Preparing clematis for spring

The snow that we had last week is now gone, save for a few browning lumps on corners of streets. It is so pretty when it first comes, and so shabby after several days, and so treacherous while it’s on the sidewalks. I understand there is more to come, so keep warm m’dears.

The time to prune clematis is now.

The time to prune clematis is now.

The snow that we had last week is now gone, save for a few browning lumps on corners of streets. It is so pretty when it first comes, and so shabby after several days, and so treacherous while it’s on the sidewalks. I understand there is more to come, so keep warm m’dears.

My crocus are getting bigger, but cringing a bit in all this cold. Today Lenox, my daughter, bought me a small pot of mixed crocus which are inches taller than mine, but I’ll bet the grower had them in a greenhouse somewhere, so it’s not fair to make comparisons.

Those poor neglected mini-daffodils are still sitting patiently waiting in a soup bowl on the kitchen counter, getting more roots every day, and putting out respectable green shoots, but I plead that I’ve been so busy I just haven’t had a minute to get them into a pot.

“Busy doing what? I can hear them thinking. “She’s alone with the same 24 hours as the rest of us, how come she can’t find an hour to spend with us?”

Okay. I hear your muttering, and I promise to do better. I haven’t even had breakfast yet, and here I am talking to you, so please relax.

I was out to dinner and begged for ideas to use in a garden column at this time of year. Joan G. suggested I mention pruning clematis. Good idea. Prune your clematis as soon as you can find your secateurs. Put on a raincoat, and a hat and set your jaw, determined to be ruthless where necessary. Jackmanii may have already started new growth, but cut old growth back to about six inches above the ground. This holds true for any clematis that blooms only in spring or early summer, ones that flower later are pruned after flowering. If this is your first attempt at growing clematis they need a soil that has been limed, and a place where their roots will be out of direct sun. Plant a small shrub in front if necessary. Clematis also need support, a trellis of some sort, although they may also be grown as a ground cover on a slope I don’t fancy this myself, think of trying to weed around, and amongst its trailing branches.)

One clematis that is quite unusual, and very lovely is a yellow one called Tangutica, which has down-facing tubular shaped yellow blooms and seed pods resembling those of a dandelion. When we moved to Melissa Street there was already one growing in the front garden, but for reasons unknown it up and died. I was heart-broken, but with so many other things to be done, never replaced it. Thank you, Joan.

Don W. was also at the dinner, and mentioned how many seeds he had gathered from his parsley plants. We gave him the original clump, so I asked him if I could have a few seeds to plant on the balcony. One always needs a sprig of parsley to jazz up a plate of sandwiches, doesn’t one?

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