Monday, 26 March 2012

style, beauty and promise


I always advise, when choosing plants for the garden, that you mirror the successes of plants that grow successfully in the wild in your locality.

Our sandland is great for heathers, broom, gorse and birch. Impoverished soil. Poor moisture retention. Plants that 'do arid'.

So why in the name of all that is sensible do I persist with clematis? Clematis are members of the ranunculacae family and are moisture loving plants. Like buttercups and marsh marigolds. They like fertile soils. Moisture. And cool, shaded places for their roots.

Would I buy a St. Bernard dog if I lived in a one roomed apartment? Would I grow oranges in the Arctic?

And one other thing. I expect my flowers to attract and support insects. Most clematis are as attractive to insects as zumba would be to a zebra.

Well, why do I persist with this clematis fascination when I can't give 'em what they need? At one point, in our previous sandy garden, I had forty growing.

But here I am, with spade at the ready, about to begin this clematis folly again  at Cordwwod. I want our cordon apples to host thornless rambling roses and clematis so that colour interest continues from apple blossom through to cropping. Clematis suit me sir!! So, I'm planting a tiny Clemtais Viticella 'Etoille Viollete' and following all the rights of planting I know:
  • I've buried rather than planted the little plant in a planting hole over 30 cm deep
  • I've teased the bootlace roots out so that they can spread
  • I've filled the deep planting hole with compost and well-rotted manure
  • I've annointed the plant with pelleted chicken manure
  • I've Christened it with a watering can full of water.
A lot of effort........ but then, I look at this elegant bud, on a clematis 'The President' growing in a pot in our old garden, and I know why I love them so much. All flower buds are full of promise, but nothing, it seems to me, has the style, beauty and promise of a clematis flower bud.

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