Clematis ‘Black Tea’

If I wake in the night and can’t get back to sleep, I take a mental tour of the garden; and as it’s May I start by counting clematis. I get as far as C ‘Black Tea’ … beyond shadow of a doubt, it’s this week’s star plant and can only be described as ‘sumptuous’. It’s not just the depth of colour and subtle variations as the light changes, the flower petals have an amazing velvety texture. It grows to six to eight foot and is a prolific flowerer. It wasn’t until the second half of the nineteenth century...

Continue reading

Grow-How Tips for Late May

Didn’t you love the wedding? What a fantastic weekend and our fabulous May-time gardens are keeping that feelgood vibe in top gear. Here are a few things to attend to when you’ve got a minute…. TYING UP THE LOOSE ENDS Summer clematis are putting on a mass of growth just now, and you need to be vigilant about tying them in. I have found to my cost that many can be frighteningly brittle at the leaf joints if you are cack-handed or rushing the job, and some can get just plain sulky about being man-handled. So, gently does it, and...

Continue reading

Clematis can be a fickle friend

Do you like Clematis? Of course you do!  EVERYONE likes Clematis!  Oh, and I do hope you are pronouncing it CLEM-atis (Ancient Greek, imaginatively, for ‘a climbing plant’), and not Clem-MATE-is, but however you say it, now is the time to get new clematis started. So many colours, shapes, sizes and flowering seasons, that even the smallest area can accommodate one in that trendy ‘vertical space’ so much in vogue these days. I grow a lovely blue alpina variety called Frances Rivis whose whiskery whirligig seedheads are almost as pretty as its pendant violet blue and cream flowers in...

Continue reading