Along the Garden Path: Grow up!


The greenhouses and garden centers are prolific now – they have been waiting for this warmer weather that we are just now getting.

There are many varieties of annuals vines; we tend to want them all and for some of us, the only way to include more in our gardens is to “go up.”

Using only a small amount of ground space, vines make a tremendous impact in the landscape and provide a great background. Climbing vines just seem to welcome guests to the garden and are perfect for sunrooms or outdoor patios.

Vines are versatile – they make excellent, fast-growing screens. Scrambling over poles or teepees, vines add a vertical element to a flowerbed. Shorter vines trail out of baskets and window boxes.

The look of a vine in the garden is based on its support structure. Vines may climb on a trellis, arch, pergola, fence, arbor, railing and many other things. These structures may be made of wood, metal or plastic. Whether the support is purchased or homemade, it should be strong enough to hold the weight of a mature vine.

The most popular vines are annuals. They add a bright bold accent. Annual vines have the advantage of being fast growing for quick effect and, because annuals die in the fall, a good short term garden element.

Most annual vines prefer full sun and are easy to grow. Vines in our garden grow on black netting to hold them while they grow up.

Everyone loves the pink Alice du Pont Mandevilla and has incorporated it in their garden. There is another plant that is similar to Mandevilla (and the label will say Mandevilla) called the Dipladenia, but there are a few differences between the two plants. Mandeville’s are most often grown on a trellis although they can be grown as a potted plant. The flowers are larger; the leaves are not as leathery. Mandevillas have a tendency to vine more. The Mandevilla is very showy and flowers readily in warmer months. They prefer bright sunlight and do best with lots of Super Bloom fertilizer. You will find these beauties in shades of pink, white, red and sometimes yellow.

Sweet Pea is a delightful old-time favorite vine. Its flowers are shades of purple, pink and white.

Their highly fragrant scent is described as honey orange-blossom. Sweet pea blooms make good cut flowers. Total plant height is 6 to 8 feet, which is short for a vine. Many Heirloom varieties are available. Continuous blooming is promoted by prompt removal of old flowers.

Thumbergia or Black-Eyed Susan vine is known for its yellow, orange or white flowers with a dark purple center. The 1 to 2 inch flowers stand out against ivy-like foliage. It is often used in hanging baskets with a 5 to 10 foot vine that grow successfully in partial shade. The seeds should be sown indoors before moving outside in May.

Clematis has large showy flowers available in many colors; numerous varieties to choose from and they bloom all summer. The Henryi is a beautiful large white flower; Jackmanii a brilliant purple. Nellie Moser and ‘Hagley Hybrid’ are both vigorous pink vines. The fall clematis we enjoy Sweet Autumn.

Goldflame Honeysuckle has clusters of bright red and orange tubular flowers with yellow throats that bloom throughout the summer plus it attracts the hummingbirds.

Exotic and tropical-looking Hyacinth Bean vines flaunt gorgeous sprays of amethyst and violet blossoms, borne on striking purple stems throughout warm summer weather. The rich hued flowers mature into shiny, flat 3-inch pods that hang like purple patent leather ornaments against the dense canopy of twining foliage. These show-stopping climbers are the easiest to grow of the annual vines.

Scarlet Runner Bean has bright scarlet flowers with green heart-shaped foliage, and it attracts the hummingbirds. Although usually grown for their ornamental value, the beans produced by this 8 to 10 foot plant are edible when young.

All of these are excellent vines to grow; if you are limited on space in the garden, grow up!

By Charlene Thornhill

Along the Garden Path

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.Reach

No posts to display