Climbing plants are great garden helpers, useful for disguising eyesores or covering a bare wall or fence with flowers and foliage. They can bring brightness to even the smallest garden without taking up much room on the ground, instead reaching vertically to clothe whatever trellis or structure you choose.
Wisteria is stunning with gorgeous grape-like clusters of flower racemes cascading in shades of purple-blue and white in spring. But these woody deciduous climbers get big so need lots of space and support, and a twice yearly pruning to keep them well behaved and flowering profusely.
Another woody climber that needs a lot of space and should be grown in the ground is Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris, which features white lace-cap flowers in summer. This climbing hydrangea is self-clinging, meaning it will attach to a wall or fence with aerial roots, and has been known to grow to 15m high.
Roses are indispensable in the garden for looks and scent, and there are a huge range of both climbing and rambling types to choose from. Climbing roses, like Rosa ‘The Generous Gardener’, grows to 4m and has small, pale pink, individual blooms and will repeat flowering through summer.
4. Star Jasmine
The most popular with garden designers is star jasmine Trachelospermum jasminoides, which has scented white flowers in summer and deep green, shiny leaves that sometimes turn red in winter. It grows to about 9m and will tolerate most soils and situations, though it is happiest in a sunny, sheltered spot.
5. Sausage Vine
Holboellia coriacea, known as sausage vine, is a frost hardy, vigorous, evergreen climber that grows to 6m. It has fragrant blooms in pale pink in April and May and lovely palmate foliage. It will flower best in sun but will grow in shade, so is a good choice for a dreary corner.
Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’, is another top spring-flowering evergreen climber. It has peachy-pink tinted blooms which appear very early in March or April with a strong almond-like scent. The leaves appear bronze before turning a shiny waxy green, and overlap in a way that makes this plant great for screening.