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I'm trying to grow clematis for the first time, i have researched, and read that much, im getting confused, i was wondering if there is anyone on the forum who is from my neck of the woods (Lanarkshire Central Scotland) who has experience in growing clematis in my area who could give me some pointers as to what to expect mainly due to our lovely climate...
Percy, I'm central Scotland and empathise with the weather comments. Lots of Clematis in gardens around here but Montana seems to be the main one which seems to thrive (rampant!). I have a 'Polish Spirit' (a dark purple) - (Group 3 pruning I think) which I only planted last year and which took off and flowered really well. Overwintered well in the period of very low temps. Even had to dig it up and move it after house drain flood (on Hogmanay can you believe!) and it's growing well after the move.
I have a Clematis Alpina which is on a south-western fence on the top of the hill, so very exposed. It's flowering beautifully right now, having survived snow and hail over the last week. I'm in Fife, five miles from the sea.
Thanks Yarrow & Laura
Funnily enough i have planted two montana's and have a polish spirit waiting to be planted when i find the right spot, lovely picture Yarrow i'd be well chuffed if i get something like that this summer (providing we get a summer this year)..
I hear you about the aspect being exposed Laura i'm much the same on top of a hill, i don't have any Alpina's but i will definitely look them up, i was thinking of sticking to Montana's & Viticella's for now they seem pretty hardy for our climate..
Thanks again guys
I used to grow in Fife and found that most clematis flowered well, but avoid all the evergreen types (Clematis armandii, C. cirrhosa, C. x cartmanii) as they are too tender. Montanas and Viticellas are easy to grow and prune, while Alpinas and Macropetalas are really cold-tolerant
Thanks for the compliment on the photo. It is a lovely clematis and was a surprise to me as I bought it at B&Q on a whim, wasn't planted until May, had no feeding and I just let it clamber up garden wire attached to a west-facing wall. I'd never tried a climber before, knew nothing about Clematis and in case it didn't do much, I planted a deep pink sweet pea beside it which grew through it. By August it was seven feet up my wall and blooming happily - even through the prolonged rain we seemed to have the entire summer. The sweet pea didn't last long in the continual showers but the Polish Spirit just bloomed and bloomed right through to November. However, I'm in the town surrounded by tall buildings so there is some shelter, albeit the winds are bi-directional and harsh to the extent most plants end up bending in one direction.
What I didn't realise was that I ought to have let the stems come back down again. Not knowing this, I hadn't controlled where it was going and many of the blooms ended up high with less lower down at eye level. It survived the freezing temperatures over the winter, was replanted due to drain flood and quickly planted in the nearest bed just to have somewhere to put it. When the weather became reasonable during the sudden odd warm week in February, I cut it down to about a foot stem length and re-planted it. It has now grown 4-5 foot up the wall again. It is a beauty. But it was my first clematis experiment and I'm so glad I tried it and chose this specific one for it's particular colour. It was a trick getting a photograph on a non-rainy day last year and the later flowering sweet peas turned pale instead of deep pink. Let's hope we have a better time this year!!! I'm sure yours will also be successful and will turn out better than you could imagine.
I garden in central Belgium where winters can be very hard and long. I have a favourite clematis supplier who labels his plants with their hardiness in temperatures and can tell you that the following all survive in temps down to -25C:-
Etoile Violette, Princess Diana, Huldine, Little Nell, Red Ballon, Red Robin, Sunset, Crystal Fountain, Arabella, Blue Angel, Nelly Moser, Rahvarinne, Cicciolina and several more whose names I'd have to check. Plenty of colours and flower forms here and you can check for size and pruning group on this website - http://www.clematis.hull.ac.uk/
Your post (story) and pictures have given me a little confidence, and a lot of inspiration to get out there and just do it..
Thanks for the info Obelixx, finding hardy clematis is a must for a scottish garden..
Hi Percy (love the nickname)
You've had some great answers here so I won't bother to add the same info but have you thought about growing your clematis through a boring shrub? You get the protection from the shrub and if you choose well you can extend the interest of an exstablished flowering shrub. You can also combine the flowering times to make a stunning display. I have an alpina clematis growing through a philadelphus, a montana through a dull conifer and a President (dark purple) through a Gertrude Jekyll rose(rich bright pink) in my Glasgow garden.
I do that too Shell but using trees instead of roses. I tried climbing roses but they sometimes get blasted to death by our winters or severely knocked back. However, I'm about to try again by putting a clematis caerulea luxurians up rosa Constance Spry who does cope with winter but only flowers once so needs added interest in July and August.
I have clems growing up a toothache tree (sorry, lost the botanical name label), parrotia persica, a wisteria and hamamelis orange peel.
I also sometimes combine two clems from the same pruning group up one climbing support so their flowers can complement each other.
Thanks for taking the time to reply...
My end goal is to grow climbers such as clematis, roses, honeysuckle and a few other climbers in-front of a long row of 12ft leylandii that run along the perimeter of our garden, i will certainly try train some to grow through the trees, it all comes down to aspect as there is a lot of shadow in our garden..
Your showing your age if you get my username..