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The Climbers are Taking Off

March 17, 2017

An Akebia quinata planted last summer with the aim of replacing the rose over the arbour has rocketed up one of the rebar posts. The plan is to reduce a major part of the Rosa lutea which covers the arbour but to leave enough of it to grow through the balconies on the first floor and down the steps. It’s a stunning rose and is about to flower with thousands of small buds soon to open over the next few weeks. It provides great shelter as a green canopy in the summer but the powder yellow flowers last for just two weeks and it sheds leaves for six months of the year.

The akebia will eventually provide the same shelter from the sun and will be a much softer plant to clamber up the structure. I planted two and the other one, whilst less vigorous, is now in flower and is a very pretty dark plum. Here it is picked for the kitchen table and I love the delicate leaves as much as the flowers.  I expect to be waiting some time to get full cover over the arbour but doing it in stages will lessen the trauma of the loss of the rose.

Prostrate rosemary has been blooming since January and has proved difficult to capture in a photo (it bleaches out to a cloud).  It sits in a tall terracotta pot at the bottom of the steps looking very pretty behind the Akebia quinata.

Clematis armandii is in a similar terracotta pot and struggles a bit to climb through the railings on the steps.  Ideally it should be in the ground which will involve lifting a paving slab and some hard-core before filling the space with rich soil.

Hydrangea petiolaris is almost an ever-green climber. It sheds leaves in December then within ten weeks it is back in leaf with new flower buds emerging. 

On the allotment there’s less of a vegetable gap than usual for this time of year with Purple Sprouting Broccoli, flat-leaf parsley, spinach and a row of young pointed cabbages to crop. I have wanted to make this cabbage recipe for weeks so I finally did and it was great with pork sausages.  I found that the quartered cabbage needed six minutes to blanch (rather than the 2-3 mins suggested). The griddling achieved a fabulous smoky flavour.

And surely the last vase of hellebore flowers …

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2017 10:51 pm

    It must be wonderful to have Clematis armandii within sniffing distance. I hope you manage to get it into the soil. Although then it may become too vigorous!

  2. March 18, 2017 2:03 pm

    The clematis armandii doesn’t need particularly good or rich soil, mine has survived being grown in tuffo, volcanic rock with very little watering even during the hottest dried part of summer. In your climate it will grow huge in normal garden soil, just watch out for slugs and snails who seem to think it the most delicious plant in the garden!

    • March 18, 2017 3:52 pm

      I might have to think about another position for it altogether. The plan is for the Rosa lutea to romp through the railings down the steps.and since both are notoriously vigorous there will be hardly room to get to the front door!! It’s a good challenge though-like much of gardening.

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