2020 was The Year of The Honeysuckle and Clematis Vine in my gardens.

 

I have spent more time trying to rid my gardens of the persistent and maddening wild morning glory vines choking my plants, than thinking about adding some more vines. I decided to begin adding flowering vines to my repertoire for purely selfish reasons. I'm running out of "ground" to grow many more flowering plants, and that won't do.

I adopted a beautiful, mature Clematis (shown below)  from a neighbor who moved in and decided to eliminate every growing thing that wasn't grass. It was hacked mercilessly by the time I rescued it. I planted it near my fence, and it quickly began to be it's gorgeous self again. It used to hang over my neighbor's fence onto mine and decorate the side of my patio all summer. It's now doing it again, over an arched trellis near my garden path, along with climbing roses, and it's all mine. This vine blooms all summer.

Growing Vertical

I installed several tall iron trellises as part of my garden design, and plopped new, fast-growing vines into pots in front of them. I am pleased to say that most took off and flowered the first year. I will be training the vines into arch-shapes all over the place. The trellises take up less than an inch worth of ground space with the spikes. And things can grow below it. The pots make it portable for redesign. So, the sky's the limit, so to speak. Most of the varieties I chose are less than 10 feet at maturity, and most Clematis will bloom twice or constantly each year. Best idea i've had in a while. I have total control even if i'm using my tall white privacy fence to hold them. The plants will mostly  be in pots and not in the ground. No way are they getting away from me. And the plants took off immediately, and are performing beautifully. The plants in front of my fence are in large pots with green plant stakes holding them and guiding them upward. They the vines are woven or tied to the tops of the pickets in my fence. They are surrounded by other plants grown in-ground and look great together. The vines are quite pretty even when not in flower.


Clematis vines and Monarda (bee balm) growing happily together

They're growing in mostly sun with a mulch or mounded soil at the roots to keep them cool. Some are in partial shade. And to my surprise, I was able to train the vines to climb the posts and side railings of my partly sunny front porch. Covering only the posts and top of metal awning was the idea. Not to block the porch from sight. They quickly climbed up several feet and flowered. They are planted in pots. Two in large flowerpots at ground level, and two in an impossibly small space in the ends of my deck railing planters that buttress the posts. I use twine and stakes to guide the vines around the posts and up into the aluminum awning exactly where I want them. These honeysuckles are the smell of sweet success. We're going to become best friends. Keeping them in pots controls their spread and saves me time. It keeps weeds out. I've seen invasive honeysuckles in the neighborhood left to their own devices on abandoned properties for years, and I hear they can be brutal to get rid of when they invade. They require and respect the discipline, and reward you handsomely.

Propagation seems to be easy. I will try next sping to root a few sections of stem and see what I come up with. Quite handy in covering the large fence in areas I want them to grow onto. The vines that I planted were in the 6-inch to 3 ft. rooted vine size. All did well with a little extra watering this brutally hot summer because they were babies, limited to pots and needed water more frequently than when they are planted in the ground. They make their thirst known with droopy leaves. I get the message. I find Clematis and Honeysuckle pleasant companions and not needy of my time. Once I learn their pruning needs, we're good to go.

There are varieties of honeysuckle that are quite invasive when planted in-ground, and some varieties do not grow well in your zone. Always check the hardiness zone map and invasive plant list in your state for true information. I have found some plant tags are intentionally vague.

Most Clematis are hardy in Zones 4-10

Research when to prune - Different varieties have different pruning needs. 
I believe there are 3 pruning methods, depending upon when your clematis blooms.

 

My 2020 favorite Clematis -  Clematis Diamantina™
Newly planted and blooming spectacularly.

Diamantina has many flowers on each stem and each flower last up to 4 weeks.

Zones 4-11
Double Clematis blooms in shades of blue, purple, pink, and white. This grows on trellises tied to the side posts on my front porch. They're gorgeous, and each flower is shaded a bit differently. Puffy, frilly, and very classy. Free-flowering clematis with 4-6″ pom-pom like double flowers. Repeat flowering throughout the summer. It grows to a height of 6-8 feet. I think it's perfect for porch posts and arbors. 

 

 

"Liberation" 

has a large 5-6" deep pink flower with a darker pink bar.
Blooms May-June and again in August-September. Free flowering and a strong grower
Zone: 4-9
Vine Height: 8-10'

"New Love" Bush Clematis

Hardy to Zone 5.

Self- supporting - clumping type clematis
Grows: 2 feet Tall – Perfect for small spaces
Mine is growing beautifully in a pot now, but I will have these in-ground, as well. This isn't a vining Clematis. But it does go great between those that are vining.
Compact, with a soft scent.

Perfect in a container, in perennial borders as centerpieces, or for mass plantings. Beautiful shades of blue. It has a sweet fragrance, and attracts hummingbirds. Mine was a baby in spring, but has now grown more than a foot and bloomed like crazy.

 

Clematis Boulevard® 'Acropolis'
4-5" flowers in May through October

Long bloom time, so it's one of my favorite vines.
Beautiful, large magenta flowers with yellow stamens, that flower freely over a long season. This variety is mid-sized, flowering evenly from the base of the plant, not just from the top down.
This plant can be also grown indoors as a flowering houseplant.

Clematis Neva ™

Zones 4 - 9

Produces lots of pink flowers, 3-4 inches across, with wavy-edged petals and attractive grey/red anthers. Kind of reminds me of pink poinsettias. Compact, and grows to 4 feet

Blooms June through September. Very free flowering.

GUERNSEY CREAM
Very light yellow, large 5-7 inch flowers. Blooms in June and August. Grows well in partial sun (4-6 hrs.)

 

EMPRESS™ Evipo 011 (N)
Large, double flower with pink outer petals that have a darker pink bar. The inner petals produce a spike pom-pom effect. It is compact and free-flowering, suitable for containers.
Blooms May-June and again in August. Very pretty vine.

 

Dr. Ruppel

Purple and pink repeat bloomer. Flowers: Large 5-6"
6-8 Ft. tall and blooms all summer long

VITICELLA, VENOSA VIOLACEA
4-5″ flowers of white background with purple veins throughout, turning all purple on the edges. Does well in the sun and semi-shade. Blooms July, August and September.

COMTESSE DE BOUCHAUD – Velvet Rose Clematis
Velvet-rose pink large flowers. A profuse bloomer. Shorter free-flowering vine with 4-6", pink flowers

 

Clematis 'Paniculata' Sweet Autumn - Very vigorous grower with clusters of small,very fragrant white flowers. Blooms August-September.
Zone: 5-10

 

ASAO Clematis vine

4-5″ deep rose pink flower with white center bar on each petal. Very free flowering in spring with attractive seed heads. A very pretty Clematis from Japan

 

Clematis Bees Jubilee

Zones 4-8. Mature Height: 6-10'.
Blooms are a seven to eight petal flower. The wavy petals are white on the margin and dark mauve pink down the center, with a maroon stamen.

6-8" flowers, blooms May-June and again in September. Flower colors do not fade.
It is a compact plant well suited for trellissed containers.

 

Honeysuckle

There are varieties of honeysuckle that are quite invasive when planted in-ground, and some varieties do not grow well in your zone. Always check the hardiness zone map and invasive plant list in your state for true information. I have found some plant tags are intentionally vague.

John Clayton Coral Honeysuckle (yellow and white)

Zones 4-8

A vigorous, fast-growing vine, covered in yellow flowers. This honeysuckle has a compact growth habit, (6-12’), which makes it easy to control, and a tendency to rebloom and produce fall berries. Hummingbirds love them. Mine are very prolific, but well-mannered. They share a windowbox pot with Chrysanthemums. They're happily scrambling up my front porch railings, attached to long, thin plant stakes leaning on the railings exactly where i want them to attach themselves.

Honeysuckle climbing up my front porch posts. 
Producing flowers and berries at the same time.


 

Toison d'Or' or "Golden Fleece" Honeysuckle

Zones: 4-9

Semi-evergreen in some locations. A pretty yellow honeysuckle for colder climates. Golden Fleece honeysuckle has much richer flower color than John Clayton. Full Sun to Partial Shade.

Height: 8-16 feet

Bloom period: Summer

Flower Size: 3 inches

Pruning: As desired

 

Sweet Scentsation Honeysuckle (yellow)

 

Honeysuckle "Goldflame"

Zones 5-9

Pretty red buds open to show yellow petals. Will continue to bloom from late spring through the summer. Grows 15 to 20 feet high.
Grows in sun, part shade, or shade. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies

 

Hall's or Japanese Honeysuckle

Hardy in zones 4-10.
Fast-grower can quickly become invasive if it is planted in-ground and not kept in check by pruning it back hard in winter to prevent the build-up of woody growth. Mine grow in pots.

 

Dwarf Weeping Japanese Maple Trees
– growing in pots and portable. Perfect small trees for containers in a Japanese style garden. 
I have these hanging out with clumping (non-runner) dwarf bamboo, also in pots. Slow-growing and delicate dwarfs.

By growing in containers (Big Pots), I can have 3 dwarf trees in a grouping. 
I can't do that when a tree is planted in the ground and needs much more space.

Varieties I own:

Red Dragon Weeping Japanese Maple
Hardiness Zones : 5-8

Compact, slow-growing, dissected form that typically matures over time in an upright-pendulous mound to 4-6' tall. Leaves emerge bright cherry red in spring, mature to burgundy red in summer, before finally changing to crimson red in fall. Leaves retain good color throughout the growing season. Purple leaf stalks. Dissected leaves reportedly resemble the claws of a dragon, hence the cultivar name. This graceful, small tree creates a stunning focal point or accent for lightly shaded gardens, patios, and entryways, and is ideal for containers. Which is how I grow them. Very pretty dwarf variety. Looks amazing with dwarf bamboo and Japanese Garden décor.

Height : 3-4 Feet, mature Width : 4-6 Feet, Full sun to partial shade

Dwarf Koto No Ito Japanese Maple

Mature Height : 8-12 Feet
Mature Width : 4 to 6 Feet
Exposure : Full sun to mostly shade
Hardiness Zones : 5-8

White Snow Fountain Dwarf Weeping Cherry - photo in Container Gardens section--->

Dwarf Dappled Japanese Willow -Foliage emerges pink in spring and maturing to variegated creamy white and green, giving the foliage the dappled appearance.The leaves are delicate oblong shaped, up to 4" long. The leaves eventually turn yellow in fall and will drop quite late, perhaps October or November.  Stems turn red in winter, continuing the colorful interest for your landscape or garden.  Best foliage color is achieved in cooler summer climates north of zone 7, making the dappled willow an ideal choice for northern and Midwest gardens.  Pruning will encourage more colorful foliage, as it results in new growth.  Pruning may also improve the red branch color for winter, as the newest growth is the reddest.  In the coldest regions, zones 4 and 5, only the new growth will turn coral red. 

Blue Chinese Wisteria Tree

Thundercloud Dwarf Plum Tree

Dragon Head Bamboo - Non-Invasive, fast-growing dwarf clumping (not the invasive runner types)

Grows well in Zones 5-7. Evergreen. Drought, pest, disease and deer resistant. These quickly grow 5-8 feet tall, 4-8 ft. wide. I will cut them to keep them inbounds - they look great in big patio planters. I like the height as a backdrop for shorter plants in my Serenity Garden. I'll propagate, when needed, by dividing the plant.

Easy to care for, this bamboo develops arching canes that quickly grow tall. I grow these in pretty containers in my Japanese garden areas with dwarf Japanese maples and low-growing junipers. Also in raised beds and containers. A very pretty and dainty bamboo-look with fine leaves and wispy stems.

Full sun to part shade. Let the shoots stand over the winter, and prune them down in early spring before new growth starts. I keep a lot of stems standing over winter to provide shelter for birds.

Bright orange and red shoots in spring. The shoots turn green, and quickly grow to full size to complete your landscape in no time. If planted in containers, easy to move and redecorate. If planted in the ground, it's well-behaved and creates a screen or focal point in no time. Very pretty in pairs and in front of trees. I cut the inconsequential flowering shoots off, as I do with most of my hostas.

Black Lace Sambucus (Elderberry)

 


My baby Black Lace

Elderberry (sambucus) in flower. Berries appear in fall.
Leaves not as small and finely cut as Black Lace variety

I have a couple of these ornamental shrubs. They look right at home among Japanese-style gardens. One is in-ground, and one is in a big planter. Both are very pretty. I acquired them because their delicate, purple-black lacy leaves go very well mixed with Japanese Maples, ornamental grasses, and bamboos. I train one into a long, arching tree shape by cutting off side shoots and staking it as I shape it. It doesn't complain. Pruning doesn't seem to bother it. I can't describe the smell of the cut branches and foliage, but it's kind of an earthy sulphur and I like it.

It grows 6-8 ft. tall and wide, but I prune mine a few times a season to keep it smaller. It takes a hard pruning for shaping like a champ.

The plant color and shape is quite attractive. It looks beautiful as a specimen, in pots, or as a hedge. Intense purple-black foliage is finely cut, giving it an effect similar to that of Japanese maple. Pretty pink flowers in spring. They have almost-black red fall berries which can be harvested for making elderberry wine and jam, or left on the plant to attract birds and other wildlife.

Grow in full sun. They like a good watering during extreme heat, but mine are bearing up well with the present heatwave. Birds and butterflies enjoy it.

Dwarf Yucca "Color Guard"

Grows 2-3 feet tall and wide
zones 4-10 Evergreen

No garden is complete without varying shapes and foliage color. And some evergreen. I love the look and sword shape of Yucca. There aren't many varieties of manageable size that make it through a northeast winter, but this is one.

A very pretty green and yellow, with swordlike leaves. Perfect for the center or backdrops of my Asian gardens. Looks pretty planted in pots anywhere. Gives interest and more impact in areas where you are growing bamboo or Japanese maples. Perfect for xeriscaped water-wise gardens and desertscapes. It's a variety of succulent, so water needs are minimal. Yucca has average to low water needs, and a well-drained soil. Propagate by dividing the plant. I use these as a centerpiece, specimen, or backdrop. I also use these as a backdrop for my cactus and succulent garden beds.

 

Variegated and Gold English Ivy -  In my window boxes and as a base for plants in pots. I like to keep them confined. They are also doing well as houseplants.

 

Bergenia (elephant's ears)
New to my garden in 2020
Zones 3-8

About a foot tall and wide. Easy to grow and not much maintenance.
Clump-forming evergreen plant may be used as a groundcover. Very pretty in planters.

Does well in sun or semi-shade. Shiny, leathery green leaves turn burgundy in fall and winter. Dark, reddish pink flowers appear above the foliage in spring, an early pollen source for bees. They do not require much watering, unless they appear to need it. And mine do announce it when they need it. They dramatically flop over.

Propagate in spring by breaking apart the clumbs and planting. The leaves are what attracted me. Very different from the other plants I own, and it looks tough.

Chrysanthemum –

Zones 5-9
Several varieties: Regal Cheryl Purple, and Early Purple

Late season color with a neat, mounding habit of growth. Fast-growing in sun-part shade

Low maintenance. All I do is pinch off a bit of the ends during the summer to encourage wider growth and bigger blooms.
18-24 inches tall and wide.
Drought resistant and bugs don't seem to care for them.

'Regal Cheryl Purple' displays dark lavender flowers that are almost purple. It is a smaller variety of hardy mum. It blooms in early October in the Eastern United States. Dark green foliage. Great planted in containers on the patio and front porch.

I divide and plant these in several places in my yard. They don't mind being moved.

Sedum – 
Many varieties of this succulent plant. Easy to grow, Zero maintenance. From groundcovers to larger, mounded plants... grows quickly. Dies to the ground in Zone 5 in winter and returns in spring. Bees and butterflies love the flowering varieties. Flowers mid-spring through hard frost. Adds a nice texture to the perennial border or in pots. Easy to divide and propagate. Drought and pest-resistant. Can be used as houseplants.

"Pretty in Pink" Meadow Sage (Salvia)

Hardy in zones 3-9
Blooms in the summer – Very pretty pink/lavender flower spikes. Pollinators love it!
Height: 16-20 inches

 

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