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Image of Clematis 'Etoile Violette'
Clematis 'Etoile Violette'

Clematis makes the perfect climber for any garden. These popular plants are easy to grow and come in a variety of flower shapes and colours, with a cultivar to suit any aspect, and careful selection will guarantee that you will have at least one in flower in your garden from early spring until autumn.

For colour at the start of the year choose a species that flowers in late winter and into early spring like Clematis cirrhosa ideal for a sheltered spot, with its freckled-cream bells followed by whiskery seedheads, and for early spring the vigorous evergreen armandii with its glossy mid-green leaves and fragrant white flowers delicately scented of almonds will brighten the gloomiest of days.

From May to June Clematis Nelly Mosser with large pink striped petals will add a splash of vibrant colour to your garden and reward you with a second flush of flowers later in summer. And finally, my suggestion for a for late summer flowering variety would be Etoile Violette with its rich deep pink flowers which, once established will flower prolifically into the autumn months.

If you do not have a suitable wall or fence for a climber, then a compact variety like Blue Dwarf can be grown in a container. Make sure the container has good drainage and use a soil-based compost, like John Innes no 3 with added grit and a short obelisk for support.

The best time of year to plant clematis is in early spring or early to mid-autumn. Choose a position in the sun and dig a hole to the same depth as the soil in the container. Make sure your hole is 30 – 45 cms away from the base of the wall or fence to allow for any guttering or roof hangover above that might limit the amount of rainfall that will reach the plant. Plant your clematis at a slight angle leaning towards the wall or fence and back-fill around the roots ensuring no air pockets.

Clematis like their heads in the sun and their toes in the shade. So, when you have finished planting use pebbles or summer bedding around the base of the plant to ensure the roots are kept cool and in the shade.

Ensure your clematis has a support to climb. Use a free-standing obelisk or a trellis panel attached to your wall or garden fence, and regularly tie in new stems with twine to help the plant establish.

Depending on which variety of clematis you choose you may need to prune the plant to keep it in tip top condition. Check the label to see which Pruning Group your variety falls into, to ensure you prune at the right time of year to prune.

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For more regular tips, advice, and news you can tune into Radio Ninesprings (104.5 FM Yeovil and South Somerset, 103.3 FM Wincanton and 107.6 FM Chard or online at www.radioninesprings.com) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from the 7th June when you can hear From the Potting Shed in association with Brimsmore Garden Centre and brought to you by yours truly.

Until next time

Julie

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