Question: We live in a semi-detached house. Our neighbours have just built an extension into their garden which leaves us with a ten-foot wall on the boundary between the two houses. They have replaced the fence, which was removed for building, but on our side of the fence we have a patio. The nearest patch of earth is about a foot from the end of the wall. Please could you suggest some evergreen plants which we could grow from containers that would spread to cover the fence and wall.
Answer: The ideal would be for you to plant a climber in the soil at the end of the wall and train it along. Plants in containers can become rather stressed, and being trained to a wall, you can't repot them. A good evergreen climber for this spot, whether sunny or shady, would be Pileostegia viburnoides, which has white flowers and leathery leaves. You can use containers for climbers further along the wall, but they may have a limited life unless you can repot them every other year. After having put up wires 30-45cm apart, try Trachelospermum jasminoides, Clematis armandii or Solanum crispum Glasnevin. Use a John Innnes No 3 compost, with extra grit mixed in for better drainage.
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