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GARDENING: Is your garden lacking height? JAS IT UP; Use jasmine & other climbers to cover walls, trees and gaps.

Byline: ADRIENNE WILD

CLIMBERS can be bent and trained to fit any corner of the garden. So when you've a gap to fill or an unsightly object to hide, turn to these flexible friends...

How to use climbers

PERFECT gardens have borders in layers with a canopy of trees and shrubs underplanted with perennials. But unless you use climbers, you will lose a lot of the possible interest at height - and the garden will be far more boring for it!

As our picture above shows, the trick is to weave the climbing plants in-between others and along the boundaries. They can also scramble through freestanding supports. And if you festoon arbours and pergolas with them it will help turn them into really relaxing havens.

Here are our five favourites. And don't forget, as well as the plants featured here you can also use vigorous climbing roses, bougainvillea and perfumed honeysuckle to make the perfect haven.

Jasmine's a star choice

THE star jasmine, Trachelospermum, (pictured inset top right) is a beautifully lustrous evergreen climber with twining stems and immaculate white per fumed "jasmine" flower clusters in summer.

It's a great choice for pergolas and arbours and for planting close to open windows as the fragrance can be enjoyed as it wafts indoors.

CREATE THE LOOK: Train plants on a warm south or westfacing wall in frost-prone areas or grow them in containers and move them under cover in severe weather. Trim back the long shoots in spring if you find the plant is outgrowing its support.

HOW MUCH? Around pounds 12 at garden centres.

Purple bell vine

THE evergreen purple bell vine, or rhodochiton, produces masses of crimson-purple flowers that hang gracefully from the ends of long threadlike stems. The small, hear t-shaped green leaves are edged in burgundy. It's an ideal choice for a hanging basket and can be planted against fences and trellises or used as a ground cover.

CREATE THE LOOK: Although perennial in frostfree climates, it is usually grown as annual. If you start seeds indoors eight weeks before the last spring frost it will bloom in about 16 weeks.

HOW MUCH? About pounds 7.99 at garden centres.

Chocolate vine

THE chocolate vine, or akebia, produces muddy-coloured flowers that hang from the branches in long clusters in spring. If the summer is long and hot, these are followed by long, sausage-like fruits that ripen in September - and change colour from green to purple.

CREATE THE LOOK: As it grows very large - up to 30ft - akebia is an excellent choice for a pergola or archway where the spicy-sweet fragrance of the flowers can be enjoyed. Prune after flowering to keep it under control. Will take sun or shade.

HOW MUCH? Around pounds 12 at garden centres.

Climbing hydrangea

THE climbing hydrangea is the perfect solution for covering a shady wall. It produces huge frothy white flowers in summer and in autumn the heart-shaped leaves turn a buttery yellow before dropping off to leave a tracery of self-clinging branches with dried flower heads and reddish brown, peeling bark.

CREATE THE LOOK: These impressive plants will cling by aerial roots to walls and fences and even tree trunks. It's slow to start with, but once established will romp away, covering an area of 10f t x 15ft.

HOW MUCH? Around pounds 12 at garden centres.

Colourful clematis

CLEMATIS is one of the most popular of garden flowers and extremely versatile - it can be used as ground cover, to decorate walls and fences, over trees and shrubs.

CREATE THE LOOK: Clematis types vary widely. Pick the right one for your particular needs and you will have a beautiful plant for years to come. As well as the vigorous types for giving height interest and colour, you can even put some in hanging baskets - which would be ideal for helping to cover a boring fence or other unsightly area.

HOW MUCH? Around pounds 9.99 at garden centres.

CAPTION(S):

Plants that scramble and tumble over others make gardens look great all over Pictures: GAP/GARDEN PICTURE LIBRARY
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 17, 2007
Words:677
Previous Article:JAPANESE ANEMONES; Offer.
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