I decided that Clematis 'Henryi' just wasn't performing well enough to justify its space in a high-rent district. It has also grown too large for its trellis.
I never sought out this plant; it was mismarked as Clematis 'Ramona,' which I wanted back then in the early 1990s. Last Spring I bought Clematis 'Natascha' at a Boy Scout's plant sale. (Had to have it for the name alone.*) I put it next to the behemoth that 'Henryi' has become. One year, 'Henryi' had over 20 blossoms on it at one time; recently its flowering has diminished, but its growth has not. Time for a little garden urban renewal.
Over the Summer I looked at the Chicago Botanic Garden's plant evaluation notes for Clematis. Based on the CBG's evaluation, I purchased Clematis 'Vyvyan Pennell' to go into the place to be vacated by 'Henryi.'
Finally, it's time to move the beast, and I pull out my trusty garden fork and start digging. All too soon, it becomes clear that I seriously underestimated the size of the roots of this plant. The result: 'Henryi' 1, Garden Fork 0.
I could title this photo "In Advance of the Aching Back," ala Marcel Duchamp's shovel entitled "In Advance of the Broken Arm." Lesson learned: no more plastic handled tools. Time to pull out the metaphorical big guns. That would be the metal-handled shovel in the photo. I bought it at a neighbor's garage sale, and a sturdier shovel would be hard to find. I applied leverage to the rootball, i.e., I lightly jumped up and down on the handle.
That did the trick, in three pieces. I planted a small rootball by the newly installed wooden trellis and gave away the big chunk. All that was left was this little piece, which shows that 'Henryi' is stoloniferous. I had no idea, although I should have suspected from the way it sent up shoots from three or four places.
Next I dug in lots of leaf mold and tried to get out all the remaining roots. This is the end result after planting 'Vyvyan Pennell.' I hope she is better behaved than 'Henryi.'
* My late, lamented pet's name was Natasha.