PLANT A CLIMBER FOR AUTUMN-WINTER COLOUR

Go skywards to pack in some welcome vivid hues

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Nothing screams autumn more than swathes of pink, crimson or yellow leaves – bold, bright colour that’s very welcome once dark, drab days arrive.

I haven't got a lot of space in my garden, so my small cherry tree provides much of that colour, though there is another way to pack in more plants.

In small gardens there’s always the opportunity of growing climbers against walls and fences to up the colour count. Below are some wonderful plants to tuck away against a wall, which don’t use much ground space at all.

Always be sure what size the plant will reach though – if it’s too much for you to prune them each year to the size you want to keep them, stick to smaller plants. Having said that, climbing hydrangeas grow large but need little in the way of pruning and can be left to spread, with only pruning to shape after flowering to fit to the space available. The same goes for star jasmine in early spring, and crimson glory vine in winter and summer. Kiwis are best trained formally as espaliers or over pergolas – and give them a bit of space.

Boston ivy (parthenocissus) shouldn’t be planted in small gardens – they take over pretty quickly and can sometimes damage brickwork. Why not try planting one in a big pot and decorating your shed or a fence? Two or three years ago I planted mine next to my shed and each year it stays in check, providing controlled, beautiful colour. I underplant it simply with some oxalis bulbs in spring each year.