The front of our house is brick with one window centered facing the street. Terribly predictable, if you ask me. When I first moved in, I pulled out two awful tam bushes flanking either side of the window and felt like a super hero. It was ten times more gratifying than any day in court.
But we still needed to find a way to add interest. Enter Mama Judd. MJ is a vast resource of gardening know-how. One summer day she took her trimmers to a ho-hum shrub in our yard and Edward-Scissorhanded that thing into a hip umbrella-like masterpiece. (Yes. I just turned Edward Scissorhands into a verb.)
Next we needed some height and color to pique interest on each side of the window. We found a weeping cherry tree that fit to our required dimensions. It was planted to the right and miraculously survived our tyranny and the winter.
And for the other side?
Mama Judd talked me into a Clematis, a vine “they” say is very difficult to grow. The next day she talked me into a second Clematis. I was very much the proverbial deer in the headlights. But armed with her encouragement and some serious persistence, I babied those vines. I massaged them gently into submission to our custom trellis. Nonetheless, at the end of the season both were looking sad and resistant.
This spring, I almost did a cartwheel on our front lawn when I saw a green bud on one of our Clematis vines. One bud turned into two, two into three, and suddenly, it seemed like even the weakest vine was – gasp – growing.
On April 20, our strongest vine (the vine on the right) had reached the third rung of the trellis.
Victory! I felt like a real gardener. Slowly the vine began to shed the dead and life took hold. And quickly, very quickly, the vine began to sprout. By mid-May, the vine doubled in size, reaching the sixth rung. Go ahead and marinate in that . . . It doubled its size in less than a month. And it’s getting thicker by the day.
Pretty soon we’ll have blooms. Look at the beautiful flowers it already produced early this spring!
I credit its success to sand-like soil that allows thorough drainage and a shaded base. With a protected base and lots of sun on the vines themselves, you’re bound to have beautiful blooms.
Are the bases of your vines shaded? Have you ever tackled a tam bush?