for Shade & Screening
by Nellie Neal
vines look like hanging carpets of color and texture in your garden. Whether
you use them to shade, screen or just for pure pleasure, you can choose from
perennial or annual vines with evergreen or deciduous leaves. Be sure to buy
or build a sturdy trellis and install it well – those vines will surprise
you with their vigor.
to a new landscape with trellises among growing trees and shrubs.
view of the neighbor with lattice panels along the property line.
on a pergola with benches and shade-loving plants beneath.
turn an old
swingset frame or a bamboo teepee into a shady space for kids.
flowers and fragrance up close on a string trellis at the end of a balcony.
and soften a blank wall by installing a wire or chain trellis to hold it.
vines rate high with gardeners for color and dense cover. They offer design
continuity – their texture and dense cover are a year round landscape
feature. Colorful new growth, flowers and even berries add dimension.
vines mean flowers, shade, often fall color, winter berries and great design
lines when leafless. On south and west walls, a perennial vine cools the
summer and warms the winter exposure.
vines deliver cover and color fast – you’ll have both in your garden in
just a few weeks after planting. Add a view where none exists, harvest a
crop of beans or grow flowers for day and night bloom with annual vines.
directs your choice of vines when time is of the essence. Read up on the
vines you like the look of to see how they’re rated: slow (2 inches a
year), medium (about a foot a year), or fast (12 to 20 feet in a season).
It’s a wide range of growth, and you can push any of them a bit with
frequent applications of fertilizer. But for longest life in your garden,
choose the vine that matches its needs with your conditions for sun, shade
and moisture. Check your hardiness zone and heat zone, too, when buying
perennial and evergreen vines. Buy one to three gallon pots for evergreen
and perennial vines with multiple stems as long as you can find. Take the
vine’s growth rate into consideration and plant closer together for faster
coverage if you’ve chosen a slow grower. Look for good color in the
leaves, stems with no bruises or sunken spots, and flowers if they would be
on the plant naturally at the time you buy it. Shop for fresh seed for
annual vines each season or store your own in a cool, dry place over the
winter. For fastest cover, seed thickly and thin right away after they come
wooden trellises, wrought iron beauties, plastic, string, wires and chains
– anything you can anchor into the ground that can hold the weight of your
vine and won’t rot quickly outdoors can be pressed into use.
trellis sends a different message:
sturdy and rustic, especially the bentwood kind
romantic, whimsical and sometimes gothic
expandable, durable and often recycled materials
country garden style, reminiscent of Grandma’s garden
disappearing supports to send vines soaring
quirky stylewise, yet versatile to send vines up walls and trees
pressure treated wood for vine supports and trellis frames. Paint metal
trellises in light colors if absorbed heat on black iron dries out your
vines. Look for pleasing designs revealed only when perennials are leafless
or annuals absent. Use jute string to make trellises and to tie vines onto
vines with maintenance in mind – fast growers may need nearly constant
pruning and some annuals won’t rebloom without deadheading their fading
flowers. Whatever vine you choose, plan to pinch its leafy tips to encourage
bushy new growth and to prune out the oldest canes during the dormant
season. Inspect trellises annually: repair as needed with baling wire to
reinforce corners and heavy duty staples or nails to reattach loose arms.