Climbers - Clematis - Źródło Dobrych Pnączy


Growing climbers

Apart from clematis, there exists a large group of climbing vines worth popularising. Climbers take up little space in the garden all the while giving a spectacular display owing to the mass of greenery they produce: Silvervine Fleeceflower (Fallopia), Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia), Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus), Trumpet Creeper (Campsis), Vitis, Parthenocissus, Monks Hood Vine (Ampelopsis), Actinidia, beautiful flowers: Wisteria, Trumpet Creeper (Campsis), Honeysuckle (Lonicera) and ornamental fruit: Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus), Nightshade (Solanum), Ampelopsis, as well as edible fruit: Actinidia, Magnolia Vine (Schisandra) and Akebia. The majority of climbers climb by twining spirally round the support, while others, owing to the presence aerial rootlets e.g. Ivies (Hedera), Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris), Trumpet Vine (Campsis), Japanese Hydrangea Vine (Schizophragma hydrangeoides) and Wintercreeper Euonymus (Euonymus fortunei), or adhesive tendril tips, e.g. Japanese Creeper (Parthenocissus), are self-clinging and can scale a flat wall, without added support.

Climbers are particularly useful for covering outer walls of buildings. Apart from their decorative aspect, they also act as insulation during winter, and retain a pleasant coolness inside the house during hot summer days. They also help keep the walls dry by shielding them from the rain, and draining excess water away from the foundations. Creepers are best suited to this end, but you can equally well use ivies or Trumpet Vine, or any other climber on condition that a suitable support is provided.

Climbers can cover unsightly buildings, sheds, warehouses, rubbish sheds, etc. hiding them quickly from view. If you want to have the effect in just one year, you should try Silvervine Fleeceflower (Fallopia aubertii), Hop (Humulus), on clematis belonging to the Tangutica Group e.g. 'Bill MacKenzie' or ‘Lambton Park’ or alternatively, Clematis'Paul Farges' of the Vitalba Group. If you can wait 2-3 years, you can use any climbing vine described in this section.

Climbers can grow up various kinds of fences (np. siatki) (e.g. wire meshes). They will not only provide decoration, but will also screen us from nosy people's eyes and protect us against winter and dust. The following plants are excellent for this purpose: Common Ivy (Hedera helix), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera acuminata), clematis of the Atragene Group (especially 'Pamela Jackman'), the Tangutica Group (especially 'Lambton Park'), the Viticella Group (especially 'Etoile Violette' and 'Polish Spirit') and the Vitalba Group (especially 'Paul Farges'), Monks Hood Vine (Ampelopsis aconitifolia), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata).

The majority of climbers don’t require any special soil conditions, but since they produce a large mass of greenery, they don’t like very dry and poor soils. Heat-loving species, such as actinidias (Actinidia), wisterias (Wisteria) and trumpet creepers (Campsis), prefer warm, sheltered and sunny sites, while Common Ivy (Hedera), Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris), Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia), Schizophragma (Schizophragma), Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei), Akebia (Akebia), Hop (Humulus) and some honeysuckles (Lonicera) will feel better in a cooler, shaded and moist site.

When planting climbers dig a hole of 50x50x50 cm and fill it with fertile soil. Depending on the species, put the plant 0-10 cm deeper than it used to grow in a pot, at least 30-50 cm away from the wall and 50-100 cm away from the trees. Well chosen and correctly planted climbers can grow for many years, decorating your garden all year round and providing excellent shelter for birds.

Actinidia kolomikta - Arctic beauty kiwi

Actinidia kolomikta (Arctic beauty kiwi) requires around 130 days without ground frosts in order to yield fruit. Berries ripen in August and fall immediately, which reduces significantly its potential for widespread consumer use.

The fruit is oblong, about 2cm long, tasty, sweet and succulent. The plant can yield up to 10kg of fruit. Cats are very fond of this shrub and can damage it by scratching or biting the leaves, so it’s better to secure the base with a net for the first three years. When fully hardened, it can withstand frost and cold even down to 40 degrees below zero.

Clematis Kolomikta

There are several varieties known in Poland:

  • 'Adam' - a very ornamental Polish male form with beautifully variegated foliage and attractive male flowers; a good pollinator for all cultivars of Actinidia kolomikta. Selected by Szczepan Marczynski and introduced to the market in 2001.

Clematis Kolomikta

  • 'Dr Szymanowski' -  a Polish dioecious variety, remarkable on account of its variegated foliage and tasty fruit. Very prolific, it starts bearing fruit in its fourth or fifth year after planting.

Clematis Kolomikta

  • 'Sentyabraskaya' - a prolific Ukrainian female variety with attractively variegated foliage. In the third or fourth year after planting it starts yielding tasty slightly aromatic fruit that ripens in August.

Clematis Kolomikta

  • 'Vitakola' - an excellent Czech cultivar yielding a bounty of tasty fruit, exceptionally large for this species. With its ornamental leaves and lemon scented flowers it is an attractive feature in any garden.

Clematis Kolomikta

Actinidias best propagated from stem cuttings taken in midsummer, or by layering. It should be grown in a container for 1-2 years to ensure good rooting before planting it out into its permanent position in the garden.