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Plants are not only decorative but can also be useful as they can be used to disguise eyesores, bins, posts, walls and/or fences and, if the correct plants are chosen, can also be effective a means of security.
There are many different plants from which to choose, all with different attributes. Some are fast growing and will, therefore, provide quick cover whilst others only flourish annually.
Here are just a few suggestions of plants, their characteristics and possible uses.
Fast growers for quick cover - Clematis Montana is the fastest growing of all the clematis and also one of the easiest to grow. In perfect conditions it can grow to a height of 12m (40ft). If it is cut back by about one third after the first flowering this will encourage vigorous growth. Montana prefers alkaline soil and the roots and main stem need protecting from direct sunlight.
Virginia creeper is a hardy climber with warm red foliage in Autumn. Ideally should be given a horizontal support.
Honeysuckle comes is several varieties which are vigorous and hardy, with strongly scented flowers ranging in colour from pale creamy white to bright orange red. They prefer a lightly shaded spot, well drained soil and plenty of compost.
Russian Vine is probably the fastest wall cover of all, but can easily get out of hand as it can grow 5m (16ft) in one season.
Akebia quinata is a creeper with fragrant, deep purple flowers which will happily creep up any support on a warm, sheltered wall. It quickly reaches a height of 4.5m (15ft) with a spread of 1.8m (6ft) and could eventually grow as big as 6-9m (20-30ft).
Annual creepers - if you just want a splash of colour during Summer, here are a few suggestions:-
Sweet Peas are a beautiful, perfumed, dainty climber, available in a huge range of colours. They also have the added bonus that if the blooms are picked for indoors this encourages more flowers to appear on the plant. They are easily grown from seed outside, reach a height of approximately 1.8m (6ft) but do need support.
Nasturtiums do come in climbing varieties, available in yellows, reds and oranges and are ideal to cover a hedge or left to scramble over banks etc. They can be grown from seed outside and will spread about 1.8m (6ft)
Black-eyed Susan is suitable for milder regions and has light orange flowers with deep brown centres. It can be grown from seed germinated indoors, needs a sunny sheltered spot or greenhouse and will grow to about 1.8m-3m (6-10ft) in a season.
Morning glory again is most suitable for mild areas. Available in blues, rich scarlets and purples, easily grown from seed germinated indoors and will grow to about 2.5-3m (8-10ft) high in a season.
Plants suitable to hide a wall - if you need to disguise a wall or would rather look at a plant than bricks, here's come help.
Firstly, decide which way the wall in question is facing as this is imperative to know when selecting the most suitable plant.
North facing walls - the ground in front of a north facing wall will suffer from dampness and lack of sunshine. Some suitable varieties could be Clematis hybrids, climbing Hydrangea, Ivy, winter Jasmine or Roses (e.g. 'Gloire de Dijon', 'Mme Alfred Carrière' and 'Mme Grégoire Staechelin').
South facing walls - as these get plenty of warmth and sunshine dry soil could be a problem. Try Honeysuckle, Passion Flower or annual climbers mentioned above, such as Nasturtium and Morning Glory or Ceanothus, Mexican Orange or Myrtle which are more tender plants.
East facing walls lack sunshine and sometimes suffer from cold winds. Flowering Quince and Forsythia should be suitable and most Roses would be O.K.
West facing walls are probably the best site of all and, therefore, decorative shrubs and climbers such as Magnolias, Camellias, Wisteria, Honeysuckle or Clematis Montana would be ideal.
Try the plant finder below to find the ideal plants suited to your particular garden:
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