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Cannon: Five climbing vines for your garden

POSTED: May 22, 2009 1:00 a.m.

What types of climbing vines add versatility and usefulness in a garden?

Here are my top five picks, sure to add height, color, texture and even romance to your backyard.

A climbing vine's most useful trait is the ability to screen out all of the "stuff" you would rather not see, like composts piles, chain link fences or something unsightly in your neighbor's yard. Climbing vines also highlight features such as arbors and trellises.

Sunny areas

Clematis

A perennial, available in many colors. Most of them prefer at least six hours of full sun, and pruning directions should be on the plant tag so hold onto it until you get your clematis care routine down.

Trumpet vine

A Native American plant much loved by hummingbirds and butterflies, it can adapt to heat and cold. The trumpet vine produces beautiful orange, red and yellow flowers that resemble a musical instrument. They can be invasive, so pruning and keeping it on a trellis or arbor is a must.

Partial sun

Five leaf akebia

Also called "chocolate vine," it blooms in April and produces a spicy-scented, brownish-purple blossom that hangs like a pendant. It is a fast grower that climbs by twining around a strong, sturdy structure.

Shade

Virginia creeper

An evergreen vine that can sustain cold weather, it can be used as a groundcover and controls soil erosion. It is also a vigorous grower, so only plant in areas where you need a good solid blanket of green.

Climbing hydrangea

A deciduous vine with lace-cap clusters of white flowers that bloom in midsummer. The dried flower head and peeling bark give it winter interest. The roots will attach the plant to architectural supports.

Wanda Cannon is a Master Gardener trained through the Hall County program and also serves as Master Gardener coordinator and horticulture assistant for the Hall County Extension office. Phone: 770-535-8293.



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