Friday, July 22

Plant hunting.

As I wrote in an earlier post, I decided that I would plant clematis to grow up the willow screen at the back of a border that we are renovating.

Browsing the Internet I came across a clematis nursery which is only about half an hour’s drive from us in Doncaster. One thing that I really liked about their website was that it allowed me to search for a suitable plant using all sorts of different criteria such as colour, height etc. As I wanted clematis that would be happy in the shady bed under our crab apple tree I searched under aspect, for plants that would tolerate shade. If I wanted to give the plants the best chance of success I didn’t want to choose one and find that it needed full sun. Also I didn’t want the disappointment of finding one I really liked only to find out that it was unsuitable.

My search came up with 65 possible candidates!. This was narrowed down by browsing the thumbnail images for ones which had either white or blue flowers to suit my chosen colour scheme. I wanted colours that would light up the shady area. I relented a little and allowed pale pink to creep in as one variety that I really liked - Andromeda - had a pinkish stripe. I rationalised this by deciding that a touch of pink would stop the border from being too boringly white!

I managed to end up with a short list of five varieties Andromeda, Dawn, Fuji-Musume, White Moth and Alpina Willy. 

As the nursery was so near to us we decided that we would pick up our plants rather than having them delivered and so I emailed to ask about visiting arrangements and to check that my choices would be OK for the position in the garden. The blog came in handy as the owner looked at the photo of where I wanted to grow the clematis and remarked that I'd made a good choice and that all five would fit in nicely - well I suppose he would say that wouldn’t he? Anyway that suited me and so I asked to order all five.

Unfortunately it turned out that they had sold out of two varieties White Moth and -  wouldn’t you know it - my favourite Andromeda. An couple of alternatives to White Moth were suggested and I selected one called Snowbird but I decided to wait for a new stock of Andromeda!

I was surprised to be asked if I wanted to collect the same day which of course I did!

Being at the back of a border I was pleased to find that my choices were varieties that needed either no pruning or only light pruning so I wouldn’t have to disturb plants by tramping across the border to carry out lots of pruning. Also two of the varieties are spring flowering and the others flower in summer which should give me a fairly long flowering season. (Maybe I should have chosen a winter flowering one too - Can I fit in six? - Maybe not!)






Martyn made a start by attaching wires to the screen so we can train the plants when they start to grow. To give the plants the best start in life we followed the instructions for planting to the letter. Deep holes were dug and filled with a mixture of soil, compost and fertilser. The lower leaves of the each plant were removed so that we could plant deeply about 12cm (5”) deeper than the plant was growing in the pot!

The pieces of drainpipe that you can see in the photos have been set in place so we can send water directly to the plant roots.

Now I am impatient for them to grow and look fantastic - I hope.









We already have some clematis in the garden:


From left to right - top to bottom:
William Kennett, Clematis cirrhosa (which flowers late winter/early spring) Princess Diana (flowering now), a variety of tangutica (also flowering) and one that I have had ages and can't be sure of the name of but I think it's Etoile Violette (it's also flowering now).

We also have a couple that I don't seem to have photographs of Miss Bateman and another alpina variety.

I grew tangutica years ago, from seed and it is very rampant. I only just found out when I was reading the clematis website that I should have been pruning it back really hard - I haven't been doing which explains it's attempts at garden dominance. Early next year it's going to get a shock!

All that just goes to show that I guess we rather like clematis!

10 comments:

  1. Clematis are beautiful. I had lots in my old garden, mainly climbing through other things. I must get to grips with having some here.

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  2. Isn't the internet wonderful! Makes the plant-finding easier in some ways, but more difficult in others.

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  3. It is so much easier to shop plants there!So many wonderful varieties too. Nice mosaic.

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  4. We love clematis too and have quite a few growing against the back fence. You've made some lovely choices, hope they grow away well.

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  5. They are VH and so many to choose from!

    More difficult making a choice mark!

    It is easier Diana - often many plants are not available from local nurseries etc.

    So do I Damo!

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  6. Aargh, you Evil Temptress! Sadly not half an hour away but it could be done in a long day ...... what an amazing looking place.

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  7. It sounds like you made some great choices, plants which will do really well in the situation you've got. They should look really good once they're established.

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  8. Sorry BW. You can't go and look around the tunnels as they have no public liability insurance so you could always use mail order.

    I really hope so Jo - I'll be sp disappointed if they don't look like the pictures in my head!

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  9. Hard not to like clematis - and I bet you could squeeze in a winter flowering one too. Wonderful to be able to buy so locally too.

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