Mature fallen Clematis
To give a context, I know nothing about Clematis' and little about gardening beyond how to start a lawnmower.
We had a sweet chestnut tree in our garden which died about 10 years ago. Rather than chop it down I thought it would be a good idea to use it as a scaffold and grow a few clematis' up it with complementary flowering seasons so that the tree would 'flower' all year.
Only one survived (From Aldi I believe - if any of you want a hot tip). But it did look rather good in spring every year.
A week ago we had a strong wind and unfortunately the tree fell down pulling the clematis with it. It has only bent the clematis stem at the bottom, not broken it. My wife and I would like to build an artificial scaffold to replace the tree (which is also too heavy to lift as is) but we're not sure how far up we need to cut the clematis stem as the woody part is now quite long. (See picture)
Can we cut it close to the base, or do we need to include green parts, or should we do as my wife thinks (infinitely more knowledgeable about gardening than me but also knows little about Clematis) and cut it about 18" from the base?
Thanks in advance for any of your thoughts on our approach.