I always advise, when choosing plants for the garden, that you mirror the successes of plants that grow successfully in the wild in your locality.
Our sandland is great for heathers, broom, gorse and birch. Impoverished soil. Poor moisture retention. Plants that 'do arid'.
So why in the name of all that is sensible do I persist with clematis? Clematis are members of the ranunculacae family and are moisture loving plants. Like buttercups and marsh marigolds. They like fertile soils. Moisture. And cool, shaded places for their roots.
Would I buy a St Bernard dog if I lived in a one roomed apartment? Would I grow oranges in the Arctic?
And one other thing. I expect my flowers to attract and support insects. Most clematis are as attractive to insects as salsa dancing would be to a pig.
Well, why do I persist with this clematis fascination when I can't give 'em what they need? At one point, before my current garden redesign, I had forty growing.
I am now down to a dozen because I lost lots when I was moving plants. And because lots fail to thrive on the meagre fayre our soil delivers.
But then, I look at this elegant bud, on a clematis 'The President' growing in a pot in the garden, and I know why I love them so much. All flower buds are full of promise, but nothing, it seems to me, has the style, beauty and promise of a clematis flower bud.