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Clematis Season Arrives

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | May 27, 2016

Over the past few days I have got a chance to walk around and really admire the flowers that have come with Spring. One flower in particular that many people have been commenting on over the last few days is Clematis Rubens which seems to have erupted in to flower all around the country over the past week or so.

Clematis have been popular for many yearsClematis in general are a great showy plant to have in a garden. But Clematis Rubens in particularly has really become a staple plant in Ireland with so many gardeners choosing it for its abundance of pale pink flowers and early flowering. As you drive around at the moment it is nearly impossible to drive more than a couple of minutes without seeing at least one Clematis Rubens tumbling over a garden wall or climbing up a tree.

But of course there are so many other varieties of clematis available now for gardeners meaning there is really something there for every garden. Clematis grandiflora is a fantastic white flowering variety which is just as popular as Rubens. Grandiflora is just starting to open at the moment so you will see a lot more of it over the next few weeks.

Clematis Viticella is one of my own favourites. It has fantastic deep purple flowers which I find really pop in a garden and look very elegant. The flowers are almost bell shape too so look slightly different which is always good in my books. Clematis Alpina is one of the first to flower each year and would be a great addition to a garden that lacks spring colour.

There are many modern new varieties on sale now too which are proving very popular with customers in CountryLife over that past couple of years. Nelly Moser is one of the most popular because of its super-sized flowers. Its bright pink flowers can measure up to six inches in size which means it really is a statement clematis to have. Miss Bateman is a brilliant white clematis which is one that can handle shade well so would work well in trickier positions. Jackmanii is brilliant late flowering variety to consider with deep rich purple flowers.

Purple and Blue clematis are growing in popularity Photo-Credit-Tony-AlterBy their nature clematis prefer almost a woodland setting to grow in which has rich humus filled soil. This is why I like to work a lot of organic matter into my planting hole and mulch my clematis with well rotted manure each year. This helps to provide a great rich soil and you will see you clematis really prosper thanks to it.

When choosing a planting site it is good to have an area where the base of the climber will be in shade. This is why many people will plant something in front of their clematis to offer some shade to the roots of the plant.

I always recommend planting clematis about three inches deeper than they are planted in the container they come in. This will help to protect the plant from clematis wilt which can cause problems (particularly for larger flowering clematis.

Clematis wilt will affect a plant from ground level up and by planting that bit deeper you are protecting the initial few shoots from the disease and in many cases the clematis will regrow even if it gets affected.

Written by Malachy

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Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

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