Vines can serve as a backdrop in a garden, as a privacy screen or can grow along the ground to help control erosion or serve as a ground. Vines are usually categorized by the way they climb and how they support themselves. Twining vines wrap themselves around a structure. Some vines have tendrils that reach out and cling, finding support as they grow. Roots or root-like structures of other vines adhere as they climb. Root climbers usually don't need additional support.
Dutchman's pipe (Aristolochia durior) is a twining vine. Because it grows aggressively, it is often used as a privacy screen.
Dutchman's pipe grows well in the shade. It blooms in the spring with tiny pipe shaped flowers which some people think have an unpleasant smell. Another variety of Dutchman's pipe (Aristolochia macrophylla), is also a fast grower, sometimes growing up to 30 feet in a year.
English ivy (Hedera helix) is considered a semi-evergreen vine. It is supported by it's roots, and is often used as a ground cover. There are many varieties of English ivy available, but the most common have dark green, glossy leaves that often turn red or purple when the weather gets cold. English ivy thrives in well-drained, fertile soil. The hardiest types of English Ivy are Thorndale and Bulgaria.
English ivy can be found with leaves ranging in shape from narrow to round ruffled leaves. Veined with white or purple, the leaves can be variegated, green or chartreuse.
Hydrangea (anomala subsp. petiolaris), is another vine supported by its roots. Hydrangea does best in partial to full shade and is slow to establish itself. The perennial vine thrives when planted next to tree trunks. The hydrangea's large, white, flat summer flowers are contrasted by its dark green leaves.
Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris) flowers in the early summer. As the plant ages, the bark peels and turns a cinnamon color. The climbing hydrangea needs a structure strong enough to bear the weight of the mature plant that can grow to up to 50 feet.
The violet/purple flowers of the clematis vine (Jackman clematis, Clematis x jackmanii) are well known. The velvety blossoms are often 3 to 4 inches across, showing in mid- to late summer. The clematis reaches a height of approximately 12 feet and grows equally well in sun or full shade. The golden clematis (Clematis tangutica) has yellow bell shaped flowers that appear in mid-summer to late autumn. The flowers of sweet autumn clematis, (Clematis terniflora) are the largest of the clematis blooms, often reaching 4 to 5 inches across. The blossoms smell slightly of almonds, and varieties can be found in colors of deep red, purple and white.