Forum home Plants

Climbers for North facing fence


Apologies if this is not the right place to ask, I have done some research but the internet searches lead me to so many options Im very confused. 

Last year I levelled and resowed my garden, it was a busy established garden that had been let go which I inherited and wanted a fresh start. 

Im keen to start with boarder plants, i have a long North facing fence (6ft +1ft trellis) with heavy soil i think clay which retains moisture a lot even in summer, I've got with trellis up and id like climbers to look nice, but also stop people easily hopping the fence- possibly with some spikey bits 😬.

Ive looked at ribes speciosum would this be a good option or is there a better easier for beginner option, ive never pruned anything before so easy as possible if there is such a thing. 

Should or can i do something to the soil to make it ‘better’ or less water retaining, ive read adding lime may help but will this be an ongoing process or is it a long term fix?

Any thoughts or help would be greatly appreciated 

Many thanks


  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 2,198
    We have the chocolate vine growing up our north facing polytunnel.
    Look at the link for info

  • Thanks thats really nice, could i ask how big yours is and how long have you had yours planted? 
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 2,198
    @andybobandy It is big and covers the length of the polytunnel and it has been insitu for some 10 years or so however it has been pruned back when we felt it was taking over and soon regrows.
  • Slow-wormSlow-worm Posts: 1,452
    How about clematis 'jingle bells'? 
    I'm not sure how they feel about having their feet in clay, but you could add a bit of sand/grit/compost.
  • Arthur1Arthur1 Posts: 538
    Clematis, roses, climbing hydrangeas, euonymus, ivy, morello cherries, Many climbers would do well. Research and trial and error needed.
    Adding lime to clay soil causes flocculation, this might make the soil easier to manage. It will also make it more alkaline. I would add any organic matter obtainable, garden compost, wood chip, manure etc. It will take several years though to alter the soil structure and you need to add OM regularly as it breaks down within the soil.
  • Thanks thats really helpful everyone, definitely a bit clearer what i need to research.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,184
    If you have problems with people trying to get in, you'd be better with thorny shrubs - Berberis, Pyracantha, Mahonia etc.
    With clay soil - adding organic matter is the best way to improve it. Rotted manure in particular. You can buy it bagged too. Leaf mould, compost etc are  all helpful in improving the structure and drainage.

    Once improved, there are loads of clematis which will do well. Many are more than happy in a shadier site.  Check the specialist growers' sites for ideas - Taylors, Thorncroft and Hawthornes. Pruning isn't necessarily a problem, especially if you choose Group 1s or 2s, although many Group 1s won't like a heavy soil. The length of the fence will determine what you have as well.  :)

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thanks Fairygirl Pyracantha looks like its the kind of thing i was looking for and has a bit of colour too, thats really helpful about the rotted manure too. 

    The fence is about 13 metres but only the first part is accessible so further down ill add other less prickly climbers clematis sounds nice i was also thinking about honeysuckle.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,184
    Honeysuckle would be fine in that aspect, but they're messy on fences, and can be very top heavy, so you might need to attach it a bit. They'll also scramble through the shrubs, so it might be best near the prickly stuff.
    They're best suited for climbing through hedges and/or over sheds or small buildings.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Ah I might rethink the honeysuckle then is clematis less top heavy? Thanks again 😊
Sign In or Register to comment.