Beautiful Gardens of Doon-49
By Sunita Vijay
Any wall, fence, or ground can be made attractive by clothing their nakedness with suitable climbing plants or vines. The climbers that enhance the looks with the colour of their leaves or flowers will widen the garden’s horizons. There are numerous such creepers, which if planted at the right place will keep the garden cheerful and bright throughout the year. The wall climbers are a permanent feature of the garden. Hence, spend time in searching for a suitable location before planting. Visualise its effect in that part of the wall or garden beforehand, because once they develop it is not advisable to disturb them. Climbers are most adjusting garden plants. They can be easily trained, guided and shaped, depending on your requirement. The only caution is not to prune them at the wrong time, otherwise the flowering will be disturbed. Manure them and refurbish the top layer with compost, peat and old manure during autumn, early spring or as per the plants requirements, and they will ask for nothing more except timely watering. Wrong spot chosen for the wall climbers will hinder their growth. For example, a plant that requires a semi-shaded spot in the garden, if planted in the south side of the house will soon shrivel and die. The ones needing a sunny wall may not produce the right effect in terms of colour, flowers and health. One such amazing creeper is the Virginia Creeper Vine. This excellent creeper will be a carefree addition to the garden especially in Doon and hilly areas as it possesses almost no-maintenance attitude. It has the ability to grow fast and vigorously on the wall by mere tying or support. It is a beautiful deciduous perennial vine with woody stem. The emphasis is given to woody stem because that adds to its beauty and appeal. It has the potential to present the most spectacular colour displays during fall. To count its uniqueness, the leaves are five pointed and with average dark green colour but let the autumn set in and the leaves change colour to brilliant fire-red colour almost similar to how a Maple tree looks during fall. Plant care There is no specific regime that is needed to be followed with this creeper. It is hardy, strong and highly forgiving. It grows well in sunny or half-shaded walls. Make sure it is planted at the right sunny spot. If the leaves fail to get sunshine in autumn they will not change their colour. The creeper blooms once in a year with green flowers that are not at all clearly visible. Soon they will turn into round ball like fruits and the birds will enjoy the fruits. The fruits are toxic. Avoid them from falling into the hands of toddlers. It requires regular watering and can tolerate short durations of dry spells too. It grows so fast and so long that regular pruning is required. Always use a clean shear. It can survive well without much manuring but nutrients will surely keep it in good health. It will be growing luxuriantly and look robust with little care. Once a year trimming is enough to keep it in shape and then just wait for its brilliant colour change in autumn. Trimming is basically to remove the broken stems, dried twigs or any unwanted offshoot or any bacterial or fungal growth affecting the stems. Beat the Pest trouble This magnificent vine is rarely severely injured by pests but there are certain pests that can be harmful like Aphids, Caterpillars, Flea Beetles, Leaf-cutting Bees, Leafhoppers, Scale, Weevils, Japanese Beetles etc. Keep a watch and use an appropriate insecticide to keep a check. Petty Precautions Virginia vine has anchoring feet that helps it to climb up. Throughout its growing phase, it will produce many tendrils with adhesive disks at their tips that will allow the vine to climb upward and to attach to any support. Before planting check for any cracks or crevasses on the wall of the building or the shoots may go in and damage the wall. In case a big wall is required to be covered then plant more number of vines at a gap of at least six feet. How to plant Scoop a hole not less than 50-60 cm in depth as well as diameter. It likes to have a pervious yet clayey soil. Plant it, add the prepared soil and press it lightly from all sides so that the plant stands firmly in the soil. Water it and try to keep it humid. Keep the soil as nutrient deficit throughout the year as possible. Overdose of manures may hinder with its temperament to change the colour during fall. The colour change would not be profound if more manure is added or it is deprived of sun during autumn. Once a year manure is recommended. Virginia Creeper vine is suitable for walls, tree trunk or even as a ground cover. It will never disappoint and the awing richness during fall will be mesmerising.