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Oh my word - I've just had about a thousand (ok slight exaggeration) email notifications of PMs received over the past fortnight - excuse me while I clear my inbox ...........
Bill, sorry to hear that, it must be so hard after all you've been through ........ but think of it this way, he's gone to join your son over the Rainbow Bridge ((hugs))
The ivy Hedera algeriensis 'Gloire de Marengo' is a good one, it' has substantial variegated leaves so would provide colour and textural interest.
Tell us about it - we in Norfolk get the same problems every year, particularly on the mudflats near Blakeney etc, people always having to be rescued - favourite quote, "..... but the high tide was at a different time when we were here before Duh!!! "
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I've sent Lidl an email!!!
Oh dear! http://www.lidl.co.uk/cps/rde/SID-F1C5636D-D31605D9/www_lidl_uk/hs.xsl/our-offers-2491.htm?action=showDetail&id=10923
How embarrassing! Who's going to tell them???
I hope it's not this company http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/02/13/tbwa-london-wins-18-million-lidl-advertising-account fancy getting £18 million for getting it wrong!!!
There's no such thing as dahlia bulbs - dahlias grow from tubers. I think Lidl's advertising people are confused
Although Jingle Bells is evergreen, even evergreens lose their leaves and grow new ones - just not all at the same time in the autumn like deciduous plants - I think that this is just your clematis getting ready to lose some of it's older leaves and nothing for you to worry about.
It does sound as if it's on it's way out. However, it's usefulness may not be over - venerable old trees are very valuable for wildlife, all sorts of precious insects and birds may make their homes in the rotting branches - even woodpeckers.
Why not plant a rambling rose to climb up into the branches - it will be absolutely beautiful.
This one is Paul's Himalayan Musk, but there are several others suitable for training into a tree, see here http://www.classicroses.co.uk/productindex.php?type=rose&prodfinderformroseHeight=4m-over&prodfinderformroseCondGrowingIntoTree=on