Category Archives: Clematis

a little clematis tour

there are a few weeks here when the bloom of many clematis plants overlap. Some are just finishing, some just gathering steam, and all combining together to make the garden look fantasitic. Here are some shots of who is bringin’ it today.DSC_0006
ps..we got rain! It wasn’t a lot, but it did give me time to do other things instead of watering and that felt darn nice!

Star River opening

Star River opening

pagoda

pagoda

a very young ville de lyon

a very young ville de lyon

Polish SPirit on the new fence

Polish SPirit on the new fence

etoilee violette in crabapple tree

etoilee violette in crabapple tree

etoille violette

etoille violette

comtesse de bouchaud

comtesse de bouchaud

Betty corning

Betty corning

c. roguchi

c. roguchi

Betty Corning

Betty Corning

either Rosemoor or Niobe

either Rosemoor or Niobe

Polish Spirit on bench arbor

Polish Spirit on bench arbor

bud of integrifolia 'Rosea'

bud of integrifolia ‘Rosea’

Star River

Star River

Elsa Spaeth

Elsa Spaeth

Huldine

Huldine

DSC_0006

Gravetye Beauty

Gravetye Beauty

sold to me as c. hexapetala but probably c.recta

sold to me as c. hexapetala but probably c.recta

 

 

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BLOOMBLAHYUCK gets turned on its ear

comtesseOff and on I participate in something called Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. It is the brainchild of Carol over at maydreamsgardens.com , and bloggers who want to play along post on the 15th of the month about what is blooming in their neck of the woods and the posts are all linked on Carol’s blog for everyone to view. It is fun to see what is going on in other areas of our country, and even in some distant lands, as bloggers from other countries are welcome to link and often do.  It is also a nice record to have personally . If I manage to keep up with my postings I can scroll back through time and see what has been going on in the gardens on a month by month basis.

Some months the 15th happens and I am completely in a fog and don’t get around to posting. Some months, like this one, I feel like “BLAHBLAHBLAHFLOWERSGARDENBLAHBLOOMBLAHYUCK”. Why this happens? Who’s to know. Boredom. malaise, the feeling of ‘been there, done that’, etc etc. October is also a very busy for my speaking business and having to go out and talk about the garden and plants means less time for he garden and plants and also lends itself to feeling the aforementioned feeling BLAHBLAHBLAHFLOWERSGARDENBLAHBLOOMBLAHYUCK.

BUT…even though I missed the date completely, I could not miss the opportunity to do a little happy dance online about said garden and one plant in particular because it is so remarkable. The weather here has been delightful, and by this I mean days in the 60s and nights staying very warm mostly in the high 40s and 50s. We have had a few scattered light frosts, but they have only affected the coldest most exposed parts of the gardens and actually helped the other parts providing very dramatic fall colors and the romantic look of a frosty garden without the freezing to black death part. Usually by now the last of the clematis are just finishing. Clematis ternifora, or Sweet Autumn as it is commonly known ,is the latest clematis to start blooming, and it is typically accompanied by a few stragglers on Pope John Paul II and maybe Ville de Lyon or Elsa Spath. This year however, the Comtesse de Bouchard out front began another round of blooming AFTER the Sweet Autumn started and is still blooming now. A very rare and very wonderful treat for me.039

What makes it even better is that the variegated garden phlox ‘Nora Leigh’ that the Comtesse winds her way through has also decided in solidarity to continue blooming even though the cold temps have been affecting her foliage . What a team player ! Thank you Nora Leigh, your commitment to making this garden all it can be is duly noted.042

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Plant Profile: Clematis ‘Mrs. Robert Brydon’

mrsr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although clematis ‘Mrs Robert Brydon’ does not make my “Top 10 Clematis” list, it does, in fact, place pretty high up on my “Must Have Plant” list. Let’s go over the reasons, shall we?

-It is a superb non twining ground cover plant that will quickly cover the space under the shrubs in your border with it’s lovely disease free leaves

-It can also be tied up onto a trellis, bird netting, a pole, or any other vertical object you have handy

-It will scramble happily down a berm, hill, or even better cascade over a rock wall

-It is definitely on the “Top 10 Easiest to Grow” clematis list

–It will grow in many light conditions and is fairly drough tolerant once established

-It is a breeze to propagate via cuttings , your gardening friends will love you if you give them this plant

-It blooms late in the season ( late July to Sept) when so many other things in the garden are winding down

The only reason it does not place among my top ten clematis is generally  plants earn their space  there because they  have a very long bloom time and sadly this one does not.  I may reconsider that though as the foliage on this one never browns or gets any foliar disease which more than makes up for a shorter flowering time.

For years I have struggled with the correct name of this clematis. It has dubious parentage and I have seen it for sale under many names including clematis heracleifolia x jouiniana ,  clematis x jouiniana ‘Mrs. Robert Brydon’, clematis jouiniana var. davidiana ‘Mrs Robert Brydon’ but thankfully the International Clematis Registry at Hull University has it now listed as plainly clematis ‘Mrs. Robert Brydon. Whew.

I love that the name conjures up the  old fashioned practice of calling a married woman by her husbands name, not because I am a believer in the oppression of the fairer sex , I did not even legally take Wil’s name I just sort of added it  on to mine to avoid confusion for the kids when they were in school and may ditch it when they are done. I just like the thought , however imagined it may be, of a graceful and charming world with proper manners , polite conversation  where you are adressed as such, and maybe a white glove or two thrown in for good measure.  Actually my garden club has only recently disbanded the practice of having our members listed as “Mrs. Husbands Name and Surname” making me Mrs. William Monroe which is funny and maybe just a bit ironic.006

Back to the clematis, ‘Mrs. Robert Brydon ‘ is a dream to take care of. It will get pruned to 8-12 inches in the springtime, but since, as its various names all suggest, it is herbaceous , it may have already pruned itself for you by dying back to the ground over the winter. It will grow pretty slowly at first eventually getting  large leaves on stems that are 6-8 feet long. When it flowers, which is happening right now here in The Burrow, it is spectacular. The flowers are the loveliest shade of white-ish blue, a color I find dreamy in the garden and are massed along the top third of the plant.

I have seen this plant frothing over a stone wall, tied up at the base so it looked like a hydrangea bush, trained onto fences and poles and here I created a berm for it to sprawl down( bottom photo)) in the Dogs Garden and it romps all through shrubs and other plants like this  variegated weigela in the rock garden ( below ) and in all instances it looked phenomenal.007016

 

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Pairings

Isn’t it funny how sometimes when two things are paired up together  the whole is greater than the sum of  it’s parts? This holds true for   Cheryl and Bill ( a superb pairing if I do say so myself lol, our 26th anniversary was Thursday), beer and pretzels, pinot grigiot and seafood dishes, any dessert topped with made from scratch whipped cream, and boy I am hungry and in need of drink! I am sure Aristotle, from whom this quote was taken, had far more altruistic things in mind, but I have no problem borrowing his phrase and applying it to my own happiness, including the over the top pairing of roses and clematis.

Right now both plants are secondary stars in the garden as the peonies are blooming and no bloom no how takes away from their little bomb of joy. But when roses and clematis  are growing intertwined and cozy they certainly stand heads and shoulders above their counterparts growing alone.

Here are a few pictures of rose/clematis combinations I use here  in the Burrow huld

001 (4).

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I am also including a glam shot of  some of the  peonies  because , well ,they deserve their moment of fame. 004

On the pairing side you can see one paired up with sweet peas, a stellar combo  I will repeat. DSC_0012 (2)

Furthermore , because who can get enough of great plant pairings?? , I give you 009

a container with coral Magic carpet rose and Lucia Dark Blue lobelia

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Double pink Knockout roses grown as a standard above a boxwood hedge017 (5)

 

 and that same rose underplanted with this bright smiley orange pansy001

 

and last a peony ( unknown division given to me  by my sister) growing with nepata ( the clematis to the right is c.texensis’Gravetye Beauty)

happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Head on over to maydreamsgardens.com to see what going on in other great gardens!

 

 

 

 

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Let’s talk Clematis

Hard to believe that we are back in the swing of things so quickly around here. Lazy snow bound days are gone , replaced by full 8 or more hour days cleaning, cutting back, weeding, edging , mulching, dividing, planting, sowing, shopping…are there any  - INGS that I missed?  I hope not because my plate already feels pretty full thank you very much.

Let’s talk about clematis, how they should look, what you should expect and what to do if there are problems.

First , the emergence thing. Around here we have had some delightfully warm weather so any clematis that are group 2 ( which I won’t even come near with clippers untl after the first flush of blooms) are all leafing out and I even have two , Elsa Spath and Omishoro , covered in ready to open buds.002

If you have group two clematis growing in your New England yard , you should be seeing lots of signs of life . If  you see stems that are definitly dead or broken off the mama plant, by all means prune them. otherwise WALK AWAY and wait to enjoy the show. Pruning now, no matter how tempting, will cause loss flowers and that is a sad thing indeed.

If you have group 1 clematis , like montana or alpina, they should also be ready to put on their spring show. I struggle with these vines here becuase they bloom only on old wood and almost every year no matter what I do the varmints cut them off for me in the winter.  Some day  a solution will occur in my little brain, but for now they are foliage plants. grrr and ugh.

If you have group 3 clematis that bloom later on in the season , many of these are just slowly starting to stretch and yawn and greet the day ( sweet autumn, any of the viticella or texensis hybrids, and the late blooming large flowered hybrids ) .If you have not already, cut your group 3 clematis down to about a foot tall so they will throw out lots of new growth which is where their blooms  will be, Leaving them unpruned will result in long vines with flowers only at the tops. Boring! Go get the clippers please.005

Herbaceous clematis , the ones that die back to the ground and have no climbing mechanism, should also be showing new growth by now ( c. recta, integrefolia, and heracliefolia).  Clean away any old stems and leaves just like you would with any other herbaceous perennial.

Then there are those whose liveliness is in question,   I have a few here every year that are way behind their peers in  emerging and I always get a little antsy. But then I remember someone telling me when my kids were little and I was stressed when they were not on par with others their age in milestones ( especially the  dreaded potty training) that all kids developed at their own pace and as long as they were out of diapers by the time they went to school I should not fret so much. Point taken, there are no absolutes in any aspect of life, so a little  leeway is in order.

Carefully look around the base of the plant in question , do you see any sign of shoots coming from the soil? You can prod  little in the soil and look closer, but do do very gently. I give my lackluster growers a little diluted fertilizer . Patience is also helpful.

Case in point, I had given up on my c. trinternata rubrimarginata for this year. rub Two years ago  we had an episode where the irrigation system was missing a whole chunk of garden and many plants there were lost. The rubrimarinata was alive, but barely clinging to life , and this year repeated checks showed no growth. I ordered a replacement, and of course when I dug down deep enough to excavate, there was the crown of the old plant happily starting to shoot out new growth. A little swearing may have ensued, but I carried on and took out the struggling plant, put in the new one, and move the stressed one to a happy compost filled location where it will be babied until it is thriving again.

As for any clematis you have that overwintered in containers or that are growing in shady locations,  don’t even bother poking around just yet. They are the last of the bunch to re-emerge , but just wait, don’t touch and don’t worry.

It is also safe here to plant any new clematis you bought now. Make sure to follow my planting instructions ( crown set 2-3 inches below soil line before mulching) , and water them if rainfall is not abundant.

Last but not least my indoor clematis, c.florida is entering week 18 of flowering. I had to trim some of it today to free up some of the houseplants it was engulfing so they could get repotted for their summer vacation outsoors. Truthfully, I had to wash the window it was covering too so we could see outside . When it ever winds dowm I will cut it back and repot it like the other plants to spend the summer  season on the porch.

 

 

 

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Grow Clematis as a Houseplant?

…Oh yes you can!

Given my perfectly well founded frustration with houseplants, I find it  just delightful to discover that clematis can be grown indoors. Thanks to clematis breeder Ray Envision, there are now clematis plants that are as equally happy indoors as out. Ray and his team have a  new-ish series called “Garland Clematis” that will happily sit on your south facing sunny windowsill and twist and twine and then bloom profusely for about 8 weeks IN THE WINTER! How awesome is that.

There is another series, designed for compact growth  and ideal for indoor growing as well, called the “Boulevard Series”, that will  bloom indoors in the winter, but then it is suggested that you cut them back and plant them outdoors in the spring for the best results.

The only bump in the road, as these plants are very easy to care for as long as they are getting enough sun, is availability.

If you lived in the UK, Ray would happily ship you lovely pots of clematis in bud/bloom for your indoor growing pleasure. If you live stateside, it is a crapshoot as to where and if you may find them.

Often Dan over at Brushwood  Vines will usually have one or more in his catalogue listings. The downside of ordering them from here is they are not shipped as in bud/bloom house plants so you must pot them up with a small obelisk or other structure and grow them on yourself.

Many years around Mother’s Day I have seen them in local florists to be sold as gift plants, although they are usually only  clematis florida. Clematis florida is a pretty small climber, usually topping out at  6 ft and staying pretty slender as clematis vines go. The lovely pearly tepals seem to be at odds with the very prominent and “in your face” dark purple stamens and anthers, which also curve inwardly  resembling a spider that has recently gone on to meet it’s maker ( as seen in the Monroe basement on a regular basis).

Currently, clematis florida is making a winter statement in the Monroe picture window where it has been left to it’s own devices to twine around whatever it can grab on to. It has a friend, a bare root start that was not ready for planting in the ground this year ( and whose identity I have forgotten) that has joined in the twining fun but has yet to form buds. In the spring the “friend” will get planted in the garden, but clematis florida is best as an indoor or conservatory plant so it will summer out on the porch and return , as it did this September, to the family room.

I have found that the early bloomers, like clematis macropletala and clematis alpina will generally bloom indoors around the same time they would bloom outdoors which would be in very very early spring, providing  a great boost to your winter weary spirits .You can see Queen of the Houseplant-Tovah Martin’s clematis here.

No matter which variety you try,you can be sure any clematis blooming indoors will remind you wistfully of warm summer days , even if you currently have your face pressed against a cold window pane staring out at new fallen snow :)

 

 

 

 

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Clematis vitacella

As I get ready for another summertime presentation on Clematis, I am struck by how much I rely on the smaller species, specifically the vitacellas, to carry me through the gardening year. Yes, those massive blooms from the large flowered hybrids sure are showy, but they come and they go and this year especially , given our cold wet spring and the amount of wilt they have suffered here, they have mostly been on the “go” side of that equation.

Not the vitacellas though. They are , as always keeping up their end of the bragain, in which I devote space, time, water and fertilizer to any given plant, and  said given plant gives me pretty flowers in return.

Clematis vitacella originated in the area of the world that is modern Italy, and if you think in that vein, it is so much fun to say… try it …..see? Pronunciation and fake italian accent aside, they are one of the easiest and floriforous clematis around. I have vitacella cultivars here that bloom up to 16 weeks non-stop! AND as far as pruning, they all get cut back hard to about 12 inches in late winter or early spring, and many of them will self prune ( meaning you will go out pruners in hand only to find the stems all broken off at just the right level….amazing!) Immediately they spring into action putting up inches and inches of growth before your very eyes, and start blomming and keep blooming until you are tired just looking at them.

The flowers are on the smaller side and are for the most part bell shaped, but the sheer volume of them makes up for that.

They also do not get wilt, and sport clean beautiful foliage all season long. they are everything I ask for in a plant.

In The Burrow I grow Alba Luxurians, Betty Corning, Purpurea plena elegans, Polish Spirit, Kermesina, Huldine, Etoille Violette, and Venosa Vilocea, but have plans to add many more.

Some of the other cultivars are Mdme. Julia Correvon, Flora Plena, Minuet, Emilia Plater, Black Prince, Abundance, I am Lady Q, Little Nell,Royal Velours, and Blue Angel.

I do not add videos of my own making here as a general rule , I have tried and am just not really great at making them, but I will share this link with you Vitacella Video. It is , of course, from Gardeners World in England and highlights a number of the cultivars I have listed. The woman in the video has a lovely british accent( which my son CJ says I should adopt so I will instantly sound  like a highly repected clematis speaker), and my love of hearing british people speak enables me to forgive her for saying clem-A-tis which is wrong no matter what your accent.

If people tell me they have no luck with clematis, I always tell them to plant a vitacella. If people ask me what clematis to try in the shade I also reccomend a vitacella. If people want an easy carefree plant ,a  vitacella. A long bloomer for your border? A vitacella. Get it????

Good….now plant it!

P>S if you attended my presentation at Elm Bank tonight I brought two patio clematis, flueri and cezanne and called them by each others names when I sent them around ……. mea culpa…..flueri is dark reddish purple and the light lilac-y colored on was cezzanne

 

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Clematis for GBBD

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is always so dfficult from May through September, there is sooo very much in bloom and it is hard to focus with a  riot of color screaming at you from all angles. So Instead of a garden overview today I will zoom in on one plant genus….clematis ( big surprise there,huh?)

There are clematis blooming here from late April through Ooctober, even though I keep bloom charts so I have a general idea of who blooms when, the plants have their own ideas based on weather, rabbit pruning and lord knows what else so it is always  an adventure to go out and see who is blooming.

I also  have a speaking  engagement this week so I went out to cut some flowers to bring as” show and tell “,and the variety is kind of surprising.

For the large flowered hybrids that bloom early and then bloom again later in the summer, this is the end (ish) of their first bloom.

Elsa Spath, always a beauty with flowers up to 8 inches across, is looking beautiful in the several locations she is planted. I adore the way this clematis goes through so many color changes from bloom open to shatter, starting dark purple, then sporting red streaks opening to a lovely purple with darker bars which then fade to silver as the bloom ages. Spectacular!

Some of my clematis that bloom early and then again late in the season  ( those labeled pruning group 2) have missed their first bloom, suffering from rabbit damage, but now look full and will hopefully put on a great show come Aug/Sept.

Snow Queen (in top photo the first one on the left) , Dr. Ruppel (below), and Ville de Lyon (below),  all are in full bloom, as are c.’Rosemoor’ ‘Niobe’  and ‘Ruutel’ ( although I did not venture out today to take their photo, they are all in the group shot above :)   )

Josephine will bloom as a double for some time, then the outer peatals will drop and the little puff at the center will remain This bloom is starting to do just that. It is a very cool clematis.

A surprise bloomer   is Jan Pawel II who should not even start to bloom until late summer but has been going for 3 weeks now.Look at the size of that flower!

The biggest surprise is that Bill McKenzie, ( orientalis group) and one of the very last to bloom in fall, was sporting this singular bloom yesterday. Mother Nature gives us no absolutes kids!

Many small flowered clematis always add great interest to the garden in June.

C. vitacella Betty Corning with its little lilac nodding bells,blooms here for 16+ weeks and adorns a number of shrubs ( viburnums, willows, and roses) . The other nodding bell in the group photo is an herbaceaous clematis c.integrifolia “Rosa’ that grows in front of Dr. Ruppel in the garden.

C. vitacella ‘Kermesina’ sports red recurved bell shaped blooms and  grows into a pussy willow bush that would otherwise be dull and boring right now

and C. texensis ‘Gravetye Beauty’ grows up an arbor on both sides through a similarly colored rose to great effect.

With all this bloom going on, it would be a sin not to cut lots and lots of flowers for arrangements for both the house and to give away when we attend summer parties. Clematis makes as suberb cut flower, outlasting just about any other bloom you put in the vase with it. Some have longer stems than others  making it easier to use them in floral arrangements, but the ones that either have short stems or twist and turn alot can be displayed very effectively  floating in a shallow bowl.

Here is c.’Huldine’ which holds its flowers aloft  and away from the leaves .

Because of that attribute it looks great with the rose it grows through in the garden  and is easy to use in arrangements.

Head over to May Dreams Gardens and our host Carol to see what she has going on and then visit the other Garden Bloogers links to see what is going on all over  our country and a few others besides!

Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!

 

 

 

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Happy Spring….Get Ready for Autumn

Happy Spring! So how should we celebrate the vernal equinox here in The Burrow???? hmmmm, I know….Let’s plan for autumn!

All too often I hear  gardeners( and the general public too ) complain that late summer and fall  hold in store  a sad garden that is past its prime , brown and dull. Well that is just poor planning my friend. And when, do you ask ,is the right time to gear up for August and September? Why, it’s March of course!

Right now you should be assesing any downtime you may have had last fall and looking through nursery lists and of course shopping  for plants to fill the voids.

In late springtime , when the soil is drier and workable, it will be the time to plant out all the lovely perennials that will make your fall garden an absolute joy…and you need to be prepared!

Luecanthemum species, or mums as we call them are the obvious first choice, BUT most nurseries will only sell  them in the fall, when they are in bloom, and when they will likely not survive transplanting. They also sell varieties that are not winter hardy here in the North East  and are doomed to death at hard frost.

The trick, my gardening friends, is to order them direct from a grower or catalogue , and plant them now giving them time to establish before winter. The great thing is that almost all of them….though planted as teeny tiny starts….will grow and bloom within their first year, causing excited utterances upon viewing in September. Faribault Growers in Minnesota has quite a lovely selection, and extremely reasonable prices, and the plants arrive healthy and every single one of them I have ordered and planted in spring has bloomed that fall and overwintered just fine. An added  bonus is that Faribault  gives in their catalogue description the expected weeks of bloom for each plant so you can order several  varieties to have blooming over many weeks. How great is that?

Lest you think I am abandoning my  favorite plant, now is the time you should also be scooping up as many clematis plants as you can afford to add lots of color to the fall garden.Plant them to grow through lilacs,  forsythia, hydrangeas, once blooming roses, hollies……really just about any shrub for a much needed infusion of drama on your green blobs shrubs in August and September. Here is a partial list of who was blooming in my garden late last year…..

Comtesse de Bouchard

 

Elsa Spaeth

Pope John Paul II

sweet autumn (terniflora)

vitacella ‘Betty Corning’

texensis ‘Gravetye Beauty’

 

 

.                                                                     .                                                                                           ‘Dr. Ruppel’

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tanquitica’Bill McKenzie’ and two herbaceuos species, joiniana’Mrs Robert Brydon’ , and integrifolia ‘Rosea’ ( all with no photos , guess I got lazy)

Not bad for a dull fall garden huh?

Don’t forget roses either. Spring is the only time to order and plant bare root roses and last year I had  lots that carried the garden right into late October .The latest were the knockouts- double pink and red, the drift roses both’sweet’ and ‘pink’, the polyantha “The Fairy” and  the magic carpet roses

Ending right before them were the David Austin’Christopher Marlowe’, ‘Carefree Spirit’, Easy Elegance “Yellow Brick Road’, ”Seafoam’ and climbers “New Dawn’ and “Iceberg”…who says roses are only for June???

Other easy to grow plants for late summer/fall are caryopteris or blue mist shrub which has many new variegated and yellow leaved cultivars, the new cultivars of Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon) many of which are sterile  so no seeding issues, late season hydrangeas like h.paniculata ‘Limelight’ and it’s new dwarf cousin ‘Little Lime’ , turtle head or chelone galabra, tricyrtis or toad lillies, and Naked Ladies or lycoris squamigera.

One plant I pot up now and play the ” indoors-outdoors game”, ( which is when you lug pots inside the house when cold or frost threatens and leave them outside on sunny warm days, and is only fun for spying neighbors who get a kick out of your wackiness), is dahlias. This plant is waaaay underated for the long season of bloom it can give you. Started indoors and easier than any seed you will ever grow, the dahlia tubers sprout quickly and grow very fast and are blooming quite early on here and last until several frosts finally  kick them down. Wether or not you overwinter the tubers inside, they are still a bargain for the amount of blooms per plant per season and great for cutting and arranging.

Those are my faves….do you have any I need to add?

Let’s  get planning!  Spring is here!

 

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Clematis and Roses

Now-ish is the time to attempt to get out in the garden to start some chores. I know I am chomping at the bit to get cracking out there, and I will begin , as always with my two BFF plants, clematis and roses. About 4 weeks before last frost date (or after) is a good time to get out the pruning shears . If you pruned either plant  in the fall and were lucky to have them survive the winter unscathed, think of that pruning mistake  in the same way you think of the time you stole a stop sign back in high school. No one got hurt, no one got caught, it was reckless and you were young and foolish , and you will never do it again. EVER.

As far as the clematis plants go, I will cut back all my vitacellas, my ternifloras (Sweet autumn) and late blooming large flowered hybrids to about 12 inches from the ground.

Often mother nature has done it for me and the vines are snapped off just where they need to be……. like magic!

Any of the others will get pruned if there are any dead areas, or if they need to be re-trained after having gone on a wayward path. (If only my mother could have done this to me back in my aforementioned high school days, she probably would have more of her sanity left)

As for the roses, there is a lot of literature regarding pruning. I like things to be simple, so here is what I do. Any dead or diseased canes get pruned out (that is a given with any plant). Then if they are bushy types (like the polyanthas) or shrub roses I will prune them back a little , tidy them up, and thin them if air circulation looks impeded. Climbers do not get pruned at all, unless they need serious retraining as you loose all that great height you have gained if you cut them.

If you are pruning hybrid teas or hybrid perpetuals, get out a book because they need pruning that involves angled cuts in specific places and many other directions I find too fussy. I only grow roses that fall in the “pruning 101″ category and also require no spraying , extra watering, or winter protection. If you are easy, this is the home for you.

The very best thing about roses and clematis, is growing them together. Like oreos and milk, cheese and crackers, spaghetti and meatballs  they complement each other as well as bring out the best in each other. Some would say like a great marriage, but I will stick with the food analogies, I like food  ;)

I have heard complaints of having to disentangle  clematis vines  from thorny climbing roses after cutting them back in the spring , and I agree that is a painful job. The solution is to inter-plant your climbing roses with only clematis that fall into the  group 2 pruning category, or in my system the light prunes  http://www.gardenintheburrow.com/?page_id=608). These clematis never have to be pruned at all ( but can be lightly pruned after first flush of bloom if you want) and once planted with a climbing rose the two can be left to their own devices until the end of time. When picking your rose/clem combination choose a color combination that pleases you and match the final height of the vines. Many of the new introductions of Group 2 clematis are shorter in response to the great demand for smaller vines for container planting, so older varieties may be better suited for growing up a rose.

 I grow many group 3, or hard prunes, with roses and do not mind separating them out in the spring ,as garden chores go it is light work,just a little thorny. But whatever clematis you choose I am certain you will be very pleased with it.

out my kitchen window

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