I have a back patio that is a bit rough. It started as a simple slab of
concrete. Last year we planted several perenials that were very pretty
but all very low to the ground. Since then we have added a new patio
cover and a barrier in front of our air conditioner. I'm inclined to put
something in front of that barrier that would be pretty. I'm also
thinking about a climbing plant that flowers for the patio posts. I live
on the east side of washington so we have a fairly hot summer, cold
winter etc. This area gets lots of sunshine in the afternoon. Here is a
pic of the area.
Thank you for your opinions.
ps, here is what the patio looks like with the flowers blooming.
I discussed this with my wife at lunch and she says clematis is what she
had in mind to go up those poles. We are zone 6 in Yakima if I am
reading the chart at
http://www.growit.com/bin/USDAZoneMaps.exe?MyState=WA correctly. So I
think we need some advice on what type of clematis as there appears to
be different kinds. Would we plant different kinds together next to the
pole and have them intertwine? is that possible?
Also, we still need suggestions for that barrier in front of the air
The different types of Clematis bloom at different times, and have
different pruning requirements. It is generally not a good idea to mix
different types, but you can get more than one of the same type and have
them grow together. Clematis can take a few years to get established,
but once they establish themselves, you'll have a really nice show on
your hands. BTW, as far as I know, Clematis will need something to hang
onto while climbing, so you might consider putting up some sort of
netting around your poles to give them something to cling to. One of my
favorite ways of growing Clematis is to have it climb through roses, and
if that's an option for you, you might want to consider it.
If you want to stick to varieties that are not prone to wilt, you want
to stay with Viticellas, Alpinas and Macropetalas. You might want to
look at Dr. John Howell's book, 'Trouble Free Clematis - The Viticellas'
to find particularly good cultivars. A good source for learning how to
grow Clematis is http://www.clematisinternational.com There is a long
list of Clematis that are easy to grow, and I can post it for you if
What exactly are you looking for? Perennial? Shrub? Something
evergreen? How tall should it get? Do you have any particular colors
in mind? What sort of sun/shade conditions does the site have? You
could go to a site like www.bluestoneperennials.com, enter your criteria
in a search, and see what pops up.
Clematis growing through roses can be a terrific combination. Some things
to consider. Chose roses and clematis with similar pruning requirements.
For example if you have roses that will be cut back hard each spring eg
hybrid teas you would want to chose clematis from the group that is
similarly pruned eg. Jackmanii. If you can, chose a variety of clematis
that blooms when the rose is out of bloom. If the rose flowers recurrently
make sure to coordinate the colours of the two flowers. Having white
flowers on either the rose or the clematis will make this easier than, say,
having to ponder whether a shade of lavender will work with a pale pink etc.
Roses or Clematis? The roses will grow quickly, especially in warner
zones. My taller roses seem to throw 6-7' canes every year. Clematis
take time to get established, and could take about 3 years to get to a
good size. That said, my neighbor's Jackmanii got well over 10' tall in
2 years. If you get well established plants from a reputable source
(like Chalk Hill, there are others), you will probably get good coverage
in a year or two.
I'm a gardening newbie, but I think I'd prefer perennial. Something that
will climb those poles, so about 7ft tall. The patio faces west. It is
in the shade during the morning, sun in the afternoon (up to 100
degrees), and shade again late in the day. I have no color preference.
I have found that Jackmanii are a great deal more shade tolerant than they
are given credit for in the literature. I planted half a dozen of these
along a chain link fence a food away from the dark north wall of my
neighbour's garage. In addition, all of them were under the canopy of a
mature Norway maple. IOW this was not "partial" shade. The clematis did
well both in terms of growth and flowering. Unfortunately, that deep rich
purple of the Jackmanii may not be ideal for a naturally dark place.
Not sure about other varieties as the others I have had were planted in
higher light levels.
You can search on all sorts of criteria to find the right clematis here:
http://www.clematis.hull.ac.uk/clemlistsearch.cfm Searching on shade
alone got me 289 hits, and of those, 126 are viticellas. Chalk Hill has
a list of Clematis for Partial Shade/North Walls
I'm in the Seattle area, and have 14 different clematis planted together along
my front porch, including two evergreen that I just planted last fall. I started
planting them 6 years ago, and add one or two each year. OK, so I'm addicted.
For the first year I used string loosely wrapped around each post, and trained
the plants through. Now they climb through each other. I also nailed up slats
between the posts, and below the roof, for the plants to twine around, as you
can see here:
I've never pruned any of them, and never had a problem with wilt. I do trim dead
branches in the spring, but I love the look of the bare branches all winter -
and couldn't bear to cut them off.
The montana's are just about to bloom now. These are my favorite, tho the
flowers are small. But the whole yard smells like baby powder when they're in
bloom, and they grow extremely fast:
Here are some photos of the others:
I love them.. I wanted to plant 30 or 40 of them around the yard, but
I don't have the space where they could climb without being overtaken
by the faster growing grape vines which grow around the perimeter of
most my yard, so I have a couple that survived a lot of neglect out
back, a Nelly Moser, and up front I have 3 out of 4 that survived
being tortured all last summer being in pots. I think I have pink
fantasy, snow queen and Henryii, and Ramona croaked. I have to put up
some supports, and because of how clematis support themselves I have
to pay attention to the size of the supplied material. Clematis grip
their support by clamping onto the support with the leaves on opposite
sides of the stems.. they don't twine like beans, or morning glories,
so I'm hoping I can get a lattice work that has large enough holes,
with narrow enough slats to allow them to pull themselves up onto.
They're just surrounded by tomato cages now. I would prefer to have
something more like a grid, but they only make those in 2' wide strips
for a lot of money and I need something wider, and cheaper since I'm
"po' folk" with my measly $867.28 a month income.. and I've lived on a
lot less so to me it still looks like a fair amount of money.. until I
start looking at grocery prices, even used car prices and worse,
pickup truck prices! I guess an "ok" job now is paying at least $1500
a month, a little better "ok" job I guess can be $3000 a month. Hooo
Boy, what I could do with $3,000 a month! LOL Anyway, I still want a
lot of clematis, but I'll wait until I get the ones I have supported,
and holes dug everywhere around here that I want to put stuff, THEN..
I'll call up the greenhouse and tell 'em what I want, let 'em get it
together so I can send someone else to pick it up. I can't do a whole
lot, so I have to pay what I can of my income to people to do the yard
work. Several hundred already this spring, but while I'm bummed I
don't have any money for several other things I want..I'm not as
bummed as I would be normally because a friend is doing the work and
she needs income, so it works for both of us.. when I can get her to
come over anyway ;-)
I want bunches of clematis, unfortunately, zoning laws keep me from
doing much of what I'd like to do. :(
In reference to your air conditioner screen, I saw a cool idea awhile back
on Gardening By The Yard, the HGTV show. The homeowner was using a piece of
plywood to screen a firewood pile and wanted to dress it up a bit, so they
painted the plywood to resemble a trellis with climbing vines. They first
used a roller to paint the whole board with a brown paint, then striped it
with masking tape to resember the criss-cross slats of a trellis, then
painted it again with mixture of black, green and yellow paint. When the
masking tape was removed, there was a criss-cross pattern in brown across
the greenish-black background. Then, they used smaller brushes to paint
some very simple vines in green trailing up the "trellis", and added some
simplistic flowers by painting football-shaped objects in varying colors on
the tops of the vines. It was a very cool idea -- I'm going to try it this
year on my wooden shed, which is a terrible eyesore on the small patio I
have. If you're interested in doing this, search the HGTV Web site for
Gardening By The Yard and "painted trellis". There are instructions on the
site for how to do the painting and, to my recollection, some photos of the
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