By the end of August, most of the flowers in the garden are looking tired
and spent, but Sweet Autumn Clematis is just hitting its stride.
We planted Sweet Autumn Clematis in May, to climb one of the porch columns
of the Potting Shed.
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To encourage it to climb, I picked up some plastic mesh fencing from Lowe’s.
It came in a 2 foot by 25 foot roll that was easy to cut.
(It’s also available on Amazon.)
I cut sections to loosely wrap around the porch post, allowing some breathing room
for the vine as it twined its way around, and climbed up the post.
Cable ties hold the sections together and can be snipped off so the mesh can be removed.
The sections can be stored flat at the end of fall when the vine is cut back
and the garden is tidied up and put to bed for the winter.
The tendrils needed some coaxing and training
to help them climb their way up the mesh and post.
To help the vine make its way across the top of the shed porch,
I used some metal garden fencing I purchased a couple of years ago.
I bought it to keep hungry bunnies from mowing down the flowers . . .
a losing proposition!
The green metal fencing came in a 14-inch high x 20-foot long roll with a scalloped top.
You can find it on Amazon, HERE.
I didn’t want the fencing to be permanent, with the option to remove it later.
I bent the bottom 3-inch legs of the fence and tucked them in the gap
between the fascia board and the metal overhang of the porch roof.
Yippee. . .it felt secure enough to hold a sprawling vine!
Hanging upside down, the scallops of the fence look like a wire valance. :)
The vine needed a little assistance from a garden clip
to make the leap from the post to the board across the top,
which was later removed.
Growing up the left post of porch shed is an Amethyst Falls American Wisteria vine.
American wisteria is better suited for smaller spaces and grows at about
a third of the rate of Asian wisteria, which can be invasive in the Southern U.S.
Amethyst Falls Wisteria can reach 30 feet over time, so I’m hoping
the vines eventually grow to meet in the middle of the porch.
The above photo is how the clematis looked in mid-July. . .
And 6 weeks later, blooming its first year, at the end of August!
Sweet Autumn Clematis is hardy in USDA zones 4 – 9.
It grows in full sun, dappled sunlight, or partial shade and thrives
in well-drained soil. Mulching the soil surface is recommended to
conserve moisture and shade the roots.
Water deeply and regularly the first growing season to establish the root system.
You can reduce watering frequency once established.
The good news:
It’s a prolific grower and fragrant bloomer with the twining stems
reaching 20 – 30 feet with support of a trellis or fence.
The creamy white blooms create a billowy fragrant mass in late summer or early fall,
attracting pollinators . . .bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.
More good news:
I spied our first Monarch last week as it stopped by to enjoy the blooms!
The bad news:
It’s an over achiever in the reseeding-department so you have to keep it in check.
We planted this vine in our previous yard and landscape 20+ years ago,
and it came up everywhere!
Sweet Autumn Clematis is considered invasive in some areas.
To keep it in check, snip the flowers off after blooming, before they have a chance
to go to seed. In late fall, give it a hard prune, cutting it down to about a foot in height.
The leaves, sap and juice of Sweet Autumn Clematis are toxic if eaten, to dogs, cats and also horses,
so no nosing around the Potting Shed, unsupervised for Lola and Sophie!
Gardening gloves are recommended when handling and cutting Sweet Autumn Clematis,
as skin irritation and contact dermatitis may occur.
Do you have any favorite fragrant climbers, prolific bloomers
or over achievers in your garden?
Hope you’re enjoy the last days of summer. ♥
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