Suggestions for a z8 coastal garden?

ard1January 18, 2009

Would rooguchi do well in a z8 garden? I am in coastal NC, and am looking for a clematis to plant as a companion to a Cornelia climbing rose on the end wall of a little garden cottage. It faces west and gets the HOT afternoon sun for many hours. There is a 6' gardenia out a bit from the wall which would shade the base of the clematis. Also, am looking for a clematis to plant on a pergola/arbor structure that is 10' long by 3' deep and 8' high. It will have a souvenir de la malmaison climbing rose on one end and a reve d'or on the other. In the center is a confederate jasmine.The three sides are a very open lattice, which provide plenty of climbing support. I have no experience with clematis, but am fascinated by their beauty, and would like to get to know them. I am gone quite a bit in spring and early summer, so they would have to be fairly independent and able to manage on their own until I return home in July. Is it too tall an order? Thanks for all suggestions.

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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

The biggest obstacle I see in your case is the fact you won't be around the clematis in spring when they start growing and when the weather can get hot here. Without you to keep them watered, especially when they are getting established, could be a big issue as to whether they will survive. You know your gardening conditions better than I do so you should know how water loving plants do establishing themselves in your garden without watering that early in the season, except of course with what Mother Nature normally provides.

Rooguchi is one of those clematis that tends to flower well for most people but quite a few people, including myself, have experienced mildew issues on it. The mildew can occur anytime from early spring thru summer. If it turns out to be a problem in your garden, then you may arrive in July to a plant that is covered with it. If not, then it should do well assuming it gets the water it requires from Mother Nature until July when you return home.

For the pergola, I would first suggest a montana since it would cover the structure quite nicely, if not engulf it entirely, depending on the variety you choose. Then again it is an early spring bloomer, so if you go with it, you will miss its blooms if you aren't home at that time of the year.

There are tons of type III clematis that you could use on the pergola in addition, you would just have to choose several since none of them would get large enough to cover a 10 foot long structure unless you planted sweet autumn clematis. But with so many other great varieties out there, I would by pass sweet autumn clematis and use your pergola to showcase other clematis that would complement your other existing plants on the structure. Since I am not a rose person, your rose names mean nothing to me as far as color goes. Someone familiar with them could give you better suggestions as to complementary colors of clematis that would work.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 4:25AM
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Thank you nckvillesdude for your suggestions. I have noticed from reading some of the other postings that you have a lot of good advice that you generously share. Regarding the mildew, is it detrimental to the health of the plant, or just unsightly? As for not being here from mid-May through end of June, early July, it does pose difficulties, but I'm awfully grateful to have a job, even if it does take me away during one of the most critical times of the gardening year! The clematis for the pergola could be a bit demure in it's growth habits as the roses and jasmine will cover it well. I just thought a clematis would provide a nice addition in both color of blossom, and foliage interest, and if there is such a thing, fragrance would be nice, too, as this structure is just outside two windows, and the prevailing sou'easterly breeze of summer wafts the perfume of anything on the pergola right into the house. The colors of the roses, by the way, are a soft pink, and then a yellow. The walls of the cottage are a soft yellow, and trim is a sort of French blue. I am partial to blues, and favor old fashioned types of flowers, but am open to all ideas.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 11:28AM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

The mildew is just unsightly but can be prevented if sprayed. I just tend to forget to do it until the problem arises and then you can't rid of already infected leaves, but you can prevent it on newer leaves that are sprayed. At times I have just whacked the plants down if it is too disgusting looking and started the plant over. It doesn't seem to mind.

If you are looking for fragrance, I would suggest Betty Corning. The fragrance is not one that will knock you over but it is quite nice. If the wind blows into windows, you should be able to smell it once it matures. I always pick small bouquets and put them on the coffee table in the living room and can smell them as I watch TV. Being a viticella, it is a strong grower, never had mildew in my garden, is wilt resistant, and can get large. The flowers are a pale pinky blue to more blue depending on the exposure and I think it is a great clematis.

There are fragrant integrifolias including Olgae and Hakuree but they are more shrub-like and would require tying up onto a trellis and wouldn't get taller than 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall.

Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Betty Corning on COTW

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 5:12PM
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Nckvilledudes-Well, I've just spent a most delightful and enlightening hour or three at the ICIS website, thanks to your Betty Corning link! I feel like I'm starting to get to know a tiny bit about these lovely and delicate looking flowers. The page on ICIS for clematis for beginners is very helpful, although I haven't yet found too much about how much heat they can take- except for the viticella's with their Italian Mediterranean heritage. They are really pretty, and I find that the small blossomed varieties appeal to me more than the showy big blossomed varieties, so perhaps I'll have some luck with them. the 'ground cover' ones also present intriguing uses-have you any experience with them? When they say 'happily scramble through perennial borders' can they harm the other plants by covering them or climbing up them and pulling them down, or anything? This might sound rather ignorant, but I'm very novice, and with some of the prices I've seen for plants, I don't want to invest unwisely...also, being new to these forums, may one ask for recommendations of nurseries that are best to buy from? I'm in northeastern NC. Again, I thank you very much for your advice.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 10:14PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Once you start looking at COTW you will want more and more clematis. I too prefer the smaller type III flowering clematis than the larger flowering hybrids that fall into class II. I use a variety of the shrubby integrifolias and have them grow amongst and over blue pacific junipers and they haven't hurt the junipers at all. I don't have to worry about them climbing the plants since they generally don't cling. I also have Alionushka growing up and through a japanese maple. It sort of just winds its way up through the branches although even with being an integrifolia, I have documented that sometimes its petioles can grasp onto branches. I haven't tried using the type IIs as ground covers as they would be able to climb up structures but have seen them used as such.

Any of the type IIIs that are viticellas or have viticella heritage in their bloodlines I have found to be more heat resistant in my zone 7 NC garden. The type IIs are more prone to brown out in our heat but even the type IIIs can do so if we have extremely hot and dry summers.

As for sources, with us being in NC, Brushwood Nursery in Pennsylvania is the closest as far as shipping goes. Dan will respond to your questions about clematis and will replace any ones that might get shipped with mistaken identities (it happens more times than you think from various sources!).

There is also Jerome at Koi Gardens who sells smaller plants than Dan but the plants have very good root systems and he was just recently running a special.

There was a recent thread here just recently that had in its title something about a list of clematis suppliers and there was a whole list of nurseries that sell clematis. Some good, some not so good. Search for that post and if you have questions about specific ones, email me and I will give you my experiences with them.

One other group of clematis to consider are the US natives which are grossly underutilized. Since some are common here in NC you might want to peruse the link below which shows info on this group of clematis. Have fun looking.

Here is a link that might be useful: The American Bells

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 4:29AM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Was able to find the thread I was talking about with the various mail order sources and it is linked below. Just realize that I would be hesitant to order from some of the sources so feel free to ask about specific ones if you are interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mail Order Clematis Sources

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 4:32PM
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Greetings, nckvilledudes, and thanks for your very useful thoughts-you're absolutely right about perusing the COTW- in fact, between spending way too many hoours there, and then on the charming American Bells (I think Belles would be more appropriate!) website, I am so befuddled, and have SO many little stickie notes with 'must haves' listed on them, that I have no idea of what to choose now! So I gave it a little break and went out and dug a trench for an electrical installation. It didn't clear my head at all, but it did give me a break from looking at the endless beautiful clematis abounding. And I am worried about what you said originally about my not being here in May and June, just when they're trying to settle themselves in. How early can I plant them? I can water pretty much up til the end of April or early May before I leave. I'm on the edge of Currituck Sound, so in addition to the usual cold temps, I have the wild winds of winter coming right out of the north and across the sound. The pergola is close up on the south side of the house, so it is fairly protected. Thanks also for the link to possible vendors, and the offer to 'sound' a particular vendor before buying. I'll let you know if I'm ever able to make a decision about which ones to choose. It's mind-boggling!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 12:05AM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

I typically like to plant clematis in the fall since it gives them plenty of time to get settled in prior to our hot summer's arriving (have planted them as late as Halloween). You all closer to the coast have had much better luck the last few years as far a rainfall goes than those of us further inland so you would know better than I as to how much rainfall you all get in the spring and summer. I have also planted clematis as early as February here although these were typically ones I had in one gallon sized pots and was growing out since most venodors don't ship that early in the season.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 4:22AM
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Hi ard1, One suggestion for your watering needs while you are gone is to attach a timer to an outside water faucet, then a water hose to the timer that goes to a sprinkler or sprinklers. The ones that have a spike that sticks in the ground can be at end of hose or have another hose attached on other side to go to another sprinkler head. Timers usually run about $30.00 from Lowe's, Home Depot etc. They can be set for length of water times and days to water.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 10:15PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Rudi, not knowing how long ard1 is away from her house or if there are neighbors who watch the house, I might be a little hesitant to use a timer and leave a spigot open for extended periods of time with no supervision. I have had hoses blow out in the middle of summer while running a drip irrigation system and come home to find that the water had been running for a while. If ard1 is away from the house for even a few days at a time, such an occurrence could be very costly in terms of the water bill.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 4:31AM
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