Meeting 13th November 2018 ‘Pin me to the wall and do what you want with me!)

Following the Society’s AGM our Speaker Andrew Mikolajski delighted over 75 members and guests with a delightful presentation delivered with great panache, wit,style  but above all his in depth horticultural knowledge . His talk was  accompanied by a stunning slide show highlighting a huge range of well known and not so well known garden plants.

Andrew an RHS Consultant and author of over 30 gardening books focussed on wall climbers and roses for the smaller garden.

He demonstrated the variety of plants that can be used successfully to cover walls and fences whether they are warmer south/west facing  or cooler north/east situations.

Andrew tends not to favour using  horizontal wire as too often branches climb behind the wire and chafe causing bruising and make it difficult for pruning. His favourite methods include ‘pig wire’ a heavier gauge metal tying plants in with raffia.

To encourage fuller flowering of wall climbers it is best to train the branches horizontally rather than letting them continually climb vertically.

Surprisingly he believes November is a good time to plant climbers. (sweet peas too!) Bare rooted roses are best as November still has warmth in the soil (especially after this wonderful summer) which offers good  root growth surge providing good soil adhesion. Most pot plants purchased from garden centres are grown in peat compost which dries out too quickly. Often before you get the plants home! It helps to trim these roots to stimulate faster root growth.

The RHS has recently changed the rating system for the hardiness of plants. Instead of the ‘snowflake’ system plants are now numbered 1-7. The hardiest being 7. So for north/east facing situations plants numbered 5/6/7 are best.

A full list of Andrew’s recommended plants featured in his talk last night below:

Shrubs for informal training

Warm walls (south- or west-facing)


Blue flowers in spring/summer; deciduous forms hardier than evergreen

Fremontodendron californicum

Bright yellow flowers in summer; stems covered in a skin-irritant powder

Itea ilicifolia

Long racemes of pale apple green, scented flowers in summer

Cestrum parqui

South American; night-scented flowers reliably produced only in hot conditions

Lagerstroemia indica

Panicles of bright pink flowers in late summer/early autumn

Jasminum humile

Upright, with glassy stems and scented yellow flowers in summer

Myrtus communis

Myrtle; aromatic leaves and white flowers in late summer


Prune in summer only lightly to expose fruits

Shady wall

Garry elliptica

Winter flowering; useful as a support for late-flowering clematis

Shrubs for formal training

Malus (apple)

Can be espaliered; can fruit if flowering spurs are developed


Can be espaliered – at the expense of flowering and fruiting

Cedrus atlantica f. glauca ‘Pendula’

Weeping form of Blue Atlas cedar; flexible stems are easily trained

Climbing plants (shade tolerant unless otherwise indicated)

Clematis ‘Alba Luxurians’

White flowers touched with green from mid- to late summer; late flowers pure white

Clematis ‘Josephine’

Large, double, rich pink flowers in mid-spring followed by a later crop of single flowers; best in sun

Clematis ‘Fireworks’

Large, luminous violet flowers in mid- to late spring – essential!

Clematis ‘Mme Julia Correvon’

Dark magenta-pink flowers over several weeks in summer

Clematis ‘Arabella’

Flopping stems carry a succession of blue flowers throughout summer; best allowed to wander through low-growing shrubs

Passiflora ‘Silly Cow’

For a warm wall; large, luminous violet flowers in summer – essential!

Solanum laxum ‘Album’

For a warm wall; endless clusters of white flowers until well into autumn

Trachelospermum jasminoides

An evergreen for a warm wall; sweetly scented white flowers in summer

Lonicera x tellmanniana

Unscented, trumpet-like yellow flowers in summer; tolerant of deep shade

Hydrangea petiolaris

Large heads of white flowers in early summer; tolerant of deep shade but very slow to establish

Rosa ‘Fortune’s Double Yellow’

Loosely double yellow and pink flowers in late spring; needs a warm wall and minimal pruning; connoisseur’s plant

Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’

Clusters of duckling yellow, unscented flowers in late spring; prone to mildew and a rampant monster once it gets going

Rosa ‘Etoile de Hollande’

A good red rose for a warm wall; flowers tend to droop, so best when trained above eye level

Rosa ‘Malvern Hills’

A yellow, repeat-flowering rambler, with flowers in clusters

Rosa ‘Albrighton Rambler’

A repeat-flowering rambler like ‘Malvern Hills’ but pink; flowers small but perfectly formed

Rosa ‘Mermaid’

A great plant for a stately home; tough, thorny stems carry large, single, yellow flowers over a long period

Rosa ‘Warm Welcome’

Dainty miniature climber with clusters of vermilion-orange flowers over a long period; a must-have, and good in a container

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