GBDW - Trellises and Screens

When I first looked at August's Design Workshop subject, I didn't think I had much to offer as my garden isn't subdivided into a number of rooms. We only have a couple of small pieces of trellis plus a small pergola and I haven't been that successful so far in finding the right plants to drape over them. However, one morning I was having coffee in the garden to mull over things for the day and it struck me I do have some examples to offer you where I'm using plants as screens to disguise some of the garden's problem areas.

I wrote about my poor conifers last week. They've not only been planted to frame the view down to the bottom of the garden, but to also block a sight line from the bedroom windows of the house behind us. If the trees weren't there, our favourite spot on the patio for coffee and meals taken outdoors would be overlooked. It's one of the reasons why I'm having to think carefully about their replacement.

Our house came complete with lots of boundary fence. One side is still to be dealt with properly as a lack of soil means there's a long way for plants to grow. However, you can see I'm starting to make use of the rampant qualities of this Clematis montana var. rubens 'Elizabeth' to disguise the bare boards. The fence on the other side of the garden has been easier to deal with, though again I've chosen a plant with the reputation of being a bit of a 'thug' to clothe it. For once I think Rosa multiflora 'Rambling Rector' is a good choice. It grows about twenty feet and has vicious thorns, flowers profusely in June/July and has small red hips in the autumn/winter. Thus its season of interest is good and its less likeable characteristics are perfect to act as a deterrent to anyone caring to climb the fence from the public land next door. Any stray branches that decide to grow into the garden instead of along or over the fence get trimmed back when needed. In addition it acts as a support to a couple of Clematis (C. 'Kermesina' and C. tangutica), plus the winter flowering honeysuckle Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty'.

The more utilitarian areas always pose a problem for incorporation into the garden. They're needed but can be a bit of an eyesore. I'm lucky that I have a long six foot wide stretch of gravel and path to one side of the house where I've been able to create a nursery area complete with cold frames to nurse my seedlings and quarantine new purchases. This area also houses the dreaded but ubiquitous wheelie bin that local councils now provide for rubbish collection. It sometimes also acts as a temporary store for potting compost when I'm planting up my pots in spring and autumn. These objects have been softened by the use of some large planters incorporating the tall Fuchsia 'Lady Boothby' to add height. A small pergola has also been fixed to the house - this was installed to frame the view into the garden when walking down the side path, but it also helps to disguise the view from the garden too.

So, I've been able to use some of the problem areas of my garden as opportunities to be a little more creative and to add more interest. It's just a matter of selecting the right plant(s) to provide the solutions.

Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop is hosted by Gardening Gone Wild.


  1. How long have you had your Rambling Rector? I think I may have told you before that mine is a particularly Rampant Rambling Rector that need taking to task most severely 2 if not 3 times a year to keep him within the supposed 20 feet. He's now going round the corner and trying to get a touch too friendly with the young lady there (Rosa Kifstgate - I know! what idiot plants them so near to each other!)
    My Montana seems to need reprimanding regularly too (I have a feeling that mine may be Elizabeth) as she likes to go sneaking into the roof and come out the other side- oops! Do you see why I'm doing designing with plants?
    Aaanyway - must go cos I'm supposed to be sending you bear pictures - I' m doing that now before I get distracted again. LOL

  2. Hi Maggi - I've had him about 6 years and yes he's very rampant. Luckily most of it goes over the fence or into the ash trees above which is fine as a climbing deterrent for would be garden invaders. The bits that come over the garden path just get trimmed back as and when needed. Luckily no Kiftsgate is nearby though ;)

    I can imagine sharp intakes of breath and tutting by our fellow readers of this post at my use of 2such rampant plants, particularly in a design article. But with 40 feet of fence to deal with, I feel they are for once the right plants for the right place. I do welcome suggestions for more choice replacements though - that's why I'm doing the designing with plants course too! I particularly thought long and hard before using the C. montana as I have seen many similar examples of your problem and vowed never to use it in any of my gardens. But with only 15 feet of fence with soil below it, I do think it's the plant for the job after all.

  3. PS Looking forward to the pictures :D

  4. I think so long as you know your boundaries, rampant plants are fine. I'm intending to use a Clematis montana to almost entirely cover my newly-moved shed (don't know if it's Elizabeth or not - it's been languishing in a pot for many many years and has long since lost its label. Mind you it's a bit ominous it's survived so long on such neglect - must be truly indestructible). I'm fully expecting it to take over, climb into the neighbouring cobnut tree and generally be everywhere - but that's the idea, so I'm fine with that.

    I hadn't come across this design meme before - must take a look as I'm about to divide up my garden into rooms (part of the Great Garden Makeover!) and trying to do it more imaginatively than just sticking up a trellis...

    and my plants & planting design course starts in two weeks too... can't wait :D

  5. CG - that's exactly my way of thinking. For once they're the right plant for what needs to be done in the garden.

    Good luck with your course - another Capel Manor foray?


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