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Armitage's Vines and Climbers: A Gardener's Guide to the Best Vertical Plants
     

Armitage's Vines and Climbers: A Gardener's Guide to the Best Vertical Plants

by Allan M. Armitage
 

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“Climbing plants are hugely underrated—this book with its lively expression of deep knowledge should encourage everyone to grow more of them.” —Noël Kingsbury 

Climbing plants constitute a huge, and largely untapped, resource for today’s gardeners. Because their habit of growth is primarily vertical, they can be

Overview

“Climbing plants are hugely underrated—this book with its lively expression of deep knowledge should encourage everyone to grow more of them.” —Noël Kingsbury 

Climbing plants constitute a huge, and largely untapped, resource for today’s gardeners. Because their habit of growth is primarily vertical, they can be used for utilitarian as well as ornamental purposes like providing privacy, or screening eyesores.

In this comprehensive reference, renowned horticulturist Allan Armitage selects and profiles the most useful and attractive climbing plants for a wide range of sites and conditions, from well-known favourites like clematis, morning glories, and wisteria to more unusual plants like Dutchman’s pipe, passion flowers, and the tropical mandevillas. Each profile includes a general description (enlivened by Armitage’s trademark wry humour) along with the plant’s hardiness, plant family, best method of propagation, method of climbing, and etymology of botanical and common names.“Climbing plants are hugely underrated—this book with its lively expression of deep knowledge should encourage everyone to grow more of them.” —Noël Kingsbury

Editorial Reviews

Philadelphia Inquirer
"Written with authority, in simple language, with humor. Anyone trying to build a gardening library should think about adding this one."
Pitsburgh Post-Gazette

"Armitage’s Vines and Climbers…is definitely a keeper. Once again, he cuts to the chase and introduces us to some new and not-so-new garden plants. As always, his prose is extremely informative."
Newsday

"Who says your garden has to be horizontal? Certainly not Allan Armitage, renowned professor of horticulture at the University of Georgia, who has turned his affable writing style on climbing plants and their underappreciated ability to provide privacy, cover unsightly vistas, and draw the eye upward."
Booklist

"Based upon his own adroit, hard-won, well-traveled personal experiences, Armitage's engaging plant portraits include practical information on propagation and etymology, backed by lists of specific characteristics and botanical names."
Patriot News

"Armitage's book offers selection help to the vine-shy and vine-challenged."

National Gardening Association Regional Reports

"What a great collection of plants [Armitage] has assembled to explain and illustrate the many kinds of vines and climbing plants that can be grown in the US, most in our regions."
Chicago Tribune

"This photo-packed printer delivers the pros and cons for 100-plus plants to help gardeners and gardens reach new heights."
Muskogee Phoenix
Whether you prefer woody vines and climbers or herbaceous (ones that die back to the ground in the winter), Armitage’s wisdom will guide you to choose the best selections for the space you want to cover.
— Molly Day
Philadelphia Inquirer - Molly Day

"Written with authority, in simple language, with humor. Anyone trying to build a gardening library should think about adding this one."
From the Publisher

Whether you prefer woody vines and climbers or herbaceous (ones that die back to the ground in the winter), Armitage’s wisdom will guide you to choose the best selections for the space you want to cover.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604692891
Publisher:
Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
12/13/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
212
File size:
37 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

Read an Excerpt

Introduction
It is spring in north Georgia, U.S.A. Dogwoods, redbuds, wisteria, and jasmine combine with finches, cardinals, and titmice on a day I wish I could bottle up to savor during the heat of August. I am sitting here on the raised wooden deck at home, minding my own business, sipping a little red wine, and thinking about nothing...
    
Then I look down at the deck. I can’t help but notice half a dozen stems of my climbing rose poking their way up through the slats, gasping for light. I have a vision of some creepy sci-fi movie (Revenge of the Vines?), and my incredibly quick brain thinks, “What are they doing there?”
  
I have been experimenting with annual and perennial vines and climbers for many years, and whenever I “discover” some crazy new rambler, I wonder why they are not better known. I quickly realize that people who want climbers in their garden are often stymied by the lack of choice in nurseries and garden centers. Boston ivy, English ivy, climbing roses, and the ubiquitous clematis are often the only options, relegating all the other wonderful choices to mail order and seed packets. And then there are those people who look at English ivy and wisteria in the woods and immediately equate all climbers with the word “invasive.”

Another book on climbing plants
There are dozens of books about climbing plants—but not too many in the last ten years, and even fewer by North American authors (seems the English and the Irish are the undisputed vine experts—maybe it is those 500-year-old rock walls that were always in need of covering). Many of the vine books out there are undeniably comprehensive and colorful, but they all seem to be missing something. The gardener in me asked, “But what about the killing frosts, the sapping humidity, the howling winds, or the long hot summers in many parts of this continent?” So, I looked around for what I could find and filled my gardens with as many of these crazy climbers as I could. And then I traveled wherever possible to see and learn about what I couldn’t find. The more I saw, the more I realized that maybe I had something to say about this group of plants tucked into nooks and crannies by hundreds of gardeners around North America. I traveled, I gardened, and I learned, and I have included the good, the bad, the ugly, and the invasive. My budget ran out long before my curiosity.

Climbing plants are not for everybody
I am a gardener and a plant nut. I am also old and rickety—and getting more so with time—so I think twice about using demanding, high-maintenance plants. Ripping out impolite climbers that have overstayed their welcome or brought their entire family with them does nothing for me. Others, even those a little younger than I, say the same thing, and warn of the heartaches of Chinese wisteria, English ivy, bittersweet, Virginia creeper, and trumpet vine. It seems that climbers have more than their fair share of invasive members, and we need to be aware of them. That being said, my best advice? Choose your plant thinking about what it will look like in five years, and don’t close your mind. Painting all climbing plants with the wisteria brush isn’t fair to the many wonderful little-known climbers that don’t have any intention of eating the house. Perhaps that’s why I believe annual climbers have such a rich future. I can have my moonflowers, Spanish flag, and sweet peas without any worry of a sore back.

What is included
I suppose I should include all those neat line drawings showing different trellis systems or climbing posts, or how to dig a hole; however, if you don’t know how to dig a hole, you shouldn’t be reading this book. As far as trellis systems are concerned, I am too poor or too confused by the choices. I simply find a fence, an arbor, or even a tree, help the climbers when young, and then get out of the way. If they are spectacular, I take full credit; if they are puny, I blame the trellis. Discovering what will climb up that fence, trellis, or tree is far more fun than digging fence post holes. The “what it is” part of the book is my attempt to suggest why anybody would even choose a particular plant, and if so, how you could explain to your troubled neighbor why it is eating his roof. Yes, I have included plants that the more militant wing of native plant groups will be upset about. “If it is invasive, why tell people to grow it?” I included them because they are not invasive in many parts of the country, they are being sold in nurseries, and ignoring them loses an opportunity to tell people of their potential aggressiveness. Not including English ivy in a vine book is like not including the Edsel in an automotive history book.
    
I included propagation, etymology, and identification characteristics to add some depth to each entry. However, everything I have written is not to be taken too seriously. After all, this is gardening, not rocket science. So, no worries, no exams will follow. Have fun.

 

Meet the Author

Widely regarded as one of the world's foremost horticulturists, Allan M. Armitage is a professor at the University of Georgia, Athens, where he teaches, conducts research, and runs the University of Georgia Horticulture Gardens. He travels widely as a lecturer and consultant, and is the recipient of numerous awards including the Medal of Honor from the Garden Club of America and the National Educator Award from the American Horticultural Society. He is the author of nine other books. Armitage was honored with a Quill and Trowel award from the Garden Writers Association of America, and Greenhouse Grower magazine named him one of the ten most influential people or organizations—ever—in the floriculture industry for “encouraging growers to expand their markets with new annuals, cut flowers, and perennials.”

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