Nothing comes between me and a good clematis. In fact, it’s probably becoming an obsession. In our garden I’ve lost count of how many I’ve bought in the last few years.
From the bushy shrub-like varieties to the sky-touching climbers, this versatile herbaceous species will thrive in most conditions. They’re easy to keep and the rewards can be spectacular.
So imagine Agent Soph’s delight (not) when two shiny, spanking new varieties turned up at our doorstep earlier this week.
We have a north facing garden, so with limited direct sunlight I try to pack as much colour as possible into our little Eden. However, the fence running down one side of our garden has always bothered me. Although in the spring and summer months it’s hidden by Foxgloves, Sunflowers, Cosmos and Bishop’s Weed, in the winter months it seems to suck out what little colour there is in the garden. I wanted something that would grow over it quickly and cover it. So I invested in two Clematis ‘Elizabeth’.
A vigorous climber, with pale pink flowers and a vanilla scent, this variety is very happy in a north facing environment. It can also be easily trained to grow across my fence. So hopefully in a few months’ time, it’ll not only look good but provide a little rest and recuperation for the passing bees, butterflies and bugs.
However, despite their appeal, it would seem that some folk are a little weary of how to prune these climbing beauties. Fear not my green-fingered adventurers, clematis come in three pruning groups.
Pruning Group 1 – These are a winter/early blooming clematis which flower on last year’s growth. So once flowered, cut out the three D’s (death, damaged and diseased parts of the plant).
Pruning Group 2 – These tend to bloom in early summer, so cut out the three Ds in early spring before they wake up and start growing, cutting right back to the healthy buds. These can also produce a second bloom in later summer, so once flowered, again cut back to the new buds.
Pruning Group 3 – These are a late summer, even early autumn variety, and pruning these couldn’t be easier. Simply cut all stems down to 20cm from the ground and above a pair of buds in spring.
Of course the internet is awash with advice, more in depth than my cheap and cheerful scribbling, so for more information on pruning, try the RHS website.
Hmm, that reminds me, it’s about time I looked into buying another clematis.