I.Cl.S. - Book Reviews

Book Reviews by Members of the I.Cl.S. in Clematis International 2014

  1. Clematis - by Andrew Mikolajski
  2. Create Your Own Beautiful Clematis Garden - by Akihito Kaneko and Youma Oikawa

Clematis - by Andrew Mikolajski

Published by Southwater books, 64 pages, more than 150 illustrations, language English, paperback, 20.2 cm × 23.5 cm, ISBN-13;978-1-78019-251-2 and ISBN-10: 1-78019-251-7, price UK £6.99 or US $9.99.

Reviewed by Fiona WoolfendenClematis - by Andrew Mikolajski

This book is advertised on the cover as 'An Illustrated Guide to Varieties, Cultivation and Care, with Step-by-step Instructions and Over 150 Beautiful Photographs'.

The Author has edited RHS garden books and he has used Chris Grey-Wilson as a consultant for this paperback book. The chapters are all that one would expect in a comprehensive book and practical information is crammed into the space.

Practical advice on cultivation and growing against a wall or in a container is good. Small insets list clematis suitable for certain positions, which is useful.

The book does contain a large number of photos but somehow it does not have the 'wow' factor. There are a large number of pictures in the book with only a few pictures that are not quite the right colour or not sharp.

Although this book was published in 2013 all the varieties of clematis which are described are ones that have been available for a number of years. For example C. 'Guernsey Cream' which was introduced in 1989 is one of the newer varieties that I could find. This means that none of the more recent excellent garden varieties have been included, for example C. 'Arabella'. The brief history at the beginning of the book mentions a 'resurgence of interest in the genus after World War II' but goes no further.

A useful book for the 'beginner' rather than the 'expert' clematis grower covering all the standard topics. I found it disappointing.

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Create Your Own Beautiful Clematis Garden - by Akihito Kaneko and Youma Oikawa

Published by Kodansha, 96 pages, many illustrations, language Japanese, paperback, 18.7 cm × 26 cm, ISBN 978-4-06-218191-4, price ¥1700.

Review by Fiona WoolfendenCreate Your Own Beautiful Clematis Garden - by Akihito Kaneko and Youma Oikawa

For me, this book really has that "wow" factor, despite the fact I can't understand most of the text. However, where clematis are listed, for example as being good for growing round windows or on walls, then the clematis variety name is given in English with the chapter heading. The rest of the text is Japanese.

This book is to persuade Japanese gardeners to use clematis in the garden as well as growing them in pots as is usual in Japan. There are suggestions of roses and other plants to grow with clematis and some lovely pictures of clematis growing in harmony with other plants in the garden. Instructions for growing clematis with roses suggest how far apart to plant the clematis and rose to enable the blooms to entwine for flowering.

Suggestions for clematis to grow around windows, on walls, on fences and over arches are all covered along with planting instructions.

The featured clematis include relatively recently introduced varieties (including C. 'Arabella'!) and a few new varieties that I have not heard of, though some of them were exhibited at the Floriade in Holland in 2012.

There is also information on growing clematis in pots with one chapter showing how to plant a clematis in a pot for mixed container planting, using a pot divider so that the clematis roots are segregated at the back of the pot. Other low plants are grown in the front half of the pot. There are also comprehensive pictures showing how to re-pot a clematis back into the same pot after having removed the old compost and trimmed the roots.

Finally my eye was caught by chapters on persuading C. montana and C. armandii to bloom. This is a problem that I am not familiar with in the UK.

An interesting and attractive book showing many different ways to grow clematis.

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