WITH house blocks reducing in size from the old quarter acre (not that long ago), to about half that size, space for home gardens in many instances has been dramatically reduced.
Consequently, home owners often have difficulty providing their property with a privacy belt of shrubs and/or trees which can be handy when you're enjoying a tete-a-tete with friends.
This week we thought you may appreciate suggestions of attractive screen-makers in the form of climbers.
Obviously there has to be a structure first to bear the climber, and we find a wooden screen quite handy, but you may prefer strong wire mesh well supported by upright timbers at reasonable distances.
One of the first that comes to mind is the beautiful fruit-producing dragon fruit/pitahaya or Hylocereus undatus.
We're sure you'll agree dragon fruit is easier!
While technically they're a cactus, in the 10 years we had one in Mapleton, we were never bothered with being speared, and the beautiful white flowers that open in the evening and have wilted by dawn are followed by red fruit that appeals to many folk.
Staying with productive climbers, the fruiting passionfruit is a good fast grower, pretty in flower, and the fruits need no description.
Another is the kiwi fruit/Chinese gooseberry (Actinidia chinensis) that is fast outstripping many other fruits in popularity.
That one needs male and female, and while there are double grafts available at times, you may have to plant two, taking up double the space, and with this you will require a strong support, but the returns are certainly worth it.
Then there are numerous flowering climbers that provide colour for many months, including the showy evergreen cardinal creeper (Ipomoea horsfalliae), that twines its way along a fence up to 6m or so long, and flourishes in an open sunny spot, flowering through summer and into autumn.
The foliage is a rich green, thick and lobed, and the flowers are a magnificent rich red.
Another delightful evergreen is the Mandevilla swan lake, that produces yellow-throated white flowers almost all year round, easing off in late July/August only.
This one grows about 1.5m high, and could be alternated with Dipladenia scarlet pimpernel that grows similarly, with rich red, yellow throated flowers.
Pandoreas are delightful twiners that flower almost all year round, creating plenty of colour in pinks and white as well as a variegated form named Charisma, with cream and green striped foliage and burgundy throated white flowers.
These are also excellent grown over an embankment.
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