Question: I have two clematis growing on trellises, each about five years old. I have never trimmed them back, and each year I'm rewarded with more and more beautiful blooms in the spring. This year, their size became a problem, pulling the arbors over from the weight of the plants. Underneath the new growth were dried vines with no leaves or blooms. Now that all the leaves have fallen off, I'm wondering if I should trim it back.
Michael Mills gardens in Northwest Philadelphia, concentrating on ornamentals and shade planting. He is a board member of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, is involved with exhibits at the annual Philadelphia Flower Show, and regularly contributes plants to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's plant dividend program for members.
His column appears Fridays in Home & Design, alternating between questions-and-answers and "It's time to . . . ," a compendium of what garden tasks are appropriate for the season.