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Step 1: Dig a Hole

Water the plant well an hour before planting, or submerge it in a bucket of water. Allow to drain. Then dig a hole about 18 in (45 cm) from the fence, not right up against it in the dry “rain shadow.” Check that the hole is deep enough for the plant.

Step 2: Form a Temporary Support

Use bamboo canes arranged in a fan shape and leaning into the fence to form a temporary support on which to guide the climber’s stems up to the permanent wires. The canes can be removed later.

Step 3: Lean the Canes

Lean the plant against the canes; make sure it is still level with the soil (except for clematis, which should be about 4 in/10 cm below the surface level). Backfill the hole with a trowel, then firm in with your fists.

Step 4: Tie to Canes

Untie the plant from its original cane and remove this, then fan out the main stems and tie into the canes, using soft twine in a loose figure-eight. Tying just above the cane’s joints should prevent the twine from slipping down.

Step 5: Drench the Soil

Fluff up the soil, then draw it up to form a circular ridge around the climber’s base, creating a saucer-shaped depression. Drench the soil with water. The hollow will retain the excess water, allowing it to seep into the root area. Water the new climber regularly from then onward, especially if planting in spring.

Step 6: Mulch Clear of Stems

Apply a mulch around the plant, but do not allow it to touch the stems. Once the stems reach the wires, train the outermost ones horizontally along the lower wires, and the central ones up and along the upper ones—this will ensure good coverage.

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