Tod in Bloom: If your garden is small, go tall!

Todmorden in Bloom reckon it’s easy to overlook vertical options in a garden – but climbers and tall plants provide just that opportunity.

A garden with plenty of height is always more interesting than one spread out flat like a carpet. This means planting small trees, using tripods and frames for climbers and choosing flowering plants for their ability to grow tall, such as delphiniums, hollyhocks, and sunflowers.

If you decide to maximise height in your garden, you need to take a good look at all available vertical surfaces, which can be planted against and their aspect for sunshine. Tall perimeter fences can look more attractive and are ideal for you to train climbers against. Within a larger garden an internal fence can provide two more vertical planes to grow against. Small yards often have more vertical growing space than horizontal. You really need to choose plants that will thrive, rather than merely survive. That is, the right climber for the right aspect and conditions. Climbers need to be planted away from any wall or fence where it would be too dry, and will need nurturing into growing vertically.

The smaller the space available, the more careful your choice must be. South-facing walls might seem like horticultural heaven but plants such as sweet peas may find it too bright and too dry. A sheltered south-facing wall could even grow a range of tender climbers. Most clematis are happier against a west-facing wall and some grow surprisingly well on a shady north wall. Almost all climbing roses love west-facing walls, likewise honeysuckles. Other shrubs suitable for south-facing include ceanothus, jasmine and rosemary. Remember that light-coloured walls increase reflection for growing plants. Try mulching and extra watering these plants during hot weather.

Conversely, a north or east facing structure is more exposed to our rainfall and winds. Favourite shady climbers include the resilientcCotoneaster, variegated Ivies, and climbing hydrangeas. Todmorden in Bloom must always recommend checking plant requirements, not impulse buys.

Todmorden in Bloom will always welcome more helpers, especially now during our busiest months ahead.

For more information phone Jean on 01706 817492 or visit