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.

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