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The sky's the limit in your garden

PUBLISHED: 10:23 16 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:20 20 February 2013

The sky's the limit in your garden

The sky's the limit in your garden

Running out of space in the garden? Then set your sights higher and reach for the sky. Michael Perry of Thompson & Morgan looks at ways of achieving new heights in the garden

Running out of space in the garden? Then set your sights higher and reach for the sky. Michael Perry of Thompson & Morgan looks at ways of achieving new heights in the garden



With modern gardens becoming smaller and smaller, people just need to start building patio and garden displays upwards.
This isnt a problem with many of the new summer climbers in the marketplace, which will add that extra dimension and quick!
As we all know, we can all get impatient waiting for a new plant to start doing what we want it to, but with summer climbing annuals you wont be disappointed, with the beginnings of a glorious display within months if not weeks!
Thompson & Morgan are leading the way with new and innovative climbing annuals with perhaps the star of the show for 2010 being the aptly named geranium Skyrocket.
Thompson & Morgan extensively test and trial any plant we introduce and thats no different with Skyrocket.
This plant actually started its life as a trailing specimen, but when we noticed it was potentially too long for this, we had a lightbulb moment why not send those lovely long stems upwards?
The specimens especially long internodes (the gap between each leaf joint) mean the trailing stems can reach up to six feet in a season.
Once we got Skyrocket on to our climbing frames, we were amazed at the effect.
There was a rainbow of neon colours and, like many geraniums, Skyrocket proved to be quite drought resistant, meaning a low maintenance summer display!
From one garden favourite to another, lets have a look at what has been called the worlds first climbing fuchsia.
Dating back to 1939, Lady Boothby is a variety named after the founder of the Fuchsia Society. Long lost to cultivation, Thompson & Morgan have now re-introduced this variety to home gardeners.
Producing plenty of arching stems, Lady Boothby is literally clothed with blue and red blooms. Whats even better is that fuchsias enjoy a shady position, so its an incredibly useful plant for a problematic shady corner. Suited to growing on an obelisk as much as up a fence or even over an archway, youll wonder what you did without the graceful Lady Boothby.
Of course, the ultimate summer annual compliment to those two favourites is petunias, and once again Thompson & Morgan have the answer.
Petunia Tidal Wave is a popular plant which certainly lives up to its name, so much so it could even be referred to as a tsunami!
Four bright colours in shades of pink, which may not be everyones cup of tea but its worth it for the hundreds of delicately fragrant blooms and astounding speed of growth.
Plants just need a little help to twine through any support frame and the occasional stem may snap, but this isnt a problem, as two more will usually appear in its place!
For a subtly scented garden, add Sweet Peas to the mix.
Thompson & Morgan now offer Sweet Dreams, a hand-picked blend of more than 50 high quality varieties with the very best colours and the very best fragrance.
Sweet Peas have a reputation for being short-lived but this isnt true!
Pick your blooms regularly and display them indoors and you can enjoy up to 16 weeks of cut flowers. We know, weve tried it!
So what about traditional summer climbers? Im sure many of you remember the old favourite Black Eyed Susan Thunbergia. This super annual is now available in a wide range of colours, including raspberry and sunset shades. Grab as many different colours as you can for the best effect.
For yet more choice, Morning Glory is a delightful summer annual with glorious trumpet blooms in sky blue, navy blue, magenta or even striped. Again, grow a mix for full effect.
For real throw and grow ease, go for some climbing nasturtiums, just drop the seed straight into any pot and theyll do their thing. Try them; theyre colourful, quick and even edible!
Whilst were on the subject of edibles, dont forget you can grow lots of vegetables in a small space too, and even more when you choose to keep climbing upwards. Climbing courgette Black Forest isnt shy of producing more than 100 fruits through the season and, of course, the more you pick, the more you get! Try runner beans too, perhaps even trying a mixture of flower colours, especially white, as these arent as attractive to hungry birds.
If you are feeling particularly adventurous, add in some peas, cucumbers and of course the towering height of tomatoes.
Try a mix of all of those, perhaps with an underplanting of lettuce, for a homegrown salad.
So with all these exciting climbers, you could soon have a forest of plants on your patio for every purpose. You may even find envious neighbours peeking over the fence for a better look!
So, whats the future for summer climbers?
Well, all I can say is were testing a huge range of plants and therell be a few more surprises in store.
In fact, you can see for yourself if you come along to our summer open days on July 31 and August 1, 2010 and Ill be talking about these in more detail later in the year.
In the meantime, why not think about stretching those gardening legs and reaching for the sky!

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