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Giving Height To Your Garden

If you don't have room for another flowerbed in your yard or another flowerpot on your patio, cheer up. You can turn a blank wall or fence into a beautiful garden using a variety of climbing plants.

Britain's garden goddess, Charlie Dimmock, talks about the world of vertical gardening on The Early Show.

Climbing plants are a fantastic addition to any garden; they can quickly spice up a bare wall or fence. Dimmock also finds them useful for covering tree stumps or "unsightly buildings." Just like other plants, climbers can offer flowers for every season.

Climbing plants that produce prolific flowers - such as honeysuckle and roses - often prefer a sunny wall. Heat reflected from the wall or fence helps speed growth and initiate flower-bud formation. Woody plants, such as colored ivies, prefer shaded walls.

Clematis is a popular climbing plant and it's one of the few plants you want to be sure to place deep in the ground. A shallow planting leaves the climber open to a disease called clematis wilt.Clematis and wisteria are both a little unusual in that they like to have their roots in cool shade and their heads in the sun. Dimmock suggests placing stone, slate or tile over their soil to help shade the roots.

The first spring you have a clematis plant in your garden, you want to be sure and prune it back hard so it will produce a lot of flowers, Dimmock says. If you don't do this, the plant will produce just a few stems and eventually go bare at the base. You can't kill the plant by pruning incorrectly, you simply won't get as many blooms and the clematis can wind up looking untidy.

By this time of year, your climbing plants will likely be in such a flurry of growth that you will be trimming them frequently. Wisteria in particular should be cut back right now. The plant tends to develop long tendrils that look messy, and pruning it will cut back on these unwanted spurs that occur in the spring. According to Dimmock, you should reduce your wisteria to two-thirds its current size.

Instead of throwing those clippings away, you can save them as cuttings and sprout new plants. Taking cuttings is quite easy - simply cut the vine right underneath the flower bud. Clematis, however, is an exception to this rule. Clematis, you want to cut between flower buds.

Once you've taken the cuttings, place them in small pots with dirt and a little sand so the soil drains well. Put the pot inside a plastic bag to capture humidity and place the pot somewhere bright but not in direct sunlight.

As for shrubs, they can grow anywhere in your garden, but can also be trained to climb up instead of out. They tend to be evergreens. Because they are woody, they don't need as much support as climbers; you would not necessarily need a trellis for these plants.

Here are the plants featured on The Early Show:

  • Clematis
  • Climbing hydrangea
  • Climbing roses
  • Passionflower
  • Morning glory
  • Honeysuckle
  • Solanum
  • Tracelospermum (jasmine)
  • Wisteria
  • Silver lace vine
  • Duchman's pipe
  • Pyracantha
  • Euonyums
  • Cedar
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