Establish a clematis

September is the best month to plant a clematis because the soil is still warm enough to encourage root growth. Try a viticella for late-summer froth. None is quite as good as the old Elizabethan variety 'Purpurea Plena Elegans' with its dusky pink double flowers that lightly scramble like a rambling rose. Others include 'Polish Spirit' (a single late with purple blooms) and 'Etoile Violette' (a starry purple with a golden boss) once voted the top clematis by the Clematis Society. The spring-flowering 'Propertius', an Atragene, produces a ragged pale-pink skirt with a cream petticoat in April. Like all spring-flowering clematis it needs good drainage and no pruning.

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