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16 October 2014
Gardener's Corner

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Summer 2002
John Cushnie On...

Up and over plants for pergolas and arches
2 June 2003

Relaxing on a hot, sunny, summer day in a shady arbour with the sounds and smells of the garden all around is one good reason for having a garden. I can’t promise the weather but if you plant some of
the climbers I mention you will be ready for it.

Training plants to grow up the sides of trellis or rustic timber pergolas, arbours and arches isn’t difficult. Encouraging them to scramble over the roofing cross bars needs more time and effort. It helps if there is a fine plastic net or galvanised chicken wire spread over the top and held in place with wire or staples.

For the “roof”, choose plants that will make a display on the inside. Climbing and rambler roses will flower at the ends of side shoots which invariably grow upwards towards the sky. On the sides of the arbour they will be perfect especially if the shoots are trained to form arches rather than growing straight up.

The pictures of laburnum and wisteria growing over arches with the flowers trailing down from the rafters are well known and inspirational. Honeysuckles will make a wonderful ceiling in summer and autumn.

Lonicera periclymenum ‘Belgica’ with early, pink and cream flowers which are fragrant in the evening and L.p ‘Graham Thomas’ with
fragrant, cream flowers in summer and autumn are vigorous and twining. Jasminum officinale is fast growing and deciduous. The very fragrant white flowers appear in late summer. The lower stems tend to become bare but they can be disguised by planting the quince or
cydonia, properly called Chaenomeles, beside the jasmine. My favourite variety is ‘Crimson and Gold’ flowering in late spring and early summer with bright red flowers with gold stamens.

Passiflora caeruleaPassion flowers are spectacular and easy to grow. They are aggressive needing hard pruning every second year. The easiest to grow is Passiflora caerulea with its large complex blue and white summer
flowers. The variety P.c ‘Constance Elliot’has fragrant, creamy-white flowers. Passiflora mollissima is reasonably hardy with pale pink flowers which hang down during summer and autumn.

V.coignetiaeGrape vines are good value. Not only do they produce grapes but the large leaves are ornamental, casting shade and providing brilliant red, orange and yellow autumn colour. With most varieties the grapes are small and too acid to enjoy but the variety Vitis vinifera ‘Brant’ has
small, sweet black grapes. V.coignetiae has enormous leaves that colour to purple-red in autumn. The small, long bunches of black grapes are almost inedible but very ornamental.

Now all you need is a summer to remember.

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