Sharon, thank you ..
I am gardening in rock ...
I always make a point of growing a larger root mass for all of my plants before I put them into the ground, too. I just didn't know enough about clematis to know if they could stand being in a pot for a couple of years.
I generally pot up roses gradually because I get a healthier root mass ... even my bare root roses ...
We all develop our gardening philosophies as we learn to garden. One of my mantras has been that if a plant had a healthy root mass, it could almost handle anything Nature throws at it. So far, this has held true.
Yes, it sounds like our "sun" is very similar. I am not certain how much shade the dogwood will throw this year. I had it pruned and it needs to fill in again. I know I am going to have to move the heucheras I had planted under the tree because the canopy of the dogwood is smaller and now they don't have the shade they need.
I joined NGA to learn how to grow other plants. I understand roses, but I am still learning about other plants.
I am curious about other clematis plants, too. @Dirtdolphins
mentioned scramblers. That's the first time I've heard that term associated with clematis. Does that mean they don't climb or need support ? Will they work in dry shade up on a slope ?