For those in need of a little support

Climbing plants give height to a garden but there is often the problem that they need something to climb up.
old wooden ladders1) The old wooden ladders, one vertical and one secured horizontally across the top, are the effort of a creative gardener down the road. The clematis appears to be a strong growing variety which will cover pretty much the entire shed wall in relatively quick time. If you can find old ladders cheaply, it is a quick solution but I do not think that old aluminium ladders would be so pleasing visually.

simple bamboo grid2) Where you have masonry or brick surfaces, separate framing can avoid the need to drill holes. Here we have constructed a simple bamboo grid, tied together with twine, to give a light weight frame for the seasonal climber, Tropaeleum tricolourm. Gridded wire used to reinforce concrete can also make a handy and economical frame for climbers which can be cut to the required size.

bamboo obelisks003 insert - Copy3) We make our own bamboo obelisks specifically to hold clematis. They last for several seasons you need access to fresh giant bamboo to use as the raw material. That is grape vine pruning holding the verticals apart. You can improvise something similar with wooden or cane teepees. If you want step by step instructions for the bamboo, click here.

pipe framespipe frames4) I had these pipe frames built to hold my tall weeping roses, though I am now using two of them for wisterias. They were not cheap at the time, but they have proven their worth over more than 15 years. They need to be driven a long way into the ground – around 40cm at least – to keep them rock solid but they are capable of supporting a weighty mass of foliage at the top. Top heavy plants can readily snap off when only the stem has been staked.

Tanalised timber posts and old maritime rope5) Tanalised timber posts and old maritime rope have been used to construct this frame which gives a simple garden structure as well as a support for climbing plants. It should last for many years and the only stumbling block I can see is sourcing the rope. The aesthetics rest entirely on having heavy, old rope. Modern, coloured nylon rope with a thinner girth just will not cut the mustard.

photographed in a Yorkshire garden6) From the cheap and cheerful, to the mid priced permanent, to this handsome splendour – which I photographed in a Yorkshire garden. The owner deprecatingly refers to this modern recreation as a “plant carrier”. It is there solely to support climbing plants and to provide an attractive structure within the garden. It is all concrete but using the ground-up local stone added to the concrete mix gives it a weathered stone appearance and colouring that fits the local environment.

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.