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clematis jackmanii

On 06, Aug 2010 | One Comment | In shade, vines | By All Year Garden

Clematis plants love full sun but some of them (like the one in the picture) tolerate light shade or more precisely indirect bright sunlight.

This purple beauty adorns a trellis and it’s still very young (2 years old), so it just started to develop. Right now it is a gangly green string with timid branches hanging tight for support. It looks so fragile! The flowers have already gone to seed. I’m looking forward to many happy returns in the years to follow.

Clematis like their roots moist and cool, and will reach four feet deep for water when fully mature. Until then make sure to mulch them properly and not give them a lot of competition for food and water by planting tons of annuals close by.

This plant is a heavy feeder and needs abundant fertilizing to flourish; some people say it is  susceptible to disease. I didn’t personally experience troubles with that, but as I said, it is very young. One thing I did experience though is that it doesn’t seem to like being touched: I tried to weave it gently around a support and every shoot I touched died. It grew new ones with springy tendrils and climbed up quickly afterwards. I haven’t touched it since. I just water it, feed it and photograph it from a distance.

Under favorable conditions, clematis will provide abundant color in mid to late summer. The strange clematis seed, a bundle of hairy twirly filaments, creates winter interest.

If you manage to acclimate this beautiful plant to an area of your garden that receives less sunlight, you got yourself a reliable bloomer and we all know how valuable that is in the shade garden: not many plants can do it. Especially in the dead of summer, when all the early bloomer’s enthusiasm tires out.

ruffled fuchsias

On 14, Jun 2010 | No Comments | In shade | By All Year Garden

I haven’t had much luck with fuchsias, not for lack of trying, but I can’t help getting them because they are so exquisitely pretty. Take a look at this picture and tell me if you have seen a more sophisticated and imaginative flower. I like them all, the pink stars with purple ruffled skirts, the hot pink rose like blossoms with white bulbous middles, the all pink angled shapes, the waxy red pendulous shapes, I like them all. They are finicky little things with particular tastes that I haven’t yet figured out. They like dappled shade and should do well on a partly shaded terrace, hanging close to you, so you can fully appreciate their intricate form. Fuchsias don’t like wet feet, so don’t over water. I have yet to get one to last through the winter. Maybe this year…

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