Monthly Archives: March 2013

March, one of those in between months to cold to plant, storms are often and the wind most likely is always blowing. This year March came in like a lamb and looks like its exit will roar out like a lion, with more storms on the way. So much in the shire garden has begun the awaken and the signs of growth is all around. The Frog ponds ice is gone and a few peep frogs have sounded off after a few days of being in the 40s.

I took some time with the last two days of cool sun to prune the many clematis in the garden. Many will tell me that they find this a difficult vine to grow and that they often lose them a year or two after planting. The basic thing to remember about clematis, they like their feet cool and their heads warm. keeping this in mind will help with plant location and or conditions to creat to keep them happy. Heres a little more, Clematis offer a huge array of color and need support for their twinning stems and can be very effective when grown through other shrubs.

There are three basic pruning groups and it help to know the blooming time of your clematis to know which of the three groups yours falls in. To simplify:

Group 1: Early flowering types bloom on last years or old wood and rarely need pruning, but to keep them neat and showy prune them right after flowering.

Group 2: Many clematis fall into this group, they bloom on both new and old growth, prune this group lightly after the first light bloom to encourage new growth mid-season for continual bloom. This is the group that if you have planted them where the soil heats up, place a few stones at their roots to keep their feet cool.

Group 3: This clematis blooms on new wood, so prune hard in the early spring to about one foot off the ground that would be to about three or four pairs of buds close to the ground. By mid summer and fall the bloom will be out of this world.

Clematis – Old man’s beard, Traveler’s joy or Virgin’s bower, A Genus of more than 250 species of evergreen and deciduous, semi woody twining climbers from all over the world. Should be grown in fertile, humus rich, well-drained soil. with their roots in the shade and their heads in the sun.

I plan this year to plant two new ones to the Shire; Elf Clematis [ Clematis viticella ] ” Elf ” it will bloom all summer covered in small bells with white interior petals and rosy mauve exteriors, and will grow to a height of 7 to 8 feet. This is as I am told is a hummingbirds favorite.

The second will be Clematis ” Princess Diana “, with its vivid 2 to 3 in.,  belle blooms that face out to you from June through September. It is a show stopper and attracts many hummingbirds with its hot pink and mauve tones.

I plant clematis not only for its bloom but it’s seed are beard covered in the late season and is very attractive to the eye and is of great winter interest in the upper view of the garden.

This spring look at the many types and colors of clematis and try some out, your bird friends and garden will thank – you.

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A thought; Beautiful things are sometime found in lofty places, dream on!

I learned a long time ago, that you must take each day as it is delivered to you. You must learn to listen a little longer, watch more patiently and remember to breathe more deeply. My morning in the garden was full of spring promise, the crocus and snowdrops are in bloom along with the buds of the daffodils that appeared after the snow melted. The Helleborus are beautiful even after all the snow cover they received and signs of growth is everywhere.

This morning is over cast and the grays of the trees seemed all about me. Although their branches have large leaf buds they still seem tight as to say, not yet, just a little longer. Even the forsythia seem rather tight bud, but as we know it would take just a few warm sunny days to change that.

This was a winter of large wind and snow storms unlike the past two winter we had, and there seems to be some winter damage due to the wind and snow despite my efforts to remove snow, the clean up of fallen sticks and branches will be huge and time-consuming.


The Hazel, Corylus ‘ Contorta ‘ ( Corkscrew hazel, Harry Landers Walking Stick ) has begun to bloom and is stealing the show with all of the grays around it, I just love the twisting stems with the long yellow catkins. Hazel’s  are a genus of about 15 species of deciduous tree and shrubs. Growing as under plants in the northern temperate woodlands. The hazel likes slightly alkaline soils and will take the bright sun to partial shade. Keep the sucker cut out and this beauty will welcome you in early spring, heralding the end of winter.

March  brings the official spring season on the 20th and baring we don’t get any spring snow storms, we here will begin the spring clean up and flower bed prepping. The time we spent this winter planing and preparing for the growing season ahead will begin and I look forward to that.

So look a little longer for the signs of spring around you and breathe in the fresh spring air a little deeper and let it fill you with a sense of renewal.

A thought; Spring reminds us, that all can be new again.