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Native Wisteria

July 8th, 2019

For a few years now (hard to remember how many exactly, maybe 4-5) I’ve been growing this native wisteria in a container. It’s trained as a standard, though I have a few of the shoots pinned to the soil to propagate it. This beautiful vine lives in the unheated basement during the cold winter months, not because it can’t take the cold, but because the beautiful terracotta pot cannot.

This is a native wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) and much hardier than the Asian varieties (also much less aggressive). As a result, it blooms reliably in cold climates, no freezing of buds which happens quite often with the other varieties. My mom’s neighbor had a wisteria growing on her back porch, it only flowered about once every 5 years because the blooms would be frosted off in early spring.

What’s blooming in your garden this week?

Blooming Its Heart Out

June 23rd, 2017

When I got these tiny clematises at a discount store this spring, I wasn’t expecting much of anything by the way of blooms for several years.

I was super amazed when one of the tiny vines started putting off one bud, then two, then three… Of course I have no idea what variety this is, it was simply labeled “red clematis”. We’re lucky to have a clematis farm here in Maine, hopefully I can get up there soon and they may be able to help me identify it.

I’m hoping to get the new garden area ready soon so a few of these can get planted into the ground. I dislike maintaining plants in containers for very long.

When I saw it was a red clematis on the box, I wasn’t super keen. But you can’t really complain when they’re so inexpensive. I’m happy with the darkness of this bloom, it’s more burgundy than red. It should pair beautifully with ladies mantle or a bright green hosta at its base. None of the other vines have blooms yet, I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

What’s surprised you in the garden this week?

Good Morning

October 1st, 2015

Our front door isn’t very becoming, in fact, I’m always trying to think of ways to kind of hide it or cover it up. This year, I decided a climbing vine would be perfect. I had a pack of morning glory seeds and they were perfect, though they are a heat loving vine so they took a LONG time to get going. Perhaps something that can take the cold would be a better option. Something perennial would be even better, but I don’t want to make that much of a commitment yet.
morning glory 2
morning glory 1
I quite like having something scrambling up over the door and providing some color and distraction. I’m thinking that next year I’m going to try the Firecracker vine (Ipomoea lobata), I even picked up seed recently. There’s a native wisteria in a pot that I got earlier this summer that I’ve also been contemplating planting there. It’s definitely something I want to do now that I’ve tried.

What’s your favorite flowering vine?

Sweet Autumn

September 10th, 2012

I’ve proclaimed my love of the ‘Sweet Autumn’ clematis before. It’s a winning vine in my garden. Much tougher and more resilient than many other clematises. There are a few of them growing throughout the gardens, trained on fences, up trees and hopefully, one up one of the front porch posts.

A few years ago, I planted one on my front hillside. The plan was to to eventually put in a nice archway in a break in the boxwood hedge, but that plan never materialized. As a result, the vine now happily scrambles up a small dogwood tree nearby.

I’m especially loving these vines this year because they’ve come through the drought with flying colors. One of my largest vines grows in the gravel driveway (yes it was planted there by previous owners) and has never been watered. Amazingly, it’s lush and covered with flowers this fall.

My front hillside suffered tremendously with the drought of this past summer (I blogged about Cutting my Losses over on the Your Day Blog last month). The clematis I planted up there a few years ago is providing some much needed beauty in an otherwise stark landscape.

In the future I may use this clematis as a ground cover as well. It’s so robust and lush it would be perfect for hard to cover areas. It also provides a much needed source of food for the honeybees at this time of year when not a lot of other things are blooming. My vines are always swarming with happily foraging bees.

What’s your favorite tough plant?

An Autumn Beauty

September 30th, 2011

I was lucky enough to inherit this beautiful ‘Sweet Autumn’ Clematis (Clematis terniflora) when we moved in here at Chiot’s Run. It’s planted in the worst spot, almost in the gravel driveway, but it doesn’t seem to mind. It’s always grown well and bloomed nicely despite neglect and the tough conditions. Last year, I planted a comfrey at it’s base, to bring up nutrients from deep within the soil. The comfrey leaves also provide a nice mulch in the winter, protecting the soil and composting down in spring.

As you can see, the clematis is really appreciating this partnership. This year it looked better than ever, blooming profusely and providing food for all kinds of pollinators during a season when food is scarce.

This is a fantastic clematis if you’re looking for an easy care tall flowering vine. It blooms on current season growth and should be cut back to about 8-12″ in spring. It’s a vigorous plant, topping out at about 20′, so it can cover a trellis in no time flat. I now prune it several times during the summer to keep it to size. Before I pruned mine as often, it would grow to the top of a dogwood tree nearby.

Some people say this plant invasive, as it puts off seeds. I have only found a few seedlings in my gardens in the nine years I’ve lived here. I find that the deer eat all the seeds in the winter. I’ve never seen one growing in the wild around here, so I think the seeds only survive a mild winter with the right conditions. Since I deal with a few very invasive plants, this one doesn’t strike me as too much of a problem. Be aware though that it might be invasive in warmer climates than my zone 5 garden.

I’m truly amazed by the tenaciousness of this vine. For all the mistreatment it received early in it’s life, it is one of the most beautiful and easy going plants in my garden. Each fall I relish it’s season, happy that it survived the previous owners to grace our fence with such beauty each fall.

What’s your favorite fall blooming plant?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.