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Climbers for north-facing garden wall

htyashtyas Posts: 30
Hi all,

I'm undecided about the best approach to take! The wall is north-facing. It is 6'5'' but is behind a raised bed - so from the soil level to top of the wall, we're looking at more like 1.5m. So not actually that tall for a climber to ascend!

The aspect is open. I'd describe the bottom of the wall as being light shade (though it does get very little sun in the winter, so perhaps it is more full shade at that time of year). But the top of the wall is obviously full-on full sun, and no hiding from it!

So given the description, I am unsure whether to choose climbers that like shade or sun!

We have a small walled garden and what I am looking for are two small to medium sized evergreen climbers to add height. (Though I'd be happy with cutting down a climber in spring - I just want more height and green during autumn/winter). I want to avoid planting something that will just put all the flowers on the sunny top.

I like scent so I've been considering a jasmine and a clematis armandii but worry these would not have enough sun on the part of the plant beneath the wall. Then I was thinking of a honeysuckle, but these are often too big overall and I read they don't like full sun. I'm looking for two different climbers to flower at different times - ideally winter/spring and midsummer.

Looking for advice and plant suggestions for how to balance these two light and dark worlds please!

Many thanks,

Helen



Posts

  • I’d avoid sun-loving climbers, which will go up and then flower pointing in the other direction. Alas, this is also true of Clematis armandii which will muscle out anything nearby as well. Those plants that are adapted to exploit shady areas are your best bet. With a comparatively small surface area, you could try smaller clematis, but if you want evergreen cover, the best options by far will be Euonymus fortunei forms—slow-growing but very nice—‘Silver Queen’ is particularly beautiful; ivy (which will cover the surface well if clipped back every March to 20cm from the wall surface, and will have flowering shoots at the top); or Pileostegia viburnioides, which needs some support but will never get out of control. It is also worth considering Hydrangea petiolaris: naturally capable of much greater areas of coverage, but it can be pruned, and I’ve seen it used really well to cover an unsightly lump in a garden that was a disused large pillar. It’s also deciduous though.
  • SophieKSophieK Wimbledon, LondonPosts: 242
    I have Hydrangea schizophragma climbing up my north facing wall (inspired by Wisley Gardens), but be warned it's very slow growing. I recently discovered Ribes laurifolium that could also work for you. There are of course some clematis that tolerate shade well such as on this RHS link.
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 1,905
    Our clematis armandii is on a north facing wall and does really really well. Brilliant this year and so fragrant.
    What about chocolate vine....not evergreen but can be pruned back hard when it decides it wants to take over.
  • RedwingRedwing SussexPosts: 1,313
    Some roses will grow on north facing walls; for example Dorothy Perkins.  
    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,976
    Star jasmine is doing OK for me on a N fence
  • htyashtyas Posts: 30
    Our clematis armandii is on a north facing wall and does really really well. Brilliant this year and so fragrant.
    What about chocolate vine....not evergreen but can be pruned back hard when it decides it wants to take over.
    That's interesting to hear about your armandii doing well, thanks for sharing
  • htyashtyas Posts: 30
    Loxley said:
    Star jasmine is doing OK for me on a N fence
    We already have a star jasmine on our west facing wall :smile:
    I have more leaves than flowers but I think that's from our soil being too rich  :/ Its still a corker though!
  • htyashtyas Posts: 30
    Redwing said:
    Some roses will grow on north facing walls; for example Dorothy Perkins.  
    Yes, good point, I should look more closely at a rose option
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