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Climbers for Shade

April 18, 2014

Hydrangea petiolaris is great for wall and fence cover and it’s especially useful as it self-clings with small suckers on the branches avoiding the need for wires and nails. It drops its leaves in late Winter but puts new ones out early in March followed by these pretty bunches of green flowers which open to dainty cream/white flower-heads in May.


It’s used very effectively round the front door of a house in Peckham demonstrating that it thrives in almost total shade.DSCN0717-001

I have been tackling invasive plants all week starting with lamium which was filling a border near the house. That task was satisfying because it comes up relatively cleanly and left lots of fertile ground to take some bronze fennel and Verbena bonariensis. I then moved on to the celandines which was really tiresome since these tend to break off at ground level leaving tiny white bulbs that will bounce back with vigour next year. But a more satisfying tackle was getting the ivy off the wall at the far end of the garden. There was masses of it but it’s exposed a beautiful stone wall to plant with the shade-tolerant rose Rosa Madame Alfred Carriere…

madame alfred carriere

Once the ivy roots were out there was room in the bed for more hydrangeas and I planted two H. ‘Etoile Violette’  and dotted Macleaya cordata in amongst them. hydrangea etoile violette


I spotted these B & Q containers on-line Inexpensive and stylish they would look great on a balcony or outside the kitchen door and two sets would provide six growing pods for herbs, vegetables, cut flowers or salad leaves. Any of these plants would look great against the black plastic and could replace  smaller pots which tend to look bitty and because of their size dry out quickly in hot summers. There might even be time to round up potatoes for the tall ones and the medium size would take courgettes, squash or beetroots. Add a tripod of bamboo canes for sweet peas, climbing French beans or runner beans to add a bit of height to the scheme. Top up with a good commercial compost for growing produce and feed every three weeks with plant food granules. DSCN2579


The garden is full of Spanish bluebells and Euphorbia robbiae picked here for a pot on my desk.

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