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Archive for the ‘Veronicastrum’ Category

Clematis-you can never have enough of them! This one is Clematis viticella ‘Alba Luxurians’. One of the first I planted in my garden and I love it for its random green markings on the petals.

Originally growing right next to a tree, this plant barely used to flower, but as soon as the tree was removed, it sped away. It especially likes my neighbours’ lovely new trellis to cling onto.

Viticella indicates a late flowering (group 3) Clematis, so every spring, I just lop the whole thing down to about 18 inches, give it a good mulch with manure and it flowers profusely from July until September/October.

I think this one (above) is C. viticella ‘Venosa Violacea’ (huge thanks Nick and Jo -in comments below. Definitely not ‘The President’).  Again, flowering from July to September.

I may have mentioned (just a few times) that I’ve only got a small London garden, and having run out of wall space, I was looking for other means of getting more of these gorgeous blooms into my plot. A lovely old stick, wrapped in chicken wire seems to work well and sveltely adds a bit of height and drama into the border. Half of this Clematis did die back earlier in the year and presuming this was ‘clematis wilt’, I chopped the whole plant back to about a foot. Since then it’s recovered well,  put on lots of healthy new growth, and is still pumping out loads of colour in October. Hoorah!

By no means am I a Clematis expert, but many growers have advised me over the years to plant these climbers about 15cm deeper than they were originally grown in the pot, and this will hep them survive clematis wilt.

I’ve still got a fair amount of colour in the garden at the moment, but mostly pinks and purples, so I’ve decided to plant another Clematis, Bill Mackenzie this time, which will give me wonderful yellow nodding lanterns from August until November.

Now is a great time to plant perennials and climbers, as the ground is still warm and we should have plenty of rain for keeping plants well watered.

Following my own advice to plant good and deep, seventeen years later I’m still being surprised with concrete (reinforced this time-GRrr) in my borders.

However, I did manage to dig a big deep hole and plant my new purchase about 15cms lower than it was growing in its pot.

I’ve also given it a lovely stick to climb up, with lots of chicken wire to grab onto,

and mixed loads of rich compost into the planting hole. Again, I’ll cut this back in spring to about a foot, 18 inches. This is quite a vigorous Clematis though, so I think I may have to add another stick to make an arch as the climber really gets into its stride.

I’ve found Clematis do take at least a couple of years to really get going, but once you start looking at all the exciting varieties our there (try Thorncroft, a great Clematis specialist for ordering online, or Great Dixter have a great selection too if you’re passing near Rye), you can find varieties that will give you flowers for most of the year, and you’ll want to squeeze in more and more.

I bought this lovely metal frame from Plant Belles in spring to weave a Clematis Columbine (early flowering group 1) around. But many objects will give a clematis the support it needs to romp away.

Last summer I visited Bryan’s Ground, a superlative garden near Hay-on-Wye, and marvelled at this clematis growing up old bed springs, supplying a stunning backdrop to these triumphant Veronicastrum.

And this Clematis montana ‘Tetrarose’ (group 1) flowering in May in Lucy Mackenzie’s ‘Lip na Cloiche’ garden on Mull had a lovely gentle scent as well as entwining itself around a length of hefty old rope.

 Clematis armandii also delicately perfumes the air in March and April.  It doesn’t necessarily need pruning, but this evergreen is so vigorous, that you may need to hack this right back to a foot or two if it gets overgrown. Do it just after it’s flowered and you should still have some blooms the following year.

And I have very fond memories of these whopping ‘Nelly Moser’ blooms scrambling up my in-laws’ shed in Belfast. Perfect for a less-than-sunny spot by the way.

There’s still one more clematis , H.F. Young, to find a space for in my garden. It’s looks like a rather charming variety, with large ‘Wedgwood Blue’ flowers in May and June and again in August and September. Just need to come up with the right support. Thinking it may be a teepee this time.

 

 

 

 

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topiary-vie-win-to-field Some gardens just make your heart sing. Bryan’s Ground is one of those amazing places. It’s a heady mixture of formal, intimate rooms (about three acres of these),inula-and-giant-fennel-at-bryans-ground-upright

and planting chaos, where self-seeders are left to do their own thing (Fennel, teasels and Inula (?) above),

veronicastrum-and-clematis-at-bryans-ground-upright

blousey perennials wilfully flop into pathways

bedsprings-as-trellis-at-bryans-ground

and climbers scramble up old bedsteads.

irises-at-bryans-ground

I first read about Bryan’s Ground on The Patient Gardeners blog, some years ago, and it wasn’t until last July that I finally managed to find my way over to see the gardens which are on the Welsh border about 20 miles from Hay-on-Wye.

Originally I’d been wowed by an image of a whole room full of Irises (have a look at Michelle’s pics of these) and planned to visit in May, but by the time I’d coordinated my plans with Veronica from Through the Garden Gate, summer was upon us and the irises (above) were well and truly over. We didn’t mind at all.

I’m sure whenever you visit, there’ll be gorgeous planting to see,

rabbit-pillarsand sculpture and follies aplenty to enjoy.

3-rabbits-at-bryans-ground

gargoyles-at-bryans-ground

hanging-watering-cans-at-bryans-ground

This truly inspiring garden has been created by David Wheeler and Simon Dorrell (who also are the writers of the quarterly Hortus magazine) since 1993.

plant-bench-at-bryans-groundAt every turn there are playful vistas and great planting ideas,

potager-2and I know it’s a garden that I’ll want to return to time and time again. Veronica felt the same.

pond-area-at-bryans-groundOnce you’ve wound your way all the different rooms, paths then lead you into the arboretum and another five acres with a large pond,

clearing-at-bryans-groundstylish mowing, and many specimen trees.

two-chairs-in-the-arboretum-at-bryans-groundIt’s a lovely calm spot.

When you’ve finished your wanderings, there’s also delicious cakes to tempt you and a small nursery area. Plan your visit well, as Bryan’s Ground is only open Sunday and Monday afternoons, this year from mid April until the end of July. Group visits can also be arranged by appointment. Most definitely worth making the trip.

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