Saturday, 29 September 2012

The clematis itch

I’m afraid this post on my clematises is long overdue all because of our August trip to France. I was too busy both before and after the holiday and forgot to record their blooming that was at its best exactly when we were away. However, as some of them are still flowering I thought why not write a few lines about how this climber sneaked into my life, bit by bit.

Nelly Moser (I think) in mid-August

Hagley Hybrid in mid-August
Etoille Violette in mid-August
You see, gardening is one of the domestic things I’m a complete amateur in but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t own a book or two about the subject. The titles – Instant Gardens, The Pet-friendly Garden, The Scandinavian Garden, etc ­– reveal my books are mainly designed for browsing and not to give you any practical advice on nurturing plants. As unlikely as it seems, when seeing an article in one of my books I got smitten by the clematis bug.

The photos that inspired me were taken in a garden with old trees each of which had a clematis climbing around its trunk and branches. That sounded fascinating and looked wonderful and as there are plenty of decades-old trees at our place I decided to try how a clematis would survive in the care of a very accidental gardener.

Warszawska Nike in mid-August
Nelly Moser in late September
At the beginning a few years ago, the condition was still latent and I started with one simple Jackmanii variety. It lived through the winter and then another one. So I bought another five young plants four of which survived. This outcome was proof enough for me: clematis is not only gorgeous but it might be a species that could flourish even in my garden. That’s when the disease really broke out and last year I planted six more.

Hagley Hybrid in late September

Ville de Lyon in late September
My varieties now also include Ville de Lyon, Warszawska Nike, Etoille Violette, Nelly Moser, Hagley Hybrid and Multi Blue. All the 12 plants are alive and well, considering the rather bad summer season we had. I have placed them to climb several of our old apple trees, a few maples and a cherry plum. One is struggling against the wall of the veranda. I might need a few more to relieve the itch again next spring.

Etoille Violette in late September

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