Six on Saturday: Clematis, the Rector and Other Stuff

Most visitors this year seemed to comment not just on the roses but on the clematis too, although in fact there are a number which were not yet flowering, like ‘John Huxtable’, above. I have to agree that all those that are now in bloom do seem to be more floriferous this year, which I am guessing may be down to the fact that I actively fed them earlier in the year, following the feeding regime recommended by Thorncroft, my favourite supplier. If this was the reason, then the effort and cost involved was certainly worth it.

The ‘ร‰toile Violette’ either side of the bus shelter is putting on a show even greater than usual, and another of this variety outside the front door, climbing through Rosa ‘Phyllis Bide’ and usually blooming only sporadically, is looking stunning:

I could show several more examples, but this would be stretching the Six on Saturday rules too much, so will just share the exuberant ‘Little Bas’ on the clematis colonnade, with a bloom of ‘Princess Kate’ hiding in the middle of the picture, and one of the herbaceous scrambling varieties (alongside the striking scarlet Lychnis chalcedonica), its label hidden amongst some very damp foliage:

I was thrilled recently to discover a big fat bud on an agapanthus grown from a seedling from blogging friend Chloris’ garden; I had no idea what colour it would be but now that it is opening I can be fairly sure that it will be blue. I have grown agapanthus from seed myself, but my oldest seedlings haven’t yet flowered, despite one sold to a friend at one of our openings having flowered every year since 2020! I did, however, have a bloom last year on white agapanthus grown from RHS seed whilst still in its 9cm pot: now potted on, it is clearly not planning on flowering again yet…

I am also well-pleased with the phoenix-like rising from the ashes ofย  Hardenbergia violacea in the Coop. Having grown from the original small plant into one clambering 3 or 4 feet up its support and flowering in each of its first three winters, I decided it would probably like to be repotted – sadly, repotting rewarded me not with a newly-invigorated plant but with one that looked distinctly unhappy and dropping its leaves… Not expecting anything positive, I contacted the supplier Fibrex to establish what might have gone wrong; they suggested replanting it in a specific brand of peat free compost, one they used throughout their nursery, and decreed that it should recover fairly quickly, albeit losing the remainder of its leaves before it did so. Astonishingly, this is exactly what happened and barely three months later not only has it a wealth of fresh new shoots at the base but along the seemingly dead stems there are tiny specks of green, growing into new leaves! Without the advice of Fibrex I would have cut these stems right back…

I have managed to restrict my gardening activities this week to gentle deadheading and a little repotting, but today decided to face up to the Rector, the rambling rose above the arbour. For some years we have cut back all the flowering stems soon after flowering and this has certainly helped keep him in a shape suitable for his profession. Not a difficult task, other than facing the numerous sharp thorns, it just involves wholesale lopping followed by tackling the mountain of prunings and in due course tying the new shoots to the wooden framework, although only the first of these was achieved today.

Finally, for the sixth of my stretched Six on Saturday for Jon the Propagator’s weekly meme, and not as pretty or exciting or impactful as the others, we have the tomatoes finally making it into the greenhouse border after the removal of the Winter Sunshine sweet peas. It’s hard to believe I usually leave it till the last of our group visits, which are often well into July, as they were in desperate need of escaping the confines of their pots! Do now visit Jon’s blog to catch up on other sixes.


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14 Responses to Six on Saturday: Clematis, the Rector and Other Stuff

  1. Rosie Amber says:

    I love your arbour, it is giving me ideas. I shall put one on my wish list.

  2. tonytomeo says:

    Agapanthus get more respect where there are less common. Do they freeze there if left outside through winter? I sometimes need to remove some from some of the older landscapes, but simply install them into other landscapes where I want more. I like to flank walkways and driveways with them. If I could, I would send some to anyone who wanted them. Unfortunately, I can not send them very far away or to other countries. I never see seed because we deadhead after bloom.

    • Cathy says:

      Some varieties are hardy here, Tony, but others need to be brought inside

      • tonytomeo says:

        Some? Are they deciduous? There just might be more varieties there than here. Although agapanthus are very common, and there are a few cultivars, there are not many species.

        • Cathy says:

          No, they generally retain their leaves although I imagine a really cold winter might kill off this top growth

  3. Beautiful. Those clematis (clematises? Clemantii?) are a triumph, Cathy. What do you feed them with? We need to tackle our Rector too. I am always torn between taming him immediately after flowering, all the better to ensure a good display next year, or leaving him to develop those pretty little hips that brighten the winter, and hacking him back early in the new year. Last year I went for the hips but the show thurs year was noticeably diminished… Iโ€™m undecided so far this year…

    • Cathy says:

      The feeding was quite specific and if you look at Thorncroft’s website it details it there, although I used a granular rather than pelleted feed because it was cheaper ( but harder to apply, so I might splash out on the pellets next year). With the Rector, the advantage of doing it now is that it saves the mess of petals dropping off for weeks and months, and it’s easier to see where to lop, as I just take out all the stems that have flowered. We can then pull down the new shoots and tie them in before they get too wayward. It definitely works for us – and he flowers brilliantly every year

  4. Noelle says:

    I guess you have a shredder to chop all your prunnings down to something that can either be mulched or reduce the volume down to something manageable Cathy…here as there are a lot less, it is jumping or just keep cutting with the loppers to make smaller and smaller bits. Yes I shall check out the feeding regime, as you demonstrate with your fab clematis it has paid off.

    • Cathy says:

      Actually Noelle, they are all cut up by hand – we still have a shredder but it hasn’t been used for years as I find the noise intrusive and it inevitably kept clogging up. It took me just over half an hour yesterday to cut up and bin the pile- and it’s very therapeautic seeing a large pile reduce to a fraction of its size ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜Š

  5. Oh it sounds like a clematis heaven Cathy. ‘ Little Bas’ may be diminutive in flower but more than makes up for it in flower production. Look forward to perhaps seeing that agapanthus when it’s in full flow ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Cathy says:

      It’s getting that way, Anna, and of course I am already wondering where else I could grow them๐Ÿ˜‰ Ironically, Little Bas came as a mistake but was more attractive than the clematis I ordered in the first place so I stayed with it!

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