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Climbers

I love these immense wreaths of vine which extend far and wide in rich green garlands, and which become, in autumn, of a splendid purple. ... At the extremity of my garden the vine extends in long porticoes, through the arcades of which may be seen trees of all sorts and foliage of all colors.

— Alphonse Karr

As found growing wild, the hard-wooded climbers and trailers afford some of the most delightful bits of natural scenery to be met with. Many of these serve valuable purposes for embellishments in ornamental gardening.

— E. A. Long

In making up a landscape picture proper, climbers are of minor importance. Their chief use, in purely naturalistic compositions, is not for climbing, but for trailing over rocks, or down sloping banks, or for clambering over low bushes. In such situations as these they are very effective.

But when buildings are introduced, and fences have to be dealt with, and other more unsightly objects need amelioration or concealment, the climbers are indispensable. In the shading and adornment of porches they play no insignificant part in the list of the gardener's materials.

I wish to emphasize the fact that no climber ought to be planted on level ground unless there be first some suitable support on which it is to climb. It is not uncommon to find cases in which the climber was first planted, and afterward some crazy and impertinent structure was arranged to meet its demands. This is one of the ways of losing naturalness, along with all other kinds of beauty.

Wherever a permanent planting can be made, perennial climbing plants will usually be the more desirable. But for temporary and immediate effects, or to reinforce perennial climbers where they are too thin, or for window boxes, and similar purposes, the annual climbing plants are of great value. Some species of the latter may be started early in the house, and transplanted out of doors as soon as frost is past, so as to gain an earlier effect. The following brief list includes the most useful sorts.

HARDY PERENNIAL CLIMBERS

ACTINIDIA.—White flowers with purple centers. Still rare in this country, but destined to be popular.

AKEBIA QUINATA.—A dainty little climber from Japan, with small, five-parted leaves. Desirable where a large quantity of foliage is not required.

AMPELOPSIS.—The American ivy, Virginia Creeper, or Woodbine, A. quinquefolia, is one of the commonest, best and most widely useful of all climbers. The Japanese, or Boston ivy, A. Veitchii, is excellent for covering stone or brick walls, particularly the latter.

ARISTOLOCHIA SIPHO, Dutchman's Pipe Vine.—A very hardy, vigorous climber, with large leaves. One of the best, especially in the northern states.

CELASTRUS SCANDENS, Bittersweet.—One of the very best and hardiest climbers. To be recommended everywhere.

CLEMATIS, Virgin's Bower.—Several species and horticultural varieties of this group come up for consideration wherever climbers are wanted. The thrifty species with garlands of white flowers,—C. paniculata, C. flammula, C. Virginiana, C. montana,—are the most useful. C. Jackmanii is always a favorite, for its large blue flowers, though it has nothing else to recommend it. Many other varieties bearing beautiful, showy flowers are to be had of the dealers.

LONICERA, Honeysuckle.—Hall's honeysuckle, with its white or yellowish, very fragrant flowers is a favorite plant, especially southward. The old-fashioned climbing Trumpet honeysuckle, L. sempervirens, is very useful for neglected situations.

MENISPERMUM CANADENSE, Moon Seed.—A slender, twining plant which makes a nice addition to a collection.

TECOMA, Trumpet Flower, or Trumpet Creeper.— This is a most excellent plant where a somewhat wayward informality of habit is agreeable to the surroundings. Deserves more general use.

WISTARIA.—An old-time favorite. Useful in many situations, but not sufficiently fresh and tidy in foliage to come under constant close observation.

ANNUAL CLIMBERS

BALLOON VINE.—An old-time favorite, to be found in all the old-fashioned gardens. The puffy, inflated seed vessels which appear throughout the summer are the most striking feature.

ECHINOCYSTIS LOBATA, Climbing Cucumber.—A rapid-growing, luxuriant climber from the American woods, covered with garlands of white flowers throughout the season. One of the best for common planting.

HOP VINE.—One of the most rapid growing and useful climbers. It is one of the best annual plants for covering verandas or other large areas. The "Variegated-leaved Japan hop" is preferred by some, though the effect is not always good.

MAURANDYA.—Rather short climbers with abundant white, pink or violet-purple blossoms. Suited to more general use.

MINA.—A pretty and useful plant of the morning glory family, but with small flowers and lobed leaves.

MOMORDICA, Balsam Apple.—A favorite in old-fashioned gardens, and always good.

MORNING GLORY, Ipomæa.—This glorious and old-fashioned climber has been too much neglected by modern amateur and professional gardeners. There are many magnificent new varieties now on the market, and they are so useful for many purposes that they ought to enjoy a new lease of public favor.

SWEET PEA.—The sweet pea needs no introduction or praise. In climbing over fences and low trellises it is thoroughly at home, while no known plant gives a finer harvest of flowers suitable for cutting.

TROPÆOLUM, Nasturtium.—The climbing nasturtiums are extra fine for window boxes, lawn vases, and many other places. It is worth while, in planting nasturtiums, to choose the best-bred named varieties. The varieties known as "Lobb's nasturtiums" and the "Madame Gunter hybrids" are especially thrifty in growth and rich in gorgeous colors.

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