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Unusual & Old Fashioned Fruit Trees.
Unusual Vegetables, Herbs & Other Edible Plants.

Vines and Other Climbing Plants


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Ornamental Climbers

Black Eyed Susan
Chilean Glory Vine
Cup & Saucer Plant
Morning Glory
Roses - Climbing - Rambling
Solanum Crispum
Sweet Peas
Trumpet Vine
Virginia Creeper

Edible Climbers

Akebia Quinata
Apios Americana
Cinamon Vine
Goji Berry
Grape Vines
Honey Berry
Magnolia Vine
Malabar Spinach
Passion Flowers
Roses-Edible Hips
Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Tea Vine

Allotment Articles1.
Allotment Articles 2.





Thinking of Vines & Other Climbers.

If you mention Vines or Climbers to most amateur gardeners they donít immediately appreciate the range of plants that are available to buy from any garden centre. I didnít realise how many different climbers of one sort or another that I am growing myself. Obviously there are Sweet Peas on my allotment and Nasturtiums tumbling around my hanging baskets and tubs, but there are also a couple of Jasmines in the garden. I have just put up a piece of trellis to support a lovely variegated one so that it can grow up and hide a large downspout from the bathroom. Wisterias are another very popular, spectacular, but slow growing climber usually found on the fronts of old cottages. Of course Climbing Roses have also been grown against house walls for centuries and although we havenít got one we have got a Rambling Rose. Again we havenít got any Climbing Hydrangea, Clematis or Honey Suckle Ė apart from the Honey Berry that is a fruiting family member and has a more compact growing habit.

Some vines are grown more for their foliage rather than flowers and are often used to cover unsightly walls or even buildings such as garages. Ivies come in a variety of leaf shapes and colours, but there are some much quicker growing plants such as the ďMile A Minute,Ē or Polygonum, Virginia Creeper and a hybridised Convolvulous. Another quick climbing plant from our history is the Hop. Traditionally, these were grown in the South of the country for the beer industry, but there is an ornamental and very attractive Golden variety.

The list of well-known plants goes on and on when you start to think of them and the range is still being added to with things like Passion Flowers that are becoming more popular. Years ago we had an enormous one by our fishpond, but unfortunately none of the varieties are particularly hardy, and although that was the toughest, it still succumbed on a very frosty night when the trunk split. We have recently put a small Passion Flower in a tub at the front of the house, by the porch, but it will be years before it grows to the size of the old one and produces fruits. The fruits are only edible though, on one variety called Edulis and that is far too delicate to grow anywhere other than a very warm greenhouse.

As far as fruiting vines are concerned most people will only think of Grape Vines and even then most gardeners think they can only be grown in a greenhouse. However, with global warming and the increased range of varieties on offer, there is plenty of scope to grow them outside. When the allotments were set up the chairman joked that with the allotments being on a south facing hillside we would be able to grow grape vines and mine are growing nicely up there! I have just tied the row of young plants onto posts and cut off the excess side shoots ready for training next year. At home there are some great looking little bunches of grapes developing on two bigger vines clinging to some wires on the wall at the back of the garage.

Grape vines arenít the only fruiting vines available these days. Several varieties of Kiwis have been sold in the garden centres for years and although they are not very popular, supermarkets now sell lots of imported Kiwi fruit, so maybe more people will start growing them at home as time passes. They are quite tough plants as regards the cold, but you have to be careful with selecting suitable plants, as some varieties need a male and female plant to produce fruit whereas others are self-fertile. I have just put up some trellis on a south-facing wall for a big Kiwi that had been moved from the garage wall. It hasnít fruited yet and didnít like being moved, but I am hopeful for the future. In fact I like the idea of growing my own Kiwis so much that I have recently planted a new ďMini,Ē fruiting variety and put up training wires through some Vine Eyes for it by the back door.

Goji Berries are yet another exotic, but not tropical fruit that will happily grow in the UK. Strictly speaking they are not Vines, but they are a climber or rambler and will stand just about anything with regards temperature and drought. From a very large plant at home I have taken cuttings and there are now two Gojis growing nicely on my allotment up tripods made from 8 foot canes. The cuttings were only taken the other year and have just started to flower, so again I am hopeful for future years. I am hoping that by planting them out in the open they will get the air round the plants as they seem to be susceptible to Mildew. Grapes can suffer as well so it always a good idea to leave a gap between the wall and any vines that are planted against it. 

Not only can vines be grown to produce fruit, but also a few vegetables. Obviously there are many types of Beans that can be grown and Peas are a Climber, or Scrambler, as they produce tendrils to cling on with. However, there are one or two more exotic species becoming available such as Sweet Potatoes, which are, believe it or not, a member of the Convolvulous family. Another exotic sounding vine, which I havenít actually tried growing yet, is the Cinamon Vine. This is said to produce a very large edible tuber after a couple of yearís growth.

I know the modern trend is not to plant climbers up house walls these days, but I think people are missing out on so much opportunity to grow such a wide range of plants, both flowering and fruiting that are ideal to take the drabness and uniformity off modern housing estates. For those that donít want to grow climbers on the outside of the house there is also the opportunity these days to grow a more tender and exotic specimen up the walls and around the inside of a conservatory

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