I work with a few nurseries to test their plants in my region and experiment with things foEvery spring this means that boxes of new plants arrive for me to plant in my garden, experiment with, generally get inspired by and ultimately write about.
This year I requested some clematis because Joanne Neale’s fantastic article about easy care clematis in the summer issue of PITH + VIGOR got me in the mood to add some of these fantastic climbing vines to my garden. When the boxes arrived, I was expecting one or two, but I got 16 (this is obviously not a complaint, just a statement of fact).
I have eight Clematis Diamond Ball and eight Clematis ‘Sweet Summer Love’ and finding homes for all of them isn’t all that easy. So far, I’ve planted three of the ‘Sweet Summer Love’ (and I’ve worked out places for 3 more) and I’ve planted none of the Diamond Balls (some removal of other plants and bed prep is currently underway), but I have a home for at least 5 of them.
With a quarter of the plants still needing placement, I’ve been playing a new little game around here….its called where to put the clematis vine. The rules are easy, but the game is hard, finding at least 16 interesting places to plant a beautiful clematis in the garden is a challenge even in a big garden like mine. Climbers need a place to climb and while I’m still working on where they all will go….I’m inspired by the dilemma and I found these 16 clematis design inspirations.
1) Plant it near a container garden and let it scramble through other textural plants.
The other plants (shrubs are a great option) will act as the support for the clematis.
2) Train it on a staircase railing.
Just make sure you can still put your hand on the railing with out hurting the plant (if you need to).
3) Grow it over a picket fence in a cottage garden.
When you start to grow plants over more permanent garden features (like fences) you will begin to have a more established and mature feeling to your garden.
4) Pretty-up a chain link fence.
Chain link is cheap but it isn’t pretty. And sometimes you just have to work with what you have. Covering it up with a nice vine is a good option.
5) Plant in a container and grow on a topiary frame.
This will work best when you follow the rule of thirds – in this case – make sure your climbing structure (and ultimately your plant) is at least 2/3 of the total height. So, if you have a 1′ tall pot – get a topiary frame that is 2′ tall.
6) Hide the mailbox.
Anything that is vertical in your garden can be a growing support… so why not turn utility into something amazing?
7) Intertwine with another climber (like roses).
This isn’t very different than growing it through another shrub. But roses can be sturdy climbers themselves and when you achieve the double bloom look, I promise some gullible visitor will think this is all one amazing plant.
8) Frame a shed door.
9) Cover an old ladder.
10) Romantically dangle over a rustic shed.
11) Train over a lamppost
(yes I know it isn’t actually on a lamppost – but you get the idea… p.s. is it actually growing on an apple tree, which is another bonus option).
12) Support it with a trellis or a downspout.
13) Surround a window with delicate stems.
14) Engulf a front a pillar.
15 & 16) Go crazy and let clematis scramble
Let it ramble through climbing roses and under-plant with herbaceous perennials to include peonies, poppies, foxgloves, campanulas, pinks, nepeta, lavender, foxtail lilies, and alchemilla (among many others). (like at Mottisfont Abbey in the UK).
Just as soon as mine have grown enough to actually attach to their climbing frames (and I have found homes for each plant) I will share my own placements which include training over a pergola, covering a garage wall, and hiding part of the old chicken coop. But have I missed anything? How do you grow your clematis?
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