Posts Tagged ‘Walled Gardens’

Clematis Montana and Russian Vine

I’ve been shopping today …

I’ve been shopping for climbing plants to screen the nasty plastic oil tank out the front of the house. As per usual I couldn’t resist adding a couple more gems to the trolley! 🙂

I’ve always been a sucker for Clematis, or Clematis Vine as they are sometimes known, and it’s right about now I like to plant mine.

What I love about them is they are so reliable, and providing you prune them effectively, and feed them from time to time, they will reward you handsomely with all manner of  beautiful flowers.

I’ve had a fair amount of success in the past with most of the clematis plant family, Montana, Evergreen Armandii and the larger more familiar varieties.


I like to prepare a large deep hole about 3 times the size of the root ball, and prepare the ground with well rotted compost and a sprinkling of Fish Blood and Bone organic fertiliser.  The other important thing I’ve learned about growing Clematis successfully is to keep the roots cool and never let them dry out.

I tend to plant about 4 – 6 inches deeper than the top of the pot as it helps to stop the plant rocking in the wind and damaging the delicate stems. It also encourages the plant to put out a strong root system.  Finally I cover the surface of the soil with pea shingle and a couple of large stones to keep direct sunlight off the soil.


I don’t get too technical when it comes to pruning my clematis.  I give the plant a general tidy up in the Spring, removing dead or diseased branches, and then cut each stem back to approx 2 feet from the base. I give each plant a handful of bone meal and fork it into the surface, before giving the plant a good  water.  I prefer to use rainwater if I can as the water in Hampshire can be a bit hard due to the amount  of chalk in the landscape.
Russian Vine (Mile a Minute)To cover the oil tank I’ve gone for a Russian vine, otherwise known as ‘Mile a Minute’, on account of how fast it can spread. I’ve grown them in the past and they really do the trick…if you want to cover something in a hurry that is. They don’t mind being hacked back either so if (when) it gets out of hand I’ll tame it with my trusty shears!

The other 2 climbers I bought are both Clematis Montana’s. They are both fairly quick growing and are among the first of the clematis to flower, which is a bonus in
early summer. The first, ‘Pink Perfection’, will grow to a spread of  8m x 8m and has the most gorgeous pink scented flowers. The second is ‘Sunrise’, which is not so fast growing and reaches a maximum size of 5m x 5m.

They’re both going on the trellis between Blackbirds and my neighbors property, which should cover it just fine. I like to share my plants with my neighbours if I can, this way we can both enjoy the flowers and benefit from a little additional shelter (not to mention privacy).

Trellis just crying out for a Clematis Montana

Trellis just crying out for a Clematis Montana

Update – 12 June 2012

15 months later and the clematis have all established themselves and are providing the screen we were looking for. Just goes to show if you provide the right growing environment your plants should flourish.

Click to enlarge

… and the most gorgeous flowers!

Click to enlarge



Best wishes,

Rural Gardener

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Hidcote Manor Gardens & Mottisfont Abbey Gardens

At the start of 2010 I promised myself I would make an effort and visit more public gardens and country houses, after all I have my National Trust membership which entitles me to free admission, and there are so many wonderful gardens to choose from.

Although we did manage to visit quite a few gardens last year there are two that stand out for me, for completely different reasons.  Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire and Hidcote gardens in the Cotswold’s had long been on my list of gardens to visit and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

Typical English Country Garden

Two quite beautiful gardens, Hidcote with it’s informal planting schemes and gardens within gardens and Mottisfont with it’s wide open spaces and a most gorgeous walled rose garden which is one of the finest in the country. Definitely the highlight for me!

It’s the diversity that I find so fascinating, along with both natural and formal planting schemes, not to mention the hard work that goes into maintaining these masterpieces of the English countryside.

I came away with a most beautiful pale yellow climbing rose from Mottisfont, which has the scent of fresh custard. I have it growing in my own garden back at Blackbirds and you can’t help noticing the gorgeous scent.  It’s quite a vigorous climber and it’s already put on about 3 feet of growth in its first season. It should look and smell even better next year when it’s had a chance to put on its second year of growth.

If you want to grow a climber and don’t have a fence or wall to grow it up you could do what I did and sink a 4″ x 4″ post into the ground. I positioned mine at the edge of the lawn so the scent would waft onto the path on a summers evening.

All I did was hammer a few fence staples in around the post at 6” intervals so I have something to tie the branches into as they grow up the post. Oh, and don’t forget to treat your post with a preservative to protect it from the elements.

If you’d like a great day out then I’d strongly recommend both Hidcote Manor and Mottisfont Abbey, but it’s worth waiting until the roses are at their best, around mid June onwards.

Hidcote manor

Hidcote Manor – Gloucestershire

Hidcote Manor Gloucestershire

Hidcote Manor Gloucestershire

Hidcote Manor Gardens

Hidcote Manor Gloucestershire

Hidcote Manor
Hidcote Bartrim, near Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire GL55 6LR
Telephone: 01386 438333

Mottisfont Abbey

Mottisfont Abbey Romsey

Mottisfont Abbey

Mottisfont Abbey Romsey

Mottisfont Abbey

Mottisfont Abbey – Romsey

Mottisfont Abbey
Mottisfont, near Romsey, Hampshire SO51 0LP
Telephone: 01794 340757

Best wishes


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