November 2017 Meeting of the Ashdon Gardening Club
Andrew Mikolajski talked about Climbers: Pin Me to the Wall (and do what you want with me)
As before, Andrew entertained us in a knowledgeable and amusing manner so there was no falling asleep. We weren't given too many slides and impossible goals to achieve.
West and south facing walls provided an opportunity to grow more exotic plants such as peaches or ceanothus. The RHS has a hardiness rating of 1-7. Plants rated 5,6 or 7 are hardy enough to grow anywhere, whilst those rated 4 , such as hebes and provencal lavender are good against south facing walls. Others are Itea ilicifolia, Lagerstroemia indica, Jasminum comminis. Some plants can be wall trained such as fig, crab apple and Pyracantha. Compost can be used around woody plants but mustn't touch the stems.
Climbers on east and south facing walls should be those that can take shade. The woody stems and growth at the top should be pruned in January with old bare stems being reduced to 6 to 12 inches above the base. Clematis should wait until February. Many plants prefer cool lower stems and should be shielded by other plants. Dark flowered varieties of clematis fare better in full sun as do wisteria and passifloras. Since clematis is prone to mildew, stems should be thinned during summer.
Andrew then discussed ties and supports, advising raffiea which doesn't chaffe, paper-coated wire ties for sweet peas and group 3 clematis. Rubber coated wire is expensive but carpet twine, chicken wire from florists and pig wire could be used. The latter is very sturdy and good for clematis.