serotina’ (Late Dutch Honeysuckle). Slightly deeper flowers, just as scented as the above, but carried from July to September. Why not have one of each? 15 ft.

MAGNOLIA grandifloria ‘Exmouth’ (E). A magnificent evergreen shrub, at its best on a south or west wall. The long glossy leaves are rust-brown underneath. The massive globular, creamy-white flowers, 8-10 ins in diameter, are deliciously fragrant and appear during late summer and early autumn.

MYRTUS communis (Myrtle) (E). An attractive bushy evergreen with small white flowers m July; both flowers and foliage, when crushed, are aromatic. Prefers a warm corner or wall.

PARTHENOCISSUS (Ampelopsis). Possibily our most popular self-clinging climbers, at their best in the autumn often the large ivy-shaped leaves turn the most dazzling orange and crimson. Often seen covering walls but can be particularly effective when grown through large shrubs and trees. Suitable for most walls. henryana. The three to five lobed leaves are dark green, touched bronze, with the veins looking like silver threads, in autumn the whole plant turns a most beautiful claret. Does well on shady walls. 15 ft.

quinquefolia (Virginia Creeper). Extremely large lobed leaves of a dark green colour, which turn the most spectacular scarlet in the autumn. More or less self clinging. 20 ft.

tricuspidata ‘Veitchii’ (Boston Ivy). One of our best known, self clinging, climbing plants, of spectacular interest in the autumn when the leaves turn shades of orange and scarlet. 20 ft.

The true Virginia Creeper.

PASSIFLORA caerulea (Passion Flower) (E). Ideal for thin, dry soil as long as the site is sheltered and gets plenty of sun. The curious and striking flowers invariably arouse attention. They are 4 ins across, deep blue with prominent white sepals, and a con¬≠spicuous ring of slender purplish growths held 2 ins higher It grows extremely quickly and can reach 20 ft or so in the first year – thus generally covering its allotted area each year. It usually retains its foliage througout the winter. It climbs by tendrils and produces its flowers from June until September. In hot summers orange-yellow egg-shaped fruits are produced. The name derives from the similarity between the flower and the instruments of Christ’s Passion, noted by the early Spanish priests in South America.

PILEOSTEGIA vibumoides (El. An excellent evergreen climber for a wall or covering a tree stump. The dark green leaves are leathery in texture and the milky-white panicles of flower are produced in September and October. 10-15 ft.

POLYGONUM baldschuanicum (Russian Vine or Mile-a-Minute Vine). White flowers, tinged pink in feathery sprays, abundantly produced throughout the summer and autumn. A rampant climber, invaluable for covering fences, buildings and unsightly places quickly. 20-30 ft.

PRUNUA triloba. Often grown as a small bush but is more satisfactory, and flowers in greater profusion in May and April, if grown on a wall. The large, double, pale pink flowers are produced on the shoots of the previous summer, therefore hard pruning is essential after flowering to within 3-4 ins of the old wood, thus encouraging the plant to produce new flowering wood for the following year.

PYRACANTHA (Firethorn) (E). Some of our very best evergreen shrubs for walls and fences of any aspect. All varieties can be trained rigidly against a wall or where space allows they can be allowed to grow out from the wall unrestricted. The massed effect of their berries cause endless delight during the autumn and winter and their white flowers make a welcome display in June. gibbsii (atlantioides (E). A tall growing, very hardy variety suitable for north and sunless

walls. Masses of orange-red berries in autumn. 15 ft.

‘Mojave’. An introduction from America. White flowers produced in May followed by brilliant orange-red berries from August until mid-winter. The plant produces dense glossy green foliage, and shows complete resistance to disease.

‘Orange Charmer’. Masses of orange berries in autumn on a strong growing bush.

‘Orange Glow’. Differing from the above only in the colour of its berries which are orange-scarlet and persist well into the winter. A vigorous variety which is disease free.

‘Shawnee’. A recent introduction, the profusion of white flowers in the summer are followed in autumn by masses of small golden-yellow berries gradually turning apricot. A spectacular sight in autumn and winter. 9 ft.

ROBINIA hispida I Rose Acacia). Although normally seen as a small shrub, it is probably more satisfactory against a south or west wall, when its very brittle branches can be securely attached to the wall. When grown in this manner it is somewhat reminiscent of a pink flowered Wisteria. The racemes of rose-pink, pea-like flowers are produced in June and July amidst the delicate pinnate foliage. Prefers a light, poor soil.

‘Casque Rouge’. Similar to the above but the foliage and deep rose pea-shaped flowers

are considerably larger. Branches somewhat brittle therefore best trained against a wall.

8 x 6 ft.

ROSE. We have a wide selection of Climbing, Rambling and Perpetual Flowering Climbers

suitable for clothing any wall or aspect.

SOLANUM crispum ‘Glasnevin’ (‘Autumnale’). Often referred to as the Chilean Potato Tree.

This plant covers itself with small potato-like flowers throughout the summer, the

flowers being deep blue in colour with a touch of orange at their base. It appreciates the

protection of a wall, but it can be grown in the shrub border. 7 ft.

TRACHELOSPERMUM asiaticum. (E). This, the hardiest and most beautiful of the species, is

a lovely Japanese evergreen climber for a warm south or west wall. It is prized for the

unbelievable fragrance of its white flowers with buff centre. Neat, dark foliage. 8 ft.

VIRGINIA CREEPER – See under Parthenocissus. VITIS (Ornamental Vines). Amongst the most spectacular of our autumn colouring climbers.

They are particularly attractive when grown against walls, but are unsurpassed when

allowed to ramble through trees and shrubs. coignetiae. Huge shield-shaped leaves 8-10 ins across, which turn from green to

brilliant hues of orange and scarlet in the autumn. Suitable for any aspect, and

magnificent up an old tree. vinifera ‘Brant’. A riot of colour in autumn, hues of crimson, orange and pink. Small, but

sweet, black grapes ripen early on a south or west aspect.

‘Purpurea’. Leaves at first claret-red, changing in the autumn to vinous-purple. Particu-

larly attractive in association with grey foliage shrubs.

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