Just Teasing

IMG_4010There will not be much time for the garden this weekend and I was surprised when I set off for my chosen task to find it was actually 4 o’clock – and still full daylight. The lengthening day has clearly caught me unawares!

Despite my good intentions of  focussing on maintenance and care of the garden this year instead of dreaming up new projects, I found another scheme manifesting itself in my mind as I gazed from the kitchen windows this week – they just appear, uninvited, believe me! It’s an enhancement of something that already exists, so not really a new project, but my appetite is already whetted!

Ignoring the mounting excitement of a new project, I took on instead the challenge that presented itself when gazing out of the same windows in a different direction – attending IMG_4012to Clematis montana ‘Marjorie’ which has climbed with gay abandon through an old apple tree. The upper part of the now dead tree is a veritable bird’s nest thatch of clematis stems and it is impossible to detect at this time of year which are still growing, and in the absence of a giant comb to tease them free of each other it was tempting to cut the main stems off lower down and let the clematis regrow from the base.

DSCN2146As the flowers are produced on last years growth that would have meant a season without flowers so a thinning out rather than severe razor cut was chosen instead – hopefully I will remember to do a complete trim after it has flowered this year. The late start meant I had barely made inroads before it began getting dark, but there was nevertheless plenty of evidence to show the secateurs had been busy. However, having implied in the past that the clematis imitated a sky full of stars, there will no doubt be rather fewer stars this year.


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34 Responses to Just Teasing

  1. Christina says:

    I noticed today that it was light for longer too, even though the day wasn’t particularly sunny. good work on the clematis, it would have been a shame to have lost all the flowers.

    • Cathy says:

      I have read lots of different comments on cutting the montanas right back, so am undecided on more drastic measures later in the year

      • Christina says:

        I think you could cut it back as much as you want after flowering. Montanan are very tough. The root system will be very strong so it will easily regrow.

        • Cathy says:

          I will definitely do that after flowering if you are confident that is the case, although I did cut some of the more wayward ones right down when I did some more trimming today

  2. johnvic8 says:

    I read a note on a clematis dealer’s website that recommended cutting all clematis back near the ground every “several” years to rejuvenate the plants. This was recommended regardless of pruning type. I haven’t tried it with all my clematis (just a few), but I wonder if you or others have done so.

  3. Liz says:

    Hi Cathy,

    My, you have been busy! And it’s a shame there will be fewer stars this year, but it’ll be better for it in coming years! I need to prune my ‘Marjorie’ to try to promote more growth; she’s in no way as impressive as yours though.
    I’ve been attempting to coppice the willow in my garden that was damaged in the heavy, wet snow just after Christmas. I discovered why it hasn’t managed to erect itself fully… Basically it’s been uprooted under the weight of the snow. It’s too large for me to handle on my own, so I’ve tried to lessen the weight somewhat by cutting off branches to minimise damage to Acer and Cotoneaster beneath it, but also prepare for roping my boyfriend or brother into helping me actually chop it down. That’ll have to be a job for another weekend, or when it’s a little warmer!

    • Cathy says:

      Marjorie’s bounteous growth crept up almost unnoticed, but she definitely needs a good hair cut! Hope you get your willow in hand before it does any real damage, but don’t take any risks yourself..

  4. Pauline says:

    That was a good job done! I was tempted out into the woodland this afternoon, the sun made it quite warm while working. I cut a Clematis montana right back last year and it promptly died on me, I should have taken cuttings before I took the secateurs to it!!

  5. Brian Skeys says:

    We have a montana which every year I intend to prune after flowering, I then forget because there is always plenty of other things to do then. I must try harder this year!

  6. hoehoegrow says:

    It feels so good to get out there and work ! You certainly notice the lengthening days when it is bright and clear.
    pruning feels great too – full of promise for the year to come !

  7. AnnetteM says:

    It is so nice that the evenings are lengthening now. A promise of things to come. You put me to shame with all your work. Mind you our ground is still frozen so not much can be done digging wise and it is probably a bit cold to be pruning. We went for a lovely walk today instead and enjoyed an unusually calm day at a beach just North of Aberdeen.

    • Cathy says:

      It’s probably no more than hour at a time on winter days, sometimes less – but it feels good to get out and do a little. I have gradually been emptying the 2013 compost heap, but won’t be spreading it till the ground is less solid and definitely no digging!

      • AnnetteM says:

        I am getting a definite urge to get to the garden centre, but any plants I bought would probably have to live in the garage for a while.

  8. It was actually warm enough to get into the garden today. I have been moving plants and I actually did a small bit of pruning.

  9. bittster says:

    Nice that you could get out there and take advantage of dry weather and lingering light. Friday I was excited to see a glow of sunshine as I arrived at work and then a little leftover light as I left for home. Just the thought of seeing the sun again during the week fills me with hope!
    That’s a brave little apple tree you have there. I’m sure it won’t miss its mop top to this spring 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      The tree was still alive when the clematis was planted, but not producing anything other than the odd apple, so it has taken a new life with the clematis! The extra light at the end of the day is far more noticeable than in the morning, both very welcome though.

  10. gardenfancyblog says:

    I’ve noticed the longer afternoon light here recently too — what a happy thing this is, despite the cold days that still lie ahead! And I can totally identify with your “new projects” problem: every year I promise myself and my husband, “No More New Garden Areas!” Then come February, the next brilliant idea occurs to me and April and May are filled with hard work and large expenditures, and all the prudent maintenance gets pushed aside again. Glad to know I’m not alone in this…. 🙂 -Beth

    • Cathy says:

      Oh indeed Beth – so pleased that it isn’t just me! I suppose it helps to be practical, as you and I seem to be – it might be different if we had to find somebody to do what we wanted and then pay them for it. Will pop over to your blog soon and see what you have been up to 🙂

  11. Julie says:

    I have been noticing the increasing light for a few days now – the chickens are staying out until 4.30 and I found the first egg of 2015 yesterday – spring is on its way! I had a clematis montana in my last garden that grew into a terrible mess – I cut it back hard one spring after it had flowered and it was easier to keep it under control after that. You have reminded me of how much I miss its lovely spring show – another one on the list that I must address!

    • Cathy says:

      Hmm – mixed experiences of cutting montanas back… Glad your chucks are starting to lay again – we do miss ours and will replace them in due course.

  12. Helen Johnstone says:

    How satisfying. I’ve noticed this week it is still light when I leave work which is cheering

    • Cathy says:

      Oh I am sure it must be – when I was working I remember looking out for the first morning I didn’t need to switch the car lights on when I left home, probably towards the end of January

  13. Chloris says:

    I cut an unruly C. montana right back one year after it finished flowering.. It was fine but it didn’ t flower the following year.
    We do need the lighter afternoons to remind us that Spring is on the way. Specially when it is snowing as it is right now.

    • Cathy says:

      We have been down to see ED today so were closely watching the forecasts, but despite snow showers yesterday evening we have seen none today, fortunately – hope yours was minimal. Thanks for your experience of C montana – I think now I might cut Marjorie down completely now, in the hope then it will be ready to flower again next year.

  14. Cathy says:

    I was all set to add my tuppence worth on the side of cutting montanas back and then read Pauline’s startling comment. She’s such a good gardener, too. I suppose it depends how far back ‘back’ is, taking the age of the plant into account too. I was in the garden at 5pm last Sunday – it was just wonderful.

  15. I do love the way the daylight lasts perceptibly longer now. Well done for getting out and doing, look forward to reading about your latest project!

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