I was visiting a really nice smaller garden this week and happened to see one of the most underused woody groundcover – woody vine – woody shrub in the landscape, especially shady conditions. And when one sees this spectacular plant (anytime during the year), you will always hear, “what is that”? Yes, you’ll see it used as a ground cover (not often but can be and does quite nicely), you’ll see it shaped as a shrub (not often but it can be), and mostly you’ll see it slowly horizontally vining its way up and across walls (attached with tiny rootlets), heavy duty trellises, fences, rock walls, etc. Which by the way creates interesting sculptural effects on the wall especially in the winter with that cinnamon-brown exfoliating bark. Got your attention yet? Did we mention the really cool glossy dark green leaves?How about this? June bloomer with lace-cap like creamy white flowers (which hang on for a few weeks). Got your attention now? This underused plant is Hydrangea anomala ssp.petiolaris, or we can just call it ‘Climbing Hydrangea’. By the way, there is another selection that adds one more outstanding feature: its ‘Miranda’ Climbing Hydrangea with its dark green variegated foliage (white to creamy white margins).
Zones 4-8 Shade to part Shade Likes good even moisture (water if needed during drought) May take a few years to establish and begin to flower but worth the wait.