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Can anyone suggest either a rose or clematis that could grow on a north easterly facing garage that is very much exposed to the wind as we live on top of hill with nothing around us.  I know I'm probably being a bit optimistic but the garage is so dark and dull that I would love it to be more colourful next year and no I can't paint it!

Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

Stacey Docherty

Does it have to be a rosé or clematis? You could use one of the climbing hydrangeas or even ivy?


I'm inclined to agree with Stacey. Having lived in exposed locations, roses and clematis will struggle if there's no shelter belt. Some of the variegated ivies will brighten up the space 9plenty to choose from) and the Hydrangea petiolaris is lovely. You could always plant a flowering shrub in beside it to give extra colour.

Thanks Stacey and Fairygirl.  I must admit I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with ivy having been at the mercy of its distructive ways on more than one occasion!  I had not thought about climbing hydrangeas but Petiolaris does look really nice, does it have thuggish tendancies though? Also does it self climb or does it need wires?  I'm definitely going to investigate these as a possibility though so thanks very much for your suggestions.


I'm not sure hydrangea petiolaris will cope with windy exposure as it's a woodland plant from Japan and Siberia, so, while it can cope with cold, I suspect strong winds in spring will damage new young shoots.

On the other hand, it will cope very well with the cool, shady side of a north east facing wall so if you can give it plenty of organic matter to retain moisture and stop it drying out it is probably worth a try.

Other than that, I would suggest a group 3 clematis which is pruned back hard in March and then flowers in summer on new season's growth.  Have a look at which has small flowers less likely to be damaged by wind but with good colour.

Another to consider is or maybe or or another small flowerd one with a long flowering period -

All are suitable for semi shade but be aware that clematis can take a couple of years to settle in before they really perform well.  They are also very hungry, thirsty plants so need a deep hole back-filled with plenty of organic matter to feed them and retain moisture for their thick, fleshy roots.  

Clematis need to be planted 4 to 6" deeper than they were in their pot to encourage more shoots to from and protect against clematis wilt.  Make the hole at least 2 feet away from the base of the wall so they don't sit in a rain shadow or dry spot and feed anually with a good mulch of garden compost in spring and a generous handful of clematis offd at pruning time.   A liquid feed of rose or tomato food every couple of weeks from pruning to flowering time will help too and  make sure you have wires or a trellis on battens attached to the wall for it to cling to.

I also find dead heading helps prolong flowering in the first couple of years and then they look after themselves apart from training the new stems out along the supports for maximum coverage.



I had Hydrangea petiolaris on the north east wall of a previous house and we were about 700/800 feet up (west of Scotland). The wind would have taken your head off sometimes as it came straight up the valley and we had no shelter in that bit so I dare say it would be fine in your location. Rabbits were our biggest problem! It self clings but you just need to guide it onto the wall to start it off. It can cover big areas in time but it's easy enough to cut back. I've seen it in lots of locations in the Lake District too - the climate there is quite similar to where I am- wet and windy!  

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