Northwest Flower & Garden Show

WestSeattleBullsEye2

This stunning Living Wall Bull’s Eye, created by West Seattle Nursery, won two major awards at the show–and was my personal favorite.  Check out the accompanying Living Hanging Lamp below.

WestSEattleLamp

Clematis at the Show

Of course, I was on the hunt for clematis and clematis-related items.  Only a very few clematis were showcased in the major displays.  Below is a lavender Clematis alpina tucked into a fence.  Poor lighting and distance from the viewer made getting a usable photo of the nearby New Zealand clematis impossible — but it was there!

alpina2

Several Clematis armandii were on display at the show, both in the major display areas and among the vendors.  The only one actually blooming was this one at the Great Plant Picks booth.   Here in the Seattle area, we should be seeing (and smelling) Clematis armandii in full bloom within a month!

armandii

The last clematis I saw was the species Clematis balearica at the Northwest Perennial Alliance booth.  The better-known Clematis Freckles is a selection of this one.

cirrhpsa balerica2

Only one clematis (Clematis durundii) was for sale at the show (bare-root) – see photo below.  Since I already have that one, I managed to get home without a single clematis!  Where, oh where has Clearview Clematis been the past few years?  This British Columbian clematis grower set up beautiful clematis displays each year and had loads of clems for sale at the show!

Durandii1

Ideas for Clematis Structures in the Display Gardens

The Flower Show did, however, abound with potential structures for growing clematis–if you used your imagination.  Below are a few of the beauties I spotted:

Rusty iron circles artfully welded together.

Rusty iron circles artfully welded together.

Beautiful rebar fencing

Beautiful rebar fencing

Rustic Tuteur.  Wouldn't a clematis look great on that?

Rustic Tuteur. Wouldn’t a clematis look great on that?

Wild and crazy wires!  Perfect for vines.

Wild and crazy wires! Perfect for vines.

How about some real clematis to go with the wrought iron ones?

How about some real clematis to go with the wrought iron ones?

A cage?  Why not?

A cage? Why not?

What a gorgeous gate!

What a gorgeous gate!

Clematis Structures from the Vendors

Multitudes of vendors were cheek and jowl in the sales areas.  Eyes were popping and credit cards were singing.  Below are a sampling of potential clematis structures among the vendors.

Lovely metal panels for fences.

Lovely metal panels for fences.

How about a coatrack?

How about a coat rack?

Or the Space Needle!

Or the Space Needle!

More panels.

More panels.

Another cage!

Another cage!

Whoa!  Crazy!

Whoa! Crazy!

What Came Home with Me

Because I am growing many more clematis in pots now, I came home with two 4′ willow tuteurs, two 5′ metal tuteurs, and one 6′ metal tuteur (I may use that one in the ground).   My cat, of course, thought this was a photo-op for him.

Five New Teutors!

Five New Teutors!

An exciting vendor I discovered at the Flower Show is Garden Connect, which sells simple rubber connectors.  You can use them to make your own tuteurs, fences, or structures for veggies like peas and cucumbers.  See photos below or go to the Garden Connect website.  I came home with three packs of these!

Garden Connects -- for fast, easy plant support.

Garden Connects — for fast, easy plant support.

Now if the weather would just cooperate so I could get out there and start making more structures for my clematis!

Witch Hazels’ in Bloom — Can Spring Be Far Behind?

20140131_162405Witch hazels’ are bursting into bloom all over Seattle, warming my heart and turning my thoughts to spring.  I have so many gardening chores lined up!  General cleanup, adding 25 or 30 new clematis to my drip system, sifting compost, weeding, pruning, and so on and so forth and scooby dooby do dah.  But it’s COLD out there!  I have become such a wimp since moving to Seattle from Boston nearly 10 years ago.  I just CAN’T work in the garden temperatures in the 30s any more.  Of course, in Boston, I couldn’t even consider any serious gardening until late March or April — February and March are statistically the biggest snow months there.  Don’t get me wrong, though, I loved living in Boston.  But I love gardening in Seattle more!  Zone 8-9 instead of Zone 6 and I can garden off and on all year round.  When I first came here, I had no idea what half the plants in the nurseries even were.  Phormium, abelia, enkianthus, choisyea, sarcoccocca–never heard of them.  Hardy fuchsias?  What a concept!

What with flowers blooming and the Northwest Flower & Garden Show just around the corner (February 5 -9), I will have spring fever for sure!

Clematis armandii Already Showing Flower Buds!

Emerging flower buds on Clematis armandii

Emerging flower buds on Clematis armandii

Check out the photo of the flower buds I saw yesterday on a Clematis armandii!  Wooo HOOOO!

Clematis recta Serious Black (aka Clematis recta Lime Close)

Clematis recta 'Purpurea' -- very similar to Clematis recta Serious Black.

Clematis recta ‘Purpurea’ — very similar to Clematis recta Serious Black.

Many thanks to my reader Sarah for letting us know that Wayside Gardens is now offering Clematis recta Serious Black via mail order!  You may remember that last year around this time, there was a big kerfuffle about this wonderful clematis with near-black leaves and small fragrant white flowers in summer. The plant is also known as Clematis recta Lime Close, Lime Close being the name of the garden in England where the plant was originally discovered. A small article in Fine Gardening magazine noted that this plant, a difficult one to find in the US, was available through the Northwest Perennial Alliance (NPA).  Turns out that the plant was available through NPA via seed rather than as a plant.  A short time later, at last year’s Northwest Flower & Garden Show, I discovered and blogged that one of the vendors there was selling bare-root versions of Clematis recta Serious Black. I think some of you were able to score one or two (I certainly did).

If you didn’t get one last year, get yourself one from Wayside Gardens this year!  There are so many ways that black plants can add contrast and depth to a garden. This clematis gets about 4 – 6′ tall.  It doesn’t climb, so it needs support or can be allowed to scramble around and through other plants.  The photo here is of a very similar plant, Clematis recta purpurea.

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