With their exquisite blooms and delicate rambling nature, we suggest using these climbers for adding light romance to the garden. Clematis are very versatile climbers and can be grown against a wall or fence, over an arch, or in containers on the patio.
By and large they are trouble-free and there is such a diverse range, you can have clematis flowering in the garden all year round. The buds of Clematis 'Ourika Valley' open in the depths of winter, while C. rehderiana blooms until November. This smoky plum-coloured C. Cassis 'Evipo020' flowers from August to October.
To plant, dig a hole 30cm from your support tree, trellis or wall and mix in organic matter, such as compost. Carefully remove the plant from its pot, gently loosen the roots and water before you plant it and again once it is in the ground. Make sure to plant 10cm below the soil level it had in the pot, to stimulate root growth.
The body of a clematis needs sun or semi-shade but its base must be shaded so try growing other plants in front of it. Keep slugs and snails away by sprinkling your chosen deterrent all around - coffee grounds and organic slug pellets work well - and avoid laying paving as the roots will overheat and slugs and snails will flock.
Carefully maintain the plants. Late summer species, such as this C. 'Venosa Violacea', should be pruned in March.
Most clematis are climbers, but a few are non-clinging, herbaceous plants. This pale Sapphire Clematis 'Arabella' is one of the non-clinging hybrids known as herbaceous clematis, which are best grown through flower frames in the border. "We grow 'Arabella' through obelisks and surround it with generous plantings of pink Phlox paniculata," says Richard Hodson of Hawthornes Nursery.
Ideally planted in a border, this C. x durandii is a non-clinging, semi climber that requires staking. The plant has stunning violet-blue flowers with golden stamens through mid to late summer.
This C. Diana's Delight 'Evipo026' reaches just 150cm in height and is ideal grown in a garden border with pink shrub roses in a sea of campanulas.
Clematis are a versatile bunch and many a romantic garden makes good use of this, letting them pour over arbours and weave their way through shrubs. Small clematis look effective grown through wigwams in a border.
Be sure to water potted clematis regularly in order for them to thrive. This C. 'The Vagabond' also makes a good container plant.
The majority of garden clematis are in shades of purple, blue and white, but there are pink and scarlet varieties too. White and green-hued varieties, such as C. Peppermint 'Evipo005', look stunning grown through or beside sculpted evergreens. This plant has double mint-white flowers and is best planted in a semi-shaded spot.
Clematis can be left to roam the floor as ground cover or grown over frames of hazel to form charming displays in the border. The C. 'Mayleen', shown here, is a vigorous, sweetly scented montana with pale pink flowers and bronze foliage and is at its best clambering through a large tree.
See beautiful clematis displays at the following places: