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19 messages
18/04/2012 at 13:48

I planted Miss Bateman and Dr Ruppel on a metal arch two years back and every spring out pop the flowers buds, but poor Miss Bateman suffers earwig damage! A third of her show so far this year. Do you think she has the sweetest flowers?  This duo are planted in very close proximity to a trellis fence occupied by Josephine, but the grand dame remains unspoilt. Of course, I count my blessings, it could be far worse, but poor Miss Bateman  

I'm thinking of moving her to another location, upturned flower pots filled with straw have failed to catch a single culprit and it has happened predictably for two years running. None of my other Clematis in any part of the garden suffer a single spoilt bud.

Any advice, tips or similar anecdotes?

19/04/2012 at 15:29

Oh ! I'll keep a close eye on my new one I've just planted. It had several buds on it so I can't wait to see the flowers open. It's a family name of my grandmother so I really want this to grow in her memory.

19/04/2012 at 17:18

I love Miss Bateman, but my goodness she is a temperamental lady indeed!! I had her in a large pot until the snails came and licked her bark off and she died - no joke, apparently snails (and probably slugs too) have masses of little hooks on their tongues and when they find a plant they like - which seems to be most of them, but some more than others, like Miss Bateman - they just lick until there is no more bark.  s with any plant, once the bark is 'ringed' the plant dies.   I have considred trying again with copper tape around the pot, as I do for my hosta collection but haven't quite decided if I am going to do that for her yet. 

20/04/2012 at 19:53

Thanks for the advice Bookertoo. I might have to use pellets as she's rather special to me. Don't like using them really though, so I may try the garlic tea spray first.

20/04/2012 at 22:50

Miss Bateman needs to grow some thorns up her long legs, infuse her petals with venom and maybe develop an insect digesting stomach pouch bit. Well, she needs something to toughen her up! 

I took various clematis cuttings last year and whilst I can't yet identify them because the stupid ink washed off the stupid special labels  If she is among them, I may test her in another part of the garden. More buds have been ruined since I picked off all the eaten ones.

21/04/2012 at 13:44

Dear Wintersong (what a lovely name!),  do so agree about pens and labels, and if they do stay written upon the blackbirds move them anyway!!  In fact nothing seems to beat a plain soft lead pencil, the writing stays clear and does not wear off.  If the label is going to remain in situ for a good while, a layer of clear nail varnish ove t the writing keeps it in place even better.   This is especially good on wooden labels, the kind that look like, and probably are, lollypop sticks.   It doesn't beat the blackbirds however ...............

25/04/2012 at 15:11

I inspected my clematis today and found a fat earwig, bottom's up inside one of the buds! What a cheeky thing, it didn't even stop munching when I removed the flowerbud into a pot and took it some place else.

27/04/2012 at 19:18

Early today I was checking my Clematis nose-to-buds when I noticed an earwig bottom sticking out of the support cane. On further inspection, there were two inside that have since been removed. That's a total of three earwigs eating approximately twenty buds between them. Miss Bateman is tasty!

I removed all the support canes and hope to save this beauty further attack. Perhaps a word of warning for novice growers not to use canes with holes in them

27/04/2012 at 19:48

As mine is new this year I'll go and check the canes tomorrow. Thank you

10/05/2012 at 21:42

thanks for all the tips!  i think one of my clematis has wilt - again.  Monty Don mentioned that the late-flowering types are more robust.  does anyone have a view on this?  i've lost two hagley hybrids, which i'm sad about as i especially love the dusty pink colour.  would there be a late-flowering one, that's robust, in a similar colour?  

another clematis question:  a neighbour keeps giving me dire wanrings not to fertilise the clematis.  she says hers died when she did.  i do fertilise mine, but she's made me nervous, so i've held back a bit.  i think they're looking a bit pale.  i have three early-flowering ones left (one of which may have the wilt, although i see no blackening of leaves and stems yet), and one healthy-looking late flowering one (rouge cardinal).  and an evergreen one.  i've used a bit of general purpose fertiliser, and a good rich compost, but just as a mulch so as not to disturb the roots.  

10/05/2012 at 22:11

The late flowering types are less susceptible to wilt. It's in their genes.

I've not heard of fertiliser killing any plant unless it is way too strong on something precious like a seedling, or a bit raw like fresh manure. Too much is not always a good thing, since you get lots of leaf and no flowers.

 I sprinkle bone-meal in early spring and mulch then something after flowering to put on good growth before winter. Clematis are hungry plants so twice a year is probably about right. I'm not sure if I do it correctly, but I do know you shouldn't use a high nitrogen feed during budding or flowering because it lessens the blooms.

11/05/2012 at 10:31

The vitcella group ae smaller flowering, but do so profusely.  I use them in all sorts of places, and they are not susceptible to wilt - it seems to be the large flowered hybrids that get this.  For spring (whatever that may be), the montana group are good if you have space for them, as they do get very large aned heay - gorgeous though.  You can grow vitcellas through them when they have stopped flowering themselves, looks good.   If you really want the large flowering clematis (and I still try with them) you need to plant them very deep indeed, then if wilt strikes they will often shoot again from the part that is underground - worth trying. 

The non-climbing herbaceous clematis are good too, in pots, hanging baskets or just clambering around other things in a flower bed - mostly purples yet, but there will come more colours I am sure.

Bought a 'red' clematis this year, it isn't, it is very lovely but definitely purple, although the label shows a clear red - thought it unlikely at the time. 

12/05/2012 at 09:56

thanks for the advice.  i think that when my two large-flowered clematis finally give up the ghost (and i do spend so much time and effort keeping them going!), i will try a viticella.  i have a montana rubens, which i love, but even that is hammered by snails, slugs and earwigs.  it seems to be doing a bit better this year, since i've been so vigilant!   i'll try it with a viticella, will give the bugs some choice, and they might be a little distracted from the montana.

i bought an evergreen clematis - "early sensation", and it's supposed to be hardy.  does anyone know how hardy they are?  it's in a large pot, so would it be better to bring it in over winter?  

rouge cardinal is almost red - i think it has a touch of pink.  it's also later flowering, and the only one of my clematis that is fairly robust.  

12/05/2012 at 14:47

My Miss Bateman has now got 3 lovely big blooms on it , admittedly they've all got small holes in which is probably due to the earwigs, that you all warned me about. This is it's fiirst year and I hope that as it gets taller, the flowers will be not so vunerable. They are only about 5inches from the ground. So looking forward to next year.

12/05/2012 at 17:10

Bookertoo - was your red clematis called rebecca? I was very tempted to buy this one and held back thinking it probably wasn't red. 

12/05/2012 at 18:58

@diggingdoris, Miss Bateman gave us 3 blooms the year we bought her and about 12 the following year. This year, there were about 40, half of which were eaten by the earwigs!

Good luck with yours

13/05/2012 at 11:49

Thanks wintersong, that's good news. Each morning I go and look at the flowers and notice the petals are getting more lacy, but never mind there will be better results next year it seems. Nevertheless, the memories of my Nan flood back each time I look at this, as she was a Miss Bateman before she married Grandad.

13/05/2012 at 12:03

Oh how lovely!

17/05/2012 at 19:08

Yes Lilyfan, my 'red' clematis is Rebecca, I bought it from the breeder, which made it partiularly disappointing.  It is gorgeous, but real red it is not.  Maybe I should mention it to them? 

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