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Clematis 'Alpine Wiley'.

Milkweed Asclepas tuberosa.

formula. They tolerate both drought and deer and can live for up to 50 years! Once established, just leave these beauties alone.

For climbing: Clematis These trailing beauties will light up any fence, trellis or

wall. Clematis is one of the most popular perennial flower- ing vines. Available in almost every colour, single, double or semi-double blooms of various sizes, there's bound to be a clematis you will fall in love with. They prefer fertile, well- drained soil and appreciate a regular fertilization routine. And, while they adore sunny locations, preferably with morning light, clematis does not tolerate excessive heat. It is important to water their roots regularly and keep them cool with shade from nearby perennials or mulch. Bloom time depends on the variety purchased. Clematis requires support for climbing, which they do by twining their slender stems around wires or other thin supports, they can even be trained to grow on trees. The vines are organized into one of three groups based on blooming habits. The first group blooms on last year's wood in early spring; dead branches should be pruned. Flower groups that bloom on new growth in May, June or July form the second group and the third bloom from July until fall. Clematis that bloom on new wood do require regular pruning; after the first year they will need to be cut back to ground level and then back to six inches above the base of the previous year's growth in subsequent years. A stunning and exotic-looking vine that will add character to any garden up to zone three, this is a must have perennial.

For butterflies: Milkweed Bright, beautiful and the lifeblood of the monarch butter-

fly, can you afford not to have this plant? Native to North America, milkweed boasts bright pink, orange, yellow

Hens and Chicks.

or white flowers from early summer to early fall and can grow up to one metre high. Also known as butterfly weed non-invasive varieties such as Asclepias tuberosa or Asclepias incarnata have been bred. They produce large amounts of sweet nectar with a heady vanilla scent to attract butterflies, hummingbirds, bees and other insects. They are an excellent addition to borders, wildflower gardens and mass plantings. Milkweed prefers full sun and dry to medium well-drained soil and is very tolerant to dry conditions due to its deep taproot. Plants will self seed but do not take well to being transplanted. Overuse of herbicides has decimated many wild crops of A. Syriaca, an invasive but necessary perennial. Milkweed is the only plant that the monarch butterfly will lay eggs on and on which the caterpillars will feed. Milkweed not only looks beautiful but will help to increase our dwin- dling numbers of monarch butterflies.

For Rock Gardens: Hens and Chicks An often overlooked but adorable perennial perfect for

areas that are uninhabitable for most other plants. Its Latin name, sempervivum, means “live forever” as they grow rapid- ly and propagate easily; however, the actual plant is a short- lived perennial which only survives for three years. It is due to their massive production of offspring that they appear long-lived. These are excellent plants for new gardeners and children, ideal for containers, houseplants and ground cover. Sempervivum are succulents and therefore require lots of light, low water and little soil. They will grow in rock cracks and on gravel. There are over 3,000 cultivars to choose from in shades of bright red, grey, purple or green, as well as bearded varieties with hairs or web-like coverings. Hens, the mother plant, produce “chicks” on runners which can be pulled off and replanted or left to grow around the mother. x

Early Spring 2015 • 27

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