|A tantalizing establishing shot of the clematis collection chez Marie|
We can hardly do justice to 200 clematis here, let alone the charming, 11-acre farm near Elora, with its pond, river, rustic bridge and lush borders of perennials, shrubs and trees. Besides, like any gardener after a big downpour whose garden is about to be descended on, Marie bemoaned, "You should've seen it yesterday." But, join me and let's try.
|The clematis garden was actually the last garden we visited, but let's start here. Wish I had a better shot of the central walk and cedar arbors, built of local split-rail fencing. This hints at the effect.|
|Here's the long shot. I'm hoping that Blogger will allow you to click on the image to embiggen it. Do, then come back.|
|Right by the entrance are the bell-shaped form of Clematis 'Odoriba'|
|Dark purple Clematis 'Romantika' contrasts with the golden foliage of a full-moon Japanese maple|
|The twisty pink petals of non-climbing Clematis integrifolia 'Aljonushka' which Marie calls "a thug." A nice thug to have!|
|As you turn the first corner, Clematis texensis 'Duchess of Albany' reaches out from a pillar of the porch|
|On the far side of the house, delicate Clematis 'Marmori' (the Estonian word for "marble')|
|Good substance gives Clematis texensis 'Buckland Beauty' that glossy surface|
|One of the delights of the cedar arbors is the way different clematis mix and mingle like a standing bouquet. Here, bell-shaped Clematis 'Fudo' – a Japanese hybrid with C. texensis parentage – with C. viticella 'Margaret Hunt'.|
|Many (many!) clematis were ones I'd never seen before, but certainly new to me was this one. Look at the thickness of those tepals, and see how the flowers set in neat pairs. This is a lavender form of Clematis fusca, also called Clematis ianthina.|
|Not all were rarities. Here are the wonderful old-fashioned white flowers of Clematis 'Huldine' (with friend). Marie encourages you to grow 'Huldine' where you can also appreciate the finely striped reverse of the tepals.|
|Elegant texensis hybrid Clematis 'Princess Diana' (set noticeably apart from C. 'Prince Charles'), and in the background…|
|…one of Marie's newer loves, Clematis viorna 'Mrs. Harvey'. I agree. She's a looker.|
When I finally asked the secret of her success, Marie shared this. (After you read it, enjoy a last couple of beauties and meet Gardenbug herself.)
Honestly, I don't follow rules. I seldom fertilize clematis. I select varieties quite carefully though, sticking pretty much with Group 3 pruning group, the ones pruned back in early spring (sometimes in the snow even...). Ones that are famous for powdery mildew I avoid – 'Etoile Rose' for example.
I weed and compost around them in late autumn. In spring, I use clips to attach them to structures when they are in early growth. This is a big effort as they grow fast and furiously for several weeks and I can't travel at that time. Then I keep my eye on them.
There are plants that turn brown or wilt and frustrate at any time... but that does not mean they are dead. Remember the 3-year rule: First year sleep; second year creep; third year (or 4th) leap! It is even true, not just a cute saying. True for many plants, actually.
One main bit of advice is to follow instructions for planting. If they say dig a two foot hole, do so, and fill it as suggested.
For a minuscule plant (called a plug or a "liner"), I suggest leaving it in a pot planted in your garden (or veg garden) for a year or two with a stake to attach it to.
Be attentive to watering all clematis, even in early spring. If allowed to dry out by accident, they may weaken and get mildew from over watering later on. Erratic watering confuses them. Generally, they love sun.
|Heading back to the front door, we pass bounteous Clematis viticella 'Jenny' (Cedergren).|
|And get a load of the unique marbling on Clematis 'Tie Dye' – a neat way to close the collection.|
|Thank you, Marie! Wishing you, yours and all your special plants a safe journey and a great new beginning. (And thanks to my good friend Lynn for getting me through the garden gate.)|