Spalding area gardeners are urged to be brave when pruning clematis
I’ve just taken my little dog Teddy for a walk this morning, the air was crisp and cold and the ground was covered in a silvery blanket of frost. Teddy loved it, he kept running backwards and forwards and rolling on the frozen grass.
With the sun rising over the fens you could easily imagine what it must have been like a few hundred years ago, as although much has changed in reality, a lot of the scenery hasn’t. I wondered for a moment what those people would think of how my garden compared to their plots of land that they lived off.
That thought resonated with me as I tackled the mid-February Clematis pruning. Would they appreciate the work I was putting in to create a stunning display later in the year or would they think what a plonker, he could have grown cabbages in that space. I decided to park that thought.
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Clematis plants are sorted into different group classifications based on when they flower. Group 3 Clematis flower in the summer through to late autumn and flower on the fresh stems grown in the same year. This group contains varieties of Viticella Clematis and low growing, herbaceous clematis such as Clematis recta ‘Purpurea’. This is the group we are going to prune. If you are in any doubt just pop down to your local garden centre or have a chat with one of our gardening experts here at Baytree Garden Centre.
The great thing about Group 3 Clematis is that they grow their flower heads on new growth so you can afford to cut them back quite hard.
Look for a good healthy pair of buds about 20-30cm above the ground and using a good quality pair of secateurs cut off all of the growth above those buds. I’d advise that you now tie these stems to a plant support ring and spread the stems apart so that the Clematis has room to grow into and won’t become too bunched up. Use either soft gardeners twine or plant twists to hold them in place, don’t tie them too tight we don’t want to cut into the stems.
Pruning this group of Clematis back like this will encourage fresh vigorous growth in the spring when the soil warms up. A job like this shouldn’t take long the hardest part is deciding which pair of buds you are going to cut back too.
Have the courage of your convictions and don’t try to second guess yourself.Pick the buds then prune.
Should you have found the whole pruning experience a little traumatic I find a nice cup of tea and a “Jammy Dodger” really helps to calm me down.
Then, suddenly, l had a moment of clarity which in my world doesn’t happen very often, they would think I was a plonker.
However I may well be a plonker I thought but I was a plonker with a Jammy Dodger and whilst I agree many of us have lost our connection to the land, we gardeners haven’t.