I had a call from a fellow who was having trouble with clematis. He moved here from the Coast and planted a variety he had grown there.
At the Coast, they do not suffer any frost damage and the A-group do very well. In the Interior, when winter damage has taken its toll and you prune down the stems and new growth appears, it does not bloom on new growth. In the Interior of B.C., the C-group can be cut down to the base and they will bloom on new wood. There is a C-variety that puts out a dark blue blossom that can be seen in many yards at its best, but in late June to early July. When you plant a clematis, find a spot that avoids the afternoon sun, and cover the root area with peat moss to hold moisture and help keep the root cool. They do like even moisture.
The Forsythia shrubs are blooming, so it will soon be time to take a good look at how the plant is growing. If it is an older plant, the centre stems should be removed to encourage new growth off the root. Any new growth you encourage this year will bloom next spring. They produce most of the blooms on the lower part of the plant. One fellow that does a lot of work in this area says to keep them down to about four feet high.
Okanagan Gardens and Roses meets May 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Schubert Centre. A good program is assured. A representative from Communities in Bloom will give us an interesting presentation. Don’t miss this meeting! Visitors are always welcome.
The opening day at the farmers’ market was greeted with a real downpour of rain. One member showed me a small device he is selling to encourage the Blue Orchard Bee to rest in your orchard. This is a wild bee that works at lower temperatures than the honey bee, so may be a much more effective pollinator. Nick Kicey has all the details — talk to him at the farmers’ market.
Fred Lyall is The Morning Star’s gardening columnist.