Gardening: Colourful climbers perfect for autumn

Phyl Boyce


Phyl Boyce

Gardening: Colourful climbers perfect for autumn

Passiflora caerulea (blue passion flower) is one of the hardier species that is commonly grown in this country

Passiflora (Passion flower) is a dramatic climber that has flowers into the autumn. Most of the passion flower species come from the tropical regions of the world and are classified as tender plants so they will not survive frosts. The tender species need a warm glasshouse to survive. The hardier species may be grown outdoor in well-drained, moderately fertile soil in full sun with shelter from cold winds. They grow rapidly each year using their tendrils to attach themselves to supports or to climb up through a tree or shrub.

Passiflora caerulea (blue passion flower) is one of the hardier species that is commonly grown in this country. It can be evergreen in mild winters, in very cold winters it will die down to ground level but new shoots will emerge from the base in spring. It is a very vigorous climber that has a reach and spread of 20 feet or more when grown in favourable conditions. It produces large saucer-shaped flowers with creamy white petals and a ring of blue and purple filaments.

Itea Ilicifolia

This is another late flowering climber that comes from China. It is a spreading evergreen shrub, with arching branches that can be trained into a very nice climber. It has spiny, glossy dark green leaves like holly leaves. It produces an abundance of narrow, pendulous, catkin-like flowers that can be up to 12 inches long. The individual flowers are tiny and densely packed, greenish-white in colour. The flowers are produced from late summer to early autumn.

The flowers are fragrant with a hint of honey scent. It likes a fertile, moist but well drained soil in full sun or partial shade. Plant in the spring. If grown in full sun the soil needs to be moist. In cold or exposed gardens it needs shelter from cold winds.

Jobs for the week

In the greenhouse, plants like tomatoes, peppers, chillies and cucumbers will continue to produce a plentiful of fruit. Removing the ripe fruit will encourage the green fruit to ripen. Stop feeding pot plants, except winter-flowering plants such as cyclamen and chrysanthemums. Pot up hyacinths for Christmas.

In the vegetable garden lift onions and garlic, allow the foliage to die back and dry them off in a shed.

Collect seeds of your favourite perennials and store them in a dry place. The seeds of some plants such as myosotidium, dierama and lychnis can be sown fresh after collection to germinate next spring.

Collect leaves that have fallen, using a wire rake and place them in plastic bags with holes in the sides. These leaves will break down over the next twelve months to produce very valuable leaf-mould.

Garden Club Notices

The Limerick Flower and Garden Club have their monthly club night in the Greenhills Hotel on the Ennis Road at 8pm on Tuesday, October 9. New club members or those interested in attending for just the evening, €10 per guest, are welcome. There will be a flower arranging demonstration on the night.