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Plant of the Week: Madison Jasmine

Vines add an impactful finishing touch to any landscape, by providing color, texture and vertical interest. Vines are ideal for hiding eyesores, providing privacy, softening the monotony of plain fencing and transforming a plain arbor or pergola into a focal point of your garden. They are also the perfect choice in tight spaces since they grow vertically. Most require low maintenance and often draw the attention of colorful butterflies and delightful little hummingbirds.

Reach new gardening heights with one of our favorite flowering vines - Madison Jasmine. You'll love this easy-to-grow, evergreen climber that produces beautiful clusters of starry flowers you can smell from feet away! It's summer buttercream blooms are what makes this plant vine stand out in a crowd. Madison offers year-round beauty, especially during summer when it's rich green foliage flowers putting on a brilliant summer show in the garden. It's also a very cold hardy jasmine with glossy, dark green leaves that change to a rich bronze-red in winter. Madison is the ideal addition to any trellis or arbor, or planted along a fence and prefers full to partial sun and rich soil well-drainage soil.

Summer's Flowering Vine

MANDEVILLA

A star in the summer garden, Mandevilla loves it hot and sunny. This flowering vine, boosts beautiful flowers and dark green foliage. The hotter it is, the more this plant thrives. Once planted in full sun, Mandevilla is easy to grow and needs little more than training to grow on any type of support you choose. Whether you want to grow it up a trellis, porch post or even a mailbox this easy to care for plant adds tropical summer color wherever it is placed. We love Alice Dupont, with its trumpet-like flowers in ice pink. Each flower lasts for several days. And, looks great on an arbor, trellis or fence. Follow a regular watering schedule and feed with a general purpose fertilizer like McDonald Greenleaf.

TIP: Try this EASY trick to train the plant upward to add pizzazz to your deck or patio.

  1. Choose a sunny spot on your deck or patio that needs visual enhancement.
  2. Gather twine, cup hooks and a Mandevilla plant.
    (The above photo features the Alice Dupont variety)
  3. Use one cup hook at the base of the plant to anchor the twine. Use 3-4 pieces of twine arching out in a fan pattern and using a cup hook to secure at the top.
  4. Dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the size of your Mandevilla, so that its main stem sits slightly above the soil line. This holds true whether you're planting in a container, hanging basket or in the ground.
  5. Train your Mandevilla to climb the supporting structure. Tie stems initially with plant ties and let it twine naturally from there.

Vertical Vines

by Kathy Van Mullekom, a lifelong gardener and gardening writer living in York County, Virginia

When you can’t garden horizontally because you’ve run out of room, look upward and imagine how you can garden vertically – with vines. The smallness of an urban garden forced me to turn to vines for more gardening interest. After one summer, I was hooked, caught up in the twists and turns of tendrils. My husband jokingly tells people to rescue us if they see vines crawling across our front door and down the chimney. Seriously, vines give vertical vistas to gardens, especially when you’ve gardened every square inch of any ground space.

When choosing vines for your garden, plant any aggressive type, like passionflower, in a pot or be prepared to put up with their rambunctious personality. I remember the time I planted a Lady Banks climbing rose next to the house, all the while envisioning the romantic look of it climbing up the side of the house. Within a year, the rose had grown under the edges of roof shingles, so we quickly moved it to a trellis where it could do no structural harm. In addition to fences, trellises and arbors, small trees can act as temporary supports for vines, especially summer annuals like my favorite purple hyacinth vine. Avoid letting any vine cover too much of the tree’s canopy or it will interfere with the tree’s ability to make food. One of Virginia’s best native plants is Virginia creeper, a climbing vine with dark blue berries and showy red foliage in fall; its palmate leaves are often mistaken for poison ivy. You see it growing wild in many parts of Hampton Roads, including gardens because birds drop seeds from the berries. My favorite vine for showy fall flowers is another Virginia native -- sweet autumn clematis. It grows wild along roadways and is also sold at garden centers. Vines that smell wonderful include early spring - flowering Carolina jessamine, as well as summer flowering climbing hydrangea, coral honeysuckle and American wisteria.

After several years of planting more vines than I can count, I learned a good lesson: Vines really do sleep, creep and leap.

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