- Why have the stems of my clematis been stripped of their outer layers? Some of the stems are dead and there are holes in the leaves.
- What are the small transparent jelly things on the back of my water lily leaves?
It sounds like your Clematis is struggling a bit! The damage to the stems and leaves is likely to be caused by snails or slugs at this time of year (May). The easiest way to deal with them is to apply slug pellets around the base of the plant and hand pick them off the leaves and stems at dusk when they are at their most active.
The other common cause of damage to clematis is earwigs which chew ragged holes in the leaves and flowers, although this tends to be a problem later in the summer when the weather is warmer. Earwigs can be collected in small flower pots stuffed with straw. Place them upturned on a garden cane close to the plant. The earwigs like to hide in them during the day, when you can remove the straw and any resident earwigs and dispose of them.
We would also suggest that you prune out any dead stems now, to allow new growth to develop.
I think the jellies that you are noticing are snails’ eggs, most likely greater pond snails (Lymnaea stagnalis). Snails are an important part of your ponds ecology but they can become a nuisance in ponds where they have become overpopulated. The eggs themselves will not do any harm but their parents may well take a nibble at your plants.
Given that chemical controls cannot be used in or around water, you will need to reduce the population by fishing snails out when you see them. One technique is to float lettuce leaves on the water, then remove and destroy them when you have collected a number of feeding snails on them. As for the eggs, if you can remove them before they hatch then that will be a few less snails to worry about. Of course, if they are not causing a problem in your pond then no action need be taken.