To Prune Or Not To Prune

April 14, 2010

When it comes to clematis, I never seem to be able to go more than one season. After it reaches its full bloom and begins to die back, mysterious things begin to happen to the supporting structure. Two years ago, my walk-through arbor was literally torn right out of the ground in a windstorm and the clematis – one on each side ¬†– broke off. I was actually giving thanks they weren’t torn out of the ground themselves.

Dominic attached much longer pegs, drilled holes in the ground (with my bulb digger. Looks like a miniature Journey To The Center Of The Earth machine. Very cool gardening tool for me and very cool power tool for him. Makes both us geeks happy) and put the arbor back.

The red clematis on the west side didn’t do much last year. Really, it did nothing. The white clematis on the east put out a couple trailers, but nothing spectacular – I think there were 3 blooms. Apparently, those plants were in shock. The newer one, the fall “starry” bloomer, took over the entire trellis and perfumed the air like honey in the cooling weather. Just beautiful.

This year, with that arbor reinforced and now covered with chicken wire for easy climbing, I  hope to see great things!

The fall clematis in the front is growing by leaps and bounds every day – another one that had to be pruned back because the structure collapsed. Now, the trellises have been assembled and are waiting for Dominic to screw them into the cedar siding this weekend. Seriously, he’d better do it fast because it’s starting to fall all over the daffodils.

The purple clematis by the porch is supported by a wimpy plastic trellis. I’d love to dig it up and move it to the middle of the porch bed where it would enjoy more sun, but I’m not doing that until the porch gets repainted. SIGH…. Which means it will stay there awhile longer. Maybe we’ll get that done this summer. Back on subject – I didn’t trim that one, just used green plant tape to tie it to the gutter and the porch railing last fall. Tacky as can be, but it did the job for that moment. Now I see buds earlier, stronger and wilder.

On the Internet and in gardening publications, there is a lot of diversity of opinion about pruning clematis. I wish I could actually make the decision myself for once!

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