Climbers are an important group of plants in the home garden. Their
distinguishing characteristic is the ability to climb. Some have tendrils
while others do not. Most climbers evolved in tropical rain forests where in
the shady, dark environment, they were competing with other plants for sun
and oxygen. Such harsh conditions "made" them develop unique climbing
properties at the expense of trees. A gardener, landscaping designer and an
amateur home garden owner use these wonderful abilities in gardens a lot.
Climbers are planted in the garden in order to emphasize a place or on the
other hand, to hide some elements of the property or other architectural features.
Some climbers, such as common ivy or star jasmine are used as
low-maintenance ground covers.
It is common to use climbing plants to cover a pergola in order to create
shade. A good candidate for this purpose can be grape vine, but if the fruit
is not wanted then a decorative variety could be a substitute. It may not
produce fruit but the leaves look exactly like those of the edible grape
vine and even better in fall when they turn yellow and sometimes reddish.
Wisteria is another beautiful plant that can be used for covering a pergola.
It is a genus of flowering plants that includes ten species of woody twining
vines that are native to China, Korea, Japan, Southern Canada, and the
Eastern United States. Some species are very popular ornamental plants in
Climbing plants are also popular because of their relatively fast growth.
Gardeners plant them for quick results. But the disadvantage of rapid growth
is the need for frequent trimming.
Bougainvillea is a good example. It is a genus of thorny ornamental vines,
bushes, and trees belonging to the family Nyctaginaceae. It is native to
eastern South America, from Brazil, Peru, and southern Argentina. Botanists
count from four to eighteen species in the genus.
It has beautiful pink, white, yellow, red, and purple flowers, that in fact
are colorful leaves that help the insignificant-looking flowers to attract
bees. It does grow fast, indeed so fast that trimming it turns into a real
challenge. That's why the Arab gardeners nick-named it "Mazhnoona'' which
means crazy. And it is also a very thorny plant so one ought to be very
careful while trimming it.