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A Clematis to Climb Through a Lilac Tree

May 11, 2012

The three-year old lilac pruned by me last autumn hasn’t flowered this year and a small amount of greenery sits at the very tips of  the bare branches making a rather dull addition to the garden. So this morning I planted a Clematis ‘Jackmanii Superba’ imagining the violet-purple flowers winding through the bare branches of the lilac from June to late-summer.

I dug a hole 45cms from the trunk of the tree and twice the diameter of the container in order to spread out the roots. The top of the root ball needed to be 5cms below the soil surface to keep the roots cool. It’s planted behind the tree so that it will seek out the morning sunlight and clamber into the branches. I abandoned the 3 canes supporting it since the main foliage on the clematis very neatly filled up the crook of the tree trunk and it could ramble from there.  A soft plastic tie should secure the main stem to the trunk to avoid any rocking in the wind. It’s an easy clematis to prune and will be cut back to 30cms late winter next year.  I was pleased to see evidence of very tiny green shoots all over the lilac so this will look much prettier in the future..

Here are the last of the Black Parrot tulips and below a pot of Aquilegia Black Barlow which is purple rather than black and very pretty in bud and even prettier when in full flower. It’s mixed with white Aquilegia and Spanish bluebells.

I started sowing again with various vegetables since a  slug got into my pop up greenhouse and chomped through rather a lot of seedlings. However time is not lost since the sweetcorn, courgettes and borlotti beans came through in 10 days in the heated propagator. From today they are hardening off in the cold frame where they will sit until June. And I rescued most of the nibbled lettuce seedlings and planted two rows on the allotment. The winter sown broad beans are flowering at last and I was cheered to see from last year that it was mid-June before we had our first crop.  So in four weeks time we should be picking my favourite allotment produce. I’ve decided to plant two courgettes and two Butternut squash plants on the ridge of the asparagus bed. I need the planting space and since the asparagus is so slow I may ignore it and use this very richly mulched bed for more fruitful plants.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 11, 2012 4:13 pm

    Love your pic of the bluebells and the Aquilegia. Looks like a still life from a Dutch master’s painting.
    I pruned a lilac which sulked a bit last year, but looks much happier this year (thank goodness, as it was in my neighbour’s garden!). Clematis Jackmanii superba sounds like a great idea and look forward to seeing how it grows and flowers later in the year.
    Fab advice about using Asparagus bed for squash. May well do the same now. Great post! Naomi
    p.s Would you still like cuttings from my purple Plectranthus?

    • May 11, 2012 4:46 pm

      I would love a cutting do you think it will travel through the post? I am heartened by your lilac experience…I suspect I cut into the stems that were carrying the flowers for this year since I now know that’s what you need to avoid doing with lilac !!!


  2. May 13, 2012 4:10 pm

    Gorgeous photos, Sue. Great idea with the clematis. I’m trying something similar with a clematis growing up through a rose. Not sure how it’ll work but it’s worth a try!!

  3. May 18, 2012 10:24 am

    I have a purple clematis scrambling through a rose and a yellow tangutika clematis through an apple tree – it is a great idea – two for the price of one – when the shrubs have finished flowering there is still something of interest to look at. I never thought of using the lilac though – may well give it a go.

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