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Planting suggestions for a school garden (climbers)

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Question from K Pinnick


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Can anyone help with suggetions of climbing plants please.
We are looking to cover an area of trellis approx 32' long by around 15' high. It surrounds a play area so therefore plants MUST NOT BE TOXIC.

The inner side of trellis is facing the building, (north) and is shelterd by a clear lean to type roof that it supports.
The outer side is open to the playground and field and is south facing.
We require mainly evergreen climbers but deciduous plants are acceptable if they add something special.
Many thanks in advance.

  • Views: 888
  • Replies: 2
  • Posted: Tue. 2nd March 2010 10:20

Climbing plant suggestions

Reply from Katy Elton


I'm guessing you want a hardy, fairly fast growing plant that will give you quick results whilst being interesting for the children. Some initial suggestions are:

Lonicera copper beauty - a hardy, fast growing, evergreen honeysuckle, with deep yellow sweetly fragrant flowers and bronze foliage.

Akebia quinata - a hardy, fast growing, semi-evergreen climber with lovely dark purple vanilla scented flowers which are sometimes followed by sausage shaped fruits. This is an unusual plant also known as 'chocolate vine' (may be fun and appealing to the children).

Clematis cirrhosa var balearica 'Freckles' - a hardy, fast growing, evergreen clematis, which bears maroon and cream speckled flowers over winter (which may be more appropriate for a school rather than one which flowers in summer when the children are all on holiday?).

Passiflora caerulea 'Constance Elliott' - a tough, relatively hardy, fast growing passion flower with large, interesting exotic looking flowers. Sometimes forms large orange fruits too.

The above are hardy within reason - how exposed is your site and whereabouts are you geographically? The passion flower in particular would struggle in a frosty, exposed site.

Cont. below...

  • Posted: Thu. 4th March 2010 16:04


Reply from Katy Elton

... If you are fairly exposed and would prefer to go for a more robust option, I would suggest the old faithfuls:

Parthenocissus tricuspidata (try the 'Veitchii' cultivar for more interesting shaped leaves) - 'boston ivy', a hardy, vigourous climber which turns into a wonderful blaze of scarlets and deep reds in autumn. This will need regular pruning to keep it in check, but it provides very quick dense cover, and the autumn display is beautiful.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia - 'virginia creeper', a hardy, vigourous climber with small yellow flowers which are attractive to wildlife, and are followed by black berries. As with the boston ivy it offers a striking autumn display of bright reds, but will also need to be kept in check by regular pruning.

I hope this gives you some ideas! Beware - the obvious suggestion was the well known evergreen clematis 'Clematis armandii', but this is poisonous to humans so would not be a good idea.

Let us know how you get on

  • Posted: Thu. 4th March 2010 16:05