Clematis in shrubs

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I've read that to have a clematis clamber up through a shrub it should be planted 12" from the shrub root ball. But on which side?! Is the north side too dark? South side too hot? East? West? I realize that the vines will grow toward the south, which will place the flowers perfectly to be seen from the house. But where should the roots be?

I love Clem's, but there are already so many features in the main area that to add trellises or obelisks seems too much. I think there are plenty of opportunities to use them creatively, but of course want to get it right.

Thanks for any and all suggestions.

Pam

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Ideally the clematis would face south, receive all the amendments needed as well as perfect sunshine but few of us can accommodate all the plants want (per articles and books). While many of mine do face south I do have many facing east that do very well.

You have such gorgeous gardens that I'm sure you could find many clematises to fit the exposures you have. There are several that do very well in limited sun, like Nelly Moser. On this site you'll find a list of clem's that perform well in shade (scroll down more than halfway for the list): http://www.clematisinternational.com/growing.html#pg5

When I had the clem's planted with roses I did plant a foot away but the bare legs of the roses allowed sunshine to get through.

My concern would be pruning. If you need to prune the shrub you'd automatically prune the clem unless you're exceptionally careful with each one.

Also, there are short trellises you could use that wouldn't be an eyesore. This trellis had an akebia when I took the photo but now it has two clem's.

Another alternative to trellises would be a large, sturdy branch that you could anchor in the ground. The clem will cover it quickly.

Let us know how you work out the issue. We'd love to see photos.

The second photo is of Nelly Moser in morning and late afternoon sun but no sun from the south.

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Here's a photo by vossner showing a lovely trellis that wouldn't interfere with the look of your garden:
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/fp.php?pid=9091334

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Thanks, Pirl. I've been admiring your gardens for a long time.

As it happens, at our place planting toward the south and east are the most advantageous for the best viewing. I thought I'd use the ones that get cut back hard, the ones that bloom on new wood, for at least 2 of the big box shrubs. They get pruned only once in the season, in the spring, so that should work out all right.

I love a pretty trellis-Pirl, yours is gorgeous! Arbors are wonderful, we actually have one near the entrance, and I have plans for it. There is also a south facing house wall I can use. Unfortunately it's the least noticed area in the whole place. The main part of our garden is an extension of the house from the inside. I love working on that picture, and have been slowly finding my way with it. I do also love it that when you turn the corner to the big view it takes your breath away. I can't imagine trying to breaking that up, but in a way it is limiting. We have so much going on already with the different levels, stone walls, the big barrel, and now there's a birdbath I put in the middle of the smaller daylily bed last fall (pic 1).

So I guess the dilemma is, if I start collecting clematis, I want to see them, I want them to be admired by people who will notice them more from inside the house than out. I want them to get more attention than they will on the short walk from the driveway to the house. Once the greetings are done with, the first glass of wine poured, someone drifts to the window to get another look at the view, and says, wow! What is that amazing flower? So it's a tall order, I think.

I've been looking at lots of pictures on this forum and elsewhere, and realize that there are many ways to use Clem's as part of the borders. There are lots of places where I'd like a little height in the garden. Some of the less vigorous types could be perfect. So please keep the ideas coming!

Is there one that would drape down from the barrel in pic 2? Or would it rather grow up into the trees? There's no room for the roots on the ledge it sits on, so I can't have one climbing up. The Virginia Creeper manages, but I have no idea how!

Pam

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Such lovely views and photos!

Jackmanii would be noticed and it does get cut to the ground (or 12") each year. This one went over the 9'9" trellis and then over the three compost bins behind it so I'd guess it reached 18'. It does back up to the compost and I'm sure that's the secret for its size.

I'm trying to think of one that would fall and Helsingborg (purple) is the only one I can think of now but perhaps Rooguchi (also purple) would droop down but in the shade purple won't be noticed. At some point they will stop trying to go upwards so select your color and go hunting. Just don't allow it to get into the shrubs. A simple twist tie (not too tight) tied to a stake that leans forward should be all the encouragement it needs to droop.

Helsingborg does not get cut back so be sure to look at group 3's. Try Brushwood for looking and buying. They really are terrific plants. Here's the link: http://www.brushwoodnursery.com/clematis_jackmanii.htm Other clem's can be found by using the left side of the link and selecting what you'd like to have...small flowered, large flowered, etc. There are many companies that sell clematis but I've had the best from Brushwood.

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Grosse Pointe Shores, MI(Zone 6a)

Wow, what a great thread!

Pfg and Pirl, you both have such lovely gardens. I can't get over that jackmanii...all that growth in one season???!!! I have a jackmanii superba on its way to me now. Getting to 8' would be more than enough for me!

I'm already an orchid addict, but I foresee an expanding clem collection in my future!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Thanks! Use all the compost and manure you can for the clem's and add in some Epsom salt (1 TBSP to a gallon of lukewarm water) and then you can use either rose or tomato food, which I've never done and that Jackmanii doesn't seem to mind missing out on the extra food.

Every year I cut it back short (12" in February) and it goes the whole length without a problem. We do cut it back in the summer when we need to use the compost for other plants.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I'm so excited- I just got my clematis shipment from a co-op! They're all settled in for the short term on the city windowsill, waiting until Friday for the trip to the country. Hopefully by then the rain (2-5" expected) will have saturated our very dry soil and planting conditions will be good.
Here's the list:
Isago, a white double; Veronica's Choice, lavender double; Blue Light, lavender-blue; Will Goodwin, true blue; Viticella purpurea Plena elegans- which came by mistake but I'll find a place for it, never fear!; and on its way my original request, Violacea venosa. Yippee!

I'd like to put Isago on the box shrub behind Endless Summer Hydrangea. There are a lot of white flowers and silver foliage on the falling-down wall in front of it -not the clover in the grass, lol! That area was wiped out two years ago-reclaimed from major weed/thug/volunteer invasion- but is really beginning to fill in now. I realize Isago is Group 2, but that box only gets a light trim in the spring, so it should be ok. It will be facing south, with the Hydrangea in front of it.

One or two of the shade lovers are going on the north-facing wall of the house behind where the picture was taken from. There's a not-very-nice wrought iron railing by the entrance I'd like to camouflage. There's also not much root room because of the stone foundation and stair going down to the next level, so I'll have to figure that out.

There's another box opposite for another Clem or two, haven't worked that out yet... I guess this is the year of the clematis for me! I'm so thrilled to finally be able to add old favorites from another time in my gardening life to this project. And to be planting instead of spraying roundup... Aaah, life is good!

Thanks for all the advice and suggestions... Please keep them coming!

Pam


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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Have fun planting and be sure to post lots of photos as they bloom!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Pam - I don't know how far away from United Housewrecking you are but it could be worth a trip there (or a phone call) to see if they have any old cast iron gates for your clematises. It's a nice addition to the garden and would fit right in with the look of your garden. Just as nice in winter as when the clem's bloom.

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(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Where are they? That's a great idea! You're right, old wrought iron would fit right in.

I just googled, they are in Stamford, which is not impossible but might not happen right away. But is that crazy salvage place still there on the Flanders road? I still get to the east end on my own from time to time, and would be able to make that detour. There used to be a place in Southampton, too, right near where I lived, but it's all cleaned up now.

Pam

I have some clematis growing through shrubs. I started doing that when I started running out of room for the clematis I was buying. The only thing you really have to worry about it is that the clematis gets enough water and the pruning group. There isn't anything you cannot do with clematis. They would look so beautiful in your lovely gardens.

Co op clems are going to be small, so you will need to baby them the first year or so. Are they liner pots? If so, plant them into 1 gallon containers and wait to plant them about your shrubbery when the roots start to come out of the bottom of the pots. You and I are in the same zone and I have found that this could mean the pots will have to be heeled in for the winter and planted out next spring.

Arlene - love the idea about the gates for trellises.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

My co-op clems are fairly mature, they have great root systems. At the moment I have them stuffed into quart pots in the city, but Friday I'll get them to the house and pot them up to at least gallon if I can't plant them right away. I'll give them all the amendments Pirl recommended and dose of SuperThrive as well. I've been using that on all my seedlings and house plants this season and getting great results. Then when they go in the garden, Root Blast will help them settle in. I used it last fall, dividing and moving what seemed like thousands of plants, and I can already see that they've done very well.

It's a good tip to wait until I see roots out the bottom of the pot, thanks. What about the ones that come from Brushwood? Are they generally mature enough to plant right away, or is it better to pot them up and wait?

In the past I've dug up and moved established clems, and the root systems seemed fairly compact and near the surface. I always thought that's why they need some protection from direct sun. I'm surprised that they need such a big planting hole. Is it because they're such heavy feeders?

Pam

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I just read the thread, 'Pinching Belle of Woking." Should I pinch my new co-op plants? The pic a couple of posts above shows how much top growth they arrived with. In most cases there are at least a couple of stems, but bushier is always good. And they'd be so much easier to transport if I did it now. They are in MG potting mix with fertilizer, and I used 10:1 water/peroxide and SuperThrive to pot them. I wouldn't fert again now, wait until potting up but that's only a few days away. What do you all think?

Pam

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

While I don't know the name of the road that United Housewrecking is on, a phone call would be worth it. Just specify you don't want "estate" garden gates or they'll shock you with prices.

You can pinch yours, then wait for two more leafsets to develop, pinch again and then let it grow.

Here are the roots on a typical Brushwood clematis that I waited awhile to plant. You can compare yours to Brushwood's and if they aren't similar in size then follow Carolyn's advice about repotting for the entire first year. Typically Brushwood's plants are at least a foot tall and all have done well for me.

Walmart sells plastic self-watering pots and my experiment with Japanese irises was exceptionally successful (second photo) so I'd give it a try with the young co-op clem's. The collage shows the difference from June 1, 2011 to April 22, 2012. Now I have two Venosa Violacea clem's from Walmart in one of those pots in the kitchen. They are at least 3' tall already.

I'd leave the contents of the pots to just bone meal, compost, manure and mulch them well. Giving them too much food is not always a good idea since their roots can absorb a limited amount.

Brushwood plants can be planted immediately but, as with all clematises, plant them deeply. Remove any leaves that would be underground and plant them two to three inches deep. Add a stake to direct the growth where you want it. Mulch very well: three inches is good. You don't want the mulch crowding the stems so try for pine needles. They aren't suffocating when wet as some mulches can be.

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

As for the roots...here is a photo of Rooguchi (a gift from Louise, another DG clem lover) and you can clearly see the enormous size of the roots. Hers are grown with her own compost, aged sheep manure from her brother, bone meal and we both use reconstituted water crystals in the mix to insure each clem has access to water.

What we should all strive for is "Louise's roots".

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Grosse Pointe Shores, MI(Zone 6a)

OMG on those roots!

Pam, in one photo, I see a very large and beautiful rhododendron...are you planning on a clem growing on/in it?

I have a mature rhodo that might make a nice shrub for a clem, but I was worried about causing some trouble with the rhodo buds and issues of pruning. Any thoughts?

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Pirl, I will follow all your advice! This weekend I will be sifting the compost, I have bags of manure from the fall, and will pick up bonemeal. I have a good supply of water crystals. Root Blast is a rooting hormone, only used once in a growing season. I got the tip on DG, from SchickenLady I think, and it's a good one. Last fall I used it while chopping up and moving tons of plants, some quite small, and they did fantastically well. I do rhink it's probably safest to pot up most of the co-op plants, even though they look a pretty good size, just to be on the safe side. The more control, the better. Also, I'd like to see some of them bloom and move them around some before deciding on their final (is it ever final?!) home.
Koshki, I had been planning using on the box shrub at the top of the Rhodie, which is taller than me (5'8") but is dwarfed in the pic. But now that you mention it, why not?! The Rhodie never gets pruned, would shade the roots and give the blooms very full sun. What's a nice vigorous clem that could take the light without fading? Isn't it too much for a Jackmanii?

Pam

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I was just looking through old photos and came across this one from 2008.
In 2009 I took no garden pictures at all. That year I did a lot more wiping out, and anything I planted was tiny and seemed insignificant next to all the devastation. The tradescantia was about the worst, huge, tough root systems that were buried deep in between the rocks and in the middle of plants I wanted to save. They kept coming back over and over again. I still keep a sharp eye out and have to remove new ones very often. Ferns were second worst, still are,mthough I love them in other places. Then there were the raspberries, goldenrod, grass, and soooo many weeds! Ugh!!
The second is from last fall after moving things around quite a bit. The white baptisia was there, a huge clump surrounded by mess, and I managed to keep most of it. Sadly I lost the stand of white Physostegia behind it, but hope to be able to get some going there again. I think it must once have been a white garden, and am trying to work with that idea without perhaps being so strict about it. I plan to replace the anemone with the white Honorine Jobert. She can ramble as much as she wants, also the Physostegia, I welcome it there. I wonder where they'll want to go. I'm expecting more height this year over all, finally. It's been a long haul, but worth it. This is now the fun part.

Pam

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Koshki - I agree about Louise's roots!

Pam - you may want to make a photo folder for Clematis Planning. When you select the shrubs where you want blooms add photos of the rhodies in bloom to make sure they won't have fading flowers while the clem is in full bloom. It's fine if the clem blooms first since their flowers disappear soon enough (for the most part).

Same issue with tradescantia here. Tough roots and ever so persistent. Last week I must have removed 30 babies in a square foot and saw, on Saturday, there are at least 30 more to be plucked.

If you post a photo with the color of the rhodie we can all give you our thoughts on a good vigorous clem for it. Do not fear if you get a group 3 clem. Just clip the stems at a foot tall and don't even try to get the rest of the clem out of the rhodie. You can trim the hanging stems until you reach the point where they get into the rhodie stems. They turn brittle and you can snap them off if they bother you. Generally the foliage of the rhodie will cover the leftover old stems of the clem.

I did notice your lavender Munstead. Mine got unbelievably large so be prepared.

You can do a search for ClematisGuru (a former DG person) and her threads to get her planting methods and her advice.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

There she is... And are you ever right about noticing the time of bloom. This was early June last year. No Clem could compete with that! I'm thinking the late fall bloomer would be one choice. It used to be called paniculata, then it was changed to something beginning with W that was long and unpronounceable, now I don't know. But it could be nice to have something in the summer, too. Or earlier spring...
In the long view, the other blooms are another matching Rhodie and most else is Dame Rocket (I pull it out after bloom, there's always more next year) and some volunteer Bleeding Hearts that have been there for years.

I'm glad to hear about the Munstead. There used to be much more heft in the shapes in that area and I miss it. You can see in these pics that the lower plantings are quite robust by comparison. Can you believe those hosta?! They put themselves there, who knows how long ago!

I hope my clematis roots are even half as happy as the ones from Louise... But it does seem as if I have that chocolate cake Martha Stewart soil here, too, so if I add all that other good stuff they should do pretty well. Planting them deeply is something I hadn't known about before, but makes perfect sense once you explained it.

Pam

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Beautiful, Pam!

I thought of you a dozen times today as I drove to and from Riverhead for a doctor's appointment and then hit a few stores, Home Good being the primary target du jour. How about a chair, either rattan or steel mesh, painted the color you want, with clematises growing over, under and through it? Urns were another thought but not the garish ones often seen. More like the muted dark colors and please have drainage holes drilled! You could move them as you please until you settle on the ideal spot for each one.

Also, hunt antique, junk and offbeat shops, garage and yard sales, for some unusual thoughts on structures for clematises to grow.

I did spot a low retaining wall, just about 6' wide and 2' high. It looked ideal for some low clematises.
Here's Raymond Evison's site for his patio collection of clem's:
http://www.raymondevisonclematis.com/main/catalogue-home.asp

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Unfortunately my garden shopping time is limited, except on line. When I'm on my own I can meander as much as I want, but that doesn't happen so often in CT. Also, I begrudge the time spent away from the garden since we're not there all the time. But I will certainly keep all that in mind for when I do get to wander.

We have a few self-watering pots I've never used, stuck away somewhere. I'll dig them out and use them. I also have self-watering trays with platforms and capillary matting that I use inside and out for all 'nursery' seedlings and plants. As a weekend gardener I couldn't manage without them. But the individual pots would be perfect for the Clem's I want to hold for a while. I could even put them where I think I might like the permanent home to be and see how they look in bloom.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

It would be ideal to use the self-watering pots as you describe.

You may want to check out the site for Walpole Woodworkers. Their mailbox posts (sans the mailbox), painted a mossy green, might be ideal for the side of some shrubs so you can add netting and grow clematises and their obelisks are interesting but not in white for your landscaping. They do have an East Moriches location!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

A link would be helpful! Sorry!

http://www.walpolewoodworkers.com/garden-decor.aspx

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

You are reminding me...

There is an old barn which still contains relics from the past, especially thanks to the previous owner who gardened here from the mid 1930's until 1970. He also scavenged. We (not just me in the last 6 years, but also prior) have utilized many objects already- chains, like the one in pic 2 hanging from the eave, rusty iron wheels, the huge pot planter, etc. There are also fence posts, beams, all sort of things in there to be found and creatively re-invented for the garden. A couple of years ago we had some old split-rail fencing used to separate a utility area under the overhang. I tried a Clem on the corner there, but there wasn't enough root room or light, so I moved it by the old front walk to the left which is never used now, that entrance has been sealed for years. It's doing fairly well, but now that I know what it needs it will have a much better season this year!

J, who's been here since 1978, thinks there may be some wrought iron fence or post pieces in the barn. You can be sure I'll follow that up!

BTW, we welcome visitors!

Pam

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Oh, yes! Anything from the past would be ideal!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Just remembered our visit to another (gorgeous) Southold garden and the owner has lots of lilies, clematis and roses. As I recall it was over 200 clematises and 1500 roses. Anyhow, I love how he incorporated bird houses into his landscaping and thought you might like the idea. You could put wire around the poles and grow clem's for each one or more than one clem to each pole.

I thought the second photo, showing a bird house atop a tall tree stump, was neat.

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(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

So many ideas! I can't wait to get back there and get to work! Today I'm pinching the co-op clems and seeing if they'll root, following directions from another thread. I'm using coir, my new favorite seed-starting medium, and 10:1 water/ peroxide and Superthrive. I don't have any rooting powder- don't even know where to get it in the city. But why not...

One idea: for the big barrel I could plant in the garden below behind the pennials, maybe drape bird netting or chicken wire up the big rock so it could get to the barrel. To the left the ferns rule, to the right the ledge ends. Below are ferns and I think that's where the Virginia Creeper originates. It's a no-man's land there, under and behind a I'm slowly editing...
I did order a white integrifolia from Brushwood, to plant in the barrel and hope it would spill forward and down... Maybe I'd better wait and see if that works...

Sigh...

Pam

Pam

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I'll be your ideas for the mesh to the rock will work. Have fun...Pam...Pam!

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

All my orders are in now. The Brushwood plants look great, and packaged beautifully. One co-op plant that had arrived dry and wilty, seemed to recover, then succumbed, has been replaced. So now I'm up to 10 new clematis to play with, and 5 others which have somehow survived so far, although in one case, just barely. I'll have quite a nursery this year!

Two good ones are both autumn-blooming. One, C Paniculata, has already been moved and planted correctly. The other, C virginiana, is planted under a box hedge on the lower level, and i was hoping it would come to the top and flower there, but it didn't bloom. However it did put on good growth, so I'm leaving it alone for now.





This message was edited May 4, 2012 2:04 PM

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Grrrr.... Pics didn't post!

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

You'll have blooms galore in time. You can add an unobtrusive trellis even in the middle of some shrubs (if you wish) for added interest.

So glad you got the bad co-op plant replaced. Nursing one back to health is a major job especially after it's been growing and then wilted. You did the right thing.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Thanks! There's still a chance the other one will come back from the root, but she replaced it immediately. There was a new person helping with the packing, and the plants were quite dry when I got them. The new one arrived just moist enough.

I'm keeping my eye out for supports that will fit in, especially your thoughts about wrought iron, vintage posts, etc. Right now everything is very weathered and authentic, and I like that a lot, but as things fill in inspiration may move in another direction... Who knows??

This noid may be a Montana, but I'm not sure. It had been under a small evergreen for a year and didn't do much. Last year I decided it was probably too dark and weedy there, so I brought it out into more light. It's a south- facing wall, but there are a lot of tall trees and shrubs which filter the sun quite a bit. There was a good clump of Saponaria in front of it which I thought would shield the roots, and I gave it a good layer of mulch. This spring I decided to put a climbing rose there too, New Dawn, and it went in last week. The rose was planted with granulated manure, compost and mulch, and I spread some around the whole area as well. There's an old chain that goes up, along the top of the whole wall and down again. I'd like to really use it, so if the Clem is a Montana, that would be great.

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Here are the leaves of montana Grandiflora so you can take a close-up of your leaves and compare them:

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Grosse Pointe Shores, MI(Zone 6a)

Such a wonderful garden you have! I'm looking forward to seeing photos of it through the season.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Thanks, Pirl. So many buds! You're going to have quite a display. Is this an older plant?

Koshki, you've been shopping up a storm too - I'll be looking for your pictures as well!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

It is older, Pam. I bought a package of five from BJ's back in '95 and all were supposed to be Duchess of Edinburgh. I lucked out by planting this montana Grandiflora at the dog's fence and it took off quickly. Three of the four Duchess are thriving.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

My noid has put on some new growth, but no buds yet. It doesn't look like a Montana after all, I think, at least not compared to yours, Pirl. I have no idea what to expect... and I love surprises, as long as they don't clash, lol. It's hard to imagine what might clash with New Dawn though, so I think I'm safe.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Here's the latest pic...

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