June Clematis of the Month & Silver Star Vinery Open THIS Weekend

Clematis of the Month for June

French C. Etoile Violette paired with American C. Betty Corning

French C. Etoile Violette paired with American C. Betty Corning

In my garden the June Clematis of the Month is actually a pair of clematis, one French and the other American:  C. Etoile Violette and C. Betty Corning.  C. Etoile Violette, hybridized in the late 1800s by a French nurseryman, is a luscious dark purple with faint hints of a red bar.  It’s French name means Tower of Purple.  This easy-care large clematis (12-14′ vines) blooms voraciously in June, July, and part of August.  A great clematis for a beginner to try, C. Etoile Violette can be grown into a small or medium tree–mine is growing in an Italian plum tree–or on an arbor, fence, or trellis.

Close-Up of French Hybrid C. Etoile Violette

Close-Up of French Hybrid C. Etoile Violette

It’s partner, C. Betty Corning, is similar in size and bloom time, plus it contrasts beautifully with C. Etoile Violette, both in color and in flower shape.  The original C. Betty Corning caught the eye of Betty Corning of Albany, New York, in a neighbor’s garden in the 1920s.  The plant was the result of a cross made by nature, probably with species clematis C. Crispa as one parent.  Mrs. Corning accepted a cutting from her generous neighbor and, realizing it’s potential, gave a plant to a local nurseryman who got it into commerce.  Now it grows all over the world.  The icing on the cake about this clematis is its delightful fragrance!

The American Clematis Betty Corning

Close-Up of  American Clematis C. Betty Corning

 Second Annual Garden Open at Silver Star Vinery

THIS Weekend, July 12 and 13

Want to see a treasure trove of hundreds of beautiful clematis all blooming at once?  Want a chance to buy some of those beautiful clematis in person?  You CAN!  Debbie Fischer, owner of Silver Star Vinery, a mail-order source of great clematis, is hosting the second annual Silver Star Vinery Open Gardens in the beautiful foothills of the Cascades north of Vancouver, WA, on Saturday and Sunday, July 12th and 13th, from 10am – 4pm each day.   Renowned British clematis hybridizer and speaker, Roy Nunn, will give a clematis talk each day at 1pm.  This rare opportunity to purchase clematis in person from Silver Star Vinery and to see the gorgeous display gardens is an event not to be missed!  I will be there, too, in the display gardens helping to answer clematis questions.  Come on DOWN.

Go to the Silver Star Vinery website to get directions and more information.  For a detailed description of the event in a local newspaper, The Reflector, click here.

Hope to see you there this weekend!

Just a Small Part of the Silver Star Vinery Display Garden

Just a Small Part of the Silver Star Vinery Display Garden

May Clematis of the Month

Clematis Will Baron -- May Clematis of the Month

Clematis Will Baron — May Clematis of the Month

 

Clematis Fair Rosamond -- A Contender

Clematis Fair Rosamond — A Contender

Clematis Josephine -- the Other Contender

Clematis Josephine — the Other Contender

 

 

The Contenders

Deciding which clematis in my garden was the best for the month of May was not an easy task.  The contenders duking it out with Clematis Will Baron were the lovely and fragrant  Clematis Fair Rosamond and the exotic Clematis Josephine.   All three bloomed beautifully with showy large blossoms.

But the color of the blooms on Will Baron was a startling electric blue-violet, which is so difficult to capture in photos.   Oddly, I was able to get closer to the true color when I took a photo from the back of the blooms.   Photos taken from the front always show too much purple and not enough blue.  To see what I mean, check out the two photos of Clematis Will Baron below.  I will be taking a photography class at the Hardy Plant Society Conference in Bellevue, WA, in a few weeks.  Hopefully, I learn how to bring out the true colors of garden plants.

In the meantime, I will be attending the International Clematis Conference in the Philadelphia next week.  I am so PSYCHED!  Expect a full report.

C. Will Baron, a little too purply

C. Will Baron, a little too purply

 

C. Will Baron from the back -- now THAT'S more like it!

C. Will Baron from the back — now THAT’S more like it!

 

Other Clematis Showing Off in the Garden

Take a look at some of the other clematis beginning to bloom in my garden.  Who knows, maybe one of these will get the June title!  Not too long ago, I counted up my clematis by pruning group and discovered that 80% of my clematis were in pruning group 3.  Well, now, there is a very good reason for that.  Most of the pruning-group-3 clematis are so floriferous AND easy to prune.  But over the past couple of years, I have made concerted effort to bring in more clematis from the other two pruning groups.  What a joy to have so many more clematis blooming from March through June.  I love it!  But the late bloomers are still my favorites.  Which are your favorites?

Clematis Cezanne

Clematis Cezanne

Clematis Rebecca

Clematis Rebecca

Clematis Climador

Clematis Climador

 

Clematis Duchess of Edinburgh

Clematis Duchess of Edinburgh

Wow!  The VERY Early First Blossoms of Etoile Violette

Wow! The VERY Early First Blossoms of Etoile Violette

Clematis Omoshiro

Clematis Omoshiro

 

Clematis Tartu Beginning to Open It's First Blossom

Clematis Tartu Beginning to Open It’s First Blossom

Durn, C. Tartu wilted the very next day!

Durn, C. Tartu wilted the very next day!

Clematis The First Lady

Clematis The First Lady

Clematis Versailles

Clematis Versailles

Clematis Vyvyan Pennell

Clematis Vyvyan Pennell

Clematis Fugimusume

Clematis Fugimusume

The Early First Flower of Clematis Ville de Lyon

The Early First Flower of Clematis Ville de Lyon

March Clematis of the Month

None of my clematis earned Clematis of the Month for either January or February, and almost not for March either.  But one of the three clematis I ordered from Brushwood Nursery arrived in late March — IN BLOOM!  And lovely blooms they are, too.

Clematis Sugar Sweet -- Blue

Clematis Sugar Sweet — Blue

Clematis of the Month — March:
Clematis Sugar Sweet Blue

This lovely clematis is a new introduction from Ton Hannink of The Netherlands.  He’s a clematis friend whom I know through the International Clematis Society.  This clematis and it’s sister Clematis Sugar Sweet Lilac are both strongly fragrant.  Even my little one with just two early blooms flaunted its perfume!  Because the vines will grow only 6′ – 9′, mine will look  great in a pot on the deck, where I can enjoy the wafting fragrance.  Another plus — they are pruning group c, which means pruning is a cinch — just whack ’em back to 1′ – 3′ sometime between late fall and early spring (probably wait til early spring in colder climates).  You can get one for yourself, just click here.

I actually ordered three clematis from Brushwood this year.  The other two are Clematis Etoile Rose and Clematis Mrs Robert Brydon.  The three pots are sitting together in the photo above, so some of the leaves are belong to the other two clematis.

Clematis Etoile Rose versus Clematis Duchess of Albany

C. Etoile Rose is a texensis hybrid.  C. texensis is a species clematis that grows on riverbanks in Texas and has small red urn-shaped blooms.  Click here for more information on C. texensis.  Since the late 1800s hybridizers have been using this species to bring red into the clematis color palette.  In fact, almost every red or dark pink summer-blooming clematis has C. texensis in its background.  In addition to C. Etoile Rose, C. texensis hybrids include C. Duchess of Albany, C. Princess Diana, C. Ville de Leon, C. Sir Trevor Lawrence, and many others.  I thought I already had C. Etoile Rose, but recently realized that what I really have is C. Duchess of Albany.  Both have pink tulip-shaped blossoms, but those on C. Etoile Rose are downward-facing, while the flowers of C. Duchess of Albany are upward-facing.  Mine were definitely upward-facing, so, of course, I had to purchase a C. Etoile Rose as soon as possible.

Downward-Facing Blooms of C. Etoile Rose

Downward-Facing Blooms of C. Etoile Rose

The Upward-Facing Blooms of C. Duchess of Albany

The Upward-Facing Blooms of C. Duchess of Albany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

clematis_mrs_robert_brydonClematis Mrs Robert Brydon

I had heard of C. Mrs Robert Brydon but had never seen it in person until I saw it in a vase on the table at a garden luncheon.  At first I thought the small flowers might be from some kind of Thalictrum, aka meadow rue, which is not surprising since Thalictrum and Clematis are kissing cousins.  I finally realized that in spite of it’s small size it just had to be a clematis!  I was right.  This one is not a climber — it prefers instead to lounge about on whatever is convenient.  Can’t wait to see it blooming in the garden — hmm, what shall I provide for it to lounge upon?

 

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.

December’s Clematis of the Month

Lovely little 100-year-old Nippon clematis vase found on Ebay.

Lovely little 100-year-old Nippon clematis vase found on Ebay.

No one will be surprised to learn that no clematis bloomed in my garden in December. None, nada, nichts.  In fact, only a very few had any green leaves. Undaunted, I routed around on Ebay to find my December Clematis of the month — the beautiful lavender clematis on the lovely little Nippon vase on the left!

Unfortunately, I don’t know what clematis is meant to be represented.  If it is based on a real clematis, it would have to be one that was available in Japan in the early 1900s.  It was probably painted from the imagination of the artist, since the center is not quite right for clematis.

The 2012 journal of the International Clematis Society, Clematis International 2012, had a interesting article by Ken Woolfenden about all the wonderful clematis memorabilia he and his wife Fiona have collected.  Over the years, I too have collected several pieces, mostly small plates with hand-painted clematis on them — see photos below.

Garden Clematis

Can you tell I’m suffering from clematis deprivation?  Sigh.  In a few brief forays out into the garden over the past few days, I’ve seen very small vegetative buds on some of my spring blooming clematis.  I had to look really close to see them, but they are definitely there!  No buds on my winter bloomers, though (C. napaulensis and C. cirrhosa).

Brushwood Nursery is having a 15% off sale this week, so I caved and ordered three more clematis (which I need like a hole in the head).  I must not buy any more clematis.  I must not buy any more clematis.  I must not buy any more clematis.  Hmmm, maybe I should plant up some of the clematis seeds I have in a jar in the fridge.

A Few Clematis Plates

Clematis Plate - Pink

Clematis Plate - White

ClematisPlatePurple

ClematisPlatePink&White

ClematisPlatePurple2

 

November Clematis of the Month: Clematis napaulensis

The fresh new leaves of Clematis napaulensis in November

The fresh new leaves of Clematis napaulensis in November

Regrettably, a Seattle November consists of short dark days.  The only blooms that showed their faces  in my garden were two tired and tattered flowers from Clematis Versailles — not even worth taking a photo.

BUT …  Clematis napaulensis, a wintergreen winter bloomer originally from Nepal, leafed out despite gloomy cold days! The fresh new apple-green leaves emerging from summer’s dead-looking sticks lift my heart.  This plant looks completely dead in summer, so be sure to surround it with lively plants that will hide it’s morose summer nature.  Wintergreen rather than evergreen, Clematis napaulensis leafs out in late fall or early winter and blooms anytime between November and March.  My two-year-old plant just might bless me with blossoms this year, if the cold didn’t nip the buds (possibly even the whole plant!).  The lovely scented flowers are unusual in both their looks and their time of bloom.  Though the individual blooms are small (a little more than one inch), they bloom in small clusters, which engenders a sense of heft.

The beautiful and unusual winter blossoms of Clematis napaulensis.

The beautiful and unusual winter blossoms of Clematis napaulensis.

Unfortunately, December began here in Seattle with a long deep cold spell — several days when the temperature did not even warm up to freezing.  I worry that my tender clematis, like Clematis napaulensis, as well as  Clematis florida ‘Sieboldii’ and Clematis ‘Alba Plena,’ may succomb.  Only time will tell.

Clematis of the Month, September 2013

Close-Up of Clematis florida sieboldii in September

Close-Up of Clematis florida sieboldii in September

The September show-off in my garden this year is Clematis florida sieboldii – the new one in my front garden.  As mentioned in my last post, the one growing  in a pot in the back garden for two years now has been so fabulous, always getting plenty of ohs and ahs from visitors, that I realized I just had to have one in the front garden, too. It bloomed beautifully in June, only a couple of months after going in the ground, then tested my mettle by dying all the way back to the ground.  Hrmph.  In August a new vine had poked its head up out of the ground and in September that one little vine outdid itself – blooming the entire month!
 
Clematis florida sieboldii gracing the front steps

Clematis florida sieboldii gracing the front steps

 

August Clematis of the Month

Closeup of Clematis viorna

Closeup of Clematis viorna

Finally, the dog days of August have come to an end here in Seattle! The weather was so hot and dry for so long that many of my clems simply shut down. Now that the temperatures have moderated and nearly two inches of rain have fallen in the last week, many of my struggling clematis are beginning to show new growth.  In spite of our difficult weather, though, a few of clematis stood out in August.

The August Winner: 
Clematis viorna

The hands-down winner in my garden during the month of August was Clematis viorna, a species clematis  from the southeastern US that I purchased from Brushwood Nursery a few years ago.  This plant, which has been blooming since early July, was not phased in the least by the hot dry weather.  Every year, it blooms and blooms until hard frost (usually about mid-November for me).  Soon the purple berries of the beauty berry (Calicarpa) it grows on will be in full color, making quite a show with Clematis viorna – I will be sure to post a photo when this dynamic duo struts its stuff.  The vine also climbs up into my paperbark maple (Acer griseum) where it’s too high for me to deadhead.  But I do deadhead all that I can reach regularly, hopefully extending the bloom time. Another plus for this clematis is that hummingbirds love it!

Last spring I purchased a second Clematis viorna from the Rogerson Clematis Collection in Lake Oswego, which I am told will have red blooms. Time will tell. 

Clematis viorna, Blooming Since Early July!

Clematis viorna, Blooming Since Early July!

The Runners Up

Clematis Cassis

Several other clematis managed to show off in my garden during August in spite of the heat and drought. First up is Clematis Cassis. I bought this one last May at Joy Creek Nursery and planted it on my deck in a pot. It immediately took a fit and died back completely to the soil level – geez. Then, in early August, it sent up a single vine that magically sported stunning double flowers!

Closeup of Clematis Cassis

Closeup of Clematis Cassis

Madame Baron-Veillard

Madame Baron-Veillard is a useful clematis that doesn’t even think about blooming til late August or early September.  A fresh new clematis blooming this time of year is truly a treat. It’s mauve tones beautifully complement autumn perennials, like asters, colchicum, rudbekia, phlox, and many others, that are just beginning to burst into bloom.  Another clematis that blooms late like this is Clematis Lady Betty Balfour, with deeper purple flowers – great if you can find one!

Fall-Blooming Mme Baron-Veillard

Fall-Blooming Mme Baron-Veillard

Clematis florida sieboldii

This scrumptious clematis just keeps on going!  It bloomed continually in my garden for six or seven weeks in July and August.  Everyone who came into the garden ooohed and aaaahed over this one!

Clematis florida sieboldii

Clematis florida sieboldii

Clematis Kermisina

Clematis Kermisina is a late-blooming viticella type, flowering for me primarily in August.  Each carmine red tepal has a touch of white at the base, which sets off the black boss beautifully.  An easy care clematis I wouldn’t want to do without.

Clematis Kermisina

Clematis Kermisina

The Texensis Hybrids

Of course, any garden with a clematis texensis hybrid in it will likely have blooms in August.  These wonderful clematis, derived from a species clematis from Texas with small red flowers (Clematis texensis), make a bold late summer impact.  One of the most beautiful is Clematis Princess Diana, but mine got swamped this year by my pushy sweet autumn clematis and didn’t bloom.  And, of course, now we have the new one, white with a lavendar base, named Clematis Princess Kate.  Though primarily available in Europe, I am lucky enough to have one, but mine is still too young to bloom.  Below, though, are three others that were showing off in my August garden.

Clematis Duchess of Albany

This plant was hybridized in the late 1800s and has been grown in gardens ever since.  I purchased mine as Clematis Etoile Rose, but recently realized that it was in fact Duchess of Albany.  Lovely, nonetheless, especially cavorting in a hydrangea.

Clematis Duchess of Albany Growing through a Hydrangea

Clematis Duchess of Albany Growing through a Hydrangea

Sir Trevor Lawrence

Also growing in a hydrangea, Clematis Sir Trevor Lawrence, hybridized at the same time as Duchess of Albany, has a much darker pink color with purplish stripes (which unfortunately don’t show up well in this photo).

Clematis Sir Trevor Lawrence

Clematis Sir Trevor Lawrence

Clematis Lady Bird Johnson

The last of the August bloomers I’ll show you today is Clematis Lady Bird Johnson, another Clematis texensis hybrid. In spite of a tendency toward powdery mildew (along with a few other clematis with texensis in their backgrounds), its blossoms are gorgeous with really long stamens.

Clematis Lady Bird Johnson

Clematis Lady Bird Johnson

We’ll see what September brings. One thing I know for sure is in store for me in September is a whole lot of clematis planting! Just yesterday I counted up the pots of clematis that have settled themselves in my potting area and came up with a daunting 23. Yikes! Where oh where will I plant them all?

Clematis of the Month for July

Close-Up of Clematis Sizaia Ptitsa

Close-Up of Clematis Sizaia Ptitsa

My life has been crazy in recent weeks, preventing me from posting for a while. So now I have to play catch up.

Choosing the Clematis of the Month in my July garden was not an easy task. But I was up to job and, Ta DAAAAA, it’s Clematis Sizaia Ptitsa. Saying Slice of Pizza comes close to the true pronunciation for those of us who can’t wrap our tongues around the Russian name of this lovely blue clematis. It’s what I like to call a lounger — it doesn’t actually climb, but rathers lounges about on whatever support presents itself. You can see what I mean in the photo below, which shows this clematis adorning the ground at the front of the garden, as well as working it’s way through the yellow-leaved Choisya ‘Sundance’ and the white and fragrant Nicotiana sylvestrus. Check out the close-up above, too.  This beautiful clematis bloomed voraciously in my July garden in spite of a drought. I do water my clems, but they can definitely feel the difference between watering and rain. Clematis Sizaia Ptitsa is still going strong now, in the second week of August.

Clematis Sizaia Ptitsa lounging about

Clematis Sizaia Ptitsa lounging about

 

July Runners’ Up in My Garden

 

Clematis florida 'Sieboldii'

Clematis florida ‘Sieboldii’

 

Clematis Sir Trevor Lawrence (a texensis hybrid)

Clematis Sir Trevor Lawrence (a texensis hybrid)

 

Clematis Jackmanii Purpurea

Clematis Jackmanii Purpurea

 

Clematis viorna

Clematis viorna

   

Upcoming Posts

Open Gardens at Silver Star Vinery

Clematis in Germany and Holland, Part 2

April’s Clematis of the Month

My First Clematis Baby!

My First Clematis Baby!

The hands-down clematis of the month in my garden in April was, of course, my little seedling of Clematis koreana var fragrans H38.  What a moniker!  Maybe I’ll just have to name this one myself.  It’s the first clematis flower I have ever gotten from seed — and it took a while.  I planted the seed in October of 2010!  I love the mauve tepals with the dark purple base.  And the piece de resistance is the chartreuse center.   I can only imagine how lovely it will be as a mature vine with hundreds of flowers.  Sigh.

The Chartreuse Center

And here are the bright chartreuse staminoides inside. 

 Below are three other clematis that were especially showy in my garden during the month of April.  Many more are enthusiastically buddng up for a May show!   

Clematis Pauline

Clematis Pauline

Clematis Pixie

Clematis Pixie

Clematis Blue Dancer

Clematis Blue Dancer

« Older entries Newer entries »

%d bloggers like this: