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Sunday, September 9, 2001
Garden Life

Climbers provide quick cover
Satish Narula

WHAT provides a quick cover of privacy to a building? What is the effective substitute for the common hedge? The answer is ó a good climber.

Climbers lend privacy to a building
Climbers lend privacy to a building

When used judiciously, climbers brighten a place. They can be self-supporting as ficus repens that is self-clinging or sweet pea that climbs with the help of tendrils or some support, such as a pergola, trellis, or arbours. Though the climbers are used to cover or camouflage a place, they do to impinge on the architectural design of a building, and in fact, sometimes serve to highlight its contours.

In case you have decided to grow climbers, make sure these are not neglected at any stage, especially initially when they need proper training. Also select a site depending upon the nature of the vine, whether it is deciduous, sun-loving or shade loving, flowering or a foliage climber, fragrant or otherwise. Like all other plants, a climber should also be properly fed and watered. It should be planted in well -manured and pre-dug pits. It should get a minimum of one cubic metre of space for its roots to develop and spread. Most of the climbers (except peas) require a liberal supply of water.

EARLIER COLUMNS
Know the medium
August 26, 2001
Time to multiply your plants
August 12, 2001
Get rid of malformed shoots
July 15, 2001
Plants get neglected in off-season
July 1, 2001
A gardenerís nightmare
June 17, 2001
The grace and grandeur of palms
June 3, 2001
Grow a garden in a tray
May 20, 2001
It is easy to grow exotic plants
May 6, 2001
Clinging beauties
April 22, 2001
Flowers that make your garden bloom
March 25, 2001
How to face a flowery competition!
February 25, 2001


Climbers have a tendency to grow straight upwards with the result that the main shoot remains exposed. Where these are to be trained on a pillar, etc, its falling branches will automatically cover the main stem but where a climber is to be trained over a pergola, the main stem should be at such a place that it is not visible.

If you are looking for a heavy climber where you have provided strong support like a tree trunk, etc, go in for nonstera, money plant, syngonium and the like. Most of these climbers are shade loving. Ipomoea sp climbers, antigonon leplopus (sorry, no common name for this) nasturtium, asparagus ( in the rainy season), etc are the ones which are annuals in nature and give quick and effective cover.

For fragrant flowers throughout the year, grow the Rangoon creeper, also called jhumka bel. The blooms come in clusters and smell sweet. But be careful, it is frequently attacked by leaf roller. The caterpillar responsible for the disease is green with a black head. The larvae make a cone out of the leaf and while living within it, feed on the surface tissue. The leaves are then webbed together and the insects feed on them. Endosulphan at 2 mm in a litre of water helps check the attack.

For sunny locations, grow golden shower and for semi-shady or shady spots, grow clerodendron. Asparagus also grows in shade. For semi-shade conditions, passion flower also does well. Its flowers are also spectacular.

Patrea and wisteria are prized for their blooms that last for quite some time. The climber, which is leafless at the time of bloom, later gets fully covered with bunches of flowers.

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