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Pergola climbers and base plants

Hi people,

I have just had a pergola walkway built, size 36' x 6'.  It runs most of the width of the garden and  is east facing on one side, and west facing on the other.   There are 7 upright posts on each side, and the gaps are filled with 6'x6' wooden trellis.

I'm looking for advice on climbers - what to plant on each side. I'm tempted by clematis Rebecca and clematis Romantika, passionflower Amethyst,  confederate jasmine, climbing hydrangea, a red and green grapevine, and a hop.  Any thoughts? Definitely no roses though - I seem to kill them as soon as look at them!

I also need plants to put at the base of the structure - both inside and outside the trellis. There is a paved path going through the centre of the walkway, but the borders are 2' wide each side. I've got no idea about these. The inside ones will get lots of shade, the outside ones a fair bit of sun. I don't want anything too high, so maybe just  up to 2' tall, and preferably low maintenance - I think I'll have my work cut out with the climbers!

Any thoughts gratefully received!


  • For the low plants I would put in a row of lavender, which smell beautiful and will attract bees and humming bird hawk moths.  Lavender prefer sun so I am not sure how they would fare on the shady side, and they also prefer a gritty not too rich soil. I think the only maintenance would be to lightly prune them after flowering. 

    I would either grow a wisteria or perhaps honeysuckle to cover the top, both are very attractive plants with scent and easy to grow too.

  • Thanks for that-  am I trying  to add too many plants to this?  I've considered a kiwi and a hop as well....kind of presuming I could  have one ,or maybe two (in the case of the clematis) plants to a post.  At the moment it is empty and seems huge, but I can see myself getting full of enthusiasm and crowding it with too much. 

    I love the idea of the lavender.  I want to encourage bees and butterflies, but would also like some fragrance. That  would fit the bill completely. 


  • PolipodyPolipody Posts: 1

    There is a passionflower in our new garden. i've only previously known a dark purple one growing too vigorously in a conservatory fit to burst out & terrorise the neighbourhood. I found it threatening & resolved to get rid of this one but more urgent jobs delayed me & meantime it produced large numbers of fat flower buds which I hadn't the heart to destroy. Now its reprieved for its beautiful cream flowers attracting lots of bees. I think it could take over your pergola if allowed, as could a grapevine but deciduous, can be pruned & you get grapes!. I'd find it hard to limit to just 1 species tho' that might be more effective. From my experience wisteria, especially the white one, is spectacular, lovely scent, short flowering, attractive foliage, messy dead flowers. Honeysuckle: unbeatable scent, long flowering, can build up a dense mass of dead-looking twigs over time (probably my fault). Swings & roundabouts! Nymans (NT Sussex) has a famous Laburnum pergola - that would be a challenge.

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