The Only Way is Up Now.

When you run out of space on the ground for any more plants, the only way is up. I wander round the garden looking at the trees and shrubs, wondering which are strong enough to support a clematis. Also, just because an arch or pergola already has a climber up it, maybe a clematis can be added for extra colour, either to flower at the same time as the original climber or to extend the season.My favourite family of clematis are the viticellas. When we first came here and I planted some of the large flowered varieties, they all succumbed to clematis wilt, something the viticellas will never d0.


C.Etoile Violet

Having had so much rain over the past 3 months, the clematis on the pergola at the top of the garden have really taken off and are now climbing up the Bramley apple tree. Because it has been so wet, I haven’t been able to keep training them in the direction that I wanted them to go and they are now doing their own thing.

C.durandii and rose

The clematis by the dead oak are trained on tripods but once again they are now escaping from where I would really like them, this one is Clematis durandii with a peach coloured rose.

C.Etoile Violet

Another Clematis,  Etoile Violet climbing into Rosa Mulligani which is up the dead oak. It has certainly made a lot of growth this year, the obelisk is nowhere to be seen!

Etoille violette

The same Etoille violette spreading sideways as well as upwards, this time over Myrtus communis, the common myrtle, they look nice together.

C. Abundance

Climbing up the pergola is C. Abundance, this one can certainly climb, it says capable of 20ft and I would agree with that!


Not too sure what the next two are, they are round the back on the arbour in the corner. This area was made to give us some nice shade from the sun…..ha ha….not this year!


Is this the same one ? I know I planted Rouge Cardinal in this spot, but this isn’t red enough, I think it could be a newly opened flower which looks slightly different from an older flower.

C. Margot Koster

Clematis Margot Koster certainly puts out a fantastic number of flowers, she is absolutely covered for weeks, if not months. She doesn’t like being trained up the pergola, as soon as I tie in some shoots, there are more waving their long arms at me!

C. Pagoda

Pagoda is a smaller clematis, only growing 8 ft up a metal obelisk near the back door. Some question whether it is a viticella or whether it has texensis blood in it, whatever it has, it makes a nice dainty clematis.

C. Perle D'Azur

Clematis Perle d’Azur is another that we have climbing up the pergola, this time sharing its space with a white climbing rose.

alba luxuriens

Another strong grower on the pergola, is C. Alba Luxuriens, the small flowers hang down at first but then open out fully and face outwards. They quite often have touches of green on the outer sepals and there is a hint of purple at the centre.

Mary Rose

Growing up the pergola along with Alba Luxuriens is Clematis Mary Rose, originally called Flora Pleno.  This is an ancient variety of clematis, dating from the 1500s when Henry v111 was on the throne of England. Henry had a warship, the Mary Rose, which sank near Portsmouth while in battle with the French. The clematis Flora Pleno was lost to cultivation until discovered in a garden here in Devon in 1981. In 1982 , Henry’s warship, the Mary Rose,  was raised from the seabed and preserved. Permission was sought to change the name of the clematis  and call it after the warship, permission was granted and the rest, as they say, is history! The flower is quite small, but there are so many of them that it doesn’t matter.

C. Blue Angel

One of my last clematis to flower, is in the front garden on a trellis to hide a huge water butt and is Blekitny Aniol or Blue Angel. This is a lovely shade of pale blue and shares the space with an early flowered Alpina clematis. Still to flower is Huldine which is on the pergola, but that will be next month.

No tree is safe from having a climber added, I did try once putting one up an evergreen shrub, but all the shrub foliage that was covered, died off.  Didn’t repeat that! I have been very pleased with the clematis that I have put up trees, mainly early ones up till now, but who knows what I will plant this autumn to decorate the trees for next year!!

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24 Responses to The Only Way is Up Now.

  1. Christina says:

    What a wonderful collection of Clematis you have Pauline, I love them but alas it is too hot for all but clematis armandii which thrives and is the first big flowering plant of spring so very special. You sound as if you could almost have the National Collect of C viticellas! Enjoy and thank for sharing them with me. Christina

    • Pauline says:

      Christina, there are lots more viticellas according to my book, a few of which I would still like to find. I’m beginning to think that cool damp Britain is quite a good place to live, as far as plants are concerned!

  2. Lovely. I’m a huge fan of clematis and also grow them up pretty much anything that will support them. By the way, I tried to subscribe by email to your blog but your e-mail subscription page seems a little awry?!? Also (gosh, but I’m a nag), your gravatar doesn’t have a link to your blog. I’ve been meaning to visit for ages but there wasn’t a link when you’ve kindly left a comment at the AG. I’ll stop moaning now! Dave

    • Pauline says:

      So sorry you have had problems Dave, my son set up the blog for me, so I will pass on your comments to him, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start! Glad to hear that you too are growing clematis up various supports.

  3. If ‘David’ clicks on ‘Pauline’ there is a link (just as there is to David) via the word not the picture.

    My little indigenous clematis is still looking thoughtfully up at the indigenous jasmine. The jasmine has covered the rainwater tank, but perhaps the clematis will grow this winter into spring?

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Diana for clearing up the problem with my blog. Like the sound of your clematis growing up your jasmine, I’m sure they are very happy together! All the clematis I’ve shown need to be cut down here to about 18inches in our spring, all the growth we have now has grown since Feb/March when they were pruned.

  4. debsgarden says:

    Pauline, you have a wonderful collection of clematis! I have never planted one here, but I recently added an arch to the area I call the lady garden and am thinking of planting some there. I will have to find varieties that can take the summer heat. The spot gets sun for about 3 to 4 hours, otherwise is shade. Any suggestions?

    • Pauline says:

      Deb, the garden books all say to plant with their feet in the shade and their heads in the sun, some of mine are in quite a lot of shade, especially on the pergola and they seem quite happy with flowers up the post as well as on top where they have reached the sunshine. You will find that dark colours will fade in hot sunshine so it might be better to go for paler colours or maybe to go for varieties that flower before all your heat arrives.

  5. Hi Pauline, that is a rather impressive collection of clematis. I’ve been eyeing up various shrubs in my new garden and wondering if I could keep them and brighten them up by training a clematis up them.

    • Pauline says:

      Go for it Janet, as long as the clematis isn’t having to fight too many roots, then it should be ok. I think I would just put one up deciduous shrubs as once I put one up a conifer and all one side of the conifer died!!

  6. Hi Pauline, I did the same thing with my first townhouse garden: when I ran out of space in the small flowerbeds, I went up instead. I have a fair number of clematis and am always looking to add more. I don’t however, have any clematis climbing my trees…yet. I really like your idea of “decorating the trees.”

    • Pauline says:

      I’ve been looking Jennifer, at a couple of small trees which could host a viticella each and give the trees a second flowering. Up till now I have put a montana up an oak and an ash. The one up the ash was white to celebrate our son’s wedding and has climbed about 15ft so far. The one up the oak was planted a long time ago, is pink and has grown 50 ft or more you must choose your support to match your clematis!

  7. Lyn says:

    I only started planting clematis a couple of years ago because my garden does get very hot and dry in summer. There are a few spots where they will grow and I’ve pampered them by amending the soil more than I usually do. I have ‘Polish Spirit’ growing up my crab apple tree and I’ve just planted ‘Madam Julia Corevon’ under a large Viburnum tinus and ‘Prince Charles’ under a golden Diosma. I hope they grow as happily as yours!

    • Pauline says:

      So glad someone else Lyn, is going upwards! You have 3 lovely ones there and I’m sure they will be happy with you to look after them.

  8. catmint says:

    hi pauline, Your photos of clematis jumbled with other flowers, and the different varieties are divine. I only have one clematis plant, I don’t know what it is. It’s established and happy, so I don’t have the heart to pull it out. It’s a lesson not to buy sight unseen from a source you don’t know – the flowers are puny. I have learned to love them, but they’re not in the same class as yours. And it’s deciduous. Must have been grown from seed. cheers, catmint

    • Pauline says:

      Catmint, mine are all deciduous, the evergreen ones here are not as hardy so I don’t tempt fate, they would need a really sheltered spot and they usually flower in our winter. Some varieties of clematis have tiny flowers but make up for it by having loads of them. They certainly provide lots of colour at this time of year on a different level.

  9. OK – thanks Pauline. Thanks too Diana; I realise that here Pauline’s name is a blog-link but on Pauline’s gravatar (in my blog’s comments) there is no such link. Dave

  10. Pauline you have some lovely clemistis and you are so lucky they grow where you are, I have one montana which is supposed to be a strong grower in over 10 years it has barely reached 4 foot and I’ve had less than a dozen flowers in all those years,
    I think there is someone somewhere in (I think the north of England) that has a collection of C. Viticellas I remember reading about her or may be she was on GQT (struggling to remember), Frances

    • Pauline says:

      Frances, I think the problem with your clematis is your acid soil, I am just the acid side of neutral, they prefer an alkaline soil so I’m lucky they grow for me.

  11. thanks Pauline, I’ll put some lime around it to see if it helps, because that montana never grew and I once bought an alpina one (can’t remember the name) which only suvived 2 yrs. I’ve never bother buying any more, I do get a bit frustraighted with the professional gardeners as they go on about plants that prefer an acid soil but never a word about plants that prefer an alkaline soil, I’ve learnt more from reading garden blogs than any book or magaine, thanks again, Frances

    • Pauline says:

      I have a couple of books that I bought when first starting the garden here that have a chapter each on plants that like acid soil and plants that like alkaline soil, I’m assuming I have neutral soil which is acid enough for rhododendrons, meconopsis, camellias etc, but then I can grow a lot from the alkaline section too. One book is ‘Perfect Plants for every place’ by Susan Berry and Steve Bradley, and they have clematis listed in the alkaline section. Glad to have been of help!

  12. thanks I just did a search for the book it sounds like a good book, I think the older books seem to be far better, I often find with many of the recent books that they are all mostly repeating the same thing which is a bit of a gloss over, I really get fed up with reading that a seaside garden has a sandy soil etc, etc, I found in a shop in town a reprint copy of Christopher Lloyds ~ Foliage plants and it is a much better read than many modern books, Frances
    p.s. sorry if my comment re your non clickable comments sounds like I’m irritated, the irritation isn’t with you or your blog, it’s Diana I get a bit fed up with her IT info that is wrong! infact if she hadn’t left that wrong info I wouldn’t have commented on the subject, delete this part of my comment if you prefer 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Frances, being completely ignorant about the workings of a computer, I wouldn’t know what is right and just stick to gardening! Hope you manage to find the book sometime, I found it quite useful as it also had a chapter on which plants like clay, which like shade and which like wet soil, all of which we have here.

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