Saturday, August 6, 2011

Vines For Vertical Interest

With August came rain and relief from the terrible heat. When it's not raining, the humidity is still high so l feel uncomfortable working outside, but I'm happy to have a break from watering. I am sad, however, to see that many of my perennial flowers have started the downslide to autumn: forming seeds, dying back, flopping over. My garden has definitely passed its peak, so rather than record what is/is not blooming right now, I will document my love affair with vines.

An important element of English cottage-garden style is vertical interest. The reason may be that in England growing 'upwards' solves the problem of gardening in a small space. You can create vertical interest with fences, walls, screens, trees, tall shrubs and structures such as arbors and pergolas. I use all those vertical elements in my garden and enhance them with my favorite vines. Clematis is top of my list ...

Clematis growing over a tuteur.
Clematis spp
Forgive me if I show photographs you have seen in my previous postings, but this one bears a repeat performance ...
Clematis over the kitchen-garden fence.
Clematis Jackmanii 'Tie Dye'
Sweet autumn clematis is not for everyone, as it can be extremely aggressive, especially in areas where there are no killing frosts. I just cut it right down to the ground after it has finished its fall blooming, and it comes back the next year to climb to the top of the wrought iron trellis.
Sweet Autumn Clematis clematis ternifolia
The same trellis has another clematis and a rose climbing its front ('sweet autumn' is on the back of the structure).

Clematis x Jackmanii 'Mrs. Cholmondeley'
Below is a photograph of the aforementioned wrought iron trellis with the climbing rose (which blooms after 'Mrs. Cholnomdeley' and before 'sweet autumn' has climbed very high).
Climbing rose Rosa 'Iceberg'
Of course, climbing rose isn't really a vine as it doesn't twine around support structures, or attach to them with aerial roots or adhesive pads. I tie mine to a trellis.

Climbing rose Rosa 'Improved Blaze"
Clematis makes a wonderful companion planting for climbing rose. You can see it to the left of the rose in the picture above, and in more detail below.

Clematis spp.
For about a week in the spring we enjoy the fragrant blooms of the multiflora rose which grows profusely in our Woodland Walk. The rest of the year, H.H. battles with it in an attempt to keep it under control, as it is so very invasive. I wrote an article about multiflora and other wild roses for that you can read by clicking here.

  Rosa multiflora in the Woodland Walk
Multiflora rose grows over the arbor at the entrance to the Woodland Walk.
Multiflora rose blossoms
The grape, a vine we enjoy greatly, grows over our small deck.
Clematis and Grape Vine over the deck.
The grape vine over the pergola makes the deck a shady retreat.
The grape is a very hardy Concord. This year has been a 'good' year for grapes according to a local winery owner, and we do have more fruit than previous years. I hope to make jelly, or at least some juice.
The grape vine has many bunches of grapes forming this year.
Honeysuckle Lonicera sempervivens over the arbor into the shade garden.
I talked about my red honeysuckle in my last posting, How I Beat the Heat.

Honeysuckle Lonicera sempervivens
I also have a yellow honeysuckle. You may remember this photograph from a previous posting ...

 L. sempervirens  'John Clayton'
 Honeysuckle will tolerate some shade, but finding vines for shade can be  a challenge. I have four: climbing hydrangea, schizophragma, Virginia creeper and black-eyed Susan vine. Black-eyed Susan vine is an annual. Some years I plant annual vines in full sun, such as Morning Glory and Sweet Pea, however I have had no luck with the latter.

The slow growing climbing hydrangea has not bloomed for me yet. Actually, it may never bloom as it is in full shade, and it would like to receive a little sun. The attractive cinnamon bark in winter makes it very desirable.
Climbing Hydrangea Hydrangea anomala
Japanese Hydrangea Vine Schizophragma hydrangeoides
Virginia creeper grows profusely in the Woodland Walk. It makes a thick groundcover as well as vining up some of the trees there.

Virginia creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia
My favorite annual vine, black-eyed Susan vine, grows in a planter in the Stone Garden where I plant it every year in full shade. I place the planter in this spot to hide the air-conditioner unit.
Black-eyed Susan vine Thunbergia
It often flowers more profusely through the back of the trellis, which we can see from the dining-room window ...

Finally, in the kitchen garden, pole beans provide vertical interest, and make a wonderful tepee for our grandchildren ...

What is your favorite vine?

Happy gardening!
Pamela x

~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. Hello Pamela, great post! I loved touring your gardens, looking up at the vertical interest you have shown us here. The grapes must be wonderful to have shading your deck area, and with the added bonus of being edible. I never have much luck with morning glories, by the time they are ready to bloom, we're ready to freeze. This year my hyacinth beans are very slow to flower, don't know why, must be the weather. I also am trying the autumn clematis again after losing the first one last year. I do have the climbing hydrangea up against the willow tree trunk, but if it needs more sun, I guess I won't see blooms for a long time.

    As always, lovely walking through your gardens with you!

  2. Hello Pamela, Like Karen I had a lovely wander through your beautiful garden with you! Love the little plaque at the top. Busy gardeners could do with one that says 'My House was clean last week - sorry you missed it'! Jane Gray

  3. You are featuring some of my favorite things here today!!! There's just something about a vining plant, as it climbs over my head, that's really appealing to me. Climbing roses are my first love, of course, but clematis is a close second. I have a clematis planted in the same hole as all of the rambler roses on my rambler fence. I tell visitors that clematis teaches me patience, because I cannot control where it goes like I can with the roses. Clematis winds its way where it wants, and blooms beautifully so all is forgiven.

    I have a rambler that I am experimenting with in full, light shade (Alexandre Girault). Right now, it is entering its third year, it lives in dappled shade between two walnut trees on the fence row receiving NO direct sunlight, and it's doing beautifully. I love it when an experiment turns out this well!! (If you would like, I will share one with you as soon as I finally get it to root. I would love to see if it does this for someone else.)

  4. You certainly have a lot of vertical going on in the garden. You can't beat Clematis for climbing though I've a vine that my hubby wants me to stop growing up the walls of the house!

  5. Loved seeing all your vines! Clematis are so beautiful, but your Blaze rose is fabulous! I also love your honeysuckle. I have a new one, so I'm looking forward to it getting big and blooming. A vine draped over an opening is so romantic looking, I think. All lovely.

  6. I love all your vines - such a variety! We have a couple of Star Jasmine's, which I love the aroma of, however only one of them actually blooms! In the front garden I have chartreuse and purple sweet potato vines growing on an obelisk (and taking over the bed). Next year I want to get some vines growing on the ugly wall at the back of our garden, to disguise it.

  7. Hi Pam! Your Clematis are beautiful. I'm very excited - I was given my first Clematis as a gift a few weeks ago - a tiny little plant that I planted against a trellis. It seemed to die after transplanting so I pinched it back a bit and joy of joys today I see its showing lots of new growth! I have lots of Star Jasmine ibn my garden which I love and Bower Vibe - (pandorea jasminoides). Love them both but eagerly awaiting to see what the Clematis does. (The giver didn't know what type it is, so it will be a surprise when it flowers).

  8. favorite vine? Clematis. The only problem is I haven't had any success with any varieties.

  9. Quite a collection of climbers! Too funny we both wrote about them on the same day...

  10. Pam, that 'Improved Blaze' looks like something you'd seen in Spain, spilling all over the wall like that! Just gorgeous vines - your clematis ones are lovely too!

    I love your little garden sign at the beginning of your post too.

    Cheers, Diane

  11. Your sign made me laugh. We had visitors last week and I wish I could have used that excuse. Instead I was trying to rush them past the monster dandelions. Clematis have to be my favourite climbing vine. So many sizes, colours and shapes available.

  12. Hello's been so long since I visited your garden, but what I treat to feast my eyes on all the lovely vines you have growing in your yard and gardens. My favorite vine...trumpet vine. I have so many wonderful memories of the orange-red flowers that it always brings a smile.

  13. Pam, I love your sign as I always find myself saying to visitors "if only you had been here last week...." I love Carolina jessamine and native wisteria. I have to admit that I am distressed to see multiflora rose in your list as it is probably one of the top ten invasive plants on the East Coast. The invasive plant program that I run spends summers battling it on an island in Maine.

  14. Oh vines are so romantic! I think because they make the garden engulf the visitor, so you are truly in a place, with walls. Or something like that! For whatever reason I love them and enjoyed the post a lot. I will be watching for the tie-dyed Jackmanii at the nurseries.

  15. Pam, wonderful set of climbers. Your garden looks pretty good for being past its peak. Up here the garden is really having a good show going into fall. I probably plant more for Fall than any other season, but bloom times are off so it is not a typical summer season. I so miss honeysuckle. It was all over where I lived in PA. Yours is so pretty over the arbor. Cute sign too.

  16. Carolyn -- Believe me we did NOT plant the multiflora rose nor any of the other invasives on our 25 acres. I am not advocating growing it as I stated in the posting.I inherited many of the top PA invasives including Russian olive, barberry, bush honeysuckle, as well as multiflora rose. It is my husband's goal to eradicate all of them, but it is an enormous battle. I have written about this problem in my blog, in articles in the newspaper and on (the link is in this posting). I included the vine just because it is a fact that it exists here. But I so agree with you.

    Thanks for your comments. P. x

  17. I love Virginia Creeper and have it growing abundantly on my fence. My husband thinks of it as a weed, though, and I don't know that I've totally convinced him otherwise.

  18. I enjoyed the tour of your vines very much. Your clematis vines look so full. My favorite vine is Carolina Jessamine. It is fast-climbing, evergreen, and filled with lovely yellow flowers in spring.

  19. Sage Butterfly -- you are the second person to favor Carolina Jessamine (Carolyn did too). I'm not familiar with this one so I'm off to Google it. Thanks ladies. P. x

  20. Wow, how many vines do you have ?
    Loving the honeysuckle and large selection of clematis. Those iron trellises are just what I'd love to have.

  21. Clematis I love, and grapevines are what I want to grow. My mom always had them and she used to make jellies and her homemade wine every year. I am not sure where to put them yet.
    Love gazing at your garden and look forward to seeing more.

  22. So much to love in your climbers, Pam. I do like Alpine clematis, and a schizophragma 'moonlight' which like you say, needs light shade to 'flower'. Sweet peas are gorgeous but succumb to viruses. Current fave is a climbing Dicentra. Tried Black Eyed Susan for first time this year but nowhere near as profuse as yours.

  23. Wow, what a fabulous garden you have - so much colour and textural interest. I'd love my own grapevine, but I'm in the just-north-of-middle of the UK and it wouldn't grown well outside, so I'm working on getting a bigger greenhouse/sunroom to allow space for a vine and a lemon tree!

    I've really enjoyed reading your back posts - thanks for a great blog :)

  24. Wonderful stuff Pam! I love your climbing red rose, nice habit and laden with blooms.


  25. I'm inspired to grow clematis and honeysuckle! Lovely climbers. Love the grape too, the only climbers we have are kiwis and passionfruit.

  26. Looks amazing!!!! /I look forward to your feedback /thanks for this man it was very helpful.

    Kitchen Garden

  27. Love the post on vines and vertical interest Pam your choices are lovely.

    I like clematis, roses and morning glories to name a few.

  28. First of all, I love that sign. I think I might just need it. LOL!

    Your vines are beautiful! I like them all. John Clayton seem to stand out. It was clever of you to tie the roses to the fence. They seem to look even more gorgeous this way.

  29. Pam look at all your gorgeous vines blooming. My new grape is sad and my vines peaked early as well due to our drought. I love your Tie Die on the picket fence