A favorite of professional landscapers, flowering vines are often overlooked by home gardeners. But they can solve a host of garden woes: making the most of limited square footage, covering bare walls or fences, and even introducing a bit of romance when trained over a garden gate or arbor. We asked three local designers — Janet Baruch of Greenway Gardens, Ian Johnson with Greener Landscapes and Steven Koprowski of Koprowski and Associates — for their top picks. Here's what they said.
Lady Banks climbing rose (Banksiae lutea) — romantic, old-fashioned appeal. This classic garden-style climbing rose is perfect for training over an arbor or gazebo, Koprowski says. It provides bright clusters of blossoms and is relatively low maintenance, growing up to a foot a year under good conditions.
Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala) — good wall cover. This shade- loving vine has a dense texture with thick leaves and shrubby branches, and grows 6 to 8 inches per year. Challenging to coax into bloom, the flowers are showy and produce through the summer.
Clematis (Clematis) — mailbox and porch favorite. Clematis prefers to have its roots in shady soil, but the vine itself can handle plenty of heat and sun. It grows outward as much as upward, in a bushy habit with plentiful blooms along the entire plant.
Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) — highly fragrant. Also an evergreen, star jasmine is a sun-loving vine that produces small, creamy flowers with a strong fragrance, according to Johnson. Slow-growing, at only 6 inches or less per year, jasmine needs to be trained upward with cables or lattice to bring its gardenia-like scent to nose-level.
Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) — great fence grower. This fast-growing, hardy vine sports spring-blooming yellow flowers and as an evergreen provides color year-round. Often planted next to low fences, it can grow 12 to 18 inches per year. "It's fairly aggressive, so put it where it has room to ramble," Baruch says.