Dear *Gardening Life*,
I would like to plant a vine on a new pergola measuring 8 by 10 by 9 feet. It is very close to the garage eavestrough so I need a vine that won't grow too out of control, but cover the top of the pergola. The vines I am considering are trumpet vine, wisteria, honeysuckle and clematis. The top portion of the vine will be in full sun and our soil is clay.
*—Jennifer McCarrison, Mississauga, ON*
If you want something fairly restrained, don't go with wisteria. It is really vigorous, needs regular whacking back and, in your area, often doesn't bloom because the flower buds get killed by the cold winters. Trumpet vine can also be very vigorous, spreading underground and sending shoots up here and there. But it can look quite spectacular and hummingbirds do love it.
Honeysuckle would be ok and definitely clematis given that clematis like their feet in shade and their heads in sun. They're not so fond of clay soil so really amend it well with lots of humus. Look for the taller growing clematis to be sure they cover the top—the montanas, alpinas (early-blooming) and viticellas are rapid growers. I had 'Madame Julia Correvon' in my former garden in Mississauga and she scampered up a trellis and then into a serviceberry tree in no time. Many of the big-flowered clematis are strong and tall too—the classic purple 'Jackmanii', for instance. 'Betty Corning' is a lovely thing, too, with fragrant pale blue bells; she may take a year or so to get going but once she does, watch out! There's also sweet autumn clematis but it gets out of control very easily.
So I favour the clematis solution; plant several that bloom at different times and your pergola will be spectacular!
*—Karen York, Botanical Editor*
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