Essential Plant Supports
Climbing plants are wonderful for covering ugly sheds, hiding unattractive brickwork and covering fencing but it seems a shame to limit them to the role of "disguiser". Many are so attractive that they make great specimen plants, adding both height and colour. But they do need support. This support can be in the form of a permanent fixture such as a large arch or a more easily moved structure like an obelisk or maypole. Striking effects can be made with quite simple structures.
Of course climbers are not the only plants needing support. Tall plants, weak-stemmed plants and those with large heads all benefit from support.
Ideally get the support in position at an early stage so that the plant can grow against it. This prevents the struggle of having to haul upright an already collapsing plant and risking the stems breaking. Plant support rings are great in that you raise them as the flower grows, thus making sure support is given in the right place.
Vegetables such as runner beans also need support and with their striking red flowers don't look at all out of place at the back of the flower border. Growing up a maypole they will provide height, colour and lunch!
Don't be afraid to experiment. Some of the best effects can be achieved through combining different types of plant on the same support structure – see example below. This is both beautiful and long-lasting as new plants come into bloom replacing those that are beginning to fade. owed.