Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Brick Wall

Still no rain and none forecast. The days are pleasantly hot, a little humid, just what August should be. Need some rain, though.

I don't know what to do about the 'Henryi' clematis on the trellis against the brick wall in front.

It had bold white flowers that stood out against the wall this spring, but it was also highly susceptible to clematis wilt (a fact frequently mentioned in all the descriptions, but one that I had missed when considering buying it). This summer it wilted, blackened, and I cut the diseased stems down.

I've done some more reading, and it seems clematis wilt is rarely fatal. The vine should regrow from the roots, although that may take a couple years to really reestablish, and it can be treated with fungicide soil drenches with some success (possibly).

An interesting observation is that clematis seems to outgrow its susceptibility after about 5 years. The bigger the root system the better it fights off wilt.

So, should I wait for it to regrow, treat it with fungicide and see if I get a hardier version of 'Henryi' over the years? Or should I plant a new variety that might be less susceptible and not need all the fussing?

The trellis is very delicate, and a smaller clematis would suit it better.

In a fit of frustration I ordered another clematis, thinking I had lost 'Henryi' for good. I am getting clematis 'Samaritan Jo' this fall, which is a more contained vine (4 to 5 feet only). It will fit the slender trellis better.

'Samaritan Jo' is gorgeous. It is silvery, with delicate purple colored edges, and it's a long all-summer bloomer. Won't that be beautiful against the brick wall?

But now I read that it washes out in full sun, and is best in light shade. Really?? I have no light shade.

I give up.

Maybe I'll just grow plumbago on the trellis instead. I have plumbago in a pot that I simply put in front of the trellis after I cut down the clematis. Right now it is sort of climbing the tower I stuck in the pot, but it could as easily be supported by the trellis.

That might be the way to go. It's a pretty plant and it has the bright cheerful flowery look the wall needs to lighten it up. It climbs if you tie the stems to a support. It blooms all summer. I have to treat plumbago as an annual, though. It won't winter over.

Okay, I've decided I should forget about growing clematis against the brick wall, dig up the root of 'Henryi' and instead put in a plumbago auriculata, which I will have to replace each year.

Now, what to do with the new little 'Samaritan Jo' vine I ordered? I might plant it in a container with a small pyramid tower and put the whole pot in the half shade in Meadow's Edge where the area needs brightening. That might work.

1 comment:

  1. I love the plumbago Laurrie! I have never grown that but it looks beautiful in that very cool pot you have there as is your trellis! I give up on my clematis as well...it has always done awesome for me but my autumn clematis completely kicked the bucket this summer...yuck...I get so frustrated thinking about it mostly because I want a vine to grow over my arbor. Anyway I think you have come up with a really good solution!!! All the best friend! Nicole xo