Saturday, October 13, 2007

I Guess It's Really Fall

The Last of my Tomatoes

Last weeks warm weather caused the last of my "Sprite" grape tomatoes to ripen. Unfortunately the rotten chipmunk that lives nearby got them before I did. Oh, well, I guess chipmunks have to eat, too. I grew these in a half barrel along with some basil. I didn't have any problems with blight or other diseases. Using such a large container reduces the need for constant watering.


I've been meaning to write about clematises all summer but other things always came up. This fall my sweet autumn clematis bloomed wonderfully. I thought this would make an interesting article. I had originally planted this along my split rail fence in the front of the miscanthus grasses. I thought it would be cool to have the clematis wind its way along the fence and through the grasse, but it never had the look I was hoping for. The blossoms got lost in the grass and it just never really stood out. So I got the great idea to plant it at the base of a crab apple tree and have it grow up the tree. This particular crab is prone to apple scab and usually by the end of the summer it really doesn't look good. I could spray it but I don't. It has taken a few years for the clematis to get established and for me to figure out how to get it to do what I want. The first year I didn't cut it back and the second year it bloomed so high up in the tree you couldn't even see the blossoms. This past year I cut it back hard early in the spring and it bloomed through out the tree just like I wanted it to.

We get alot of questions about pruning clematis. Basically, there are three groups of clematis (clemati?): Those that bloom on new wood, those that bloom on old wood and those that bloom on both. Clematis that bloom on new wood can be pruned back hard in the spring. Those that bloom on old wood should be pruned immediately after blooming or just selectively pruned early in the spring. Just cut out the dead stems. Be careful, although it is a woody plant, the stems are very fragile. Follow this same pruning advice for the type that blooms on both old and new wood. It is important to properly prune in encourage blooming and to promote plant health. If you don't know what variety you have, you can figure it out by seeing when your clematis blooms. If it blooms early in the season, it is most likely blooming on old wood. Plants that bloom later in the season are probably blooming on new wood. Clematis are heavy feeders and should be fertilized regulary with a general purpose perennial fertilizer.

Here some pictures I took last week of our chrysanthemums

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