Is there such a thing as too many clematis?

cohouserMay 24, 2009

My back yard is tiny, and I already have 8 clematis in it. (There are many more along the side of my house.) There's an opening in the yard where my King George V was, which of course needs to be filled, and a perennial recently turned up its toes, leading me immediately to rejoice: "Yahoo -- space for another clematis!" But five years down the road, am I going to regret this for some reason? This is only my second year as a total clematis junkie, and I need guidance. What's back there are Crimson King, Ice Blue, H.F. Young, Henryi, Niobe, Alba Luxurians, Galore, and Petite Faucon. Most of them are planted about 18 inches apart. Thanks for any counseling you can give. This forum is so helpful -- I'm addicted to it, too.

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jeanne_texas(Z 8B TX)

I like your way of thinking..I enjoy squeezing in clematis such as you and have planted just as close if not 12 inches apart..there can never be enough to suit me..I still keep collecting!!..Addicted and ain't gettin' any help anytime soon...Jeanne

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 12:26PM
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janetpetiole(4b)

You won't know until you get to the point of regret. My advise it to just keep buying until when/if it happens.
:)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 2:42PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I have over 60 in my small yard.....

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 5:03PM
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cohouser

Hmm. I'm starting to sense that I'm not going to be hearing the voice of reason here. :O)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 8:05PM
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janetpetiole(4b)

You could go to the hosta forum to ask them if there is such a thing as too many clematis ;)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 8:44PM
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jeanne_texas(Z 8B TX)

I think if you want a voice of reason..that Janet has the right idea..LOL..go ask some Ideological Hosta addicts for my friend..only clematis addicts peruse this forum..tee hee...Jeanne

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 9:26AM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

In a word, no! LOL

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 10:13AM
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cohouser

Yeah... it's been dawning on me that this forum is peopled by hard-core junkies, just lying in wait to feed my so far minor-league addiction. What was I thinking?!

Now I have a serious question: Are all my clems going to drown from the 3 straight days of downpour we've been having? Not whole days, but heavy rain when it does come, lasting an hour or so. This unusual-for-Colorado pattern started just a couple of days after I'd given all the girls a good watering. Since I've already personally drowned two, I'm really fearful I'm going to lose more to the elements. It's not supposed to clear up until Wednesday.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 11:55AM
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janetpetiole(4b)

If your soil is draining well the clematis should be ok.

In all seriousness about your original question...

I think there is a risk that a garden filled with clematis will begin to look jungle-like. Keep in mind that that is not bad a bad thing if your goal is to grow as many different clematis as possible. If there is a specific vision you have for your garden, or it you like a more tailored garden, then you have to be careful about how many you put into the garden.

Right now I have over 30 vines, but you'd be hard pressed to find them all. I'm not saying that I won't eventually be known in the neighborhood as the crazy clematis lady, but at this point, my garden can support a lot more while maintaining a send of purpose and variety of other plants.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's your garden and if filling it with clematis makes you happy, then do what makes you happy. :)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 12:57PM
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cohouser

Yikes, that's a big "if" here -- haven't had enough experience with enough clems to know if I've prepped the clayey soil well enough for really good drainage. Guess I'll just have to wait out the rains and see.

Thanks for your response to the original question, Janet. I'm definitely not a formal-garden person; I think one reason I'm so fond of vines is that they do their own unpredictable thing. But a total jungle wouldn't be good, just because the space is so small -- so what I need to do is take care to plant varieties that won't be inclined to run amok. I know that still leaves me plenty of choices!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 1:18PM
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Mickie Marquis(6 SW Ohio)

Oh, my! I can't imagine any scenario where there could be too many. I have over 200 in my small city lot and I'm always on the hunt for more! I keep the soil healthy and plant vines sometimes even closer than a foot.

Gotta go - I have eight new clems waiting to be planted!

Mickie

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 5:05PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

Huh? What do you mean by too many clems? lolol. I have 7 on my 20 ft long 6 ft high trellis! And a very, very small yard too! lol. Just can't get enough! I keep seeing another one I want, and try to think of where I can put one. Like, "maybe one will be able to climb that tree?" or" I wonder if I can make an umbrella trellis myself?", or " Will one climb up a 4 by 4 pole and where can I put that?" lolol

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 6:53PM
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janetpetiole(4b)

Cohouser...

Water puddling on top of the soil is a problem. If it drains soon after is stops raining, that is good. If it stays too long, then you might want to raise the soil or find a new spot for your clematis.

That said, I had clematis survive being under at least an inch ice for 6 weeks.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 7:00PM
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janetpetiole(4b)

Cohouser....

You will find how creative you will become at fitting in clematis in spaces you aren't thinking about now.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 7:03PM
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cnetter(z5 Co)

I'm trying not to go down the same path with clematis that I did with roses - where I ended up with over 400 roses. Soooo, instead I buy clematis and give them to my neighbors so I can see them, but not have to take up more of my garden space with them. After giving my neighbor across the street a clematis, she has now gone and bought two more. All of her clematis will be visible to me from my front door. I gave a Proteus to another friend and will be giving away a Walenburg and a Venosa Violacea after they've grown out a bit in gallon pots.

That said, I did pick up a Versailles to fit somewhere in my yard.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 10:23PM
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cohouser

Thanks, Janet, for the advice about looking for the pooling of water. If it *ever* stops raining, I will check! (It is coming down again as I write.) I am already noticing myself trying to imagine new improbable places to wedge more clems into.

Kentstar, have you got photos of your very small yard? I like the idea of the pole...

And cnetter, I've already taken up your strategy -- got myself deputized by neighbors across the way to buy them two vines, and after they saw how beautiful they were, with a little help from me they quickly realized they needed two more. Another neighbor came by as we were talking, and I think she and her husband are going to be my next victims. Bwaaahahahaa!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 11:34PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

Yeah, well here's a pic of the trellis. Keep in mind I just planted everything, except for 3 clems that have been pruned back hard. So, everything is still close to the ground. In a couple of months I'll have to take a pic again when they start climbing up more. I have two roses I just planted somewhere in there too! Two climbing roses, John Cabot and Ramblin' Red. Also some pics of front beds.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 7:21AM
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jeanne_texas(Z 8B TX)

LOOK AT ALL THAT TRELLIS to grow Clematis on..LOL..and the SIDES of your home..A Tuteur here and a Tuteur there and Obelisk here and Obelisk There..somebody slap me..wow..I could have a ball there planting clematis and BTW..My gardens IS a JUNGLE and I love hiding in there...tee hee..Jeanne

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 11:26AM
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cohouser

So Jeanne, now I want to see photos of *your* garden, if you can hack your way out of it long enough to take a few shots.

Kentstar, very neat to see your photos and please do send more when the clems are higher. Love your pharaoh heads!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 11:52AM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

Thanks Cohouser! They are Thutmose III statues. I bought them from ancientsculpturegallery.com. They have some really neat stuff! Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Chinese, etc. Cool stuff! A little pricey, but these weren't too bad.
I would LOVE to plant some clems along that hedge line, but I'm afraid the park manager would probably get upset. lol But who knows?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 11:31PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

OH, I forgot,here's a closer pic of the statues:

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 11:38PM
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cohouser

I just came upon the ultimate answer to my question. In the Memorial Day thread, Carol from South Carolina wrote, "More is not enough." That about sums it up, doesn't it?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 3:11PM
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janetpetiole(4b)

Yes it does. Now are you glad you asked.

I have plans to go clematis hunting this weekend with a friend. I don't have places to put them at this point, but it's early in the season. I have all summer to figure it out :-)

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 9:42PM
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cohouser

Yes, Janet, I'm totally glad I asked. This has been a very fun thread, and now I know the full extent to which we are all crazed maniacs on the subject of clems. Always good to have a reality check!

So far, at least, I haven't bought any that I don't have places for. I've been methodical about choosing colors I think will work well together (although without having seen most of the plants in the petal, as it were, it's really a guessing game. Which is part of the fun.). And I want to continue taking color combinations into account when I do buy new ones. Plus make sure I have a variety of bloom times. That planning process slows me down some. Thank goodness.

And hooray, it didn't rain a single drop today and is supposed to be quite warm the rest of the week. I'm praying for the ground to dry out fast. In mid-July, when it's a blast furnace outside, I won't be able to believe I wrote those words.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 11:20PM
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janetpetiole(4b)

I haven't been methodical at all. If I see a good one locally, I buy it, which has been my main source for clematis so far. That makes for trouble for me though, because when I find one that I don't already have, I see new pairings that I want to try.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 7:19AM
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