March 26, 2007

Well, it now IS Spring but when I wrote my first blog entry it was definitely Winter. Then my husband accidentally erased it which put me off writing anotherĀ for several weeks.

Now: Standard honeysuckles. Very easy to make and a perfect addition to the garden if, like me, you are addicted to topiary. They add height and another texture to box and yew and are a wonderful bright green, particularly at this time of year, tying in beautifully with Euphorbia characias wulfenii which is THE essential plant in my opinion before the tulips come out.

Get hold of a honeysuckle …I have used Graham Thomas, scented cream flowers. Hammer a metal pole about 1″ diameter approx 18″ into the ground. You want it to reach about five or five and half feet so that’s seven feet in total but it all depends what final height you think is best in your garden. We used a chrome shower rail from Focus which we roughened with sandpaper and painted green.

Right next to the pole plant the honeysuckle and select the two strongest shoots, cutting out the others. Wind them in opposite directions round the pole as far as they will go, criss-crossing like Malvolio’s yellow garters and tie them with twine. After that you can leave them to snake up the pole all on their own which they will do very neatly. By the end of the season they will have thickened and become woody.

When they reach the required height slip one half of a hanging basket frame …a hemisphere over the pole and tie on. Invert another so you now have a ball-shaped metal frame. sphere. Fasten together with wire as this needs to be permanent.

Now you let the honeysuckle grow, continually clipping off any shoots that extend more than an inch or two beyond the frame. It will look odd at first but will bush up pretty quickly until you have a mophead. Keep trimming, any time of the year, avoiding cutting off the flowers, of course. Rub off any shoots that appear on the winding stem and cut out any that spring from the bottom unless you would like to add a third twiner for strength. It will all grow surprisingly fast and look marvellous. Two either side of a path or in opposite flowerbeds look good or four in a round central bed …possibilities endless, satisfaction guaranteed!