Fall Has Arrived

Even though fall arrived on Sunday in Seattle with rain, wind, and cooler temperatures, serveral clematis were still showing their wares.  Some even starred in beautiful  autumn floral combinations!

Clematis My Angel (rumored to be a thug)

Clematis My Angel (rumored to be a thug)

A Digression

But first, let me digress about a recent sighting of Clematis My Angel.   A month ago or so, my husband and I took a weekend jaunt to the quaint Victorian town of Port Townsend on the Olympic peninsula here in Washington State.  We enjoyed a great lunch one day outdoors on the patio of a little neighborhood restaurant. Several houses, including the restaurant (which had been a house in an earlier life), had yards that butted up against each other with a wide and winding semi-public pathway in-between. As we were eating, my eagle clematis eye recognized that an unfamiliar clematis was cloaking an arbor about 30′ away, so quite naturally I had to investigate.  It was Clematis My Angel, a hybrid of Clematis orientalis var orientalis and Clematis intricata, raised by Wim Snoeijer of the Dutch nursery Jan van Zoest. It’s a lovely clematis that blooms in August and has great seedheads.  I, however, have steered clear of it because of rumors that it can sometimes become invasive, not only reseeding but also running underground. It’s lovely, though, with nodding bronzy-purple buds that open to show off yellow undersides with brown stamens.  Hmm, maybe I DO need this one, after all. 

Way Too Many Clematis Need Planting

Sunday I managed to plant eight of the twenty-four clematis that have somehow showed up in my potting area.  Then, today, I upgraded four to larger  pots–too young or too small to plant out yet.  Because the eight clematis I managed to get planted this weekend are new to me, I have no photos of my own.  But you can check out the links below to Clematis on the Web to see what they look like.  All but one of these will join three or four others on the back fence of my property – and grow through to the alley-where they can WOW alley strollers and dog walkers!

Clematis Happy Birthday

Clematis Mrs. Cholmondeley (pronounced Chumley)

Clematis Multi Blue

Clematis Omoshiro

Clematis Rebecca

Clematis tibetana subsp vernayi var laciniifolia

Clematis Vitiwester

Also planted, but in a place seen from inside the garden:

Clematis tibetana (black form) (should look similar to the one at this link)

A Sampling of my September Bloomers

One of the most lovely clematis blooming in my garden now is Clematis florida sieboldii next to my front steps.  I have enjoyed the one in my back garden so much that I got one last spring for the front .  It bloomed beautifully for me in June, but then collapsed to the ground (wilt?  broken stem? something else?  who knows?).  So I had to cut it to the ground – then, lo and behold, it grew a new stem and is blooming again in September!  Gotta love that clem!  

Clematis florida sieboldii (in my front garden)

Clematis florida sieboldii (in my front garden)

Madame Baron Veillard is still throwing its welcome late blooms.

Clematis Madame Baron Veillard

Clematis Madame Baron Veillard

Even Betty Corning has put out a couple of new blossoms for my enjoyment.

Clematis Betty Corning

Clematis Betty Corning

And Clematis Sizaia Ptitsa, which has been blooming for months, is still sending out new flowers.

Clematis Sizaia Ptitsa, still going strong

Clematis Sizaia Ptitsa, still going strong

Clematis Etoile de Malicorne, a June bloomer, showed off with a late and lovely blossom.

Clematis Etoile de Malicorne

Clematis Etoile de Malicorne

Nearby Clematis Ville de Lyon is blooming with the black berries of a Hypericum.

Clematis Ville de Lyon

Clematis Ville de Lyon

My Clematis terniflora (Sweet Autumn Clematis) is loaded down with buds and should burst into fragrant bloom any day now.  Though Sweet Autumn Clematis blooms for me here in Seattle in late September and early October, when I grew it in Boston (much much more heat), it would bloom for me from August to October!  But even with a shorter season here in Seattle, I wouldn’t be without it.

Multitudes of Buds on Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora)

Multitudes of Buds on Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora)

Great Autumn Clematis Combos

Late blooms of Clematis Margot Koster spontaneously color-coordinated itself with a Pee Gee Hydrangea.

Clematis Margot Koster

Clematis Margot Koster

Clematis Rooguchi Making a Comeback with Rudbekia Goldsturm.

Clematis Rooguchi

Clematis Rooguchi

As promised, here is a photo of my Clematis viorna cavorting with the beautiful lavender fruit of Beauty Berry (Calicarpa).

Clematis viorna with the lavender berries of Beauty Berry

Clematis viorna with the lavender berries of Beauty Berry

Two More Sweet Little Bells

Here’s a photo of a cute hybrid of Clematis pitcheri from the southeastern US.

Clematis pitcheri hybrid on a Ceonothus.

Clematis pitcheri hybrid on a Ceonothus.

A  Japanese hybrid, Clematis Hakuju has dainty white bells that bloom off and on all summer for me with the black leaves of a dark Actea (formerly Cimicifuga) and the clear green leaves and white flowers of Nicotiana sylvestrus.

Clematis Hakuju with a dark-leaved Actea (aka Cimicifuga)

Clematis Hakuju with a dark-leaved Actea (aka Cimicifuga)

What’s blooming in YOUR garden?

 

Clemaniac Heaven

 

Clemaniac Heaven!

Clemaniac Heaven!

Lately, we here in Seattle have been blessed with a few sunny days and, oh , the juices are flowing — in me and in my plants!  Garden cleanup, including weeding, sweeping, chicken-coop cleaning, and many assundry early spring tasks have been filling my outdoors time (when I’m off from work on sunny days).  One task I accomplished is to gather together all the clematis that have showed up my potting area over the past several months.  Ahhhhh, such glorious promise in all those pots.  Now that rain is forecasted for  a couple of days, I can stay cozy  inside, check all my clematis resources, and plan where each new baby will go.

Clematis Pruning

Most of my clems in the ground are sprouting now and need pruning badly, but I’ve been holding off.  On Thursday, I have the privilege through my job at PlantAmnesty to teach a small cadre of students (4 or 5) how to prune clematis in my garden.  I will discuss pruning and demonstrate on my own plants and then allow the students hands-on practice.  I’m really looking forward to the workshop and will be sure to post before and after photos!

Planted 6 More!

Now all my clematis are in the ground! Yippee!  I managed to plant the last six between downpours a few days before Christmas. 

One of them, Clematis Rhapsody, is obviously misnamed.  When I bought it late last spring — the flowers were HUGE and the bloom was a luscious light mauve with a reddish boss.  I simply couldn’t resist. But in the process of planting it the other day, between a dwarf Pieris and a variegated Fatsia along a fence, I looked it up on Clematis on the Web on my smartphone to see what exposure it needed.  Lo and behold, I realized that my plant is certainly NOT Clematis Rhapsody.  The first photo below is of my clematis blooming in its pot last June.  The other photo is the real Clematis Rhapsody–deep purple with a white boss.  Hrmph.  Unfortunately, this problem of misnamed clematis is not an uncommon occurence.   If you can identify my lovely unknown clematis — please let me know!

 

My Plant that is supposedly C. Rhapsody'

My Plant that is supposedly C.
Rhapsody’

The Real Clematis Rhapsody

The Real C. ‘Rhapsody’

The other five clematis I recently planted are listed below with links to photos and descriptions on that fabulous website, Clematis on the Web.  This website has incredible information and usually photos of thousands of clematis!  I can spend hours diddling around there.  I also use it when I’m at nurseries to look up a particular clematis.  I can find out how the blooms look, when it will bloom, how to prune it, and lots more.

Clematis The First Lady, an American clematis

Clematis Jan Fopma, a clematis that lounges rather than climbs

Clematis Bagatelle

 Clematis Etoile de Malicorne

Clematis florida sieboldiana, a second one because I love it so much

Now that all my clematis are planted (except for three that are still to small to be planted out), I guess I’ll peruse my favorite mail-order clematis nurseries.  I’ll be telling you more about them later.

Planting a Clematis

Sunny SKy

Beautiful Blue Sunny Sky

Do you have a clematis to plant this fall?  If not, you still have time to scour the nurseries for a likely specimen (see my recent post on how to choose a nursery clematis in the fall). 

Yesterday, I planted a nursery plant myself, so let me show you how I did it.   Sometime last summer, I purchased Clematis Sunny Sky (see photo right) from a nursery that had all its clematis out in full sun, which is very hard on clematis still in pots.  This one looked really cooked,  but I used my smart phone to look it up on Clematis on the Web.   I found that it is a vigorous and floriferous clematis that will grow to about 4 – 6 feet tall  and needs full sun, so of course I took it home.   Below are the steps I followed to plant it.

1.  Find a suitable spot to plant the clematis.  I walked around my garden and found a sunny spot where I thought this clematis could add some pizazz near a yellow rose (Rosa ‘Jude the Obscure’)–they should make a charming pairing.

2.  Soak the clematis.  The easiest way is to fill a bucket with water and plunk the clematis in — pot and all — while you dig the hole. 

3.  Dig a large hole. Make the hole as big as you can–some say at least 2′ x 2′, but that’s a honking big hole that we can’t always fit into our gardens.  But do try to make the hole at least twice as deep and twice as wide as the pot.  See my hole to the right–it’s about 18″ deep and 15″ wide. 

4.  Fill hole with water and let drain out.  This serves two purposes:  it lets you know how fast the area drains and it hydrates the soil down deep.   If the water drains so fast you can’t even fill the hole or if it drains out just in a few minutes, the drainage is probably too fast for most clematis.  If it takes more than two or three hours to drain, it’s probably too slow.   When I dug this hole, the bottom 12 inches of soil were still fairly dry from our summer drought, so I filled it twice.  The water drained in about 20 minutes both times.

5.  Plant the Clematis.  First, I put 2″ of manure (usually fresh or composted steer manure) in the bottom of the hole (a jolt of food for the clematis two or three years down the road).  I covered that with about 2″ of native soil mixed with compost.  Before removing a clematis from its pot, first remove any bamboo or stick stapled to the side of the pot.  Otherwise, getting the plant out of the pot can be a struggle.   Set the plant in the hole so that the crown is level with or just below the soil level.  If the plant is too low, take it out and add more soil to the hole.  If it’s too high, either remove some soil from the hole or loosen the roots on the bottom of the plant and remove some of that soil.  Once the plant is at the right height in the hole, fill in with a mixture of native soil and compost — I also like to ad a little alphalfa meal and bone meal.  Tamp down and water.

6.  Final Touches.  Cover the soil around the plant with at least 2″ of compost.  Cut the plant back to 6 – 12″ tall to encourage root growth over the winter.  I plan for C. ‘Sunny Sky’ to weave through the shrubs around it.  This particular clematis does not climb–rather it lounges about on whatever support it can find or it sprawls on the ground.  I inserted a small bamboo stick into the hole, to which I can tie the clematis to as it grows and, hopefully, guide it to the shrub in which I want it to lounge.  Once it reaches the shrub, it’s on its own. If yours is a climber that you want to ascend a structure, you must also put something in the hole to give it a leg up onto its new support.  The support structure should be in place when you plant, if at all possible.  Make sure that the support (such as a trellis, arbor, or fence) has skinny bits — no thicker than your little finger — for your climber to cling to.  If your support does not have anything thin enough, you can attach chicken wire, string, or some other thin thing to it.

I’ll post photos of C. ‘Sunny Sky’ when it blooms next summer.  Send me photos of yours, too!

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