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The sky's the limit

When it comes to rising stars, there are few prolific performers like the garden climber. A climber exists for almost every situation to cover anything from a humble archway to a grand pergola.

Providing you invite the right plant for the right place, it’s possible to have fragrance and colour all year through.

First, decide what you want the climber to do. Need a vigorous evergreen for a sunny trellis, then it’s time to get romantic with a Passiflora caerulea (Passionflower). Showy blooms, followed by orange fruits after a warm summer ensure quick colour and coverage.

For something a little more sophisticated, the social climber Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine) will fill the air with heady fragrance, its glossy evergreen foliage a choice alternative to ivy.

Climbing roses remain the queen of the garden, the majestic blossoms of Rosa Albertine a must have on any garden party guest list. Of course, there will always be those who just love to cling on by themselves, so let’s introduce Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) with its stunning autumnal fiery colours, accompanied by Hydrangea petiolaris (climbing hydrangea), both of which will attach themselves to most flat surfaces.

Try to avoid wild gatecrashers like Fallopia baldschuanicum (Mile-a-minute vine) unless you have a castle or something similarly big to cover.

For a truly Kentish theme, try Humulus lupulus aureus (Golden hop) a perennial climber with eye catching gold foliage which sleeps over winter, emerging in the spring to drape bountiful colour over a sunny archway.

Plant climbers directly in the ground as the bigger the plant, the more water they need to keep everything healthy over the hot summer. If planting on a terrace, find the largest pot possible. Remember to tie in new shoots in the directions you want them to go and before long you’ll have living walls of colour and scent.