Posted 17th May 2016
From way back in time, plant supports have been providing structure in all manner of gardens
They act as footholds for beans and peas, but also work for other clever climbers. Make these simple supports using natural materials – it’s fun and you can be as creative as you like. The most commonly used shape is the pyramid, though other structures, such as obelisks, trellis or spiral wigwams are now filling flower beds. Using materials, such as hazel, willow or birch sticks, will blend perfectly into the garden and offer plants a totally natural support. If climbing plants aren’t supported, they can heap up into a mound and spread through the whole bed. They then become very difficult, if not impossible, to control, even with a hoe. Choose the type of structure you need by calculating the weight of the plants to be supported, as well as the effect of wind and rain. You should allow approximately one wooden stave per plant. It is important to secure each one firmly in the ground. Make this easier by sharpening one end of each stick, then you can push them deeper into the soil.
1 Use hessian twine to tie the climber’s delicate tendrils to the structure. Leave the plant some growing room.
2 Bring some colour to your beds with different dogwood stems. Cornus sanguinea is a rich red colour. By contrast, the stems of C. alba Kesselringii are almost black and those of C. sericea Flaviramea are bright yellow. Mix the varieties and stick the stems a good 5cm into the soil, binding them at the top.
3 A fence made from hazel sticks offers good support for low-growing plants like French beans. Push the sticks into the ground at an angle at intervals of 15-20cm. Then at an opposite angle to make a diamond shape.