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Plants for Walls

April 25, 2015

Chaenomeles x superba ‘Crimson and Gold’ makes a fabulous wall shrub, has a phenomenally long flowering period and is beloved by bees. Here it is in full flower in April  in a country garden where it’s been flowering for twelve weeks…


And a pair of espalier pears make a gorgeous back-drop to this town garden and provide really good pears in autumn…



The wall shrub Hydrangea petiolaris will clamber over walls and fences attaching itself with small suckers before bursting into flower in May/June. But even at the bud stage it looks good with its fresh green leaves and bunches of green flower-heads. These will turn a frothy white in a few weeks time.


Three of the dahlias are through the compost and I had to force myself to pinch out the central growing tip as advised by Sarah Raven in Step-by-Step: How to plant dahlia tubers but as you can see I did it


I sowed these crimson flowered broad beans about four weeks ago directly in a pot by the kitchen door and they came though just a fortnight later and are growing fast…


On the allotment I picked the gorgeous tulip ‘Fringed Elegance’ for a glass jar in the kitchen…



And for the hall table a pot of tulips (sorry have lost the name) which are now at the swan’s neck stage which I love…



Two rows of Cavola Nero seedlings and two rows of Spinach beet seedlings are now planted on the allotment in anticipation of some rain. Both the water butts are nearly empty and the forecast for the next ten days is showery which isn’t likely to fill them. I am putting up more guttering for a third water container which probably guarantees we’ll have a very dry summer.

And I’ve made a lot of space for cut flowers by attacking some long grass round the shed-a tiresome job but it’s been warm and sunny to work in. Cut flower seeds will be sown direct as soon as I’ve raked it over.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 25, 2015 7:29 pm

    There was a chaenomeles in the last house we rented before buying this one. It was absolutely glorious, and I rather miss it!

    • April 26, 2015 7:58 am

      Put one in ! They probably do best with a wall or fence for support. The one I planted here two years ago was from a 2 L pot and has put on lots of new growth in the last few weeks since I gave it a good feed.

  2. April 25, 2015 7:44 pm

    I took a risk and left the dahlias in the ground this year, well mulched. One is up already, one isn’t. Hey ho. I’m now wondering if I should be cutting the growing tip back from these as well. What do you reckon?

    • April 26, 2015 7:51 am

      That’s a good question and I would say yes. They sprout new leaves from the tuber whether planted this year or last year and you intensify the flowers if you reduce the growing tips.. Also Sarah Raven says different species come through at different times so your dormant one may just be waking up.

  3. April 26, 2015 8:16 am

    I didn’ t know that about cutting the growing tip of dahlias. It takes some courage. This year I attacked my sweet pea plants in the same way for the first time. I usually just can’ t bring myself to do it.

    • April 26, 2015 8:21 am

      Yes it’s a bit like being told to pinch any living thing-it’s against one’s nature. Hopefully I’ll be able to show the results though.

  4. April 26, 2015 5:22 pm

    I’ll have to remember about pinching back the central shoot. I didn’t know about it – especially with sweet peas, which I really should try here next winter. Thanks for the lovely ideas for wall shrubs 🙂

  5. April 27, 2015 7:32 am

    Yes I can see how pinching back will work but it still feels a bit unfriendly. I love wall shrubs because they give the garden a feeling of enclosure whatever else is happening in the borders and beds.

  6. April 28, 2015 8:45 am

    Broad beans in a bucket? Must try it! Yes, it is hard to pinch out your precious seedlings, but I’m getting tougher. I’ve just pinched out my sweet peas, too.

  7. April 28, 2015 9:01 am

    The dahlia growth has slowed down with this sudden chill but as soon as the sturdy side shoots appear I’ll follow instructions and pinch out all but five. I’m getting braver by the minute and I’ll plant these on into small pots to give away.

  8. April 30, 2015 6:48 am

    I have a newly planted (last autumn) Chaenomeles, it was covered with flowers but not for very long, 3 weeks at most I think. Love the colour of the un-named tulips.

  9. April 30, 2015 8:08 am

    Mine is about three years old and every year it has increased in flowers and the length of flowering time so it gets better each year. I gave it a good feed early in march and it has put on lots of new growth. The one photographed is in my friend’s country garden and is 20-25 years old. Well worth the wait !!

  10. May 3, 2015 8:50 am

    Hydrangea petiolaris, Hydrangea petiolaris! Used to be a huge one on the northeast wall of the Administration building of the Arnold Arboretum…forty years ago…probably planted when the building was constructed at the turn of the century. Hydrangea petiolaris…and its fragrance always captured me.

    • May 3, 2015 10:31 am

      Yes subtle fragrance, fresh green leaves, masses of creamy-white flowers for weeks on end and prepared to travel upwards or horizontally for many metres if allowed. And all unaided provided there’s a wall or fence to cling to. It’s much the prettiest. low-maintenance climber for any garden in my opinion!!.

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