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Honeysuckles with good manners.

Honeysuckles with good manners Better-behaved cousins of attractive but overenthusiastic Japanese honeysuckle--by far the most common type of climbing honeysuckle--are finally getting the attention they deserve. These relatives are easy to grow, bloon over a long season, need little water once established, and (except for giant burmese honeysuckle) are hardy to cold.

All of these climbing varieties can twine up a wall, fence, or trellis, or mound or sprawl as shrubs and ground covers.

For summer bloom, plant now from containers; choose a sunny spot (light shade where summers are hot). Plant fragrant types (giant Burmese, gold-net woodbine) near patios or gazebos, where you can enjoy the scent on warm nights.

Check nurseries, or try one of these mail-order sources: Forest Farm, 990 Tetherow Rd., Williams, Ore. 97544 (catalog $2); or Wayside Gardens, Hodges, S.C. 29695 (800) 845-1124 (catalog free).

Five choice cousins

Lonicera brownii 'Dropmore Scarlet' is probably by the hardiest. Deciduous, it's a good screen or ground cover with clusters of firecracker-shaped bright red flowers.

Gold-flame honeysuckle (L. heckrottii), deciduous or partially evergreen, bears clusters of coral pink buds that open to yellow. It can climb to 15 feet; pinch to keep compact and shrubby.

Giant Burmese honeysuckle (L. hildebrandiana) is a big evergreen vine hardy only where frosts ar light. It's favored as an espalier or arbor cover in Southern California and the Bay Area. Six-inch flowers open white, turn yellow-orange.

Woodbine (L. periclymenum), evergreen in mild climates, produces heavy clusters of red buds which open into 2-inch red tubes, cream colored inside. 'Belgica' blooms in spring and late summer, 'Serotina' midsummer to frost, compact 'Serotina Florida' spring into fall.

Trumpet honeysuckle (L. sempervirens), a moderate grower hardy to cold, keeps leaves except in coldest regions. Clusters of 2-inch tubular scarlet flowers tip every branch in summer. Yellow 'Sulphurea' (or 'Flava') is also attractive.

A word on the Japanese rascal

Hall's Japanese honeysuckle (L. japonica 'Halliana')--best on a fence, arbor, or bank--tends to overwhelm less vigorous plants. Cut this evergreen vine back hard in fall or winter, or pinch tips often during growth. White 2-inch flowers appear on new wood, age to yellow.

Another, better-behaved Japanese type, compact gold-net honeysuckle (L.j. 'Aureo-reticulata') had roundish leaves with bright yellow veins.
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Date:Feb 1, 1990
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