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Tips for Growing Clematis all Year Around

Tips for Growing Clematis all Year Around


There is a clematis for every season, every aspect and every place. The flower size and colour range is also wider than you may imagine. Update I have just bought (2.9.19) another clematis Madame Le Coultre for flowering june to august.

Types of Clematis for growing all year around

Early Flowering Species like alpina or montana types.
Summer Flowering hybrids like patens and florida types
Late flowering Hybrids and species like jackmanii, tangutica and viticella types
Herbaceous clematis x jouiniana or Koreana lutea
Evergreen and tender species armandii, cirrhosa and tender plants from the southern hemisphere

Selected Varieties by Colour

White – Marie Boisselot, Montana sericea, Armandii or Clematis chrysocoma.
Red – Ville de Lyon, Madame Juklia Correvon or Ernest Markham.
Yellow – Clematis tangutica, Moonlight, Ligusticifolia or Otto Froebel.
Violet – Etoile Violette or Clematis alpina Francis Rivis.
Blue – Ascotiensis, Macro petal Blue Bird or Multi Blue.
Pink – Clematis montana Elizabeth, Bees Jubilee or Hagley Hybrid.
White and purple Clematis florida Sieboldii.

Soil and Growing Condition Tips

Soil for Clematis should not be too acidic but alkaline soil is fine. Impoverished soil near a wall or under a hedge should be improved with plenty of humus before planting. Sandy soil looses moisture quickly and also needs humus adding.
All clematis will grow better if the roots are kept cool. Plant a bit deeper than the soil level in the pot where they were grown and cover the roots area with a tile, rock or mulch.
Large flowered varieties will have stronger colours if the flowers grow in light shade.
Use a good Foliar feed every 7-10 days and a good root drenching weekly.

Types of Clematis Support

All clematis even the herbaceous varieties need some support. The easiest support is often other plants with matching characteristics – heather for small macropetala types or a tree for the more robust viticella varieties.
Walls are fine as long as the mortar and brickwork is sound for a network of wire. Clematis montana can cover a large wall quickly.
Trellis itself needs to be securely attached to battens but can be attractive when cloaked in Clematis or on it’s own in winter.
Archways, tripods and obelisks look great when covered with a climber such as clematis. Similarly pergolas can have both climbing roses and clematis co-existing.
Try a pillar made from a length of Oak or hardwood to train your clematis because you are bound to want to grow more once you start.

Varieties of Clematis from Thompson & Morgan

Clematis urophylla ‘Winter Beauty’ also known as Old Man’s Beard flowers is a superb evergreen clematis bears its delicately fragrant, waxy, bell-shaped flowers in the depths of winter.
The foliage is so lush, that you’ll think its summertime all year round!
Plant Clematis ‘Winter Beauty’ against a warm house wall so that you can appreciate its winter flowers from your window. This sought after variety will appreciate a sheltered site with some winter protection.
Height: 4m (13’). Spread: 1.2m (4’). Pruning Group: 1

Clematis ‘Bill MacKenzie’ really couldn’t be easier. Watch it scramble over fences, covering unsightly sheds with ease. From midsummer this versatile climber is covered in small canary yellow blooms, which give way to large fluffy seedheads for an attractive autumn display.

Clematis ‘Crystal Fountain’™ are quite extraordinary.A fountain of crystal-blue stamens radiate from the centres of the dazzling blue, 15cm (6”) wide blooms. Terrifically floriferous, this clematis continues to bloom throughout summer and into early autumn. It’s compact habit makes it ideal for containers and small gardens.

Clematis armandii flowers in spring with exquisitely fragrant, star-shaped white blooms literally smother this beautiful evergreen clematis in spring. The new foliage emerges bronze tinted, gradually maturing to glossy dark green that will quickly cover walls and fences within a few years. Best suited to a sheltered position, this vigorous clematis requires plenty of space to twine its long evergreen stems.

Companion plants for Clematis
Tips on Pruning Clematis

Cultivating Clematis All Year Around

  • Pot up small clematis plants and grow them on until large enough to plant in their final positions.
  • When planting clematis, choose a position in sun or semi-shade and plant the climber deeply in moist, fertile, well drained soil.
  • Position the top of the rootball at a depth of at least 3″ below soil level to encourage new shoots to form from the base of the plant and prevent wilt.
  • Clematis dislike soils that are particularly wet or dry. Soil can be improved by the addition of plenty of well rotted manure or garden compost.
  • Train clematis plants onto a suitable support such as trellis, wires or a freestanding climbing frame.

See also The Climbing Clematis Family

Peonies, Peony, Paeonia, Paeoniaceae In Profusion

Peonies, Peony, Paeonia, Paeoniaceae In Profusion


However you spell Peony you will still be captivated by this family of Northern Hemisphere perennials. Lush flowers and foliage are a major attraction but there is also the opportunity to study and become involved in more detail with a concise family of interesting and often endangered species.

Peony Society is the place to start an academic study of the subject but getting your hands in the soil with a couple of good plants is even better.

Aims of the Peony Society

1. To promote peonies as garden flowers.
2. To publish a quarterly newsletter and annual journal.
3. To stimulate scientific research on peonies.
4. To encourage the conservation of wild peonies and old cultivars.
5. To organise visits to gardens and to see wild peonies in their natural habitat.

There is a german data base of Paeonia, the only genus in the flowering plant family Paeoniaceae with a vast number of hybrids and photographs.


sq paeonie

Peonies and special fertilizer from Thompson & Morgan
Clair Austin supplies Peonies and has some good tips on Tree Peonies which are my current favourite plant.

Here is a list of some Tree Peony varieties they have available.

Floral Rivalry’ (‘Hana Kisoi’) Gorgeous scented, deeply cupped flowers of light cherry pink. Each petal is darker at the base and curls around a centre of loose stamens.
‘Host of the Cherry Blossom’ (Yae zakura) Attractive double to semi-double soft pink flowers. The petal edges pale with time.
‘King of White Lion’ (‘Hakuojisi’) Magnificent semi-double pure white flowers of great size that are produced with great freedom. The base of each petal is smeared with purple. An easy variety to grow.
‘Shimi cho jamata’ (Long Life) A very beautiful variety with satiny lavender semi-double flowers. Almost black flares at the base. The flower forms an elegant cup and are are borne upright on the shrub.
‘Alice Harding’ (‘Kinko) A short variety with very large, lemon yellow flowers that hang downwards. These are heavily scented and the bush spreads outwards. Good for the front of a border. 60cm (2ft
‘Age of Gold’ A vigorous semi-double creamy yellow variety with red flares at the base of each petal. 90cm (3ft
‘Anglet’ Single yellow flowers, tinged around the edges with red, and around the stamens. Lots of flowers carried on a broad shrub. 90cm (3ft
‘Arcadia’ Single, clear yellow with small, almost ‘not there’ flares and deeply divided, ferny foliage. 90cm (3ft
‘Argosy’ The first lutea hybrid to be introduced. The single flowers are soft yellow , cupped and flushed with crimson at the base. 90cm (3ft).


double peony

For centuries Peonies have been great favourites of the Chinese and are one of their national flowers. Peonies are easy to care for once established.

Peonies are shrubby herbaceous plants that will come back perennially (year after year). They can live 75 years and still produce a brilliant profusion of flowers. Herbaceous means the leaves and stems die back at the end of the season and new growth will start again in Spring.

Growing Peonies

  • Flowers are often strongly scented to attract bees and have double or single blooms.
  • The colours are deep red through pink to white.
  • Peonies do not like to be disturbed or moved once they are planted.
  • Because they will live in the same spot for many years add some bone meal and good compost at the bottom of the planting hole.
  • Peonies are best grow from plants bought at a nursery
  • Plants are hardy but may make take some time to flower.
  • Only plant Peonies at the same depth as they were grown, never deeper.

Tree Peonies are harder to grow successfully and cost more to buy but can have show stopping displays of flowers once they mature.




Peonies make a great herbaceous perennial which can be relatively low maintenance and provide great blousy blooms – excellent for cut flowers during the summer months.

Tips for Growing Peonies

  • Don’t plant too deep. If the roots are planted too deep, they may not flower
  • Peonies like full sun in an open position. Some shade is fine, but, it must not be full shade.
  • They may need watering in the spring when the buds are forming. If the soil is too dry, they may not flower.
  • A light dressing of manure in autumn or general fertiliser can help, but, generally they are not too fussy.
  • They are relatively slug resistant !
  • They are relatively disease free if given space to grow.
  • The problem with Peonies is that the blooms become quite heavy and will fall over in a rain shower. They will need careful staking to remain upright in the garden.

Pink Peony


Purple Peony – one of the most common colours


If peonies fall over they can always be cut for inside

Caring for Peonies at BBC


I must start using the current name for my Peonies.


Whilst this and the next picture are correctly named I should record the variety names on all my photos.

Frank Newbold peony

Peonies look good when photographed as square pictures.

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Thrifty Gardening

Thrifty Gardening

Gardening is an area where there are many ways of saving money or reducing costs. A thrifty approach to gardening is not only possible it is highly desirable particularly in the early stages of gardening. It would be easy to buy the most expensive and decorative plants in the garden centre only to find that you didn’t know what you were letting yourself in for. The plant may die or fail in some other way because you didn’t understand its needs and the care required to look after it. So ask for advice.

Pelargonium grandiflorum

Extra Plants for Free

  1. Increase your own stock by collecting seeds from annuals and plants you like. Leave a few vegetables to ‘run to seed’ e.g. peas and beans are good examples – at the end of the season let them grow until the seed pod is mature then collect and separate to dry the beans or peas and sow them again in spring.
  2. Increase your own stock by taking cuttings. Don’t worry about the occasional failure but take enough cuttings to cover losses.
  3. Increase stock by dividing up large clumps of plants. Many plants like Iris need this division treatment to remain healthy.
  4. Local horticultural and gardening clubs, neighbours, church fairs, friends, and family are good sources of cuttings, seeds and cheap but healthy plants.
  5. Look in your own garden for self sown plants I had some great cowslips in the garden when I arrived probably from seeds dropped by birds.
  6. Seeds or cuttings collected from positions where they are not needed to maintain the environment. (That is not to encourage theft from gardens or damage to the environment but there are many occasions when an opportunity won’t cause any problem)

Save on Consumables and Equipment

  1. Water is costly when metered so mulch rather than water. Water key plants individually and deeply. Collect rainwater in a barrel.
  2. Make your own seed pots from old packaging, margarine tubs, yoghurt pots or paper towel roll ends.
  3. If you have several old marked labels clean then in a jar of bleach to be able to reuse.
  4. Use organic slug control methods which tend to be free or cheap.

Top Gardeners Tip
Grow what gives you pleasure but if you can eat it or use it instead of buying something, like a bunch of flowers or present then you will get double value & pleasure.

Stinking Iris foetidissima

Stinking Iris foetidissima

There are sweeter smelling plants but the seed heads of Iris foetidissima are a striking orange at the end of the season when there is less colour in the garden. Before opening the seed heads swell to a bulbous green head that cracks open to reveal masses of red, orange or yellow berries that the birds seem to leave alone of long periods well into winter.

The sword like leaves are very tough and this iris can thrive on neglect. Eventually clumps need chopping down as the centre becomes congested. Dead leaves need tidying but are evergreen.

Knock Knock

Who is there


Iris who

Irish stew in the name of the law

Read more about Iris on Gardeners Tips.


Plants with strong smells are often using the aroma to attract pollinators.

What is unpleasant to some people can be OK to others.

Best Foxtail Lilies Eremurus

Best Foxtail Lilies Eremurus

The best Foxtail Lilies can grow to 7 feet tall and form clumps of outstanding spires of star shaped flowers with showy stamens.

Best Varieties

Eremurus robustus only flowers for three weeks or so, but for that brief period it can be the star of any garden.
Eremurus stenophyllus has bright yellow flowers with orange tiped stamens giving a two tone effect as they mature. The plant looks spectacular in prairie style planting and has earned an AGM.
Eremurus Ruiter hybrid ‘White Beauty Favourite’ has tapering blooms that can last for several weeks as cut flowers.
Eremurus cultivars such as Cleopatra can have orange or peach coloured flowers.
Eremurus × isabellinus Shelford hybrids

Growing Tips

Eremurus needs good drainage, full sun and a cold snap in winter to induce flowering.
Shelter from strong winds to protect the tall blooms.
The root system is fascinating with a central growing point which is encircled by fleshy, finger-thick tapering roots. These should be planted in a shallow hole but on top of a mound of sharp sand.
Foxtail Lilies grow away quickly in spring, forming a rosette of bluish-green strap-shaped leaves up to 4ft high, from which the flower spike rises during late April to flower in May. The flowers open progressively from the bottom of the spike.
After flowering allow the plant to die back and remain dormant until next spring.
Use a mulch that stays fairly dry such as shingle or bark and this can protect new growth from frost.
To help Foxtail Lilies self-seed, leave the flower spike standing into autumn and the seeds will ripen and drop.

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Growing Hellebore in 2016

Growing Hellebore in 2016


Hellebores are doing very well this year. The combination of the last cold winter, warm spring and now wet winter again has brought out the flowers in profusion. The Niger or Christmas rose is one of the earliest white flowers but many hybrids are now available.

Tips on Growing Hellebore

  • Buy plants in flower so you know what colour you are getting. Hellebore is very promiscuous and plants grown from seed may be crossed with other less suitable plants.
  • Try grow plants in a raised area so you can look up at the flowers which tend to have droopy flowerheads.

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Growing Top Ten Patio Roses

Growing Top Ten Patio Roses


What is a Patio Rose if it isn’t a rose grown on a patio?
Patio roses grow bigger and bushier than miniatures and are about 14 -24 inch high, yet they are perfectly formed. H.T. Bush and Floribunda roses grow bigger but Patio roses are easy and decorative.

Patio Roses are easy for growing in small spaces and can be useful in many other garden locations. They can be grown in containers and pots or just planted near your front door.

Easy Places to Grow Patio Roses

Edging plants in front of other plants or in a narrow border on their own.
Some varieties make an attractive small hedge.
They all look well planted in groups 3-5-7 of each variety.
They are not house plants and are as hardy as larger roses.
Patio Roses are great for tubs and containers but remember to feed, water and mulch them.
Combined with summer bedding plants they will flower all summer long.

Patio Rose - Birthday Wishes

Growing Tips For Patio Roses

Minimum pruning in late February or March will help keep them tidy.
Plant in full sun for the best show.
They are of course totally hardy and being perennials will appear year after year.
Roses are outdoor plants and do not survive in the house.

More information from Amazon in ‘Growing Miniature and Patio Roses’ by Dawn and Barry Eagle £6.99

Rose in our patio in Berwick upon Tweed

Top Ten Repeat flowering Patio Roses

Some special varieties providing a great display of colour and scent include:

  1. Loving Wishes A free flowering rose with good disease resistance and scented, scarlet-red blooms
  2. Golden Wishes The flowers are golden yellow with a slight fragrance and 14″ tall
  3. Flower Power produces peach-salmon blooms with a spicy scent
  4. Golden Anniversary Large fragrant golden rounded flowers with yellow centres from summer to autumn. Upright bush habit.
  5. Red or Yellow Sunblaze,
  6. Sweet Dreams, or  Sweet Magic,
  7. Charmant,
  8. Flirt,
  9. Diamond Wishes
  10. One of the smaller varieties is not surprisingly called Peter Pan.

There seems to be a named patio rose for most birthday and anniversary event if you shop around – that is modern marketing for you.

More information from Amazon in ‘Growing Miniature and Patio Roses’ by Dawn and Barry Eagle £6.99

See also Top Ten Old Roses

Patio rose by Charles D P Miller CC BY 2.0
Patio Rose – Birthday Wishes by jovike CC BY-NC 2.0
Rose in our patio in Berwick upon Tweed by Karen V Bryan CC BY-ND 2.0

Tips on Growing Thrift – Armeria Maritima

Tips on Growing Thrift – Armeria Maritima

Armeria juniperfolia x maritima

Armeria maritima has many local names and is also known as Sea Pink, Cliff Clover, Ladies’ Cushions, Heugh (or cliff) daisy, Armeria juniperifolia or Marsh daisy and Sea thrift.
The colour of the 1″ ball shaped flowers varies from white Alba through pink and mauve to dark red.
The clumps of dark green foliage form good mounds useful for contrast of shape in a rock garden. The densely packed grass like leaves are up to 5 inches long.
Thrift is a perennial but if it browns in the center split the plant.

Cultivation Tips

Thrift grows well in dry, sandy soil or low fertility soil.
It is very salt tolerant hence its appearance as a wild flower along the coast.
Take basal cuttings in summer or divide large clumps in Autumn.
They need full sun all day but can tolerate dry, windy conditions.
Thrift flowers in spring through summer. Remove spent flowers to encourage more blooms.


Varieties to consider and Other Names

  • Thrift is also known as Sea Pink, Armeria Maritima, Sea Pink,
  • Armeria maritima alba is a white variety
  • Splendens is the best Pink variety.
  • Bloodstone is dark red.
  • Vindictive is light pink and has an AGM from RHS
  • Laucheana has dark green foliage with bright pink flowers
  • Rubrifolia ihas dark bronze grass-like foliage turning deep red in winter and a cluster of pink globe shaped flowers

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Euryops Yellow Daisy

Euryops Yellow Daisy

Daisy daisy give me fine leaves too


Growing one foot high Euryops acraeus or Euryops evansii is a dwarf shrub that makes a neat and compact plant. In summer the grey mounds of leaves are covered with small bright-yellow daisies that have an even deeper-yellow in the centre.
It is a tough plant that survives all but the most extreme summer conditions including moderate but not prolonged drought. It can rot if too wet and unfortunately it isn’t reliably winter hardy. Propagated by stem cuttings that can be overwintered inside. They are being promoted by the horticultural trade and are progressively available at garden centers in the spring so expect to see more around.

Other Euryops, and there are around 100 species, can grow into small trees but due to winter frailty I can not recommend any varieties.

Euryops look good in groups of 3 and they are a suitable filler for cottage or perennial gardens. If your garden can use a shot of bright yellow all season long then give Euryops a trial.