Growing Clematis in Auckland - by Bev McConnell
It's puzzling why Clematis are not grown more widely in the Auckland province.
They should be, especially the December flowering viticella and texensis
varieties. In Auckland herbaceous plants rarely stay herbaceous but tend
to grow with uncontrollable abandon, or need constant lifting and division
to retain their vigour. Clematis, once well-planted and nurtured, will grow
and flower with increasing vigour each year - like most trees, the older
a Clematis gets, the better it looks.
We have over a hundred Clematis in our garden at Ayrlies, many grown over shrubs or through old-fashioned type roses which tend to have only one long-flowering season e.g. 'Rosa Fritz Nobis' which flowers prolifically through November and just as it is on the wane, Cl. 'Victoria' smothers the rose in a succession of wine-purple blooms for weeks - and both can be successfully pruned at the same time in late winter.
It is a good idea to plant two of the same variety fairly close for maximum effect and I tend to plant them in May rather than in spring, in our frost-free area. This way they have a month or two longer to establish before the summer drying-out, which can be fatal especially in their first season.
Cl. texensis 'Gravetye Beauty' is a cherry-red treasure that I use as a ground-cover and let clamour over shrubby perennials. . . . Cl. viticella 'Abundance', Cl. 'Kermesina',
Cl. 'Royal Velours', Cl. 'Mme Julia Correvon', Cl. 'Betty Corning', and Cl. 'Huldine' weave through old roses, up walls and over shrubs. Cl. 'Prince Charles', Cl. 'Perle d'Azure' and Cl. 'Comtesse de Bouchard' all with medium-sized flowers do much the same, always giving great value after good feeding and mulching.