A slight tug on the thin stems and they snap free. I continue to tug, curving stems falling around my feet. For every decision I analyze and ponder, there are those that are spontaneous and irrevocably decisive. It wasn't enough that I had decided to pull out the dead wood. I wanted to pull out all the wood - dead or alive. I really just wanted to prune the whole damn thing to the ground and start over. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and move on.
I should have stopped to grab my camera and take a variety of wretched photos showing the old thick stems curling through each other like a ball of snakes but I didn't. I was too busy chopping every single stem straight to the ground and pulling out wood so rotten it shrugged from the earth with a careless sigh. When that wasn't enough, I slipped into the small space between the patio and the shrubs and dug it up and replanted it. I needed new stems, straight and strong to hold the heavy blooms I knew would come.
Cutting the vine to the ground helped me reposition and repair the damaged soaker hose. Fixing a torn soaker hose is very cheap and easy. This was ripped in two places which explained why I always had a wet driveway and a dry clematis.
Clematis are much tougher than they look. I wasn't able to remove every root but this rootball is big enough that it will grow back and be just fine.
My 'President' clematis competes with a row of Japanese hollies for moisture and nutrients in a dry spot between the walkway and the patio. Planted too close to the house in compacted soil, keeping it happy in the summer is a challenge. I moved it away from the wall and amended the soil with about 50 lbs of compost. I created a berm stabilized with rocks to keep the soil from eroding. Soaker hoses circle the newly planted vine.
I stuck the last clematis bloom in a vase with some zinnias. On a Windowsill on Tuesday is as close as I get to the meme In a Vase on Monday.