Clematis – Popular Shrubs for the Garden
Clematis is another of those large genera that is bewildering in the variety it has to offer, for there are over 150 species and hybrids available of these pretty and indispensable climbers.
Usually they are planted against walls, but there are so many other places where they can be accommodated that even in a small garden room might be found for several kinds. They are, for instance, excellent plants for pergolas or archways. The less vigorous kinds may be planted so that they scramble over low-growing and otherwise not particularly valuable shrubs, while the more vigorous kinds will climb up into taller trees.
Cultivation is not difficult. Contrary to old gardeners’ tales, lime or chalk in theis not essential and clematis do well on soils containing chalk or lime, provided they are rich in plant foods. Clematis especially need more moisture-retentive soils, even heavy clay, provided it is well dug and broken up and plant foods are incorporated.
What clematis do like is to have their roots cool and shaded, which means that they can be planted against shady walls, but, if so, they will send up their flowering shoots into the sunlight. So, it is better to plant them in sunny places and ensure the roots are cool. This can be arranged, if pieces of stone are placed over them, or if low-growing shrubs are planted in front of them. The soil should be enriched when digging and an annual mulch of rotted manure, leaf-mould, or compost given. They must be watered in dry weather, especially in spring and early summer.
Of the many kinds available, the old rich purple Clematis X jackmanii is still deservedly popular. ‘Ville de Lyon’ is a dark carmine-red flowering in late summer, and C. montana rubens is a pink form of the popular white Clematis montana flowering in spring. ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’, pink, is one of the most free-flowering while ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’ is a double white but not a very vigorous kind. ‘Lasursten’ is one of the most popular of the large-flowered hybrids, with. purple-bluein summer.