Expert garden advice from the RHS: we want to avoid messy ivy, what shrubs and climbers do you recommend?

The experts at the RHS answer your gardening questions...

Question: Recently in Homes & Property an image was used of a front door and pathway with camellias and other shrubs growing against, or climbing up, a brick wall of the house. Are you able to say what these shrubs might be, please, or what others could be used to adorn the facade of a building without creating the mess and havoc of ivy?

Answer: The doorway and path are certainly well-furnished with greenery. There is a second camellia and the wall shrub looks to be Pyracantha. This is a particularly effective wall covering since it will grow in sun or shade, is pretty much evergreen, has white flowers in summer, which are followed by brightly coloured fruits. Choose from red, yellow or orange. Despite being evergreen or semi-evergreen, older leaves will still drop, usually in the growing season.

Other wall shrubs and climbers to consider are some of the classics such as wisteria, Magnolia grandiflora and climbing roses. Camellias can be trained fairly tightly against the wall and should be pruned straight after flowering. I would consider some of the evergreen self-clinging climbers such as Hydrangea seemannii, Pileostegia viburnoides or for a beautifully unusual deciduous climber, Schizophragma Moonlight.

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