Having climbed up the tree, it's always a struggle to persuade the mature stems of clematis plants not hang precariously a couple of feet out from the tree trunk swaying dangerously in the wind. It's easy to tie with string but then it looks appallingly ugly and totally unnaturally trussed up. I've solved this (at last) by recycling attractive lengths of of unwanted old chain. I do mean old and rusty and definitely not painted or, worse still: galvanised! I just love all this old stuff and was lucky enough to be given an old cow chain which was absolutely perfect for the job. Of course, it wouldn't be suitable for tying in the tender new brittle shoots but, it provides a ladder for their tendrils to cling on to and scramble up!
The chain doesn't need to be tight as its weight keeps the clematis close to the trunk. It allows movement and if necessary, can easily be removed. Against the deeply fissured bark of an old pear tree, it looks entirely at home!
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