Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Climbers ‘are great value plants’

Celebrity gardener and former presenter of horticultural television show Gardener's World Toby Buckland has recommended wall-climbing plants.

In an interview for gossip and lifestyle magazine Female First, he specified they are ideal for those who are looking for plants they can invest in without spending too much money.

The expert acknowledged that they may not appear to be the most obvious plants to suggest as a must-have, but underlined the fact that they bring a wide range of benefits.

For instance, they are highly effective at hiding boundary walls and fences – in addition to their ability to create an effective illusion of more space.

Mr Buckland added that many varieties are widely noted for their distinctive smell – which is an extra advantage on top of making a green space look pretty.

Virginia creeper – or parthenocissus quinquefolia – is one example of such a wall-climbing vine and is native to the eastern and central regions of the US.

It can reach heights of between 20 and 30 cm and its leaves are composed of five leaflets with a toothless margin.

On top of this, it can also help to attract some avian wildlife, as its berries are an important source of food for many different species of birds.

Horticulture agent for the University of Delaware's Co-operative Extension Carrie Murphy recently asserted that there are many ways to keep gardening a cheap hobby.

She recommended keen, green-fingered individuals restrict themselves to a small but carefully chosen toolset.

Mr Buckland also imparted some advice for those who are keen to get to work outdoors, but are pressed for time, rather than finances.

"Ornamental grasses are my choice for time-poor gardeners as all they require to keep them looking good is a quick tidy up to remove tired leaves in early spring," the expert explained.

"Grasses are also the simplest way to give a garden a natural and modern look and because they tolerate both wet and dry summer weather they're ideal for our topsy-turvy climate," he continued.

For those who are keen to create a fruit or vegetable garden, Mr Buckland recommended the use of pots to make the most of the space – and placing these in a greenhouse can also allow for greater control over their environment.

"Growing fruit in containers is a good idea to save space and helps lift plants up into the light," he commented, adding: "Blueberries are brilliant for pots and if you plant two in separate containers (to aid pollination) with a skirt of strawberries around the edge."