Advice on plants to grow on a dead tree

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Tuesday 2 October 2012 4.02pm
The council butchered our mature tree in our common garden, cutting off odd larges branches that eventually killed it. It has been looking very ugly with its bare unsymmetrical branches for the past couple of years. Since the council is not felling it, I was thinking of making good use of the tree by growing climbing plants around it. Would the green fingered SE1-ers be able to advise me on the best plants to use? I was thinking of honeysuckle as it is evergreen and maybe also wisteria but I am worried the weight of the wisteria maybe be too much on a dead tree in the future.
Many thanks for your recommendations.
Tuesday 2 October 2012 6.51pm
Wisteria could indeed prove a heavyweight.
Honeysuckle is a good idea, but not all honeysuckles are evergreen. The evergreens tend to be less highly perfumed. 'Belgica' and 'Americana' are strongly scented, but are deciduous.
Clematis would work, so would passionflower.
The 'Montana' clematis is a very vigorous climber.
If you wanted a really quick fix, then go for Russian Vine. But it is an extremely rampant climber and will take over anything else in its path. It's not a great looker either, with unexciting fronds of white flowers in summer.
Have you thought of rambling roses?

Good luck with whatever you decide.
Tuesday 2 October 2012 9.19pm
Its very rampant Chalkey, i made the mistake of planting it many years ago, my daughter always called it rushing vine, and I kid you not It grew almost 4" in a day after it established itself...took me ages to dig out every single root.small climbing rose sounds good...
Tuesday 2 October 2012 9.51pm
Yes, Jan. Russian vine, or 'Mile-a-Minute,' as it's also known, is an absolute b****r, given the chance. I planted it alongside a newly built log store some years ago. By the end of the first season it had not only covered the log store, which was the original idea but, unbeknown to me while it was happening, it had also weeveled its way under the ashfelt roofing and lifted it to the extent that I had to replace it.
I've never grown it since.
We live and learn.
Tuesday 2 October 2012 10.12pm

...if you press it, they will come.
Tuesday 2 October 2012 10.53pm
Climbing mushrooms? That's a new one on me.

Only kidding, Ivanhoe.

Yes, if conditions are conducive, why not grow a few mushrooms round the base of the old tree stump. The only thing to be wary of is if any other, less innocuous fungi, move in. I assume children would have access to the area.
A good, 'show-off' climber is 'Morning Glory.' Bright blue flowers borne in profusion. The flowers only last one day, hence the name, but they produce flowers all summer long. The down side is that they are only annuals.
Another climber to consider is Jasmin. Some varieties are highly scented.
I don't know how tall the stump in question is, but the good old 'Sweet Pea' takes some beating. They need support, (e.g netting,) but will grow up to eight feet or more. (Pick out the growing tips when the plants are about six inches tall to encourage a more bushy growth.) The annual varieties are more highly scented than the perennials. Be sure to pick them regularly. If the flowers are left and allowed to go to seed, then the plants will stop flowering.

Is it really six months 'til spring?

Wednesday 3 October 2012 11.11am
How about solanum. If you ever walk along The Cut there is a white flowering one on the corner of Styles House. it is ever-green and flowers all through the summer. I can let you have a rooted cutting if you would like to private message me. I also have a rooted cutting of a pink flowering clematis montana which will grow at the rate of knots but is not ever-green. Whatever you choose, make sure it can attach itself to the trunk either by its own 'suckers' otherwise you will need to tie some wires to the trunk so that you can tie the plant on.
Tuesday 9 October 2012 12.08pm
Thank you for your advice. I went to East Street market on Sunday and for 16 I bought a dwarf wisteria (that should only grow to 3 meters in 10 years), a clematis and a passion fruit plant (bearing my name so I had to have it). I guess they will compete for space but given the soil at the bottom of the tree (it took me an hour to dig a hole out), I am not sure any will survive in the end!
Tuesday 9 October 2012 1.08pm
Sounds like a bargain to me, Connie.
Anything you can add to enrich the soil will of course help. (Not so many horse-drawn vehicles around these days unfortunately.)
I have a honeysuckle and a passion fruit intertwining along a fence and they seem quite compatible. Left unchecked though, the passion fruit will eventually 'bully' the honeysuckle and take over. So I'm not allowing that.
With the clematis, the stems and flowers love direct sunlight, but the base and roots don't. It'll be happier with a few bricks or whatever around the bottom to provide shade.
That goes for honeysuckle too, if you invest in it in the future.
Good luck.
Tuesday 9 October 2012 5.05pm
Thanks Chalkey, it is quite shaded actually as it is in a walled garden. So unfortunately it does not get much sunshine either. On one side we also have a large west facing brick wall on which I would like to grow some self supporting plants so I ordered a climbing hydrangea from the East Street trader. But ideally I would love to have a trumpet wine and honeysucke but I believe they need a support and I don't think our neighbour would appeciate if I was drilling into their wall.
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