Sunday, June 10

My Clematis Is a Tree-Dweller

For years, I read about clematis jackmanii and its famous vigor. Cautioned that it would need a strong trellis, I planted it next to the biggest rectangle of wooden lath that I could find--which, frankly, at 6 feet tall, wasn't really all that gigantic--and waited for the show. Year after year, I tried different things to get this purple beauty to at least make it up to the top of said trellis... to no avail.

Finally, I got kind of disgusted with the whole deal. Forget the trellis, forget the pretty purple blooms. I was just going to dig up the stupid vine and be done with it.  And then... my young Bing cherry tree seemed to die. So I planted the clematis at its feet and trailed a few strings down from the lowest branches, hoping that Mr. Jackman might climb aboard until I got time to take out the Bing. And he has--oh, but he has!

And yes, those are cherry leaves you see in the background--and grape leaves to the right. Mr. Bing made a remarkable comeback, and has now grown so large that the Concord grape vines need to be pruned away from him. And the Jackman's clematis flowers stretch up through the tree as far as the eye can see!

All of these pictures were taken straight up while I was standing underneath the tree, so you can tell how high my clematis now climbs. Sorry there are no good far away pictures of this whole scene, but the clematis flowers kind of get lost in the leaves when you get more than 10 or so feet away from the tree.

I have to admit... I kind of like them even more for the fact that they are hidden.  There's something special sometimes about flowers and plants that you have to really make an effort to seek out--even those that grow in your own yard!


Lona said...

Hi Kim. I am glad your Cherry tree did not die out. The clematis looks beautiful climbing up through the branches. It must like this new spot much better.

chuck b. said...

People don't seem to plant much clematis where I live, but my nearby nursery stocks them nonetheless. Most of the stock eventually gets put in the 50% off section way in the back of the store. I bought three there last year. Two died, but one wended its way into a thicket of snowberry in the back corner where I found the hidden blue flowers. The plan is to clean that area up and put the vines in a tree.

A couple others that I've had for awhile longer do seem happiest in trees.

That John Greenlee book (sp?), the New American Meadow Garden, suggests simply planting clematis in the prairie and letting them wander. The one pictured in the book was not persuasive, but I am intrigued...

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