Thursday, 9 January 2014

If it flowers before June - don't prune

I'm not very good about remembering what I should do when in the garden - but this rhyme about when to prune clematis I can just about cope with. I learned the lesson very effectively with this clematis above almost by accident. When we moved in eight years ago the clematis was in a very overgrown border and every year it flowered and rambled across a half dead cherry tree with an adequate number of dark purple flowers which emerged in July. It certainly wasn't spectacular and had a lot of dead wood in it. A couple of years ago the cherry tree breathed its last and late that autumn we cleared the weedy brambly border. The person helping us with it asked what he should do with the clematis and I said 'Oh just cut it back to the ground - it's half dead anyway'.

Well - of course that was just what it wanted and the next year we had to build it a smart new wigwam and it was awash with flowers. I can't believe it puts on all this growth in the space of a few months. So now every year it is hacked right down to the ground and the 'Flowers before June - don't prune' message is clearly illustrated. Here is is after I hacked it back last weekend and I have no doubt it will be covered in flowers in July!

Footnote: You can also see the handmade ( by Paul) wigwam to support it made out of leftover roofing timbers and inspired by Gardeners World Magazine

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