The evergreen group of clematis are the earliest to flower, from early winter onwards and are great for providing interest and colour in winter.
There are several forms of Clematis cirrhosa that flower in winter and which are looking good now. All produce pendant bells, in subtle shades of white, cream and green, that hang down so are best looked up into.
The flowers go on to produce very ornamental, fluffy seed heads which remain on the plant.
More gardening with Dar:
While this clematis is evergreen, in hot summers it can shed all its leaves and look as though it has died. Don't mistakenly pull it out, though, as it most likely is not dead! It generally recovers well by autumn and retains its leaves through winter.
The best-known cultivar is called "Freckles", which has lots and lots of flowers which are cream on the outside and have maroon speckles on the inside. The flowers can appear from May onwards and are highly attractive to bees and a good source of nectar when not much else is flowering.
Other readily available Clematis cirrhosa cultivars include Wisley Cream and Landsdowne Gem.
Clematis generally grow best in deep, fertile, moist but well-drained soil and prefer their roots to be kept cool, so choose a position with the base of the plant in light shade or shaded by other plants, and in a sheltered spot with plenty of winter sunshine. The cirrhosas prefer slightly drier soils, especially in winter, and can survive temperatures down to about -10C.
Clematis cirrhosas flower largely on 'wood' from previous years growth, so only need pruning if they have outgrown their space or need a tidy up. If pruning is needed, cut back to 2 healthy buds after flowering. You can actually cut them right back if necessary but you will lose a year or two of flowers.
Keep cutting back any summer/autumn flowering perennials that you haven't done already, especially those that the birds have finished with, that have simply collapsed, or that generally no longer add sufficient interest to the winter garden.
Scrub paved areas to clean away moss and mould to prevent them becoming slippery and dangerous.
The Armidale Garden Club next meets on Thursday, July 22, at the Uniting Church Youth Club Hall, commencing at 6.30pm; earlier than usual as it is the annual soup night. Everyone is welcome!
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: