Garden Photo of the Day

Let a clematis scramble

Click here to enlarge this photo.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

Mindy Arbo, who gardens at the Cotton-Arbo retum, her private-turned-public garden in Winchester, Massachusetts, is a master at mixing evergreens with herbaceous plants. Doesn’t sound that complicated, right? Well, I don’t see it done this well very often. This week we’ll highlight five of her awesome combos.

Today’s combo includes ‘Gravetye Beauty’ clematis (Clematis ‘Gravetye Beauty’, USDA Hardiness Zones 4-11) scrambling through a golden drawf Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’, Zones 4-8) with a backdrop of ‘Rose Glow’ Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii ‘Rose Glow’, Zones 5-8).

If you can’t make it to the Cotton-Arbo retum in person, you can visit them online here.

Welcome to the Fine Gardening GARDEN PHOTO OF THE DAY blog! Every weekday we post a new photo of a great garden, a spectacular plant, a stunning plant combination, or any number of other subjects. Think of it as your morning jolt of green.

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View Comments


  1. ncgardener 11/15/2010

    The tree looks like it is decorated for Xmas. Naturally done.

  2. gottagarden 11/15/2010

    Great combo! Love the dwarf Hinoki cypress, how does it tolerate the clematis? I would worry that the clematis would be too heavy and shading for it. Have they been growing together long?

  3. arboretum 11/15/2010

    gg, you are a very "smaht gahdenah"! this combo has existed for 5 years and I think the problem you mentioned is not present here because of 2 things.

    The clem is a texensis.(Same would be true of viticella and tangutica, both smaller flowered clems.) We did have the problem you mentioned when we grew a regular clem over an abies koreana aurea, so we placed an obelisk next to the aurea and diverted the clem to grow over the obelisk.

    We guide our clems. My advice is to keep an eye on your conifer's growth;and be active in guiding/weaving your clem- into the inner 'cracks and crevices' of the conifer, so it doesn't just form a solid sun barrier/curtain on the outside of the plant.


  4. sheilaschultz 11/15/2010

    It's just lovely, Mindy. Can't wait to see the next 4 combos!

  5. user-7006898 11/15/2010

    I know Mindy Arbo! I have seen this combo in real life. It is real, and it IS spectacular!

  6. gottagarden 11/16/2010

    Thanks for the answer Mindy, that makes sense. Lovely combo!

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