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Reference: Gardening

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Climbers and Wall Plants

By Philippa Bensley
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Ref image A detailed account of using climbers and wall plants in your garden.
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 Citation  
Bensley, P. 2006. Climbers and Wall Plants. David and Charles, Newton Abbot. ISBN 0-7153-2303-8.
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 Format  
Softback. 22.5x25cm. 160 pages.
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 Review  
Reviewed by Teresa Leech.

I am an avid fan of Dr Hessayon, so this book had a lot to do to impress me! Well, Open quotesit captivates from the start with stunning photographs and detailed information on what to plant, where to plant and when to plantClose quotesit 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. Open quotesAfter reading this section you will say to yourself 'I can do that'Close quotesAfter 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. Open quotesThe 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 recognisedClose quotesThe 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!

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