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Hopping Mad


By AndrewR


There are two arches in the main view of my back garden. On the first one are two wisterias but the second one has been bare for a few seasons now. Over the years, I have tried several different climbers – clematis, vitis, ampelopsis, kadsura – to name but a few. But either they became too rampant or not rampant enough and faded away. A couple of years ago I decided I needed to get serious about planting something on it.

One side of the arch is at the end of my yellow border so I decided to keep the yellow theme, either in flowers or foliage. After much research, I decided on a golden hop – not the ordinary one but a dwarf form called ‘Golden Tassels’. I searched on the internet but there very few suppliers and even fewer that offered mail order. Undeterred, I tracked down the nearest one in Hertfordshire. However there was a snag; they only sent plants in smaller pots by post and this one was in a five litre pot. I rang them up – yes, they were growing smaller ones and would put them on the website later in the year. I checked back several times – no small ones available and then sold out!

At this point I looked for another supplier. Beeches Nursery in Essex was the next choice – a small nursery with a huge range of other goodies to make an order worthwhile. I rang them up in late summer – yes they had ‘Golden Tassels’ and would be able to supply it this spring so I put in my order and mentally ticked it off the ‘wants’ list. The plants duly arrived earlier this week and I delved under the straw that nursed them in transit but found no dwarf hop. “Died in winter” was the apologetic comment on the delivery note. With something already planted on the other side of the arch, it was back to the reference books for Plan B.

I narrowed the list of possibles down to two roses. ‘Devoniensis’ sounded good (well, the house is called ‘Devonia’ and I come from Devon so it was appropriate). I checked Plant Finder – only one supplier in Plymouth. I checked their website – not listed. So on to the second choice, ‘Alberic Barbier’. This I could get locally at a Garden Centre that specialises in roses. So yesterday morning I visited them to get it only to find, you guessed it, not available. I quickly browsed the other climbers they stocked and there was a golden hop, not the dwarf one, but the ordinary humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’. Getting desperate, I decided to buy it anyway. I may have to prune it if it gets too rampant but as it is planted beside a well-established Irish Yew, it may take several years to build up enough strength to reach twenty feet or more. Hopping mad? Hopping hopeful now.

Postscript added two weeks later:
Would you believe it – I found ’Golden Tassles for sale today! Decided not to buy it and stick with the full size hop and see what happens

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Ten out of ten for perseverance, Andrewr....
Will you be able to make some home brew from your hops ?

.... and any advice please about planting out the Passion Flowers I've grown from seed - variety unknown.

I've heard they are likely to grow strongly. Is this by top growth or shooting out underground roots ? Information very welcome, please.

19 Apr, 2009


Oh good luck Andrewr. I think I would have given up long ago......

I agree, I would just give it a jolly good prune every now and then. I'm beginning to think that if a plant survives, that is progress, let alone worry if it gets too rampant! Lol!!

Well done anyway!

19 Apr, 2009


best of luck...hope this is the end of the frustration... in this particular matter anyhow.

19 Apr, 2009


Yes well done for persevering Andrew!! I hope your hop does well for you

19 Apr, 2009


an interesting blog and 10/10 for perseverence.

19 Apr, 2009


I agree with all of them top marks for persevernce good luck.

19 Apr, 2009


I have the ordinary golden hop which grows to around 15ft each year and I only need to cut off any bits that get out of hand, and that isn't many. It has lots of hops towards the autumn and once it starts to look straggly I cut it right back to ground level. It shares its place with Clematis armandii, so as the flowers on the armandii fade, the hop starts to take over. Works well for me.

19 Apr, 2009


I grew the golden hop in my last garden and it became a problem, it was too rampant and self-seeded everywhere.I eventually dug it out (not easy- very tough roots) and replaced it with a Clematis tanguitica Bill Mckenzie. By the way I forgot to comment on your last blog re- Kazahkstan. I was impressed with the Fritillaria stenathera and as I go to Penzance 2-3 times a year and know where Long Rock is I'll try to find 'Living Colour'. I enjoyed your blog(s).

20 Apr, 2009

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