Plant climbers? Here’s what to do

Plant climbers?  Here’s what to do

WWhy waste time? This is the question you should ask yourself when you buy a climber and it’s raring to go, its soft shoots just yearning for some support and sailing up that wall, fence or trellis.

You’d be surprised how often this happens. That beautiful young man Clematis They were carefully planted in a wide hole with plenty of compost and a handful of bone meal for good measure. There’s a trellis or wires on the wall to welcome him or a curvy bush just eager to say hello.

However, it is that gap between the shoot and the host that is not taken care of properly. The buds came nicely attached to the little pyramid of reeds in the pot, but then they had to be crossed Yawn gap to the next loop.

A climbing hydrangea and rose frame a door

Scientific

What you should do is fill this gap with support. Place a cane or string to connect the potted growth to its new home. If the plant is a braid, such as honeysuckle, wrap it around part of its new support if possible.

There are good reasons why this gap is large. First, it is never a good idea to plant a climber on a wall. You might think that it is warmer and therefore better, but the soil directly at the foot of the wall is usually very dry and it is kinder to the plant if you place it 40-50 cm from the wall and run it over with a stick.

The distance may seem odd at first, but once the plant grows you won’t notice it, and the space will allow you to cover all around the trunk with garden compost each spring to increase moisture levels even further.

Another danger of wall and fence bottoms are mice, which they use to roam the garden. Snails like to spend their days lurking in the walls, and come out at night to taste what they have planted. Both of these monsters will need to be dealt with, but planting climbers 50cm from the wall will help prevent them from being sitting ducks.

Occasionally, mice will gnaw around the base of jasmine plant stems, stripping away the bark but not cutting directly through the stem. Placing a tube or plastic bottle around the trunk will avoid this, although it can’t stop them from running up the branches and nipping the young shoots upwards. At least the bottle means the plant can never be killed down to ground level.

A final word about clinging climbers like ivy, Boston ivy, or climbing hydrangea. If you simply lean 60cm stems against a wall, they will brush and rub in the wind and always struggle to stick. It’s usually better – and ultimately quicker – to take off their sticks and lead them across the floor to a wall, where they’ll turn up on their own, naturally safely.

Question time

I left my dahlias in the ground last winter, covered with hedge clippings to protect from the cold. When should I take them off?
F Ostlund

a Insulation keeps out cold as well as heat. Now you want the sun shining directly on the soil to warm it and wake up those tubers, so strip the insulation away. Bare soil will also contain fewer slugs and snails. If using compost as insulation, it can be pulled aside and left as a thin covering over the entire root zone. Between May and June, you can add spring layer to your dahlias as fodder.
Send your questions to stephen.anderton@thetimes.co.uk

Weider summary

The pink ‘Limelight’ and ‘Vanilla Freeze’ hydrangeas are very popular. Unlike mophead varieties, they are now pruned hard. The cone-shaped heads come at the ends of this year’s shoots.

It’s tempting on sunny days to run around the garden pruning everything now. It is best to leave tender shrubs for a few more weeks – for example, sage plants such as ‘Hot Lips’, caryopteris, indigofera, curry plant and lemon verbena. . .

Spring clean shabby clumps of evergreen grasses such as Stipa gigantea and S. arundinacea and Helictotrichon sempervirens. Wearing gloves, comb off dead leaves and gently trim any brown tips from live foliage.

For longer, fatter canes, pile rich compost on and between the bamboo clumps.

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