The Blooms of June 2018

June in my garden offered a plethora of colorful, diverse, and interesting clematis, including the last of the large-flowered bloomers, early blossoms from July bloomers, and three beautiful clematis bell flowers, two of which are home-grown seedlings of the dainty scarlet bells of Clematis texensis.

C. ‘Tartu’ still going strong in June!
C. ‘Morning Mist’ with C. ‘Proteus’ in the background.  One flower of C. ‘Morning Mist’ measured 10 inches in diameter this year, the largest clematis blossom in my garden.
The plummy C. ‘Lord Hershel’.  Not being a climber, this one lounges around on whatever it can find unless you truss it up.
C. ‘Fujimusume’ is one of my personal favorites.  Satiny sky blue!
C. ‘Proteus’ glows in a fabulous muted pink.  Who could count the petals?
My own fantabulous C. ‘Fond Memories’ blooming in June.  Ahhhh.
Above, the complex blooms of C. ‘Crystal Fountain’, also known as C. ‘Fairy Blue’, just beginning to open.  
And here they are, fully open. Beautiful either way!
C. ‘Caroline’ (pink) cavorting with the big double lavender blooms of C. ‘Vyvyan Pennell’
The purple-leaved C. recta ‘Purpurea’ flouncing in the garden and emitting its delicious fragrance.  The mauve blooms of  C. ‘The First Lady’ poking up in the back join in the fun.
C. florida ‘Sieboldii’.  I have two plants of this clematis.  Both were sold to me as C. florida ‘Sieboldii’, but they look quite different.
This one has a smaller, darker center. Both, however, stop visitors in their tracks.
C. ‘Polish Spirit’ already loaded down with flowers and buds, though it’s still only June!
Clematis Climador ‘Koenigskind’ is free-flowering on a compact plant.
A classic from the late 1800s, C. ‘Perle d’Azur’ always delights the eye.
Show stoppers C. ‘Etoile Violette’ (dark purple) and C. ‘Betty Corning’ (mauve bell) just beginning to strut.  They bloomed together for more than eight weeks during the summer, starting in mid-June.  I guesstimate that each of them graced the old dead plum tree that supports them with 3,000 – 4,000 blooms through the season.  Amazing!
Clematis ‘Princess Red’, a Japanese hybrid of the American native, C. crispa.  The dark pink color might come from a bit of C. texensis (a red-flowered US native) in it’s DNA. What a gorgeous flower.
An elegantly shaped dusky pink flower on a C. texensis plant that I grew from seed received from the British Clematis Society.
Also a plant I grew from seed, this one is similar to a well-known texensis hybrid, C. ‘Etoile Rose’.  Mine I think has more of a twist in the petals.  Proud mama.

A Delightful Surprise!

My Clematis napaulensis, a species clematis that is one of the few winter bloomers in the genus, is loaded with flower buds!  WAHOOO!  This plant is wintergreen rather than evergreen, pushing out fresh new apple green leaves in October, then blooming in January and February.  By summer it looks exactly like dead sticks, so masking it with a summer-blooming vine is wise. 

A small branch loaded with buds. Most of the rest of the vines are too high up on the arbor to get a good photo without dragging out the orchard ladder.

C. napaulensis has graced the arbor on the north side of my house for about seven years now.  During that time this recalcitrant plant has bloomed only twice with just two or three flowers, once in January 2015 and again in 2017.  I’ve often wondered whether it’s in too much shade, but unfortunately not much information is available about what conditions this plant really wants.  Ah, but, lo and behold, now in late 2018–tons of buds!  I am so excited!  I can hardly wait til they open in January!  

The blooms from 2017.  C. napaulensis is a gorgeous winter bloomer with creamy petals that roll up to show off the long purple stamens.  I hear tell that it’s also fragrant!

Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’, the Other Winter Bloomer

C. cirrhosa ‘Freckles’, a reliable winter bloomer in my garden, started showing off about a month ago.  Actually, it blooms sporadically throughout the year, but really begins to swagger this time of year.  Looking carefully at the flowers, one can easily tell that C. ‘Freckles’ and C. napaulensis are kissing cousins!

With its crisp green leaves and lovely red-spotted blossoms, C. ‘Freckles’ is particularly beautiful dangling down from a deciduous tree or shrub.  
Heartening to see fresh new flowers when most of the others have begun their long winter slumber.

Clematis that Bloomed in April and May of 2018

With the exception of two recent additions, I have unfortunately been delinquent in posting about clematis for several months–blooming months at that!  My camera, however, was still clicking away.  Below are a few of the beautiful clematis I came upon, in my own garden as well as others, during April and May of last year.

4-17JoeZary

C. ‘Joe Zary’ blooming in full sun in April. If it were in more shade, the color would be stronger.

5-15Asao2

The delightful and delectable C. ‘Asao’.  Such lovely shades of pink and sometimes semi-double.  This one is always one of the first three large-flowered clematis to bloom in my garden.

5-15Josephin2

Early blossoms of C. Josephine ‘Evijohill’.  Always a heart stopper!

5-15SugarSweetBlue

Clematis ‘Sugar Sweet Blue’ wafting its fragrance on my deck, backed by a stunning Chilean Fire Tree (Embothrium).

5-20FirstLady

C. ‘The First Lady’, one of only a few clematis actually hybridized in the US.  I don’t know which First Lady was meant to be honored with the name, but I think of my personal favorite First Lady whenever I look at it.

5-20SilverMoon2

C. ‘Silver Moon’ looking ethereal in the shade.

5-23KenDonson2

C. ‘Ken Donson’ strutting his stuff.

5-23Rebecca

The redder than red C. ‘Rebecca’!

5-26DuchessOfAlbany

A visit to C. ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’ on a garden tour.

5-26FondMemorie5-26s

Oh, be still, my heart!  C. ‘Fond Memories’ while on a garden tour, gloriously blooming before my own even started.  Definitely one of my favorites!

5-26LincolnStar

Still touring gardens–C. ‘Nelly Moser’ or one of her imitators.

5-26NellyMoser

Another C. ‘Nelly Moser’ look alike spotted while garden touring.  Could be C. ‘Bees Jubilee’.

5-28Tartu

Back home to find C. ‘Tartu’ blooming away.  Love the two-tone ruffly look.

5-29MrsChumley2

Last, but definitely not least, the time-honored classic, C. ‘Mrs. Cholmondeley’ (pronounced Chumly)

New Talk at 2019 Flower Show

WSN Display

West Seattle Nursery’s Prize-Winning Display Garden at the 2018 Flower & Garden Festival

Lucky me!  I’ll be a speaker again in 2019 at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival in Seattle!  I will be presenting an all-new topic:  Embrace Vertical Gardening!  Embellish Your Garden with Vines.  Come and hear me describe the ins and outs of many vines (including clematis, of course)–get the basics about wisteria, passion flower, clematis, akebia, honeysuckle, climbing hydrangea, and others.  Learn to control your vines and not let them control you!

When:
Saturday, February 23, 2018, 6:45pm

Where:
The Hood Room at
The Washington State Convention Center
Downtown Seattle

 

Chocking Vine (2)

Learn to control your vines–don’t let THEM control YOU!

What a GIFT!!

Laura&Clems

 

 

Laura Mack, my wonderful long-time friend, gave me the BEST birthday present ever–an absolutely stunning painting/collage of me and my clematis!  She knows me well.  She even tucked in my husband LeRoy.  Isn’t it great!  She used some of my own clematis photos, too!

Laura and I have known each other on both coasts, having met when we worked together in Boston, Massachusetts.  In 2004, she and her husband and me and mine both left the east coast for the west:  I headed to Seattle and she went to Salem, Oregon.  Laura’s a professional artist and a college art teacher–it shows!

Click here to see her make an impassioned plea for art in public schools.

 

Northwest Flower & Garden Festival Is NEXT WEEK!! Plus Last Summer’s Show Stoppers

 

2018 NWFGS Speaker Decal.jpg

This year, once again, I am honored to be a speaker at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival.  Guess what I’ll be talking about!?  You got it–clematis!  Yeah, I know, I have a one-track mind.  If you are planning to attend the show, check me out.  I am joining Riz Reyes and Nita-Jo Rountree in presenting Garden 101: The Stars of Summer Gardens.  Riz starts us off  with Lavish Lilies, then me with Fabulous Clematis, and finally Nita-Jo with Gorgeous Roses.  The triple talk lasts 1 1/2 hours, starting at 2:15pm on Friday, February 9, in the Raineer Room.  My talk will probably start about 2:45pm.  Come on DOWN!

While I am at the Flower Show, I will be hunting down clematis–in displays and for sale–as well as potential structures for clematis.  Stay tuned to see what I find!

Spring Is Coming!

Even though winter and rain in Seattle are still around in spades, spring tantalizes here  with glimpses of what’s to come.  I have sarcoccoca and witch hazel wafting fragrance around the garden already.  Snowdrops, hellebores, and early crocus are up and blooming.  Daffodils, tulips, and ornamental onions are poking their noses up.  The clematis are showing new green growth.  Spring is coming, I can feel it.

Last Summer’s Show Stoppers

Brings to mind the bountiful clematis in my garden last summer, and my hopes for the coming year.  Below are just a few of last summer’s stars.

FondMemories3Clematis “Fond Memories’

EtoileVandBetty (2)C. ‘Etoile Violette’ with C. ‘Betty Corning’

MorningMistC. ‘Morning Mist’

Fujimusume7C. ‘Fujimusume’

CarolineC. ‘Caroline’

FloridaSieboldii5C. florida ‘Sieboldii’

PurpureaPlena
C. ‘Purpurea Plena Elegans’

Rebecca3C. ‘Rebecca’

tartuC. ‘Tartu’

Clematis Budding Up!

After a morning of downpours, the sun broke out briefly this afternoon and drew me outdoors.  My fabulous winter bloomer, Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’, was putting on a glorious show (see photos below).  It is such a reliable winter-time bloomer for me.  Much to my surprise, several of my spring and summer blooming clematis already have fresh green growth (more photos below)!

A series of photos of my Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’
showing off in January.

Freckles2

 

Freckles1

 

Freckles3

Fresh new beginnings mingling with the old.  Oh, such promise!

C. ‘Josie’s Midnight Blue’

NewGrowth1

C.  ‘Sugar-Sweet Blue’

NewGrowth3

C. ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’

NewGrowth4

 

Clematis atragenes Blooming!

Seattle has been drowning, drenching, and dripping for the past three months. Most days, staying reasonably dry while working in the garden has not been possible. Nevertheless, the garden is burgeoning, and the Clematis atragenes have begun to bloom. These are early spring bloomers have delightful nodding bells in many soft colors and delicate foliage.  Included among the C. atragenes are C. alpinas (usually single), C. macropetalas (usually double), and C. koreanas.

I have sadly lost three of my six atragenes, C. Jacqueline du Pre (a crisp and lovely pink and white alpina), C. Cecile (a delightful blue-purple alpina), and C. Pauline (a richly colored purple macropetala).  Hrmph!  Maurice Horn of Joy Creek Nursery told me that he fears that the warmer weather of recent years in the Pacific Northwest has taken a toll on these cold-hardy plants.  We may start having trouble growing them here.  The three I lost were all against the house; the three I have left are all in the open garden, which is presumably a bit cooler, at least in winter.  I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Hmm, maybe I should buy more just for testing purposes.

BlueDancer2

In my garden, the first to bloom (as usual) is C. Blue Dancer with its extra long sepals.

MarkhamsPink1

Here’s the luscious and rosy C. Markham’s Pink, just beginning its show.  I also have C. Willy, another pink and white one, but his buds are still tightly closed.

Spring Is in the Air in Seattle!

The calendar may say winter, but spring is springing today here in Seattle! Sarcococca is blooming by my front steps wafting a wonderful fragrance for anyone passing in and out of the house. I have seen witch hazel and early cherries in bloom and big buds on a Clematis armandii I passed by the other day. And the Northwest Flower & Garden Show opens in less than a month! But better than that, I have two (count ’em, TWO) clematis in bloom.

Clematis napaulensis

cnapaulensisThis unusual clematis from Nepal is wintergreen rather than evergreen.  In summer the plant just looks like dead sticks.  But in October (here in Seattle), it puts on fresh new apple-green leaves and then, in January and February, shows off it’s lovely small flowers blooming in pairs. The creamy white tepals curl around the very long purple stamens, making for a welcome site in winter! The blooms are said to have the added bonus of fragrance, but mine are blooming on an arbor, too high up for me to check.

This is the first year mine has bloomed after being in the ground for four years! I was afraid I had planted it in too much shade and would never have blooms unless I moved it. I was sooooo excited when I spotted them the other day.

Clematis cirrhosa var purpurescens ‘Freckles’

cfrecklesThis delightful clematis, which puts out lightly fragrant blooms with creamy outer tepals and burgundy freckles on the inside, blooms reliably for me now throughout the winter. But for years it only bloomed in March and/or July, for Pete’s sake.

Puzzled by this unexpected behavior in a winter-blooming plant, I asked a clematarian friend about it. His response was to ask me whether I fertilize it in fall, since it will bloom in winter! Well, duh, no, I didn’t–makes sense, though. So now I make sure to put down a layer of compost rich in manure in the garden every November or December, in addition to my regular spring fertilizing routine.

ALL my plants seem to enjoy this early compost! And now Clematis cirrhosa var purpurescens ‘Freckles’ blooms for me off and on all the time, but especially in the winter!

The First Lady–May’s Clematis of the Month

TheFirstLady

So many of the large-flowered clematis in my garden are blooming extremely early this year, as much as six – eight weeks ahead of schedule.  But whenever they choose to bloom, they look wonderful!

During my frequent strolls through the garden, I enjoy observing clematis in all their various stages–and, yes, sometimes I even talk to them.  This spring, Clematis ‘The First Lady’ talked back loudly, showing herself off to great advantage.  I purchased this clematis two or three years ago as Clematis ‘Rhapsody’, a clematis for which I had been hankering for some time.  Once I saw the first meager bloom, I knew I had purchased a misnamed plant.  But not until this year, when the poor clematis had built up enough strength to drag itself up out of the heavy shade of a big Fatshedera into the sunshine, did I really see what a gorgeous flower my mistake clematis produced–large lavender blooms (one flower actually measured 9 inches in diameter!), with contrasting burgundy stamens, ruffled edges, and textual ridges in the middle of each pointed petal.  Elegantissimo!  I was able to identify it as Clematis ‘The First Lady’ and seriously considered deeming this tough and beautiful plant Clematis of the Month for this month.

The First Lady3

Serendipitously, yesterday my yoga teacher described to me a clematis a friend gave her as a cut flower.  She has a fine eye for detail, so I was able to identify her unseen clematis from her description as Clematis ‘The First Lady.’  I showed her a photo on my smart phone to be sure and impressed both her and myself with my quick ID.  That clinched it–Clematis ‘The First Lady’ is Clematis of the Month for May in my garden this year!

 

TheFirstLady2

Clematis ‘The First Lady’ is an American clematis introduced into commerce by Arthur Steffen in Long Island, New York, in 1989.  Mr. Steffen’s company is also responsible for introducing, in 1932, another gorgeous and famous American clematis, now grown throughout the world, Clematis Betty Corning.  The beauty of the name of May’s Clematis of the Month is that you can choose your own favorite First Lady to be represented by this clematis.  I know who mine is!

Below is a smattering of the many other worthy candidates blooming in my garden this month.

LouiseRowe

The satiny blooms of Clematis Louise Rowe

Rebecca

Clematis Rebecca

ClematisRamona&Marta

Clematis Ramona (lavender) with Clematis Marta

Josephine

The ever-stunning Clematis Josephine

Cezanne

Clematis Cezanne

Fireworks

Clematis Fireworks

Utopia

Clematis Utopia

ClematisFugiMusume

Clematis Fujimusume–such a gorgeous blue!

MorningMist

Clematis Morning Mist–one of these blossoms measured 10 inches!

 

Climador

Clematis Climador (also known as Clematis Königskind)

 

Caroline&ViviennePennel

Clematis Caroline (pink) with Clematis Vyvyan Pennell

 

ClematisLordHershall

Clematis Lord Herschell

 

 

Sonnette

The bells of Clematis Sonnette (also known as Clematis Peveril Peach)

CrystalFountain(FairyBlue)

Clematis Crystal Fountain (also known as Clematis Fairy Blue)

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