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Late Summer Clematis

The Undergardener and I don’t really like the big dinner-plate clematis that flower earlier in the year but we adore the small-flowered, often bell-shaped subtle ones that are stars of the late summer. Every time a tree gets tall enough to support one we plant a new clematis to befriend it, even though every obelisk and arch is already adorned with one. To get double the flowering effect clematis love the company of climbing roses and we pair them up with our apples that we have growing over arches. The apples fruit well and the clematis flower well, and I wonder if this is another case of companion planting in action. Could it be that they benefit each other when grown together?

The flowers manage to attract the harsh summer sunlight giving them the appearance of silk or tissue paper.

They are so amenable too. We treat them as herbaceous perennials and cut them down in the winter. Although they have masses of flowers deadheading is not necessary and instead they can produce wonderful seedheads like whispy white spiders. Many flower more than once a year too.

Wildlife love clematis especially our avian friends. They nest in the jumble of vines which also serve as roosting shelters. Dunnocks nest every year in at least one of our clematis and chaffinches and goldfinches do so occasionally. Goldfinches extract the seeds from the fluffy seedheads in winter, Warblers, Robins and all members of the Titmice family gorge on all the insect life that live in them in the summer and feed on the seeds in winter.

When visiting a garden this August with our fellow Hardy Plant Society enthusiasts we came across the clematis with the tiniest, most delicate flower we had ever seen on a clematis, in the deepest purple hue and to top it all off it had an enticing scent. It was appropriately called Clematis aromatica.

By greenbenchramblings

A retired primary school head teacher, I now spend much of my time gardening in our quarter acre plot in rural Shropshire south of Shrewsbury. I share my garden with Jude my wife a newly retired teacher , eight assorted chickens and a plethora of wildlife. Jude does all the heavy work as I have a damaged spine and right leg. We also garden on an allotment nearby. We are interested in all things related to gardens, green issues and wildlife.

6 replies on “Late Summer Clematis”

I like the fact that apple trees and clematis are friends. I’ve planted an evergreen clematis this year called “apple blossom” and it’s already grown about 3 feet. I’m hoping to have pretty blossom next year. I never used to do very well with these plants until I discovered that they prefer cool feet and sunny heads!

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