It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a detached house in possession of a long frontage, must be in want of clematis. Or so the line goes. Many people know my track record with clematis doesn’t make for good reading, but I shan’t stop trying and so I jumped at the chance to put into action a plan involving clematis, which had been brewing in my mind for some time.
It all starts last autumn, we were on yet another guilt-filled trip to the garden centre, which was undergoing a change of owner at the time. The ensuing disruption had many plants at greatly reduced prices. Unfortunately, with a pending house move and an already crammed garden, I could only “look but not touch” (always a painful experience). That is until I came across a stand of dead sticks in pots posing as clematis, with their labels marked:
£16.99 reduced to £1
Yes please! I’ll have six.
They were all varieties of patio clematis, suitable for pots and since then they’ve been waiting in the wings until a recent passing mention of the price of garden trugs in the local supermarket caught my attention:
£6.00 reduced to £3
Yes please! I’ll have six.
With a drill, soil sieve, polystyrene packaging, bamboo and a scabbed piece of porous landscape fabric, I was all set to put my plan into action.
Step 1: use the largest drill bit to put drainage holes in the bottom of the trugs.
Step 2: break up the polystyrene packaging and put a layer in the bottom in place of stones or crocks. When filled the trugs will be heavy enough without stones.
Step 4: go to the bottom of the garden, underneath the trees where years of autumn leaves have created a rich leaf mould compost just laying there on the ground, waiting to be used. Fill each trug. Mix in bonemeal, general purpose fertiliser and potash for an extra boost if desired.
Step 5: Plant one ludicrously cheap clematis into each half-price trug filled with free compost. Feel smug while doing so.
Step 6: Find the nearest clump of overgrown bamboo and cut five canes 6′ to 8′ long for each trug. Oh look! There appears to be a suitably sized stand of bamboo available at the bottom of the garden. How convenient.
Step 8: Place all six trugs along the front of the house and then water thoroughly (otherwise you’ll never manage to lift them into position).
Sit back and admire a very cheap yet arresting upgrade to the frontage of the house. Don’t tell the neighbours how cut-price and “Blue Peter” the whole operation was.
The front of the house receives a great deal of sunshine. These potted clematis will be in full sun for most of the day. It is said that clematis prefer shade at the bottom to keep their roots cool but black trugs in full sun are not ideal and will gradually heat up. This can be prevented by growing hanging basket plants such as trailing fuchsias and lobelias that will cascade over the top and sides and stop the soil from heating as much.
This is probably something I will do a later on, right now I’d say the clematis are lucky to get the treatment they’ve had and can deal with slightly warmer roots or deal with the compost heap, it’s their choice.