Passionflower. | Wikipedia


As I hack my way through a great tangle of Honeysuckle in an untidy corner of my garden I chastise myself for not acting on some of the advice or suggestions I recommend in this gardening column every Sunday. In this case I want to mention some of those invasive plants that we all fall in love with until they take advantage of us completely.

Starting with Honeysuckle, a well established one may well have a really mature trunk so there will be no snipping that off with secatuers. Mind, saying that, the trunk is not the problem, it is the mile long growth that goes in any direction putting down roots where ever it sits on the ground. If not, it entangles itself up into any nearby tree or invades the neighbours garden. OK so its flowers have that wonderful fragrance on a summer evening but it still needs to be kept in check. It does not seem to have a dormant season so it can be cut back at any time, it is just a matter of getting round to it before it takes over completely.

Begonia is another popular climbing plant, I have found that there are plants all over the garden that I have never planted myself and on quite opposite sides of the garden as to where the original plant is. This new growth must have come from seeds because there is no way some of the rooted plants can have reached where they are. Here again is a climbing plant that needs some of its mile long growth kept in check but well worth while the effort when we see the lovely bunches of pink trumpet shaped flowers hanging down over the pergola or along the wall where ever it has managed to get itself.

Wisteria needs to be trained up onto a pergola or encouraged along the top of a wall to allow its great bunches of flowers to hang down. It is another creeping plant that seems to grow for ever. Pruning back at this time of year encourages the flower buds. It is a fairly early flowering plant sometimes almost before the leaves appear. Maybe I shouldn’t consider it quite as invasive as these others just mentioned but it certainly needs to be cut back so that the flowers grow where you want them to rather than hidden away high on the roof top or even over the wall in the neighbours garden.

Datura also known as brugmansia is another of those shrubs with very very long branches which need cutting back all the time if you want to keep it looking tidy. It can form a good hedging with flower buds forming all the time at nearly every leaf joint. Mine is in flower at the moment, unfortunately the windy weather will take off nearly every well formed bud or open flower but there are always more to come and its large trumpet shaped blooms are really spectacular. Some varieties can be trained into tree shapes or large shrubs with flowers hanging downwards like big white bells.

Passionflower is yet another climbing plant with roots that can find their way to the opposite side of the garden if left to its own. This climber loves to entangle itself amongst any other shrub it finds in its way and no matter how many new shoots you pull up there will always be more growing further along the hedge or where ever you have it. The flowers are well worth seeing so I don’t really mind it where ever it is, and added to that you can even eat the fruit, they are not exactly large or flavoursome but they are edible. This is another of those plants that if you favour the natural looking garden as opposed to the more formal flower beds and shrubs, along with most of these above mentioned shrubs and climbers. really do look lovely when in bloom, but do need keeping under control. One thing in their favour, they all are easy to propagate or transplant their little rooted bits as you tidy up around them. Once in the garden they cost nothing at all to grow more of them, just don’t let them take over altogether.