The Social Climber


The Social Climber.

Climbing plants reach for the light, like all plants – using a variety of props to aid them on their journey. Growth-wise they may take a lateral, or a skyward direction. They may cling, or wind sinuously, create their own ‘ladders’ or ‘bridges’ ..and sometimes almost strangle another plant in order to reach the top. This is starting to sound like a thesis on the nature of human criminal psychology.

Hence the title – as even in the simplest of ways plants thrive – as do humans – on a diet of enthusiastic – passionate even – support, inside a nourishing and appropriate environment. They’ll stop at nothing to get it ..and if they dont get what they want – they’ll take over or wilt and die. Or break out and invade! But oh boy are they attractive.


There are a few plants that top my list. Like the (human) social climber – they are often well-dressed, and superficially well-behaved – in company. The plants on this list, like the human versions, can’t help attracting attention.

First up is the Clematis – examples above. A showy number who has taken over the whole trellis that divides the car-park from the vegetable garden. Thus stopping motorists in their tracks in the manner of very large poster of Kylie Minogue wearing only a sliver of a diaphanous lilac slip.


Now for the peach blossom – simple, elegant and drop-dead gorgeous. Bearing the promise of luscious warm fruit to come.


Ivy – bright, shiny, evergreen creeping plant – invading every crack in the wall, and insinuating/inserting itself into popular culture via story and song for as long as we can remember. Tread carefully for she is deadly – and a mistress of disguise.


The Rose – in this case a tiny, feisty, little number. She’s generous with her fragrant favours, but quick to attack if you try to cut her down. You may become addicted and, if so, she will lay waste to your bank account.


The glamourous diva of them all is the Wisteria. She gets better with time, wears her years well, and if you are not careful will win your undying love – whether you intended her to take over your garden, life, and pruning schedule, or not.


Each of these plants attracts it’s own fan-base and devoted admirers. For me they are simply the very best of Social Climbers.

Beware – or you will lose your heart.

The Social Climber


About largelyhelen

Designer, photographer, writer.
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