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Weston's Mark Cox on fragrant climbers




As with all things weather related in this country we seem to go from summer to winter in one giant leap.

That said, I love the English climate. I don’t think I could live anywhere that was hot all year round as those types of places usually require that you check your shoes before putting them on or checking under the bed for anything that sees you as food.

I know they are more afraid of us than we are of them but that’s not much of a comfort whilst the offending beast hangs off your foot as the surgeon contemplates amputation. That’s the great thing about Britain – you can go to the loo without fearing for your life.

Honeysuckle (42175620)
Honeysuckle (42175620)

I was pondering on the toilet what to write about in this week’s column – I find the toilet is where I do all of my best thinking. I remember my wife called me to say that I’d received a new garden email and that it looked quite a good one.

That is it wasn’t a problem as such, it was more advice on what would work best. Unfortunately I’d reached the point where my lower legs had gone to sleep so I told her I’d be down just as soon as I could feel my legs again.

Abbie had emailed in wanting to know what to grow up a south facing wall. Her husband Chris had secured a trellis on said wall the weekend before.

From what I understand, Abbie and Chris are quite fond of entertaining and partaking in a glass of wine or two with friends.

Abbie’s idea is to grow a really nice fragrant climbing plant against the trellis – that way her evening soirées on the patio will be beautifully fragranced. Her guests would then be naturally fabreezed as they mingled.

My mind immediately thought of Trachelopsermum Jasminoides which is a bit of a mouthful so let’s just call it Star Jasmine.

This climber has lovely evergreen foliage that turns purplish throughout winter and in early to late summer produces the most fragrant white flowers. The scent from these flowers in the evening is quite intoxicating but not in an alcoholic way.

There is a problem with Star Jasmine. It’s not a big problem at all, it’s just that after a couple of years the plant really gets into its stride and begins to grow incredibly vigorously, leading to a little pruning every year to keep it in check.

Abbie’s other option would be to look at the Japanese Honeysuckle variety known as Red World.

This semi-evergreen climber produces gorgeous red and white blooms from May to September which is quite a long period which means more perfumed parties. The scent from the flowers is sublime and the great thing about Red World is that it is very hardy and will tolerate a number of different growing conditions from full sun to shade.

Red World slightly gets the upper hand on Star Jasmine for me as it will require far less maintenance because it does not grow with the same vigour.

I have heard that Abbie’s garden parties are quite legendary affairs and I hope one day to be invited. I’ve even picked out a pack of Scottish shortbread biscuits from the Edinburgh Woollen Mill. Nothing says quality more than a Scottish shortbread biscuit.



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