I’m a relatively new member of the Gravetye gardening team and I have the fortune of studying whilst working as a gardener here at Gravetye Manor for the next two years.
My first plant of the week is our Clematis rehderiana. It can be found climbing to the left of the stone steps to the manor from the Little Garden. I prefer this understated species of clematis to the more common cultivars such as ‘Nelly Moser’, with their big showy single flowers. The small, bell-shaped flowers of C. rehderiana are a delicate pale yellow and are arranged on panicles that sit slightly above the foliage. They have a lovely sweet scent, which adds to the plant’s appeal. It has been in flower now since June and is only just starting to go over nearly into November.
Like many clematis, it’s deciduous and easy to care for, cutting back to healthy buds about a foot above the ground in February or March. We have it trained it to grow up the side of the porch in the Little Garden, but a few stems cascade over its fellow companions in the border. It is a great companion for the Vitis coignetiae, with its vivid red foliage.
In the photograph we also see Salvia ‘Waverley’ and Hebe ‘Autumn Glory’, both with lilac to purple flowers. The salvia will develop a white lip as the flower matures. This combination makes the clematis look all the more beautiful, with the sandstone of the manor behind it.
Words and photograph by Phil