Operation Solanum

I love a job I can ‘get my teeth in to’ and this morning I did just that!

There is an area by Lady Anne’s House that I have been keen to rejuvenate for some time. It is a sunny little corner by the rest rooms. A trellis fence has supported  an overgrown and tired-looking clematis for a very long time and it really does look uninspiring…time for a change!

I began by cutting back the top growth of the clematis down to the base, freeing the trellis of tangled growth. I then dug out the clematis, with the help of a root axe, and added fresh compost to the disturbed area. I dug this in to improve the existing soil in preparation for planting.

Before planting, I was keen to add a layer of double thickness shade netting to the rear side of the trellis which also serves as a screen for the private accommodation behind it. I attached this with a staple gun. Finally the area was ready for planting! I chose two species of Solanum (potato vines) to grow onto the trellis; Solanum  laxum ‘Album’ and added Solanum crispum ‘Glasnevin’ to complement it.

Solanum crispum 'Glasnevin'S. laxum ‘Album’ has fragrant white flowers in June to September followed by black fruits and S. crispum ‘Glasnevin’ (left) has violet-blue fragrant flowers followed by yellow-white fruit.

Both are vigorous scrambling climbers and are semi-evergreen to evergreen. Freshly-planted solanumsOnce planted, I trimmed the shoots back to promote a healthy framework and tied them in using tar-string. Lastly I gave them a good watering and will continue to keep them moist until they have settled in.

In a couple of years these plants will form a lovely thick screen of green leaves and pretty flowers. I'll just need to cut back any unwanted growth a couple of times a year. Job done!

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