Labour Weekend is usually a time when keen gardeners are getting very busy in the garden. As well as planting out your tomato plants this weekend, it might be a good time to take a look around the garden and see whether you can add a bit of height and colour to your garden this season with some climbing flowers.
Growing an attractive climber can be a great way to cover up a plain (or unsightly) area of the garden....instead of that plain fence you could be looking at a wall of Morning Glory this summer.
Growing climbing flowers is also an opportunity to get creative with your climbing supports....you can go for the traditional trellis, or choose a pre-made arch or pergola for your garden, but there are also some wonderful ideas for recycling materials to use as supports for your beautiful flowering climbers.....how about using an old iron bedstead for a beautiful vintage-look trellis, or you could be creative with your recycling and make a trellis from anything from old doors or windows to old bicycle wheels!
If you like the natural look in your garden, you could make some supports using willow or hazel. Your sweet peas would look wonderful growing up a homemade frame.
If you are looking for ideas for climbing flowers, you could choose from some of the following varieties....
Sweet Peas are always popular, and no wonder! They look beautiful, and smell amazing, are gorgeous as a cut flower, and come in the most wonderful variety of colours. If you are a sweet pea enthusiastic, you could also read our previous blog post on sweet peas, but here are some suggestions for helping you choose your sweet pea varieties:
You could choose extremes of colour and grow Sweet Pea Almost Black, which is an intense deep purple-black colour, and you could contrast it with Sweet Pea Mammoth White, which has wonderful large pure white flowers.
If you want a semi-tall Sweet Pea mix to grow against a smaller support or low fence, you could choose Sweet Pea Jetset, which grows to just 90cm tall and has long stems for cutting.
If you would like to select your Sweet Peas by colour, you could choose our Shades of Blue or Shades of Red blends, Sweet Pea Azure Blue, or you could choose Sweet Pea Enchanted for pretty pastel pink colours. If you like bright orange sweet peas, for a splash of colour, choose Sweet Pea Old Spice Henry Eckford, which are also known for their beautiful fragrance.
For large flowers, mixed colours and long stems, choose Sweet Pea Mammoth Choice Mix or Sweet Pea Spencers Scentsation. For flowers with an intense fragrance and an ability to resist the heat of summer, choose Sweet Pea Old Spice Antiques Mixed. For flowers with a pretty veined or picoteed flower ("picotee" means that the edge of the petal is a different colour from the rest of the petal), choose Sweet Pea Speckles and Stripes.
Snail Vine is a beautiful heirloom climber, which has pretty bi-coloured flowers shaped like little curly snail shells, hence its name. The flowers are highly perfumed - you could grow them over a pergola and enjoy the beautiful scent when you sit underneath in the summer heat.
Hyacinth Bean Vine
Hyacinth Bean Vine (also known as Lab-lab) is a vigorous climber. It is a great choice for covering a large area. The flowers are a lilac rose colour and the pods which follow are a very bright crimson.
The pods, flowers and young leaves of this plant are edible, so you can add them to your harvest basket, making this striking plant useful in the kitchen as well as being ornamental.
Rhodochiton Purple Bells
Rhodochiton Purple Bells is a wonderful vining plant. It produces masses of maroon-purple, bell-shaped pendant flowers which are quite striking to look at.
Rhodochiton will begin beings to flower only four months from sowing, so is a great choice of plant if you would like to quickly introduce masses of colour into your garden.
Morning Glory is always popular as a very pretty climber. The annual form is not invasive and comes in a variety of colours - there is the traditional clear blue of Morning Glory Heavenly Blue and the beautiful white blossoms of Morning Glory Moonflower White. If you want a mix of colours you could choose Morning Glory Early Call Mixed.
Our new varieties of Morning Glory for this year have been very popular - if you would like a stunning mix of blues and violets, choose Morning Glory Hazelwood Blues.
For an absolutely stunning mix of pink and red shades, choose Morning Glory La Vie En Rose.
Mina LobataMina Lobata means "exotic love" and what's not to love about this fire-coloured, prolifically-flowering climber, with its pretty scarlet and crimson flowers, which change to pretty yellow and cream.
Success with Climbing Flowers
If you want success with your climbing flowers, the main thing to remember is to give the plants what they need. Sow your seeds when the soil temperatures are warm enough - sweet peas can handle being sown early in Spring, but the other varieties listed are best sown in late Spring when soil temperatures have begun to rise. Protect your seedlings from slugs and snails. When your plants are big enough, transplant them to a sunny position and keep them watered. And don't forget to give them somewhere to climb!