It’s been the best part of a year since we made a particularly sinful trip to the local Garden Centre and came away with three climbers:
- A climbing hydrangea
- A honeysuckle
- A clematis
The honeysuckle is in the ground, has climbed eight feet high, taking it beyond the height of the fence and into the large pyracantha of the neighbour’s on the other side. It is currently flowering and the scent is delicious. In time, this will be a fabulous addition to the garden.
The climbing hydrangea is still in its original pot, on the patio as part of the patio pots collection. It did not flower this year. I believe it is still a bit young but having said that, the plant has really filled out and has gone from a spindly stick to a substantially bushy climber (if that makes any sense).
The Clematis is “Star of India” was planted in the front garden with the skeleton of a large potato bush (Solanum Crispum) for a frame and a backdrop of dark green ivy growing down the fence (down, as it’s coming over the top of the fence from the other side).
As I am repeatedly not very good with clematis, the plant was bought in flower and when planted, it continued a short while with those flowers and then promptly died to the ground when winter set in. I checked the stems and they weren’t just dormant, ready to burst into life at the first signs of spring, they were dead; dried, shrivelled, dead. I wasn’t holding out much hope of the clematis coming back this year and indeed I forgot about it until late spring when one morning, when I noticed something vertical poking out of the swathe of wild garlic growing at the fence base.
Upon closer inspection it was clematis of some sort. The only thing was that the leaves were a different shape to the original, the stem was much thicker and the growth was coming from somewhere that didn’t seem part of the original plant. Apart from all that, it was a clematis so I didn’t argue.
I generally left it to its own devices and it slowly muddled through the cold spring and with the warmer weather, had reached a good way up the fence by early summer with a bit of help from some garden wire.
A great deal of hot weather later and it is now flowering, with a grand total of two flowers plus two more on their way. This also means the nail-biting wait to find out if this really is the same plant is over.
I can confidently say that this is the same thing that we bought at the Garden Centre about a year ago, labelled as Clematis “Star of India” as a bonus it is still alive and flowering. Subsequent years will tell if the best I can get out of this plant is four flowers with a die-back to the ground each winter.
I tend not to be very good with clematis.