How To Use Vines Effectively In Your Garden

How To Use Vines Effectively In Your Garden
by Thomas Fryd

Vines are an excellent choice for a new garden. They are fast growers, and can grow to cover an arch or pergola almost before the start of summer. They are an easy way to soften the harsh lines of new buildings, and can provide shade when grown on an arch or other decorative element.

Vines can also be a great choice for older homes. Many vines make excellent groundcover, and can also camouflage building foundations, walls, or fences.

To choose the right vine for your space, consider the methods by which the vines climb. Some, such as grape vines, require a lattice or fence for their tendrils to grasp. Others, like Boston ivy, are sticky, so they can grasp a brick or stone wall. Some, like the honeysuckle, climb by wrapping around branches or poles. However, keep in mind that these can wrap around other plants, overwhelming them.

To make the best use of your vines, carefully train them to climb against a support such as an arbor, trellis, or wall. If you wish to have vines climbing the walls of your house, you may wish to put up a trellis, so that it can be removed, allowing flexibility in your garden.

To plant vines, simply dig a hole in well-drained soil. If your vines are perennials, take special care to plant them right.

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For covering walls or other large obstacles, ivy is the most popular type of vine. Boston ivy grows very quickly, but Japanese bittersweet ivy is also a suitable choice. Winter creeper is another hardy vine to grow against walls, and it can cling easily to concrete, brick, or stone. Many other ivies, such as English ivy and Virginia creeper, are also excellent choices.

Many other types of vines cannot support themselves on the wall, but they can be trained to climb a trellis, and can add color and beauty to many areas. Some of the more colorful varieties include wisteria, with clusters of white and purple flowers, and clematis, which grows large flowers from early summer through fall. Another popular variety is trumpet creeper, with tropical-looking clusters of red and orange flowers which bloom in the late summer. Trumpet honeysuckle grows clusters of re and yellow flowers with a wonderful fragrance, and the scarlet runner bean has beautifully colored, large flowers. Most of these vines are a great source of shade for hot summer days.

For covering areas where grass will not grow well, try periwinkle, a beautiful evergreen vine with blue flowers all summer. Fragrant blossoming annual vines include the nasturtium, the ornamental passion fruit, and the cypress vine, which grows many star-shaped flowers in varied colors, and morning glories.

As you can see, there are nearly endless varieties of vines which can be used to cover walls, arbors, or trellises. They have a variety of leaves and shapes, as well as flower shapes and colors. There is a vine out there for any garden.

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