I find climbers to be utterly fascinating! When the planting style is loose and carefree, their naturally random growth habit makes the perfect addition, scrambling this way and that on the wall or hedge behind the border. One plant particularly useful is an annual climber, Cobaea scandens. Hailing from Mexico, it can comfortably clear 10ft of growth in one summer! Then these delightful ‘cup and saucer’ blooms break out all over it, never failing to excite interest. Thankfully it is tender, and this growth turns to mush with the onset of the frosts; if it were hardy I imagine it would make an absolute nuisance of itself! This early death makes collecting seed something of an issue, and Christo Lloyd advises the best plants are raised from this source. He recommends picking the forming seed pod, and like a cut flower placing it in some water where it will ripen by January. I can’t vouch for this method, but will be having a crack at it this year!
Less vigorous, but just as incredible, is Rhodochiton atrosanguineum. Again this is tender and can be raised from seed each year, but its shorter reach makes it useful for climbing smaller structures or planting in the border to scramble over other plants. Above it can be seen flowering in my parents’ garden; the bell blooms truly are glorious!
|I am yet to witness any insect activity on the Rhodochiton flower, perhaps the moths favour it|