Bensley, P. 2006. Climbers and Wall Plants. David and Charles, Newton Abbot. ISBN 0-7153-2303-8.
Softback. 22.5x25cm. 160 pages.
Reviewed by Teresa Leech
I am an avid fan of Dr Hessayon, so this book had a lot to do to impress me! Well, it captivates from the start with stunning photographs and detailed information on what to plant, where to plant and when to plant
it captivates from the start with stunning photographs and detailed information on what to plant, where to plant and when to plant. It is split into four sections, each of which is described below.
Introducing Climbers: A brief history of plants from days gone by with hints on how to pick the best plants from your local nursery and how to use them. I was particularly impressed with the information on how climbers are given their species names, e.g. japonicus
meaning from Japan and montana
meaning from mountainous regions. It shows how names can be fun, e.g. caprifolium
translates as climbs like goat! So, now Lonicera Caprifolium
becomes honeysuckle that climbs like a goat. Not many people know that!
Situations: The information here explains why particular plants need the situations they do. Lathyrus Oderatus
(sweet pea) has a long moist root run, so needs to be in moist shade similar to that which it would find in a woodland. This section is very informative about growing climbers over fences, walls (high and low) and other structures.
Colour Effects: I have always thought that green and white go together, you get an almost ethereal vision especially in cool shady places, but I did not realise that I was in such good company! The information is all about how to create your own little haven, whether you want a totally cool 'green paradise' or hot and vibrant colours like reds and orange. After reading this section you will say to yourself 'I can do that'
After reading this section you will say to yourself 'I can do that
', or maybe you already have and didn't know it! But with advice from this section, you will get it right first time.
Seasons: Now the 'creme de la creme' - frost on your lawn, the rebirth of spring, russets of autumn, sun in the sky .This section is excellent. I did not know that there were so many Clematis
to choose from - you can practically have one or another in flower all year. This is like a recap of the other sections with extras. It will tell you which climbers and wall plants to use to see you through the winter when all else is sleeping. You will find enough information and choice to keep you going all year. The Author's Choice
is a brief section consisting of two pages of tried and trusted climbers you can rely on and lists those that are scented, self-clinging, evergreen, quick growing and suitable for small spaces.
I felt that the book was aimed at the more experienced gardener. The in-depth profiles are very good although I would have liked to see some images of 'plants behaving badly' so that any problems that do crop up can be recognised
The in-depth profiles are very good although I would have liked to see some images of 'plants behaving badly' so that any problems that do crop up can be recognised. In my garden I have three Eounymus
and it wasn't till I read this book that I found out that they are 'self-clinging climbers' - so that is something I have learned and that is what this book is about: how, where, what and when. There are also some brilliant ideas for making screens and dividers using a variety of plants (including my own personal favourite Impomea tricolor
- morning glory) so that you are extending your garden into 'living areas for dining and relaxing'. All in all, you cannot go wrong with this publication, while it may seem a bit pricey at £14.99, you will end up saving more, because with the knowledge you gain, you will be planting the right plant in the right place at the right time!