Don’t forget to look up.

While walking round the garden, we all too often are looking down at our plants in the borders. Sometimes it pays to look up to see what is happening above eye level as happened to me the other day. Having been up to the top of the garden, I got a wonderful surprise when I glanced up and found my Clematis montana was in full flower once more.

Clematis montana

I’m not sure exactly how tall my oak tree is, but I reckon that the clematis has climbed up about 50 ft before cascading down like a waterfall.

Clematis montana

I had planted it facing the house, thinking that it would do it’s cascading where we could see it from the kitchen and dining room windows. The clematis had other ideas, it decided to face the early morning sun and make it’s waterfall of blossom facing east.

Clematis montana

It is now spreading sideways into the next tree, where will it stop?!

Clematis montana

I pushed my way through the shrubs at the base of the oak and found that the stem is now as thick as my lower arm. It has had hardly any attention at all, most of the time it is neglected and just gets on with the job of spreading where it likes.

Clematis montana Broughton Star

Up in the veggie garden is another montana clematis, this time Broughton Star which has semi double flowers. It has now spread to both sides of the fence and has to be trimmed when flowering is over so that this one doesn’t get out of hand.

Ash tree

In the back garden we have a huge ash tree, again probably getting on for 200 yrs old. When our daughter was married 14 yrs ago, I planted the rambling rose, Wedding Day up it, we can now see it has got part way up the tree and last year we saw the first few flowers.

Clematis montana

A few years later our son was married and I planted a white Clematis montana, hoping that we would have the same result as the pink one up the oak. This one isn’t going to take as many years before flowering as we can see the buds already, so in a few years time, maybe we will have another waterfall, a white one this time.

View across the top of the garden

I will leave you with a view right across the top of the garden and can see that in the future I will have to forget looking down to the flowers and search the skies for flowers instead!



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34 Responses to Don’t forget to look up.

  1. Caro says:

    How lovely! This gives me hope for the future as I’ve just planted 3 clematis, one at the base of each of three trees. I hope mine do the same as yours – what a visual treat!

    • Pauline says:

      It took a long time Caro, I was convinced that it had died as I saw nothing for about10 yrs, I had only remembered to water it a few times after planting, so thought it was my own fault. What a lovely surprise to find that it had been climbing all that time, hope yours don’t take as long!

  2. Angie says:

    What an amazing sight they all are Pauline. As you know from reading my blog that as yet, I’ve little to look up to admire, yet!
    The fact that you have memories involved in your plants make them that bit more special.
    Thanks for the advice re non flowering Camellia etc. I think you are right. They were all new last year so they must be putting down roots. You’ve put my mind at rest 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Glad to have been of help Angie, re camellia. It’s nice to commemorate important occasions or people with a plant, it certainly makes them very special. I’m really hoping that the rose and clematis up the ash will be as good as the one up the oak,all our visitors are amazed when they see it!

  3. Wendy says:

    Your light pink Clematis Montana looks spectacular in your garden. I do love it; I have Clematis Montana “Rubens” spreading over a pergola outside the front door. It is also looking beautiful at the moment. We used to go away every year in early May and I would miss most of the flowering, but of course this year it is flowering so much later (and it’s the year we didn’t go away in early May!)

    • Pauline says:

      Keen gardeners are always wondering when is best to go on holiday Wendy, they don’t want to miss anything, I don’t like going for more than one week! Your clematis on your pergola sounds lovely, they certainly need room to spread!

  4. Cathy says:

    When I saw your post title I was intrigued to find out what you had been missing and now i know – it’s easily done. I couldn’t miss the montana on the magnolia as I see it from the kitchen window every day but I had forgotten about the one on the back fence. Yours is amazing – I love it when they hang down and ‘waterfall’ is such a good way of describing it. That ‘Broughton Star’ is lovely too. I planted a C. flammula a few years ago after seeing one climbing to the top of a tree but it is still near the bottom of our tree and we have had no flowers yet!

    • Pauline says:

      We’ve had to wait a long time Cathy, to see this clematis doing it’s stuff , we’re just amazed at how far it has grown up the tree. I did plant a C.flammula a long time ago, that one definitely did die, hope yours is more lucky!

  5. kininvie says:

    Hello Pauline,

    I think you should also start a rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’ up one of your big trees. You have the space, and it’s spectacular once it has reached 20 feet into the branches.

    • Pauline says:

      Hello Kininvie, we have a Rosa Mulligani up our huge dead oak and it usually flowers in July, it is rampant, easily as big as Kiftsgate! I usually do a post about it when it is flowering, so watch this space!

  6. Gitte says:

    What a lovely sight. I also have a montana rubens, and this year it is starting to look very good. It is growing on the wall of the house and along it. It looks great growing in the trees and cascading down.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Gitte, Your clematis sounds as if it is enjoying exploring along your house, they certainly need a lot of room ! We are enjoying ours tumbling out of the oak tree and visitors love it too!

  7. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    In my garden there isn’t a great deal to look up at because I don’t have trees! However, my parents have similar in their tree – Clematis Montana climbing through a Lilac, onto a Hawthorn and then an Apple tree. It’s very impressive and stunningly beautiful too! 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Liz, they certainly are rampant once they get going and they do need a sturdy support, as we have found with Broughton Star. After a spell of high winds last year, we have now had to prop the fence up. Maybe I will take cuttings and move it somewhere else where it can cope better. Your parents “montana” sounds beautiful, especially as the hosts must be flowering at the moment.

  8. pbmgarden says:

    What a great sight your Clematis montana is Pauline. Such patience you must have. susie

    • Pauline says:

      Hello Susie, I’m afraid I just gave up on it and assumed it was dead, when I couldn’t see any flowers for years, I couldn’t have been more wrong!

  9. Lyn says:

    You’re right, Pauline, it’s easy to focus on looking in the same direction in the garden and then missing something wonderful. I’ve never been brave enough to grow a clematis montana, as they are so rampant, but I admit yours is just perfect.

    • Pauline says:

      You’re right Lyn, they do need space to climb and a very sturdy host able to hold all that weight. Sometimes, in other gardens, I see them so constrained and severely pruned, it is such a shame when there are other clematis that would be so much better for a smaller space.

  10. I have a Clematis montana Rubens, and it does grow like crazy even in the shade. I have never run across other cultivars and will have to look. Yours are beautiful.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Carolyn, there seem to be a few cultivars over here these days, not many but enough to have a choice. I’ve not thought of planting one in the shade before, must go and have a look in the woodland to see which tree would be strong enough!

  11. Pauline–if I plant a Montana rubens to scamper up a tree, what do I do to get it to climb? I planted an ornamental Virginia creeper at the base of a tree a couple of months ago and it is just laying there looking sullen.

    • Pauline says:

      Hello Marian – when I planted my clematis, I dug a hole a couple of feet away from the tree trunk and angled the plant and a stick towards the tree, making sure that the stick reached the trunk. Hopefully then the clematis, and your Virginia creeper, would climb up the stick and then cling onto the tree trunk. If it is reluctant to cling, maybe tying in place might be needed just to start with. Mine had to climb by itself as the trunk was far to big for me to tie round it with string, but it soon started to cling by itself, hope this helps.

  12. debsgarden says:

    Wow! Your flowering waterfall is breathtaking! I just planted my first clematis this year. I had no idea that some could grow to the heights that yours has. Already my mental wheels are turning, trying to find the right tree!

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Deb, they certainly need a good strong, tall tree able to carry all the weight. I would imagine your woodland would be ideal, you must have lots of big trees just waiting to be decorated!

  13. Alberto says:

    Hi Pauline, I think the last picture express the essence of your garden, I love that point of view. Your clematis montana are beautiful, although I prefer the plain ones (pink or white) rather than the double (I grew Broughton Star in my previous garden but mine was darker, almost brownish pink).
    I like you planting the rose Wedding Day on your daughter’s wedding day but 13 years to see it flower is really a long time! It has to be a nice rose though, I looked it oon the internet…

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Alberto, I think the rose Wedding Day was maybe flowering among the leaves of the ash tree while it was climbing, it was only when it started to cascade down that I was able to see them.
      I agree that the single clematis are nicer than the doubles or semi doubles, simple is best!

  14. Anna says:

    Looking up is excellent advice Pauline. I’ve also now started to look backwards too when visiting gardens. Your clematis is an absolute show stopper. I bought ‘Broughton Star’ earlier this year and hope that she thrives as well as yours has done.

    • Pauline says:

      I have a friend Anna, who just looks down when we are visiting gardens, I tell her she is missing so much. Hope your Broughton Star settles in nicely, she is quite a rampant spreader so do give her a strong host!

  15. What a spectacular sight Pauline! Those Clematis are just beautiful. I’ve been having problems with one of mine that I just posted about on my blog, and the other Montana that is doing well leaf wise, still only has one flower on it this year. Am I being impatient expecting them to flower in their second year?

    • Pauline says:

      The clematis are wonderful Paula, when allowed to ramble at will, its amazing what they get up to! Maybe your clematis is putting down a good root system before starting to flower, after all they are going to need good roots to support the stems once they get climbing. Gardening teaches us all patience!

  16. wellywoman says:

    What a brilliant sight. We used to live opposite a house where the clematis had grown up to the top of the house and then had started the climb out along the telephone wires. it looked amazing.

    • Pauline says:

      When we sit on the swinging seat WW, we are looking at the clematis, while enjoying the perfume from the azaleas either side, coffee time couldn’t get better! They do love to wander, so you have to make sure the host can take the weight of all those stems, I worry when I see them on small trees in other gardens.

  17. How wonderful to have mature trees to grow the larger clematis up through, I always think they look so much better growing through plants than they ever do on trellis. In years to come I hope to train some up some of the evergreens in my back garden.

    • Pauline says:

      Janet, they are essential if you want to put a clematis montana through them. Smaller trees can take a smaller clematis more easily and look really pretty. We are so lucky to have all the huge trees here, I don’t think I realised how lucky when we moved here, but I soon learnt!

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