October 2022 – Peter Skeggs-Gooch on Clematis for Every Season

Our October members meeting was held on 17th October in the magnificent Old Library at Charlton House. A well attended meeting, we were treated to a great talk from Peter of Thorncroft Clematis, a wonderful Show Table, bulbs for sale and an amazing Autumn mandala from members gardens, which covered the entire grand piano!

It was clear that we were in for a treat of a talk. As well as a box of Thorncroft Clematis Catalogues, Peter Skeggs-Gooch laid out the nursery’s impressive collection of Flower Show medals: several Chelsea golds as well as a smattering of Silver-Gilts. Peter’s slide show took us from evergreen winter varieties such as the familiar ‘Freckles’ and the lovely, if large, armandii ‘Apple Blossom’; through Spring, with much-loved montanas now smaller and more manageable; into Summer with several scented varieties including the coconut-perfumed  ‘Lambton Park’;  and finally finishing with the viticellas of Autumn such as ‘Prince William’ and super easy ‘Alba Luxurians’. His nursery produces over three hundred varieties, so we were being given only a glimpse of what is on offer. For more information or to order head to their website.

As well as giving us ideas for every month of the year, Peter was also keen to emphasise how suitable clematis are for small, urban gardens. They need little planting space just room to head upwards, happy to climb over fences, up walls and through other plants especially trees. Plant breeders have produced clematis of all shapes and sizes many of which are easy to grow in pots on patios, or join other herbaceous perennials in borders, or scramble across other shrubs and trees.

Peter’s passion for these beautiful plants was crystal clear. His slides demonstrated the range of stunning flower colours from the deep magenta of ‘Meghan’ to the delicate creamy yellow of rehderiana, our only native species. I confess I am very tempted by the light blue ‘Betty Corning’ which I think will go well with the Iceberg rose I’ve ordered for my new rose arch!

Stella B

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