I have a new gardening goal. I want to grow clematis that out-grow those that my older sister has around her garden. A few weekends ago, we were all at her house, and my youngest sister and I decided to go out and look around at all the plants and gardens.
After all, that’s what we do when we visit one another, we go out and look at each other’s gardens and steal ideas, if not actual plants. (Kidding! I never took a plant I didn’t ask for first and I am always willing to give my sisters plants when they visit me!). I can’t say as how I didn’t take an idea or two from their gardens, however.
Anyway, my older sister was too busy with other guests to accompany us on a tour of her garden but she had a moment to holler out “Don’t take any pictures to put on your blog that make my garden look bad!”
Honestly. Look at that clematis growing through that picket fence in the picture above. Does that make her garden look bad? Doesn’t that look beautiful?
And how about this clematis growing by their front porch?
Look how big that one clematis flower is, and how the
yarrow spirea flowers complement the color of the clematis so well.
And this clematis. What a stunner, just loaded with flowers.
I really had seen enough when I asked where she got this double clematis.
Her answer? It wasn’t a double clematis when she bought it.
My sister turns single flowering clematis into double flowering clematis! And then she asked “did you see that clematis on the trellis in the front bed?” Yes, I did. “I didn’t plant it there, it just came up this spring”. And clematis self-sow around the garden for her, too.
Or she is getting so old she can’t remember where she plants her clematis and what she buys.
Now is there anything bad about my sister’s gardens in this post? See I can be nice, I can be trusted with a camera in someone else’s garden. Really, I can!
While I was looking around, I took careful notes on how and where she is growing her clematis so I can try to grow them like that in my garden.
But in case I missed something, does anyone have any hints or tricks to growing clematis that they can share with me?
Thank you for all the nce comments about my clematis. I have to make one correction though. The one picture is does not have yarrow in it, it is a sprirea in bloom. The only yarrow I have is yellow. I will have to take a picture of it next the the purple clematis on the fence. They are really pretty together. And no, I am not that old that I forget where I bought things. All the clematis came from “big box stores”. I think if I had realized that the one flower was a double one, I might not have bought it as I am in general not a fan of double flowers.
Kathy, the older sister.
Laurie and Chris says
Your sisters clematis is so pretty. I really like the one on the pickey fence. You took great photos.
I used to cut my clematis down in the fall. Now I don’t and they are much fuller and have more blooms. All I know is that they like shade on their roots. Either cover up several inches with dirt or mulch or plant something at the base. Your sisters garden looks beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
Such a joy you are, especially in your posts about sisterly rivalry. My tip about clematis is the old saw of warm head and cool feet. Our clematis grow and flower insanely well; this is one case where the clay soil seems to come in well, as it keeps the feet cool. I mulch too, with straw around the clematis base, but first I give them all a nice helping of mushroom compost and some seaweed meal. Then I point them at their arbour or trellis (we have 10 assorted varieties and species in various spots around the yard) and tell them to go to it. They do amazingly well, as I’ll show in a couple of weeks when the first one starts its performance. We find that they sulk for a year or two after planting, not doing a whole lot, then go berserk with growth in subsequent years.
If you’re planting them to intertwine with roses, don’t plant a pale clematis with a pale rose, you’ll never notice it. That’s my words of wisdom! Oh, and what Jodi said about them sulking for a couple of years – “First year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap” is never more true than with clematis.
I also have luck with them. This year I tried an experiment, I planted a Clematis under a Forsythia bush. So after my yellow spring blooms are gone, the green bush becomes a living post for the clematis to climb! Giving it a shady bottom and sunny top! It hasn’t bloomed yet but I see that it is climbing up & up!
Your sister’s garden looks just lovely! Good job Kathy! I would also object to that crack about ‘old’ but in my case, it is true that I can’t often remember where something was purchased! Feet in the shade tops in the sun! Plant’em deep. Sounds like all the bases are covered here. As for pruning, three categories of clematis so you need to know which you have in order to know when and how to prune.
Robin's Nesting Place says
I love the clematis on the picket fence. Actually, I love clematis anywhere. Carol, your sibling rivalry must be a great garden motivator. Seriously, how wonderful that you all love to garden and can share ideas and plants with each other.
As far as suggestions on growing clematis, pruning is different depending on the species. Some bloom only on new wood and others bloom on both old and new.
I can echo all the excellent advice about cool feet – I mulch deeply. I am not sure it is the type it was labeled to be, so I don’t know if it is the kind that you are supposed to prune or not. I never have, and now in the third year it is going nuts.
All varieties shown here are beautiful.
Gotta Garden says
Very amusing, Carol! It’s wonderful that you all share a love of gardening. One of my sisters is a very good gardener, quite creative and a very hard worker…and visiting her home and garden is a great treat for me (she lives pretty far away…like 8 hrs). So, I know a bit of this.
I am chuckling because I know someone who has foggy memory at times. I just grin and laugh inside as she tells me different stories about how and when she acquired something. Things are always springing up her in garden that she didn’t plant (lol). I am especially in awe of her ability to have entirely different plants than she planted!
Well, gardening can be amusing…and laughing is always good!
Just give it a go…with some clematis…they are much tougher and easier than people realize (spoken by someone who has put them to the test!). Your sister’s are lovely…and yours will be, too!
Jane O' says
Plant something at their base, daylilies work well. I, too, never cut them back in the fall, or actually at all. I wait until spring when you can see what is stems are still living and cut out dead wood. The less handling the better.
Hi again, Carol. From what I have seen of your garden you don’t need any tips – your clematis are growing very well indeed 🙂
If I were to give any hints/tips I would say plant at an angle to where you want to grow the plant up. Plant the specimen much deeper than the soil level in the pot to avoid clematis wilt.
Finally pruning – the correct pruning time is essential otherwise you could have no flowers at all. Make sure you know which group of clematis yours belongs to i.e. Group 1, 2 or 3 then prune as required.
I have a more unusual suggestion for growing clematis here too. Recently at a Garden Show I spotted a clematis growing over and down from a hanging basket in a display by a Clematis Nursery – the variety they used was Mrs N Thompson and I have to say it looked great!
I use lamb’s ears as the shade producer for the roots. Seems to work well. As far as pruning goes, I read all that stuff about the different pruning times, but I can never remember which one is which. So I just leave them alone and they flower just fine. My clematis all got burned back to their bases by the hard frost we had this spring, and every single one of them bloomed. Different pruning times my foot.
Carol… I loved this post!! Looks like you got lots of good advice.
Thanks for your comment about my “Critter Corner” – I appreciate it.
Oh… and that rosemary that I was able to overwinter was Madeline Hill Rosemary Perennial Rosemarinus. I got it at a garden show, and when they told me it would overwinter I said…”Yea..right, we’ll just see.” I did place it on a south brick wall and wrapped it good. Think that helped. I’m just tickled to have it!
Carol Michel says
All… thanks for the comments and the good advice! You all are too kind!
I LOVE that picket fence photo. Oh, I am so jealous. I just finished my picket fence and we’re moving! I’m happy about the move, and kind of happy about starting with a blank slate, but… well, you know what I mean. As for clematis, I don’t have anything new to contribute, everyone’s said it all. But I find that the big healthy ones I get at the warehouse and big box stores always die and the poor shriveled ones I scoop up at Wal-Mart at tne end of the season just before they chuck them all out always do great. Go figure. And I never prune them, I can’t remember when. But they seem to do okay anyway. Best of luck! ~A 🙂
There’s a special kind of competitiveness between sisters who garden, isn’t there? I love the photo of the clematis on the picket fence. I can never remember either which clematis has to be pruned hard, and which one can be pruned, which one should never be pruned. But they all seem to bloom anyway.