Gardening, Guest Posts, Lou C

Mission Almost Impossible: Montana Clematis

Here’s a guest post by Lou C, on her adventures wrangling her Montana Clematis plants earlier this month.

Lou C's Clematis Montana
May bank holiday — A time when gardeners traditionally overexert themselves in the garden and bedding plants come out to play. Suddenly everyone is a gardener and the neighbourhood battles of the baskets commence. Unfortunately, this May everyone is a little behind with things and for one reason alone– Rain has stopped the play. I can now imagine how Noah must have felt.

The forecast for the bank holiday weekend is for showers rather than torrential rain. Promising. Since the start of April we have lived with a half painted fence that is begging to be finished. Initially we planned to allow our two (yes, two) Montana clematis that are clothing said fence to finish flowering but the rain seems to have put them all behind as well.

We have a montaña to climb and we’re going to need the best in the business. Undaunted, I contact the Impossible Missions Force, also known as my mother. The challenge, should she choose to accept it, is to help us remove the clematis from the fence so we can paint it and put the clematis back a) before it rains and b) by sacrificing as little of it as possible.

Lou C's Montana Clematis
We plump for Sunday – predicted as the better day. The Force arrives, all 73 years and 5 ft 2 of her. She’s bought a packed lunch so she really means business. Before I can ask if she wants a cuppa, the first Montana hits the floor and my mother is nimbly scampering up my rockery incline to the second with no thought to the possible hip replacement that might be necessitated by a nasty fall. The second Montana proves slightly trickier as it has also wound its way through a trellis planter and we have some serious untangling (not to mention a little sacrificing) to do. But not to be beaten, less than half an hour later the first part of the mission is accomplished. Sadly it takes a lot longer than this to finish the fence. In the meantime, the Force makes herself at home with a bag of potting compost and a queue of plants.

Lou C's Clematis Montana on a trellis
A lot later and we set about resurrecting both Montanas. The fence is dry, we have only had to dodge one shower and most of my planting has been completed, just not by me! As they are trained onto new wires I stand back to admire their new svelte physique. Yes, there is less of them, and yes, I could have waited until flowering was over, but flowers they still have and they will grow back very quickly if the number of new stems is anything to go by. They stand out beautifully against my new “seagrass” fence and I cross fingers and hope that I will not be greeted by a mass of wilted stems in days to come.

Mission accomplished and no one disavowed. The Force will be suitably rewarded with a trip to her favourite garden centre. May the force be with you, too.

Lou C

Gardening, Gill, Greenhouses, Guest Posts

Hi,

Things are getting really exciting now as my ‘new greenhouse dream’ is actually happening. Last weekend my husband and I emptied the old greenhouse and took all the glass out, only smashing one pane! We moved the frame onto a flat surface which we are going to eventually cover with a sheet of clear polythene so I can continue to protect my new seedlings and reasonably established tomato plants which are at the moment cluttering the windowsills in the house.
Both water butts that were attached to the greenhouse had to be moved. We emptied the first one into a smaller butt and numerous receptacles and moved it to a safe place then filled it back up. We did the same with the second butt so feel happy now that we have not wasted any precious water.

The builders came and dug out the foundations which have now been filled with concrete. Now waiting for the weather to improve so the brick wall can be built ready for the greenhouse to be installed. Can’t wait.

Gill

Gardening, Greenhouses, Guest Posts, Peter

Peter’s Garden: On Cold Frames and Greenhouses

Welcome to the first in a new series of guest posts! We will be having gardeners from all over the country tell us about their gardening experiences. Our first guest blogger is Peter.

Plants in cold frame

After that warm March we had, everything seems to have ground to a halt. I have picked out quite a few of the bedding plants to put into the greenhouse, which is now pretty full. I must clear the other bench of some of the stuff – pots, seed trays, etc. – that has accumulated.  I have a good size cold frame, and the bedding plants that I have put there seem to be doing as well as the ones in the greenhouse, so I guess I can put more in there. My greenhouse is unheated, excepted for a thermostatically controlled electric heater that is set very low against frost. It never comes on when I am in there, so hopefully it does not cost too much.

Peter's Greenhouse

On the vegetable front, the leeks in the seed bed outside are just appearing, but the spinach beet and turnips are noticeable for their absence. Perhaps the seed was too old, but last year it seemed crazy to plan to grow 1500 turnips, so I had quite a lot of seed left over – still do, so there’s a chance for another sowing.

Peter's seedlings

Spent some time digging out some of those perennials that people have given us that get infested with weeds to give space for the bedding plants. Geraniums are one culprit (not the pelargonium geraniums).
Hazel bushes
Must cut some more hazel for the climbing French bean, grown for the first time last year with great success. So much more productive than dwarf French beans, easier to pick and out of reach of the slugs! Must cut the hazel this weekend before it comes into leaf. Too much to do, not enough time!

–Peter

Share!