Clematis of the Month for March 2015: Clematis Markham’s Pink

C. Markham's Pink in full bloom.

C. Markham’s Pink in full bloom.

Here in Seattle (unlike the rest of the cold and snowy US) we had a mild winter and an unseasonably warm early spring.  As a result, all my atragene clematis, a group of clematis that includes alpinas, macropetalas, and koreanas, bloomed for me in March this year, more than a month earlier than usual!  These tough, cold-hardy harbingers of spring all have delightful bell flowers in many colors and delicate serrated apple-green foliage.  More of this group of clematis will no doubt make their way into my clematis collection.

Round buds of C. Markham's Pink

Round buds of C. Markham’s Pink

Clematis Markham’s pink was the first to bloom in my garden this year.  I love it’s soft pink blossoms and the small round pink balls that are its buds.  This clematis was named for Ernest Markham, an important early clematarian who, along with William Robinson, is responsible for saving many fabulous clematis hybridized by Francois Morel in the late 1800s and very early 1900s.  Among Morel’s hybrids are some of the most popular clematis still today:  C. Perle d’Azure, C. Ville de Lyon, and C. Comtesse de Bouchaud, along with many others.

Clematis Joe Zary, with it's sputnik flower.

Clematis Joe Zary, with it’s sputnik flower.

Also blooming in March is C. Joe Zary (a macropetala).  It’s new for me, as of last spring, and came highly recommended from Debbie of Silver Star Vinery.  Not only does it have spiky lavender flowers that remind me of sputniks or sea anemone, it is reputed to repeat bloom throughout the summer.  I can’t wait to see it blooming along with its host, a blue lacecap hydrangea.

C. alpina Cecile was blooming too high up in a tall variegated Azara for a good photo, but below are some of the other clematis that were showing off in my garden in March.

C. Blue Dander

C. Blue Dancer

C. Pauline

C. Pauline

New Zealand clematis, C. Pixie

New Zealand clematis, C. Pixie

Purple stems of C. recta purpurea already sprouting in March!

Purple stems of C. recta purpurea already sprouting in March!


  1. Kathy Dunn said,

    April 18, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Hi, Laura. My M.P. has been putting out a few blooms. They look great and last long in a bud vase (AKA glass salt shaker with lid off). But the vines look ratty and leafless. Too much sun? A good rainstorm brings on more blooms. The Joe Zary I got in July is “blooming its head off” as Debbie predicted. Fat buds are ready to open on Honora, Reflections and Sugar Sweet Blue. I’m anxious to see what SSB looks/smells like, my plant came from Brushwood without flowers last summer. Newly planted this year: Samaritan Jo, Josie’s Midnight Blue, Odoriba, Mississippi River, Pagoda, Venosa Violacea and a mystery integrifolia seedling from Debbie. That brings me to 43. I need to stop, I fear a draught this summer, but I’m still lusting for Glaucophylla. Alba Luxurians is wilting on me for some reason.


    • April 20, 2015 at 11:03 am

      Hi, Kathy,

      Wow, 43 clematis! You have nearly reached CLEMANIAC status! Hmmm, if your Markham’s Pink is in full sun, that could definitely be the problem–the Clematis alpinas prefer some shade, especially during a warm sunny spring like we’ve had here in Seattle this year. Alba luxurians is not normally susceptible to wilt, so check the vines to see if there is a hidden break somewhere down low that is causing the wilting. Either way, cut off all the wilted material and the plant is likely to come roaring back!


  2. Mary Benefield said,

    March 20, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Hi there,
    I have been hunting for pixie clematis for two years. Can’t find them anywhere. Any suggestions as to where to look?
    Thank you.


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