Couple of questions since I want to do it right

Jared77July 19, 2013

I'm designing a trellis that will be part of the supports for the gate to my vegetable garden for next year. I was going to sink 2 of 4"x4" posts that the fence would attach to and support the gate, then bring the trellis out from there using those 2 posts as the back of the trellis.

I'm thinking its going to be 36'' or 48" wide depending on what height of wire we use around the garden. The trellis would be 8' high, maybe 10' at the peak (if I have a peak haven't decided on how I want to build it exactly I'm still drawing it out).

My thought was to turn the wire 45 degrees and run a length of it vertical with the posts for support for the clematis to climb that's why the original wire fencing height would dictate how wide the trellis is. I'll have wire left over I'm sure or can plan for extra.

Its full sun there as the only shade we have is from the house. The clematis would be climbing on the E & W sides of the trellis.

On a trellis that wide can I plant 2 clematis on each side of the trellis? Or should I stick with 1 on each side and hope it fills in enough? I know they are long lived, I'm just trying to make sure I've got enough growing there so its leaving bare spots as it matures.

Our property is 2 acres square and the house is roughly in the middle. The trellis would be viewed from the back deck of the house, and the kitchen window.

Would it be better to 1 variety of clematis and really saturate the area with that color or could I get away with 2 varieties? I'm really looking at maximum effect since it will be viewed and enjoyed from a distance too. I'm wondering 2 different colored varieties would dilute the overall effect when viewed from farther back.

I was thinking of something like Jackmanii, or Ernest Markham, or Bouchaud, or Dominika, or Etolie Violette something that has a strong color to hold up when viewed at a distance.

If I added a 2nd variety I first thought of Henryi and one of the above to give it contrast but I'm really just fishing for ideas and feedback so if you have some other suggestions please fire away. The above ones I listed were just what I'd seen on Home of Clematis and thought might work and give an idea of what I was after as far as looks go.

I'd prefer to stick with Group 3 clematis since it would be easiest for me to simply prune them back and compost what I remove. Variety popularity isn't so much an issue either its really about a big wham! of color and dressing up what's otherwise a very utility looking area.

Also I know Clematis prefer cool feet, would planting some a shorter perennial around them do the trick? Any suggestions on what's a good maximum height for the perennials to shade the ground around the clematis?

Any thoughts, feedback, comments I'm all about. I look forward to your insight and help on this.

Thank you

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opheliathornvt zone 5

Well, first of all the clematis doesn't need cool feet, what it really needs is water, so you don't need to plant anything at its feet.
Secondly, a 3-4' wide trellis is plenty of room for more than one clematis if you don't choose a monster like Sweet Autumn. I suspect that many of us plant clems together because we like to grow many different varieties and there are only so many spots in the yard.
Thirdly, the choice of one or multiple is really up to you. I have singletons and multiples and like both. Etoile Violette grows by itself right now because it's pretty big alone and puts on a good show, although I've been planning to add a white viticella to it for years. I also have a very nice combo of Mrs. Cholmondeley and Comtesse de Bouchaud. Both of them are less vigorous than Etoile.
I also have my Etoile about 30' from the house and it shows up, but I wouldn't say it has a big wham! of color. It's more subtle than that. Maybe a lighter color would wham more.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 8:59AM
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Ophelia said just what I had started writing.

I'll add that in general lighter flowers show up better at a distance.

To help keep your clematis happy, you can mulch to help preserve moisture (though best to leave some space right around the stems and also plant them several inches deeper than they were in the pot.

Below I've given you a link to Clematis on the Web. I often use the clematis search or the A-Z search. You can use it to look up specific clematis (if you use the name in the search page only use one word or part of a word since it seems to not like spaces) or to find clematis that fit a set of requirements.

Here is a link that might be useful: Clematis on the Web

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 8:29PM
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johnnycabot(Z4b MI.)

I have planted lighter colors in a distant site but they always disappoint me. Maybe someone has a good pic to show. My experience has been good old Jackmanni is reliable and royal, never disappoints. If you can see back of pic is under kitchen window where I mixed colors the effect is diluted. One mass color is more dramatic in my garden. Past postings did show wonderful color combinations, mine seem to argue and the strongest takes over.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 4:47PM
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johnnycabot(Z4b MI.)

couldn,t post 2nd pic-Jackmanni

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 4:50PM
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