Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Time to Grow Up a Little

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Time to Grow Up a Little

Article excerpt

Byline: gardens With Carol Klein of TV's Gardeners' World

IF your garden feels a little flat, use your imagination to create colourful vertical screens and pretty soon things will be looking up. Too easily we fall into the trap of thinking our gardens are just flat beds - and ignore the three dimensional space there for the taking. Using height increases what room we have to play with exponentially. And your ideas should not be confined to walls alone. Here at Glebe Cottage, wall space is limited - there's the house and my shed and that's about it. We don't even have boundary fences or walls because we don't have immediate neighbours. Sometimes you dream of a walled garden with opportunities to train fruit, grow exotic climbers, train a wisteria or develop a collection of clematis.

But as with any other shortcoming you feel your garden might have, there are inventive ways to bypass problems. I feel downright ungrateful talking about shortcomings and my garden in the same breath. It is a wonderful place and it's up to me to dream up ways of making the most of the third dimension.

The year before last I visited Richard Hodson and his wife Irene at The Hawthornes in Preston, Lancashire. They live in a bungalow and they, too, have no walls in their garden - there's a summer house and fencing but that's the limit of what the garden provides for climbers, apart from a few trees and a native hedge.

Richard is mad about one kind of climber in particular - clematis. As his love for these most popular plants grew, you might have expected him to move, to find a location where it would be easier to indulge his passion. But they love where they live so, instead of upping sticks, they have come up with some unusual solutions to the conundrum of growing climbers without using walls.

| both Throughout the plot there are simple structures - some of wood, some metal - up, over and around which Richard's beloved clematis can wend their merry way.

to When you're in the garden, as well as admiring the well-stocked borders, your eyes are drawn upwards to pergolas adorned with clematis, arches and trees through which they cascade. But Richard's main love are forms of Clematis viticella. One of the best-behaved of all species, it seldom suffers from clematis wilt, flowers for ages and has a pleasant, informal habit.

Clematis are very popular and there is a huge range of cultivars and species in an enormous range of colours. But they are by no means the only climbing plants we grow.

Climbing roses are ever popular.

They fall mainly into two groups: true climbers and ramblers.

Climbing roses tend to have large flowers, often borne singly though usually many blooms are produced over several months. They are ideal to grow against a wall, up a pillar or arch and the perfect roses for pergolas. …

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