We are lucky at Aberglasney to have huge walls where vigorous plants such as rambling roses or Wisteria can be given the space to go mad. However in certain areas, as is often the case in home gardens, there is not the space for these monsters and careful thought is required in choosing the right spots as well as the right plants.
Generally smaller climbing plants are the most practical thing as they are more manageable and more than one type can be planted in a spot. There are some great tricks we’ve used be used to make our rose arbour in particular look very colourful for a long period.
Planting two or three different varieties on the same pillar is one of the most effective methods for a long season of colour. We plant one rose that is vigorous and flowers once, another that is early flowering and a third which is repeat flowering. We have also chosen varieties with both slow and medium rates of growth which will not out grow their frame. We also add annual sweet peas for further scent and colour over a longer period. These plants work well together as the roses can be pruned after the sweet peas have died out for the winter. By doing this we have cut back on the amount of maintenance needed and made life a little easier for ourselves.
Another favourite in the Rose Garden are Paeonia. In the right position they have many great attributes and each year will give you a display that is seldom rivalled. It is not uncommon to see a clump that is fifty years old, they will often out live trees and may have numerous owners during their lifetime. So they are a plant that needs careful positioning and planting, in fact as much care should go into positioning and planting a Paeonia as a tree.
The right place will have a fair amount of sun and be in a fertile position with some shelter from strong winds. The important thing to remember is once they are planted it will be very hard to move them so future shade problems should be considered as the garden will change many times over their life span. However once they are planted they should settle in quite quickly as long as they are planted very shallow. Paeonia resent having their crowns covered and this is often the cause of poor flowering. Once they are planted they need very little care other than staking for the large or double flowered cultivars.