that flower in winter deserve brownie points
and none more so than the climbing clematis
that brighten walls, arbours, trellis and arches.
They are all hardy but will flower better when
positioned in a sunny sheltered spot protected
from cold blasts of wind. A south or west-facing
wall is perfect.
Usually the soil at the base of a wall is made
up of builder’s rubble, debris, and clay
with a thin layer of topsoil to make it look
presentable. Excavate a large hole at least
2-3 times the size of the plant pot. Add a layer
of compost or old farmyard manure to the base.
Position the plant 4 inches deeper than previously
grown to encourage the lower part of the stem
to form roots. Back fill around the root-ball
with topsoil with a handful of bone meal fertilizer
Water the plant to settle the soil around the
roots and train the growths onto supports. Once
they become attached they will romp away without
the need for regular training. The clematis
will grow away quickly in the spring so allow
sufficient space for its eventual spread.
The most troublesome pests are the dreaded slugs
and snails. They will graze and chew the thin
stems close to the soil causing the leaves to
wither on the plant. Prevention is better than
cure so spread petroleum jelly on a collar of
cardboard around the base of the plant to prevent
them getting to the plant. If they do cause
damage then cut the stems down to the ground,
water and feed the plant and it will produce
Wilt disease is a serious disease but is seldom
the cause of plants dying. Planting deeper than
when grown in the pot will help prevent wilt
killing the clematis.
cirrhosa group of clematis are well suited to
sheltered gardens in Ireland. Native to the
Mediterranean region Clematis cirrhosa and its
cultivars do best on a sunny, sheltered wall.C.cirrhosa
var. cirrhosa is evergreen with glossy, deep
green foliage and creamy-white flowers that
are occasionally spotted with purple on the
inside or with a green stain on the outside.
The flowers appear in late winter followed by
the silvery, silky seed heads.
has deeply cut fern-like leaves that are smaller
than those of cirrhosa and in winter are flushed
bronze-purple. The creamy-white flowers are
speckled reddish-brown on the inside with the
pleasant fragrance of citrus. It is the hardiest
of all the varieties and will tolerate a north
facing wall. The variety C. c. ‘Freckles’
has, as the name suggests, cream flowers heavily
marked on the inside with reddish-brown flecks.
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