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Climbers needed?

Gn0meGn0me Posts: 85

I have this ugly concrete wall at the end of the garden and I want to cover it.


My mum has told me that I need 'climbers' to do ths.

I always thought of using ivy with my limited imagination and knowledge but was told it gets everywhere.

Can you recommend something that grows quickly (have I missed the dealine for this year?) and preferably:

Green all year.

Thorny for security (but not essential)

quick to grow

easy to maintain.

I'm planning on putting a border and possibly grow smaller plants in front of them but don't know if that's acceptable or advisable.

Also and finally, I would like to put a trellis on top. Would that be okay too?

Thanks very much and hope you can help.


  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,681

    If it gets sun for at least a couple of hours, Trachelospermum jasminoides would be the go-to plant for me. (Evergreen but not thorny). Not massively fast growing (but not bad) so get decent sized plants. You could add a climbing rose to grow with it if you want thorns. Both need some sort of support; the trellis shown looks inadequate and too close to the fence. Mount a trellis a few inches off the face of the wall.

    Fast growing things create a headache in the long run where space is limited.

    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
  • Well I keep reading/hearing that Clematis "Montana" grow like billio so that may be one to consider. It's very pretty too image 

    I've actually just bought one this week as I want it to go wild around my front door so we'll see. 

    You could try planting a few different varieties in contrasting colours to make that space more eye catching. 

    I have an ivy out the back that's gone crazy but it's gone so high up I can no longer reach it to trim it so it looks messy and heavyimage

    All the best.

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,681

    Oh and by the way - paint the concrete fence in Cuprinol garden shades "Urban Slate". Don't be put off by the dark colour, just do it, you'll be thrilled. 

    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    I just want to say that Clematis Montana is not evergreen, but very vigourous and will cover your wall quite fast. The other Clematis that is evergreen and also quite vigourous is Armandii. Your wall is rather small and most fast growing climbers will do the job, but afterwards, you will spend many years trying to curb its growth once reaching the height of the wall.

    Since you mentioned thorns, why not consider training a Pyracantha shrub, the firethorn on that wall. It is admittedly slower, but you will train it as it grows and prune back any stray stems if it sticks out too much. Small creamy white flowers in late spring, followed by lovely berries in autumn right up to winter. It is evergreen and also has thorns. Will grow in sun or shade. 

  • GuybrushGuybrush Posts: 172

    I bought a honeysuckle earlier in the year called Lonicera 'Dropmore Scarlet'. It has loads of lovely bright orange/scarlet blooms from mid summer until late autumn and is semi-evergreen. Not thorny but you could intermingle it with one of the less vigorous climbing roses.


  • Gn0meGn0me Posts: 85

    Fantastic! Thanks very much for all your help - all lovely but now torn between them!

    Nice idea about painting the wall, I think I'll do that first.

    I take note about the maintenance afterwards if I get a fast climber. I was in a hurry to just get it covered quickly but if the trade-off means spending more time trying to control it afterwards (especially being a small wall) then maybe I shouldn't be in such a hurry and get something more managable!

    There is a public footpath behind the wall so not sure if that might make a difference in the choice.

    If I were to go for one like the Pyracantha firethorn shrub, how many of them would I need to cover this 4.5 metre wide wall?

    After looking at some photos online, I've noticed that some walls are covered tightly packed whilst others are quite spacious. Is this down to how you guide them or how many you use?

    Thanks again.

  • Lily PillyLily Pilly Posts: 3,845

    If you go for honeysuckle remember to keep it in check. I spent most of last weekend digging and cutting one out!image

    Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”
    A A Milne
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    Hello Gn0me, your wall doesn't seem excessively wide so I wouldn't recomend more than two at this stage. If you visit a garden centre to see, there are usually plants that are grown to around nearly a meter tall, if you buy two it's quite reasonable that both can possibly cover a quarter of your wall in  a year when you start training them early depending on your soil and aspect. 

    Even one plant is enough, but as I mentioned, they are not fast growers. However, they are not hard to control when you maintain them. They are not natural twiners but just need tying into wires of trellis-work.

    Training it is totally in your control. You can have dense coverage if you start training them quite quickly when you pin back side stems when they are ready. If not, and you allow it to grow a bit more before you start to train, then you will allow for more gaps. It's totally up to you. It's a bit like topiary pruning against a wall. Once it's mature and your wall is covered, you just prune back as and when needed.

    Some people like a dense wall of leaves and others create deliberate artistic patterns. This idea might be good for you if you want parts of your wall showing after it's been painted. Also, it is like a shrub, it's a great permanent back-drop for smaller climbers to scramble over the evergreen leaves for added interest throughout the summer months. 

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

    You must ensure that your plant or plants don't obstruct the footpath by growing over the wall, or round the ends, or between the slabs it appears to be made of.  Especially if it's thorny!  And it would be prudent to check with the relevant authority before adding the trellis on top.  You don't want to fall foul of a bye-law after you've spent the money and done the work.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,842

    At this stage I'd like to remind you to plant your climbers at least 18" out from the base of the wall and train them back towards it.

    Walls suck moisture out of the ground and they also create a 'rain shadow' which often results in plants growing there suffering from dought.

    Info on planting by a wall here 


    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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