Some Support

This being my first spring growing large-flowered Clematis, I'm pleasantly surprised at the vigor that even my weakest plants have shown as things start to warm up here. So much growth already that I needed to do something about providing them support, allowing them to climb.


I started with the one that was doing best last year and has continued this spring: 'Niobe'. I had provided a temporary trellis for it to climb last year, but it's time for a more permanent solution.

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Although the support was working fine...


...the plant has already reached the top of the fence, which is only about 4' (1.2m) tall:


I've been thinking about what I'd do here all winter (not constantly of course, but I did have ideas every once in a while), and decided that I like the fencing material that I had used for the temporary support, but I just needed to create an improved version.


So I cut the fencing down to size using my bolt cutters -- by far the easiest way to cut this material, even though it requires larger movements than one-handed cutters:


One tip: don't be tempted to cut right at the grid joints. Cut in the middle of the square as I did here, then fold the ends over. I actually use these to connect the ends together when making a tube or free-standing "corral". You don't want to leave sharp little stubs, as they will get you:


I decided to bend this into a square tube that would fit around the support beam:


This fencing is sturdy but can still be bent fairly easily by hand, which is why I use it for so many projects.

New trellis installed:


Note that the tube is jammed between the cement post footing below and the horizontal beams at the top. This anchors it firmly in place for now, but if the weight of the plant eventually loosens this tight fit, I can use some brackets to attach the fencing to the post for more stability.


I'm curious to see how tall 'Niobe' will get this first year in-ground!


The second clematis support project involves my surprising 'Piilu', planted at the mailbox:


This was a tiny, single-stemmed plant last year that a rabbit mowed down to about 8" (20cm) tall. I seriously doubted that it would return this year, and even bought a second plant during the fall clearance sales in case I had to replace it.

As you can see, it's come back strong, but needs something to grab onto. I decided another tube was the solution:


I need to attach this to the mailbox post somehow, but it should do the trick:


I may want to wrap the bottom portion with chicken wire, as smaller rabbits can fit through the holes in this fence. (Note that in these last two photos you can see the cut ends of the fencing folded back over to hold the tube together, with no sharp ends to surprise me later.)

So that's two clematis taken care of, with three more to deal with, and a couple still in pots.

Those will have to wait though... maybe this weekend?

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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (April 25, 2014 at 8:07 PM)  

Can't wait to see it bloom. We had a a Niobe years ago and I still remember it fondly. Unfortunately, it wasn't able to cope with our dry summers.

Rock rose  – (April 27, 2014 at 9:03 AM)  

.Great job on the trellis. I have a lot if those scars from similar projects.

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