Summer 2013

Summer 2013
This gardening blog is written in Bathurst, NSW, Australia.





Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Climbing the Walls


When I was in England in June, one thing that I really noticed was how many people had plants growing up the front walls of their houses.  In the villages and small towns, it was rare to see a house with bare walls.  From whitewashed Tudor cottages to modern double-storey brick, they all supported climbers.  Back at home, I wondered why we don’t do the same here.  I know that some of the easiest climbing plants, like ivy, are hard to keep under control and can get into gutters, but climbing roses are much better-behaved and they were everywhere in England.  Especially red climbing roses.



So why not here?  I don’t know the answer, but I’m going to do something about it in my own backyard.  Actually, I’m starting in the front yard. There is a section on the front of my house that has a small garden bed along it.  It’s three metres long and less than a metre deep.  At the moment it has a sick Tangelo tree at one end and an arch with a variegated Star Jasmine at the other.  The rest is covered with Convolvulus mauritanicus which has been infiltrated by Periwinkle (Vinca major).  I had already decided to get rid of the Tangelo.  It is in too much shade and it’s really too cold in winter for it to do well.  I like the Convolvulus, which covers the ground well and flowers with blue saucers all summer. 


I’m picturing digging out the Periwinkle, leaving the Convolvulus and the Jasmine, and growing a red climbing rose on the wall.  If it does well, I might even try growing a Clematis through it. Excited by my idea, I’ve been looking up red climbing roses.  I’m thinking of Dublin Bay, although it might be too tall at 3 to 4 metres.  But the information I have says the foliage is healthy and attractive, and it is seldom without a flower.  Or there’s Red Pierre de Ronsard, which is a really romantic looking rose and supposed to be very healthy, even in a bit of shade.  Or I might use Fourth of July, which I already have on an arch in the backyard, and which I love.  It has red flowers with random white stripes. 


Whatever I decide, I will have a red rose climbing up the house wall, a little bit of England in Australia. 


18 comments:

  1. Great pictures, and I'm completely with you on the climbing roses. We have one at one end of the house (white multiflora) and it looks stunning, even if the bloom is short-lived. And we have about 6 clematis growing around the house as well, though the majority seem to be getting too little light to really do well.

    Great pictures!

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  2. I like the climbing roses, but wow what lavender. I can't hep wondering if that is a real thatched roof or some new thatched roof like product. It looks like a cross stitch pattern .

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  3. The thatched roof was in a village we stayed in, and it was real thatch. I agree, it looks strange in the photo for some reason. I love the lavender too - mine never looks as good as that!

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  4. Beautiful pictures! I can see how they inspired you!

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  5. Oh that cottage is gorgeous (probably dank and dark and miserable inside) but so fairytale charming with the stone wall and garden and thatch. Where was it?

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  6. I have so many vines on my house that my husband says it looks like Snow White's castle. Clematis, honeysuckle, wisteria, and "Boston" ivy are nice too.

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  7. Stephanie, the cottage is in the village of Alderton, in Gloucestershire, England.
    Carolyn, is it hard to keep all the vines under control? What do you do?

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  8. good luck with your plan Lynn - I look forward to seeing how it goes. Those cottages in England are just gorgeous. I think we can't get quite that look because of the difference in climate, except in Tasmania. but climbing roses are tough. cheers, cm

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  9. I've just been given "Dublin Bay". it is stunning if you have the height. It grows very well in Scotland and I've always admired it.

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  10. Catmint, you're right about the look - we couldn't believe how much lusher the plants were in England and Scotland, especially the roses.
    Janet, thanks for visiting. I think I will try "Dublin Bay".

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  11. Love the first photo of the cottage and the last photo of the stone house with the roses! It is funny but I was in England, too, this past June and felt so inspired by the way they garden there. My head is still spinning from all the ideas that I got. I also, like you, loved that they were growing so many plants along their house walls. One thing that holds me back from growing roses on the wall of our house is that I think it is a lot of work to tie them to the climbing structure and even more to deadhead them. Who wants to climb on a ladder every three days in summer and do that? Maybe I am just too lazy...
    Christina

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  12. Christina, I promise you I won't be climbing any ladders - that's why I have a 22-year old son! I am only going to have one rose on the walls, just a token to remind me of England, and I'll get a fairly well-behaved climber, not a rambler, and I won't deadhead it very often, so it won't be perfect, but it will be there. If I ever get around to clearing out the bed...

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  13. Ooooo....nice pictures. High time I toured the English countryside. : )

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  14. Thanks, Mollie and Garden Mom.

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  15. Do you propagate your own roses? If not, give it a whirl with what you have. I try both spring and fall and cut canes and simply cram them down firmly into the soil. They will promptly die back and look terrible, but with water and time (basically watering what appears to be a dead stick)I've had very good results!

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  16. Ladyfern, I've never been brave enough to try this. Do they need a lot of water? Because to be honest, my gardens get pretty dry over summer and I'm not good at remembering to pamper things.

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  17. Makes me long for home lol.
    I live in the Scottish Highlands now but I so miss the gardens in England.
    The red climber you speak of is most likely 'Pauls Scarlett' and I used to grow it myself.
    Can't wait to see piccies of what climbers you plant.

    Linda
    http://thetenaciousgardener.blogspot.co.uk/

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