Clematis - Dynamic Companion (Part 1)

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Posted by @Jasmin on
We admire clematises because of the beauty of their flowers, but their dynamic nature, their rush to the top, and the sense of movement that they bring to the landscape offer much more to gardeners and admirers.

According to Alice M. Coats (“Garden Shrubs and their History”), the name Clematis came from “the Greek ‘klema’ meaning a twig or shoot of the vine,” and, “there are more wild species of clematis than of roses.” We cannot deny the beauty of clematis flowers (just see these H.F. Young flowers below), but these plants offer much more than flowers. Clematises that climb and rush over arches and obelisks, over natural supports like bushes and trees, and even over rockery, bring a sense of movement and dynamism to any landscape.
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It is not always easy to find plants that offer an abundance of flowers and leaves, opulence, and vigour in northern gardens, but many clematises that form flowers on the new growth (pruning type 3) can meet all of these requirements. Even if the plants freeze almost to the ground, they will produce plenty of flowering shoots in the spring. If you need to make a monochromatic backdrop for other plants, you can mix various clematises from the same group to enhance texture and to achieve a three-dimensional effect in the backdrop. Here are Jackmanii, Jackmanii Superba, Etoile Violette, Polish Spirit, Mme Julia Correvon, and Comtesse de Bouchaud intermingling on small obelisks.
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With its dynamic character, and its desire to climb to the top, clematis may set the mood in the garden. For example, I love tree peonies (red Hoki on the left and yellow High Noon on the right) and I am always a little sad when the tree peonies are finishing their blooming. Clematis buds on the obelisk between the tree peonies cheer me up. It seems they are pointing up, or in the new direction, reminding me that the summer has just started.
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If you need your clematis to climb on bushes, it is really important to balance size and vigor. For example, I really wanted clematis Pink Champagne to climb among the branches of Physocarpus opulifolius Diablo and Sambucus nigra Black Lace. I loved everything about this combination, including the decadent combination of their names - Diablo, Pink Champagne, and Black Lace. However, in my northern garden, the clematis just could not keep up with the bushes. Its branches were usually frozen down to the ground, and it could not grow quickly enough to keep up with the bushes every year. The clematis was getting weaker, so, finally, this year, I had to move it to another location where it receives more sun. I will try a more vigorous clematis; perhaps John Paul II, which is very vigorous in my garden.
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If you need a monochromatic backdrop for other plants, it is convenient to plant two or three clematises of the same hue together. Their flowering seasons will overlap and be extended. For example, this clematis, Multi Blue, is finishing flowering, but another blue (or purple) is in full bloom. Any blue or purple clematis will work; for example, Ramona, The President, or H.F. Young. I found it easier to plant clematises of the same pruning type together than to figure out their different pruning requirements in spring when their branches are intermingled.
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Here is another example of the way in which a clematis may influence the mood in the garden. In a small garden, you need to be aware than the plants will be seen from all sides. This is the side view that I see when I am leaving home for work. These clematises, which look as if they are rushing toward the finishing line, always make me walk faster.
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If you want to have a vignette among your small roses (such as these Coral, Apple Blossom and Pink Flower Carpet roses), just take a branch from a larger clematis that grows close to the roses, and let this branch grow among them. By the way, white clematises may have beautiful acid-green leaf color that harmonizes with other green hues.
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Or, you can plant one of the smaller clematises, such as this Marmori. Larger clematises may overrun and suffocate small rose bushes.
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Comments and Discussion
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Clematis by donnabking Jun 13, 2015 9:07 AM 1

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