Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Combining clematis with established shrubs

Stunning on its own, this climber works even better teamed up with trees and shrubs for a dramatic second burst of colour.

We are used to pairing clematis with roses, but there are hundreds of other combinations to be explored. Many plants offer limited interest for long periods of the year, so why not extend the season by partnering established trees and shrubs with a clematis?

Buddleias are great with the lavender-blue Clematis ‘Arabella’ or the dramatic dark-purple ‘Miranda’. Both cultivars flower non-stop from spring to late summer and will actually benefit from any hard pruning your buddleia requires to keep it in check. Other silver-leaved shrubs such as Garrya elliptica gain from an association with Clematis viticella ‘Palette’, which has delicate purple-veined flowers fading to white at the centre.

Clematis 'Crystal Fountain' is a daring choice with Ceanothus
The purple foliage of Cotinus ‘Royal Purple’ or Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ provides a dashing contrast for Clematis ‘Wisley’ or the late-flowering white Clematis ‘John Huxtable’, but can also marry beautifully with the soft pink of ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’. In fact, the list of possible combinations is almost endless. The golden rule to remember is that the most successful partnerships have the same pruning requirements.

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