Pruning Summer Flowering Clematis
This tangled mass of dead-looking leaf and stem adorns the wall viewed form a kitchen window at the back of the house. It’s a lovely purple clematis C. viticella ‘Etoile Violette’ and I rely on it to clothe a lime-washed wall and to flower late-summer where it mingles with a bright pink rose for several months. Now is the time to prune both viticellas (group 3 late-flowering clematis ) and the herbaceous variety by tidying up the dead foliage from last year to encourage a strong root system. It means cutting out stems which will have just started producing healthy new green buds but do just that and cut to the first two green buds on stems near the base of the plant.
My viticella clematis grew and flowered really well and I now realise it was because I regularly fed the rose next to it last spring and summer. I shall tie it in to horizontal wires as it puts out new stems and make a note to feed all my clematis plants from April onwards since they clearly respond to a good feed. With the herbaceous clematis I simply cut it back to two buds on each stem from the base then allow it to do its own thing. It clambers through shrubs and up a stone wall eventually flowering in summer with no further help from me.
Meanwhile the potatoes are chitting and the tomato seedlings are growing and the broad beans and leeks are up and getting stronger by the day. As soon as there were signs of germination I turned the heat off and opened the vents in the propogator lid. There’s no heat in this room but there’s plenty of light and they are all growing steadily with regular watering.
This morning I planted 20 Langor shallots in two 2 litre flower pots to bring on in the heated propagator. I shall do the same with Red Baron onions when the shallots have begun to show signs of life. The ground on the allotment is horribly cold and wet and it will be good to get them started here and to see green shoots before I plant out. There’s also a greater chance of getting straight rows too.