I planted up a new raised bed in the garden deciding to try that well tested traditional combination of Roses and Clematis, which look so good together. Both plants like rich soil with organic material as they are greedy feeders. A sunny position, not too crowded together, and a raised bed gives an opportunity to fill it with really good quality soil if your borders are not ideal. In a raised bed you can create your own growing medium; our garden is very wet, lying almost on the water table so this is a way of giving the roses and clematis a better chance of thriving. Normally when planting out new plants they go in at soil depth, that’s to say level with the soil but not the case with Roses or Clematis which have different planting requirements. With clematis, the plant need to be about 10 cms below the soil depth. Roses, the union graft, the point where all the branches stem out from, about 5 cms below. I find the best way to check if I have got it more or less right, is to use a cane across the top of the soil so I can see how far down the plant is placed. If you are planting into a border you will need a bigger hole back filled with lots of organic matter. I didn’t do it when planting out because the whole of the raised bed had been filled with a good growing medium. I was planting climbing roses to mix with the Clematis, so a stout frame, wires or in this case an arbour are needed to train the roses. The essential point with Climbing roses is you must bend the stems over as they grow to create laterals – if this sounds confusing, think sideways, as near as horizontal as you can get the plant to grow. If you see climbing roses with the flowers all at the top chances are the main stems are growing up wards, vertical. To make it flower lower down the stems must be forced onto sideways growth, as horizontal as you can get them and not less than 45 degrees. Tie in firmly to keep the rose in this position and it will form the right shape to produce side shoots and buds and flower.
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