Plant of the Week: Clematis
There's a clematis in flower for every month of the year, so they say: and you'll find some of the prettiest on sale in full bloom right now in our garden centre. Best of all, these are the clematis which need minimal pruning: just leave well alone unless they outgrow their space, when you can trim them back after flowering.
The montana group are frothing into a flurry of blossom right now: 'Tetrarose' is rose pink while 'Grandiflora' is purest white. Both are sweetly perfumed. And flowering through May, macropetala varieties have large, elegantly nodding flowers. 'Rosy O'Grady' is dusky pink, while 'Wesselton' is a delicate lavender.
It is safe now to prune stone fruits, such as plums and cherries, because the risk of them contracting silver leaf disease has passed. Fig trees, too, can be pruned now, to keep plants to shape and size, and to remove dead, diseased or damaged growth.
Leaving soil bare to the elements for any length of time is a recipe for disaster. Soil structure is a delicate thing, and if it's pounded into a hard cap by relentless rain, baked by the sun and then colonised by tough, hard-to-eradicate weeds it's no wonder you struggle to get anything to gr…Read more »