Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Reach for the Sky; Climbers Perfume and Paint Space-Starved City Gardens

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Reach for the Sky; Climbers Perfume and Paint Space-Starved City Gardens

Article excerpt

Byline: Alex Mitchell

LIMBING plants are made for the city.

CThey take up barely any ground space but deliver dollops of sky-high drama. The urban outdoors is dominated by fences, walls and railings begging to be softened with twining stems, colourful flowers and delicious scent. The smaller your space, the more intense the fragrance, especially from climbers near a seating area or a window where it can waft inside.

Now's the time to dream of jasmine over doorways, roses nodding by the bedroom window and honeysuckle over a garden arch. Many, like star jasmine and clematis "Pixie", grow well in pots. Others, such as wisteria, like to spread their glory over a large house front. From neat and tidy to sprawling and romantic, there are scent-sational climbers for every spot.

If you want to cover a large, unsightly wall or fence, bring out the big guns. Try clematis montana, which will quickly cover it in clouds of fragrant white spring flowers. For an evergreen alternative, clematis armandii will soon do the job, too, filling the air with almond scent. And there is little more romantic than a wisteria floribunda "Multijuga" or "Shiro-kapitan" trained up and along the top of a garden wall -- your neighbours will love you for it.

Got an ugly shed or outbuilding you want to cover? A common jasmine -- jasminum officinale -- will swiftly blanket it with soft, white, fragrant stars. A large, sunny garden or house wall looks resplendent covered with a climbing or rambling rose. Chelsea Gold-winning designer Jo Thompson recommends Alister Stella Gray, Cecile Brunner and Sanders' White rambler. Another bionic scrambler over a sunny wall is clematis rehderiana, with pale lemon tubular flowers. On north-facing walls and fences try honeysuckle "Belgica" or "Serotina", Madame Alfred Carriere rose, or Purple Skyliner rose.

A romantic way to grow a scented climber is through an existing tree where it combines with spring blossom or creates another moment of drama later in the year. Try clematis montana or flammula, honeysuckle or a rose such as Paul's Himalayan Musk.

If neat, compact and controlled is your style, go for star jasmine. …

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