Grower's Six Pack:

By Juanita Van Belle, Van Belle Nursery, Abbotsford, BC

It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to understand the popularity of flowering vines. Vines are marvelous additions for any garden and, with the small lots on which today's homes are built making privacy even more of an issue, vines are the gardener's solution to many design problems.

     Vines are useful for shading, screening and for adding a vertical effect to the garden. You might want a privacy screen to be covered, or a shed to have a grown-in look. They can be used to hide unsightly areas such as an old stump or a bare chain link fence. Vines can also be used in combination with evergreens to add summer color. They can be trained for elegance through an archway, pergola or trellis. Most vines are great for patio planters and can be kept on the deck all summer.

     Breeders and growers have brought us a huge selection of colours, growth habits, flowering times and even scents from which to choose, offering the gardener a world of opportunity. Imagination is the only limit to where a vine can be grown.

Lonicera x brownii 'Mandarin'™
Mandarin Honeysuckle Vine

A new introduction from University of British Columbia., Lonicera 'Mandarin' is a fabulous vine resulting from its great parent plant, Lonicera 'Dropmore Scarlet.' Its new growth has spectacular dark purplish brown stems with copper colored leaves. The leaves turn a dark glossy green when they mature. The flowering time is May to June, but blooms appear periodically throughout the summer. The clusters of flowers are a dark reddish-orange with a yellow-orange throat. Hummingbirds just love the long tubular flowers. This honeysuckle does well in both full sun and part shade, but its roots should be in a cooler area. In just one season, Lonicera 'Mandarin' can grow up to two metres in all directions making it terrific for screening. Hardy to Zone 4.

Clematis serratifolia 'Kugotia' USPP
Golden Tiara®

Just when the mid-summer heat takes its toll on the garden, Golden Tiara® commands attention with its rich golden yellow flowers and blackish purple stamens. The flowers resemble upside down crowns and the dark stamens contrast wonderfully. Golden Tiara® can grow up to 10 feet and blooms profusely from July through October. It is a joy in the summer as well as the winter, as the stamens transform into a silky greyish white seed head in the fall. This small flowering clematis is hardy to Zone 2, making it suitable for tough winters.

Schizophragma hydrangeoides 'Moonlight'
Climbing Schizophragma

Although a slow grower, Schizophragma 'Moonlight' is another terrific vine as its "discs" enable it to climb brick walls, concrete walls or any other solid surfaces as well as fencing, arbors, pergolas and trellises. It has large broad silvery grey leaves that seem to shimmer, especially at the end of the day, hence the name, 'Moonlight'. The white flower clusters range from eight to 10 inches wide, with individual inflorescence up to one inch.

     With the leaves turning yellow and the red stems coming through in the fall, Schizophragma 'Moonlight' is an attractive plant year-round. Hardy to Zone 6.

Akebia quinata 'Silver Bells' ™
Silver Bells Chocolate Vine

Akebia 'Silver Bells' is an improved Akebia quinata with a slight twist. Instead of the dark purple flowers, 'Silver Bells' has a delicate lacy pink flower. Flowers appear in April and have a sweet tropical smell about them. The bright greenish silver leaves are five-lobed and tend to grow horizontally, displaying a unique look. 'Silver Bells', a Far Eastern import, is more vigorous than Akebia quinata as well as being hardy to -30oF. This vine is a must for any garden.

Clematis 'Apple Blossom'
'Apple Blossom' is a fabulous evergreen clematis. It brings the tropics to Canadian back yards with its large long leaves and shiny dark green colouring. It produces masses of pale pink flowers that last all summer long. Clematis 'Apple Blossom' will grow to a height of 30 feet and a width of 60 feet. Unfortunately, this delicate clematis is hardy only to Zone 7, and must be planted in a sheltered area.

Campsis tagliabuana 'Kudian'
PPAF Indian Summer™
Indian Summer Trumpet Vine

'Indian Summer' is the champion of the Campsis family. Its flowers fall in pendulous racemes in a wave of brilliant reddish-orange color that lasts all summer long. Hummingbirds love the long trumpet-shaped flowers with their sweet nectar. Gardeners also love 'Indian Summer' for its disease resistance and its hardiness to Zone 4. It is the only known cultivar that matures at four feet and is not as invasive as other varieties, which makes it a great trellised patio plant or even to keep in a bush form.