Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chain-Link Coverage: Clematis

Thanks to Hyde Park Cats for mentioning Chain-Link Trellis here along with a few other Hyde Park blogs! If you haven't heard about Hyde Park Cats, they have rescued more than 200 south side cats in just three years! But this is a non-cat blog. I can't compete with posts like this anyway!

So, back to plants.

It has been a long wait, but these seedlings are finally going out. I have seen it get frosty as late as June 5th, but if that happens, I'll just cover them up with pots or towels or something.

Most of this is my loot from the Hyde Park Garden Fair. About 20 individual plants there, and only half my entire seedling collection. If there are no new gardening posts this week, I'll blame it on...gardening. 

And now, the start of a collection of photos of "chain-link trellises" or how a chain-link fence can be covered up (or not) depending on your needs--the height of the fence or your desired level of privacy etc.

So I'll start with clematis. The pros are: it leafs out early every year, at maturity it's a good thick privacy screen, it's low maintenance, a high climber (8-10 feet), and there are many varieties with gorgeous blossoms (more pics later). I also like how I was able to train this one into a fan shape, so that air circulation in the garden is not compromised below, but there is still good coverage above. Last, clematis twines its tendrils around everything itself--you don't have to tie it up, which is a plus.                                                                                    
clematis; click 'Chain-Link Coverage' link at right of screen for
 more plants; clematis update coming soon

I also found these great pics of clematis on chain-link fences, along with info on specific varieties.

The cons are: a good clematis plant usually starts around $12-$20, which may put off some new, casual, or shoe-string gardeners. It's only a good investment....IF... give it three years at least (as in the photo above, and that's just a 3 ft. fence). This here is my newer clematis. I planted it mid-summer last year. It is shooting up with great vigor, but is not providing any real coverage just yet. Another con can be "clematis wilt" (black leaves, stem rot). Two of my plants have had it and gotten over it; one brand new one died. It is frustrating, and quite common. At least be sure you don't buy a plant with black leaves already on it (I see that all the time). Or at least not more than 2-3 black leaves, and pick those off ASAP.
Three cheers for Treasure Island's latest array of outdoor plants! It's the best outdoor selection I've seen in Hyde Park in years. I haven't seen clematis there yet, but maybe one day...

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