The mild, moist spring weather we’ve had across our region has really favoured some plants in the garden. One of those that has caught my eye is wisteria. I’ve noticed wisteria vines growing over fences, pergolas, sheds and trees that are absolutely covered in the beautiful cascading, fragrant blue flowers. There are a range of wisteria types-the most common being the blue/purple flowering Chinese cultivars, but there are also more delicate pink and white flowering Japanese cultivars.
Climbing plants have a role to play in most gardens, although you’ll need a fair bit of space and a strong structure to support the vigorous Wisteria. Other climbing plants that can be used to cover ugly fences or building walls include Boston Ivy, climbing Roses, Honeysuckle, Mandevilla and Clematis. Mandevilla laxa (Chillian jasmine) is a deciduous, quick growing climber that produces a magnificent show of white, trumpet shaped flowers in summer. Although vulnerable to late frosts, I have one growing on supporting wire against a north facing brick wall in my garden. I also have a range of white and pink flowering Clematis montana vines growing around verandah posts in the garden, that are budded up now and will be covered in flowers soon. There are some striking, larger flowered hybrid Clematis jackmanii that come in purple, pink, red and yellow flowering forms, and which can give you two phases of flowering (in spring and autumn) if managed well.
All of the above climbers are deciduous and if you need an evergreen climber to more “permanently” cover a fence, wall or other structure, the options in our climate are a bit more limited. Chinese star jasmine is a hardy, evergreen climber with glossy, dark green leaves and fragrant, star shaped white flowers in spring/summer. Banksia roses (small yellow or white flowers) are another option, as is Hardenbergia- an Australian native climbing or groundcovering plant that is available in violet or white flowering cultivars.
Millthorpe Garden Nursery