How to Get Bountiful Clematis Blooms
If you press me, I will admit that people admire my Clematis jackmanii. This admiration has led several, including neighbors and friends, to ask me how to get more plentiful Clematis flowers. Sparsely blooming Clematis, apparently, is a not uncommon problem.
The thing is, I really don’t know why my Clematis jackmanii blooms so happily. I mean, I don’t know anything beyond what you could find from a cursory Google search. For example: head in the sun, roots in the shade (in my case, the shade is provided by a thick layer of periwinkle).
Also, I have a vague memory of reading that Clematis are heavy feeders, so every year they get an extra generous helping of compost. Plus, some years I also give it a dash of organic 3-4-5 slow release fertilizer.
I have wondered if this Clematis likes alkaline soil. Our soil is normally alkaline, and it is growing in a spot that should be extra limey because it sits between the driveway and the west-facing brick wall of the house. But the sources I’ve looked at say that Clematis are adaptable as to soil pH.
I suppose the extra warmth from that wall, which is painted white, could also be a factor.
Bottom line, though, is this: I’m lucky. Because I know people who have done all the things I have done and still have been left with a poor excuse for a Clematis.
Luck plays a big part in gardening, I think. We can follow all the right practices and fail, or we can ignore them and succeed. Perhaps it isn’t luck, but a mix of factors that are just too complicated to untangle or understand. Because a garden is a living thing, not an internal combustion engine.
As Koheleth (Ecclesiastes), a founding member of the Garden Writers Association, wrote many centuries ago:
“… the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong … nor yet disease-free roses to men of understanding, nor yet the tastiest tomatoes to men of skill, but time and chance happeneth to them all.” – Ecclesiastes 9:11, New Rodale Translation.
Have you ever had inexplicable success or failure in the garden?