John e mailed asking for information about planning and planting a clematis Garden, and what a great idea!
Clematis are really popular climbing plants and feature a lot in gardening questions.
It was hard to know where to start on such a big topic and so I advised as follows:
With regard to your Clematis project, this sounds very exciting.
At this stage I can offer some general advice and please feel free to ask anything further as the project develops.
Most important will be where to position the clematis garden within your garden. Clematis like fertile, rich soil which is on the moist side, and it is important that neither the soil or plant dries out. Ideally Clematis like to have a cool moist root run, but still like sun on their flowers. These conditions also help to protect against Clematis wilt.
Once you have selected your spot in the garden for the clematis, you may want to enrich the soil given Clematis growing preferences and also be ready to protect the new shoots from slugs. Once established Clematis fare quite well against the slugs, but in the early stages you may need various forms of slug protection.
Finally, and possibly the best bit, choosing which Clematis to plant. This will be driven by personal preferences, but you may want to think about the size and vigour of the different types of Clematis. An extreme example would be say Clematis montana (illustrated on the Types of Clematis page,) which is very vigorous, with strong growth and in ideal growing conditions can reach 12 metres, compared with say C. Crystal fountain, a compact variety growing to 1.8 metres. In addition to size, there is the flowering time and you can have a Clematis in flower during almost any month of the year. Again there is information on the Types of Clematis page.
Most but not all Clematis are hardy apart from C. armandii, (illustrated above) slightly tender and C. napaulensis, which is tender.
I don’t know the position of your garden and there maybe areas which are shady. If you check out the major on line Clematis retailers they allow you to search by growing conditions and you can select Clematis which are most suited to less sunny areas. However all Clematis like good soil which is moist and benefit from a mulch, feed and watering during dry spells.