Gardeners' World - - Monty Q & A -

Q I have a pot-bound Clema­tis mon­tana. When would be the best time to put it in the ground and will it like not hav­ing as much sun? Julie King

Now – or at least by mid-Fe­bru­ary. If that is not prac­ti­cal, move it in June af­ter flow­er­ing. Either way, gen­tly dis­turb the roots by break­ing the out­side layer to stim­u­late fresh growth, cut back the top growth if nec­es­sary (es­pe­cially if you move it in sum­mer) and give as much wa­ter and good­ness as you can. Like most clema­tis, it will be happy in some shade – I have a Clema­tis mon­tana thriv­ing on a north-fac­ing wall.

Q I am mov­ing to a new gar­den with a wal­nut tree at the end, but I have been told that noth­ing will grow un­der it. Jo But­ler, Kent

Lucky you, Jo! One of my great re­grets is I did not plant a wal­nut at Long­meadow 25 years ago when I had the space for one.

How­ever, the roots do give off a toxin called ju­glone that stunts the growth of other nearby trees, with ap­ples par­tic­u­larly sus­cep­ti­ble. This evo­lu­tion­ary ploy al­lows the wal­nut to grow with­out com­pe­ti­tion, so it should either be planted alone or in groups to­gether. Al­though the ju­glone is found in the fruit and leaves, it is not harm­ful to hu­mans or most plants and the leaves can be safely com­posted or, bet­ter still, made into leaf­mould. How­ever, the night­shade fam­ily such as toma­toes and pota­toes will not thrive, nor petu­nias, lilacs, lilies or pe­onies. But most plants that grow well in fairly dry shade will be fine.

Trans­plant Clema­tis mon­tana either by mid-Fe­bru­ary or af­ter flow­er­ing in June

Wal­nut trees are best grown away from other trees

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