Friday, June 17, 2011

Chain-Link Coverage: Climbing Hydrangeas

I haven't seen climbing hydrangeas on chain-link (yet), but they were recommended to me by someone at Gethsemane. I find the idea compelling...

For one thing, they provide winter interest. Just now, you'll have to use your imagination, but this close-up shows how the cinnamon colored branches might catch the eye when bare. Also, the thicker vines tend to exfoliate in fascinating ways. When mature, the branches may even provide a little woody coverage all by themselves.

They are not self-clinging; you have to train them when the new growth is soft and flexible. I was assured this would work on a chain-link fence in any case.

I don't have any experience with hydrangeas, but the worst problem I can think of is that they are very slow to start. It could take years to get good coverage.

Photo taken around June 1st
But once you do, they might look like this. Notice there are some gaps in the coverage--even growth may be hard to achieve. But I like the gaps. They're mysterious, something to peek through.

Each small plant costs $15-$50, which could be another problem if you have a huge fence. But (very cheap) morning glory is still at most 1 foot high, and it's June 17th. This climbing hydrangea has been lush and full for weeks. 

Because of its slow growth, this is not a plant for those in a temporary space. But if your more permanent gardening area features chain-link, and you don't mind fussing a bit, you'll probably be pleased with this in no time. For gardeners, time flies anyway (no matter how impatient we are). I also think those big heart shaped leaves would contrast superbly with the small square pattern of chain-link.

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