Discover Garden Climbers
Climbers have been a part of the home gardens, public parks and private gardens from time immemorial. In the Indian context, they are also grown as a source of flowers for worship and adornment. Just a few years back, the Jasmines, Malati and other flowering climbers were common sight in most neighbourhoods, grown in the smallest of spaces and their fragrance pervading the late evening and early morning air. The backyards and open spaces would have gourds, pumpkins, many varieties of beans or passion fruits, with fresh harvest for the table almost every day.
Climbers have also held the pride of place in private and public gardens, grown mainly for ornamental purposes. With the advent of seafaring voyages in the middle ages, climbers from different parts of the world were introduced into gardens based on their ornamental value or economic importance. Pepper, the king of spices and at times valued more than gold, led to wars, conquests, colonization, slavery and even sale and exchange of territories.
Gardeners all over the world prize climbers for their beauty, form, flowers and fragrances. Climbers complement trees in the urban gardens, providing niches, nectar and fruits to a variety of wildlife. With a wide repertoire of forms, flower shapes and colours, climbers are an obvious choice for aesthetics and landscaping in urban gardens.
Unbridled growth and rapid urbanization over the last two decades has led to loss/shrinkage of available public and private garden spaces, with little room for planting trees or shrubs. Climbers with their limited ground area requirements and vertical growth are well suited for even the narrowest of spaces.
While trees have had enough focus in terms of publications, some of the smaller plants including the subject of this book, have often been ignored. In fact, there have been no new books on creepers, climbers and vines since the last 60 years in India! This publication is meant to fill that void and provides information on common ornamental climbers, which are suitable for both large gardens as well as small spaces. It covers 65 species of vines, each with colourful images and information of popular interest. There are also nuggets of natural history observations made by the author.
We hope that this work will be of use for everyone interested in natural history, gardening and landscaping. The emphasis is on informal, quick and easy identification of climber species in gardens as well as their use in aesthetics and landscaping. It is meant to encourage people to look at the fascinating world of climbers, learn more about them, and grow them as well. We hope that it will contribute in a small way to protect and enhance greenery around us, amidst the relentless urban onslaught. With planning, creativity, a bit of effort and patience, any available space can be turned into a walk-in garden right at one’s doorstep.
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