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Clematis Bird hide structure help

New here, any help would be welcome. We moved into a new house in October and the garden has a bird hide in the back corner which is covered in what I believe is a clematis Montana and a rose. The hide is a wooden structure. Photos attached. At the moment it looks a mess, and wanted to know if we need to go anything to it? It looks as if it need a good cut back, but from the little I’ve read you shouldn’t cut this clematis until after flowering. If there’s any advice on how to keep this looking good with the clematis and rose (??) in the spring and summer I’d be pleased to receive it. 


  • I can see the general gist here... but you're right that the clematis (in particular) is totally overwhelming things. I would even speculate that it hasn't been in all that long, actually, but is just too rampant for its support. 

    You can hard prune Clematis montana, though it doesn't require it. But it's best to wait until the flowers are over, or you'll lose your display.

    As for the rose, it would be best to find out what variety it is, as that dictates how you should prune. It looks to me as if it could be a rambler that's not been correctly pruned in the past and so has become a thicket. If that's the case, then, again, you need to wait until after flowering, then prune out all the old flowered stems. With one that's been left to fester like this, your best bet may be to cut it quite hard back again. Then make sure to tie in the long new shoots to the support as they develop. Just feed both plants with something low-nitrogen after taking off so much of their top growth.

    Your support there also looks organic, possibly willow, and it may be in poor condition once you remove the plants on it--I mention this to prepare you, as it may be that you need to do some repair work or even replace it after cutting back your climbers. 
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 12,430
    Did you want to keep it?  Personally I would just chop off all the top growth of both clematis and rose to a more tidy looking rounded shape now while you are thinking about it (but not in freezing weather). From past experience it's all too easy to forget about pruning after flowering, especially when it's a busy time in the garden then. Montana clematis is pretty hard to kill, as is the rose, you may lose some flowers but at least the job will be done. You will of course be left with a huge pile of debris to get rid off so factor that into the time scale as well.
    It may well be that the underlying wooden structure is so rotten the whole thing may collapse either under it's own weight or in a gale.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,512
    Congratulations on your new home 😊 My question to you would be, do you really want a bird hide? If the garden didn’t have one when you moved in, would your first thought be, ooh, I really want a bird hide, I want it now and I want it THERE!  I’m a keen bird watcher, but most of my best birding is done through the back window. If you are keen, planting for cover, berries, etc., and putting out bird feeders and bath may actually be more fruitful. If it’s spotting on the land behind, standing still next to the fence for a few minutes may equally work.

    It will probably always look bare and untidy in winter and it does look pretty rickety. If you want to keep it, I would be inclined to tackle the clematis sooner rather than later even if you do lose flowers this year. This will allow you to see the rose structure more clearly and see where it needs a light tidy up. Some climbing roses resent pruning, apart from shortening back the side shoots, so I would wait until it flowers then come back for an ID and further advice.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • FireFire Posts: 18,998
    edited January 2021
    I would say, congratulations on your bird hide. Surely and respectable hide would be a mess. It will look great for much of the year, just not in the winter. I would leave it for a couple of years (and leave the rest of the garden) and get to know it. Get to understand your plants wel before cutting them back.

    If you didn't want it as a hide, you could easily turn it in to an arbour.
  • RubytooRubytoo Posts: 1,596
    edited January 2021
    Congratulations on your new home.
    I think the hide is a lovely idea and thing just the sheer fun of it, and to grow plants over.

    It does look a bit on its last legs sadly.

    I think I would leave it for now and enjoy the clematis this year. It is only a couple of months until flowering time
    Also if you do not know the rose type and can wait, leave that too and enjoy it for this year. It would also help with a positive id later on.

    You know exactly the clematis and name from the label there it is Fragrant Spring.
    Double check there is no label tucked away on the rose. If the previous owners left the Clem label they may have done the same on the rose.
    Sometimes they have a narrow handwritten label that does not show up like the bigger plastic ones like on the clematis.

    If you like the effect you can then rethink if you want to build another dome, or start over, or put something else in be it plants or a new support of some kind.

    Go do some decorating indoors for now :D

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