Tag Archives: companion planting


Companion Plants

Growing roses without growing clematis is almost a crime. They are supposed to be great companions for one another.  It’s not the term I normally use but this is what I read in gardening books and websites.  I can confirm this information as accurate having now grown a few kinds of clematis with roses.  Lucky that I didn’t try to grow the Clematis ‘Montana’ (Clematis Montana var. rubens) and Clematis ‘Sweet Autumn’ (Clematis terniflora) with any roses.  They are very unruly, very fast growers and would have suffocated the roses.  They are better standing alone or climbing a tree.

What we have in the garden seems to work well with the roses.  It’s the type that grows 8 to 10 feet high like the clematis pictured below.

The clematis ‘Crystal Fountain’ is lovely next to the ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ rose.  There were more flowers in late spring, but now just a scant few blooms here and there.

Lined up Clematis 'Crystal Fountain' at the base of Paul's Himalayan Musk rose
Lined up Clematis ‘Crystal Fountain’ at the base of Paul’s Himalayan Musk rose
Crystal Fountain close up
Crystal Fountain close up

We grow Clematis ‘Belle of Woking’ on the opposite side of Rose ‘Blaze’ on a trellis.  They seem to do well together especially when the ‘Belle of Woking’ flowers are fully opened and turn from lavender to almost white in color before the petals drop.

Clematis 'Belle of Woking' next to a 'Blaze' rose
Clematis ‘Belle of Woking’ next to a ‘Blaze’ rose
Belle of woking close up
Belle of woking close up

We added the Clematis ‘Betty Corning’ (Clematis viticella) to the garden planted near the ‘Eden’ rose last year.  It has proved to be perfect.  Though it is a fast grower, it’s very well behaved and produces plenty of little lavender colored flowers with a faint fragrance.

Clematis 'Betty Corning' next to the newly sprouted 'Eden' rose
Clematis ‘Betty Corning’ next to the newly sprouted ‘Eden’ rose
Betty Corning close up
Betty Corning close up

Most of the clematis flowers have faded away by now.  Although the ‘Betty Corning’ is still producing flower buds.  I did add another clematis this year after I realized that, except for the Montana and Sweet Autumn, all the clematis in the garden have bloomed in a similar shade of lavender.  So I added Clematis ‘Rubromarginata’ (Clematis x triternata) which is supposed to produce small cream colored flowers with a violet edge, with an almond scent.  Let’s see how it turns out.

Mix and Match

For a Better Effect and Benefit

It doesn’t matter how much space we have for our vegetable garden, it’s never enough.  We just expanded our fenced in vegetable garden from 16′ x 16′ to 16′ x 22′ this year but I’m still looking for space to put many more seedlings that have sprouted up.  I’ve already hand-crafted 3 trellises for the beans to climb on.  They extend over the garden walkway to save space.  The Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) is allowed to climb on the fence since neither deer nor rabbits will eat them.  Strong scented herbs like Mint, Oregano, Thyme and Sage surround the fence outside to fend off the deer and rodents and draw in beneficial insects at the same time.  Since we don’t use pesticides we have to enlist nature and our winged friends to help out.

Still, the extra space just disappears so quickly.  The culprit?  Tomatoes…plenty of sprouted tomato seeds from our compost pile.  I have a soft heart when it comes to pulling healthy plants out of the ground only to throw them back in the compost pile.  I’ve put a few of them up for adoption.

I also added Calendula (Calendula officinalis), Nasturtium, Alyssum and Borage (Borago officinalis) inside the fence this year.  These flowers help draw in good insects and create a much livelier look for the vegetable garden.  If the vegetable yield is the same as last year but has more bad bugs than good ones, the flowers will stay outside the fence next year.  We already have birds patrolling and they have been working out pretty well.  This year, we are experimenting with having good insects patrol.  We’ll see how that works out.

Trellis for Italian beans along the walkway
Calendula mixed in with basil and tomatoes
Nasturtium, Squash, Scarlet Emperor bean, Borage and Strawberry squeeze in together.
Bitter melon entwines itself along the fence
Self-sown Cherry tomato, Swiss chard and Scallion
Trellis for Asian Long bean with Alyssum at the base