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Growing climbers through shrubs and trees

Hello everyone! I'm new to the forum and really looking forward to chatting to like-minded folks who love birds and other wildlife. I discovered the concept of gardening for wildlife (I wish I had done sooner!) and I'm trying to make my small suburban garden as useful to wildlife as possible. I have some shrubs which have very little value but removing them would be difficult so I thought I'd try growing some flowering climbers through them and I'm hoping to get some advice. Has anybody tried that with success and could recommend good varieties? The worst waste of space are a pink hydrangea and a lemon cypress. Then I have a couple of large choisyas and a Japanese aralia (fatsia japonica). The dark choisya is moderately attractive to pollinators when in flower in spring but for the rest of the year it doesn't contribute much. Aralia is supposed to be good for late season nectar but I've never seen any insects on it and it's also huge. I've done some research on clematis and am thinking of trying some alpinas, recta and heracleifolia, maybe something else. Will it work?

  • Hi Ania and welcome to the forum, we're a relaxed friendly group on here so pull up a chair !     it's good to hear you also enjoy watching birds and attracting wildlife/birds to your garden; you seem to be making such great efforts to ensure your garden is an inviting place for all manner of wildlife.   You may find this post from Higgy helpful for plants suitable late into the season;   Higgy also has a blogspot which is very interesting with lots of ideas for plants HERE        

    If there is any way to incorporate water feature - even a small barrel or old enamel sink which you can plant around it will be sure to attract birds.   Maybe a small crab apple (Malus) tree if you have room, Cotoneaster and perhaps Berberis which although has spiny thorns does provide good cover for birds and protects them from predators including cats !      There are all sorts of ideas but if you type in to the search box above  "planting for wildlife  or pollinator plants, etc.  " you will find a lot of posts dedicated to wildlife gardening .    Good luck and once again a warm welcome to the community.   


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • In reply to HAZY:

    Hello Hazel, many thanks for the advice and the links. I do have a crab apple (thinking of planting another tree but must remember that they do grow :), bird bath, some good perennials and annual seeds. I just wish I had a bigger garden and that's why I want to maximise the space with the climbers. Anyway, I'll be spending some time browsing the links you sent and the rest of the site. I'm sure that will give me too many ideas for the space I have available! Oh, it's going to be a busy spring and summer...

  • In reply to Ania S.:

    Hi Ania, welcome, very quick post just now but definitely plant some Clematis, Honeysuckle & Jasmine as soon as you can, they all love scrambling through shrubs/ trees & will provide much needed nectar plus give you something beautiful to look at!


     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • In reply to WendyBartter:

    Hello Ania and welcome from me up in the very far north of Scotland, in Caithness. You have been given good ideas for flower, climber etc. Ones I can think of is Rugosa Rose, white or pink and has a lovely scent and big seed pods, foxgloves or lupins are quick to grow and are good for the bees, budlea, the link will help give you ideas as well. Enjoy here and any questions just ask, there will always be someone on hand to help.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to Catlady:

    Thank you all for a warm welcome and the advice. I bought lots of plants today. I already have some ivy and honeysuckle growing on the fence (too slowly, or am I just impatient? ;) and clematis montana on the shed (this one pretty fast). For growing through the shrubs I wanted something smaller so as not to overwhelm them. I bought some bee-friendly clematis varieties and perennial sweet peas. I think I got a bit carried away so if you don't hear from me that means I got entangled in the jungle of climbers :)

  • In reply to Ania S.:

    Hope to hear from you soon Ania, as long as the plants and climbers do not swallow you up!!

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.