Novice needing advice!
Abbi Stewart Posts: 1
I really am a garden novice and would love some advice on the best plants for the front of my house. My house is fronted with Cotswold stone, the front door is quite orangey in colour. The front of the house faces West and the side Northwest. Preferably something that would not need a lot if care and attention - although I do gather many climbers need taming in order to grow nicely up the house? I wanted something that has nice coloured flowers - but also something evergreen so it doesn't look all bear in the winter (or a combination of two?) Also is there anything I could do now or would if be too late - would it be best to wait for Spring? Any help would be gladly appreciated. Thanks!
Evergreen and coloured flowers is not so easy to find. Hydrangea Petiolaris is evergreen, but the flowers are white. It also is happy on a Northwest wall, not the sunniest. Roses have lovely flowers, but aren't evergreen and need more attention. Some would need more sun. Honeysuckle is fairly tough and easy. Some clematis have gorgeous flowers, but there are so many sorts, you would do best looking at a site like this one and learning a bit about them. http://www.taylorsclematis.co.uk/
If a plant is sold growing in a pot you can plant it at anytime of the year. Before planting dig the ground and add some compost and a blood, fish and bone fertiliser.
The hydrangea mentioned above is in fact deciduous, but a good choice as it is able to climb using tiny arial roots! Has interesting peeling bark also
Pyracantha is evergreen and has white flowers in spring followed by red, orange or yellow berries in late summer and autumn. It is a very good host for wildlife providing shelter, nectar and berries for insects and birds.
There are two evergreen honeysuckles you could try - Lonicera japonica 'Halliana' AGM: An evergreen or semi-evergreen, vigorous climber with dark green leaves and white fragrant flowers from spring to summer. Height: 10m (33ft).
L. henryi: This is an evergreen, vigorous honeysuckle with purplish-red flowers between early and mid-summer, followed by purple-black berries. Height: 10m (33ft).
If your house is not too exposed to cold in winter or heavy frosts in spring you could also look at evrgreen forms of clematis such as cirrhosa which has matt red or cream and purple speckled flowers in winter or armandii which has scented white flowers in spring. Use this site to search for more info http://www.clematis.hull.ac.uk/new-clemlistsearch.cfm
You would need to drill eyescrews into your wall and thread and tension wires horizontally at 12 to 18 inch intervals so you can train and tie in your chosen plants.
For self clingers you need to look at the hydrangea mentioned above or else a variegated ivy which will be slow to cover but will eventually provide shelter for insects and, when mature, flowers and nectar followed by berries but that will take years.. Just don't let it get in round your windows or the roof as it gets higher.
You will also need to do a lot of soil improvement and make sure the roots of the plant are well away from the wall to avoid its drying effect and the rain shadow from the roof. Make your planting hole 2'/60cms away from teh wall but with the stems angled towards the wall. Water in well and mulch to retain moisture.
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
Hi Abbi, I know you're keen to have an evergreen but if you have a big enough frontage on the house you could have two different plants, and you could have a different one for each aspect. For an evergreen,I'd echo obelixx's suggestion of pyracantha - there's a sandstone house near me which has one right up the corner and it's stunning just now - dense and covered in yellow berries. The climbing hydrangea is beautiful and would be happy in that side aspect as BL says - gorgeous flowers and autumn colour. Don't rule out Virginia creeper either as it's autumn colour is worth waiting for and if it's an older building, it really enhances it. I know lots of people find it's too vigorous, but you'll always have some maintenance with climbers on a house wall anyway.
I personally wouldn't choose honeysuckle because I think it's growth habit means it never looks happy on a wall. Better when it's scrambling over something.
I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
Sorry, it's Hydrangea Seemanii which is evergreen.
I have Virginia Creeper and it's an absolute pest, now it's got into the veggie garden, don't know how - it's 50m from the house. Seems resistant to glyphosate.