Lonicera periclymenum

This hardy climber is the honeysuckle, or woodbine, of our woods and hedges, one of the most sweetly scented of all wild flowers. I am usually a champion of flower species in the garden, but in the case of honeysuckle, at least two cultivars have brought gains without losses. The flowers are larger than those of the wild form and the flowering season is longer, and there is no loss of scent.

Early Dutch honeysuckle, Lp. ‘Belgica’, has tubular flowers opening thirstily at the lips, of pale yellow flushed with red, and blooms in early summer and again in autumn. Late Dutch honeysuckle, L.p. ‘Serotma’, flowers from mid-summer, and is more conspicuously red. Both grow to about 15 feet (4.5 m). The leaves of both begin to bud early in the year, and the flowers are followed by red berries, so they interest and charm the gardener over a long period.

Like clematis, honeysuckles do best in rich soil with their roots in the shade and their heads in the sun. Natural twiners, they can be grown on trellis on a wall, but it is more in their nature to scramble through trees and shrubs. Also, they are martyrs to greenfly when confined to a sunny wall, but are less afflicted in airy or shady conditions.

A cottage plant for many centuries, honeysuckle looks best in unsophisticated company, perhaps with hawthorn or musk roses, with simple annuals, like nasturtiums, round the roots.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.