Chelsea Flower Show: Monty Don shares tip for getting clematis to bloom ‘all summer long’

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Back by popular demand, viewers had a chance to ask RHS Chelsea Flower Show presenters Monty Don and Joe Swift some gardening questions. Amanda wrote in to ask what the gardening expert’s “favourite clematis is that provides blooms all summer long”. Monty said simply: “Amanda, there isn’t one. There isn’t one at all. But there are three types of clematis.”

The “early ones” which flower from March to April.

Joe’s favourite early clematis is the “alpina” and the “Frances Rivis”.

Then there are the “large bloom clematis” which is known as “group two”.

These will bloom from May until early July.

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Group three, which are the small flowering clematis, which can flower in late summer.

One variety can even flower “until Christmas”.

One example from group three is the clematis “Bill MacKenzie”.

“If you have three, one from each of them [the groups], you get flowering for about 10 months,” Monty added.

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Another viewer called Kate asked Monty and Joe whether there was a way to keep her salvias alive through the winter.

She asked: “I love salvias, but wherever I plant them in my garden they don’t survive winter, even with a good mulch.

“Is there one that’s hardy?”

Joe said “some” salivas are hardy like nemorosa “caradonna”.

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The garden designer said he has this variety in his garden and that bees “love it”.

However, both gardening experts agreed that drainage is the main problem with salvias.

Monty said: “In my garden, they do not survive the winter because they’re too wet.

“Add lots of drainage, mulch them with grit but it’s better to grow them in a pot.”

Joe agreed and said to plant salvias in a container with lots of grit so they can then be moved.

“Get the drainage and the good conditions,” Joe added.

Alternatively, Monty suggested “lifting” salvias and then potting them up over winter.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show coverage is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

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