Posted on 29 January, 2018Comments (0)

Garden Notes

Garden Notes

Winter Beauty is the name of a clematis that I would hate to be without. It is flowering now with thick petalled creamy white bells. The leaves are evergreen and it is a vigorous grower. It is labelled borderline hardy but I have had it for years growing up the outside of my conservatory, with no nice warming wall at its back. The roots are covered by an abelia shrub so that offers it some protection. If it gets too big you cut it back after flowering. I prefer it to the rather flimsy clematis cirrhosa, again a creamy white bell, this time with varying amounts of maroon spots inside it. This can be very vigorous. The later flowering clematis armandii is very vigorous and the leaves are tough and dark green. I think this can be a bit of a thug and it often retains ugly dead leaves.

These winter clematis are followed on by the alpina and macropetala varieties. These are delicate looking plants and are ideal for growing with some early flowering shrub that you intend to prune in early summer. Otherwise you do not do much pruning.

The summer and autumn clematis fall into two groups. The big flowered ones of June and the later ones of July onwards. The later ones are the easiest to grow. They are labelled pruning group 3 and you cut them to 18 inches in February and they flower on newly made shoots. They do not suffer from the wilt problems of the big flowered clematis. They are ideal to put up vigorous roses that you need to cut back each year.

In recent years there have been many new shorter sorts brought out by Evison. These are easier to deal with and will take pruning when you want. I heard Raymond Evison saying that if you needed to prune at any time, treat them as if you were cutting off some ones ponytail. Just grab and cut. His new single flowered ones can be cut to six inches in February and do not grow very tall. You must have room some where to plant one.

Stella Strachan

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