Advice or suggestions please :)

Pasco, WA(Zone 6b)

In the attached photo you will see some climbing rose bushes. DUH :) Anyhow, the past couple of years has not been good to them. There is a lot of dead wood and some also went wild (reverting back to the little red roses) instead of what they were. So, I'm probably going to yank them out. Maybe leave the red one in the middle, not sure yet. I have to make time to look them over good and see what I need to do.

But, I do not want to look at the ugly chain link fence! So i was thinking of putting clematis all along the fence. They might work better there anyway because in front is a small garden area where we plant some tomatoes and cucumbers. My husband does not like getting ripped up by the rose bushes when in that garden area. But we really loved the roses anyway and were planning on just keeping them trimmed up close to the fence line. But since the roses aren't doing well now I was thinking about the clematis idea.

What I would like is some suggestions to which clematis would help cover up the fence every year. And I know it won't be the first year. But when they are established. So I am thinking of easier to grow clematis that do well in your experiences. Maybe some with different bloom times so there is something blooming more often then just the initial flush. I am thinking I need the more vigorous or taller varieties. Not the monsters though!!!! LOL

Or maybe you even have a better idea for covering the fence? But remember, whatever it is, it has to be able to stay close to the fence because of the garden space in front of it. And sorry, but no trumpet vines!!!! Way too vigorous here for what we want.

Any advice or suggestions? Gotta get back to work now. See you soon. :)


Thumbnail by Sherrygirl
Pasco, WA(Zone 6b)

Wow, no replies. :( No suggestions. Maybe I'll just plant some new climbing roses. I don't know, I have to think about this. LOL

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

All I could think of was the monsters, Sherry, and mine hasn't been easily tamed regardless of how often I chop away at it. Some of the montanas (monsters) are not as vigorous so I'd suggest looking at Brushwood's site and do a search for "montana". They would cover that fence but I do love your roses.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Here is our montana Grandiflora. It would easily go to a width of 20' or more if I allowed it, hence the "monster" part of the name. Still, it would provide coverage and needs NO pruning, no fussing.

Thumbnail by pirl
Pasco, WA(Zone 6b)

Hi Pirl,
Thanks for the reply. I think the montana Grandiflora you posted would be way too big. I need it to stay pretty much up against the fence because of my hubbys little garden spot in front of the roses. We have a bigger veggie garden in another part of our yard, but he doesn't want me to take that spot over.....yet, if I have it my way. LOL Like I don't have enough garden beds to take care of already! I like the roses too and may just replace them with some other climbers. But that is not what the roses look like now. They have reverted back to the tiny red looking roses that they were apparently grafted onto. :( I definitely don't like that look. So if I stick with roses I have to get new ones and start over. If I decide to use clematis I'm thinking that maybe I could use some like I already have like Hagley Hybrid, Ramona, Villa de Lyon, Nelly Moser, Niobe, etc...etc. Decisions, decisions! I get worse at making decisions everyday!

( Pam ) Portland, OR

I wonder what you would have left if you did a big prune job on the roses, and clip off anything growing below the graft ? Those two yellow climbers are telling me they want to go on either side of an arbor. And the red one, if there's still enough left to recover, would be beautiful in a different place with it's own independent support, maybe with a small garden surrounding it.

If that were my fence, I would plant as many clematises as would fit. One blooming for each month of the year. We can do that here, and I think your climate is mild enough too ? I know your a bit colder. Still seems do-able even with the temp difference.

The reason I say that is I helped a friend years ago, plant such a fence. It was around a commercial parking lot, with stuff behind the fence she didn't want to detract from her business. She did the clematis fence and a mixed, county cottage perennial bed in front of it. The perennials hid the less attractive knees of the clems, and the total effect was gorgeous, plus it gave the neighbors some privacy and flowers !

She picked clems that all wanted full sun, the bloom times I mentioned, and a mix of colors. I remember being there, spade in hand when the clems arrived, ready to help dig little holes. This was such a looked forward to event, and plan.
We had choices to make as to how to balance the colors out. Seems like they were all clems that grow in the 8 to 10 ft region, and I think we spaced them about 6 or 8 feet apart, but my memory's a bit foggy that many years back. She did put a montana in the center to fill out and give instant cover, running across the top. The plan was to pull it out later once the other clems had time to mature a bit.

Boy.. I wish I had a lovely long space with all that sun to plant clems. But I'm currently in my clematis obsession phase of my life.:)

This message was edited May 31, 2012 9:12 PM

Taylorsville, KY

There is an article in the latest Fine Gardening that gives some specs on different clems. There aren't many listed but it may make a good place for you to start and give you some things to think about, ie, height, colors, pruning requirements. I think that would be a gorgeous place for clems. I have about 20 and find that they usually "climb" taller than whatever trellis/fence I have them on so my fear would be ones short enough to fit the fence. Maybe this year you could plan annual vines via seeds (hyacinth bean for example) to get idea of what clems might look like. kim

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