No matter how big or small your garden is climbing plants can be incorporated to both give an extra bit of height to the planting and to soften the gardens edges. Climbing plants can serve a number of uses, not only can their flowers and greenery be used to brighten up bare walls, but they can also be used to cover up eyesores such as garden sheds or oil tanks.
   While most climbers are very easy to grow it is usually worth giving them a bit of special care when planting as they often have to grow in poor soil which can be left dry by the shelter of the wall or screen which the plant is growing against. While some climbers are self-clinging most will need some form of support. This support can take the form of trellis or a simple series of wires attached to the wall with vine eyes. This support should be put in place before planting takes place.
   Dig out a hole large enough to accommodate the root ball comfortably. This hole should be at least a foot away from the supporting wall to ensure that the climber can grow in good soil away from the rain shadow being cast by the wall. Fork over the bottom of the planting hole and mix in a generous amount of compost and a handful of general purpose fertilizer to help the plant get established. Water the plant well and carefully remove it from its container. Place the climber in the planting hole to the same level that it was in the pot so that it leans slightly towards the supporting wall. Gently fill the soil in round the roots firming with your foot as you go ensuring that there are no air pockets. Finish by watering the plant well and securing it to the wall support.
   While there is a wide range of climbing plants available, here are some of the most popular and reliable plants for our Donegal conditions.

Probably the most popular of all the climbing plants, clematis species offer a good range of flower colours throughout the year. While not all clematis varieties are fully hardy, Clematis “Montana Rubens” is a climber particularly suited to Donegal’s changeable weather conditions. This deciduous variety is fast-growing and produces masses of pink flowers in spring and early summer.

Ivy (Hedera)
Ivy is a very popular self-attaching evergreen climber that will quickly add colour to any bare wall. There are many different types of ivy available with both large and small leaves including quite a few variegated varieties which are much sought after by flower arrangers. A garden wall covered with ivy may also become a haven for wildlife visiting the garden. Honeysuckle (Lonicera)
Honeysuckle is a popular climbing plant available as either an evergreen or deciduous plant. Honeysuckles are quick growing plants which produce wonderfully fragrant flowers through the summer month.
© Copyright, Highland Landscapes, Letterkenny, 2008.