Clematis armandii Showing Off in Seattle

C. armandii blooming in Seattle in early February

C. armandii blooming in Seattle in early February

Blooming away in a pot at the nursery.

Blooming away in a pot at the nursery.

I was startled one sunny day early this month to see my daughter’s Clematis armandii already in bloom.  This clematis, also known as the evergreen clematis or the leatherleaf clematis because of its long leathery evergreen leaves, usually waits until mid-March to bloom here in Seattle.  This year’s very mild winter, though, coaxed it into bloom more than a month early.

Just a few days later, I found it blooming in a pot in my local nursery.  And right after that, I saw dozens blooming at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show!  Of course, they were all very young plants forced into bloom for our pleasure.  Now they are blooming all over Seattle.

This clematis was originally brought to the West from China by well-known plant hunter Ernest Wilson in the early part of the last century and was named for French botanist and missionary Father Armand David.   We have many, many plants today originally from China carrying the names wilsonii, armandii, and davidii in honor of these two men.

C. armandii is somewhat tender, being hardy only to Zone 7, but when happy, it can get huge — as much as 30′ long.  It’s a stunner in bloom, a sheet of white flowers tinged in pink and wafting a wonderful fragrance on a sunny spring day.

C. armandii 'Red Heart'

C. armandii ‘Red Heart’

Personally, I don’t grow this one, at least not yet.  For one thing, it is so big!  For another, evergreen does not necessarily mean ever beautiful.  I have often seen C. armandii looking like a big nest of ratty brown leaves.  The best way to avoid this unpleasantness is to cut it back significantly right after it blooms in spring.  This will give the clematis plenty of time during late spring and summer to throw fresh new vines and set new flowers for the following year.

The one C. armandii that I would like to grow when it finally comes to market is C. armandii ‘Red Heart’ (see photos above and below).  This unusual new clematis has dark reddish-pink stamens in the center surrounded by pristine white tepals.  It was bred by hybridizer Ton Hannink of The Netherlands, who kindly gave me permission to show you his photos of this beautiful but not yet commercially available clematis.  To die for, eh?

C. armandii 'Red Heart' Close-Up

C. armandii ‘Red Heart’ Close-Up

January 2015 Clematis of the Month

Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’

CcirrhosaFreckles2

CcirrhosaFreckles6One bright sunny day last week, as I poked around in the back garden, I was delighted by several wintry blossoms on C. cirrhosa ‘Freckles.’  This Mediterranean clematis with a delightful scent is said to bloom from October through February.  Mine, however, not being much for following rules, generally prefers blooming in August or March.  I complained about my wayward clematis to a British clematarian friend.  “Do you fertilize it in fall?” he asks.  Well, duh, that makes sense.  For a winter-blooming clematis to do it’s thing in winter, a fertilizer boost in autumn would certainly be helpful.   Of course, I haven’t remembered to do it yet, but I will next fall for sure.

For more information on this winter-bloomer, check out my February 2013 post (see list on the left).  A Dutch blogger has also deemed C. cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ Plant of the Month for January–click here to see the Dutch blog.  Use Google Translate to translate it into English (sort of).

 

CcirrhosaFreckles3CcirrhosaFreckles7

 

 

Armchair Gardening: Checking out the Mail Order Nurseries for Clematis

Early crocus, daffodils, and tulips are tentatively poking their heads up out of the soil to test the waters (so to speak).  My witchhazel is blooming.  The fragrance of the Sarcococca knocks my socks off every time I go in or out the door.  The Northwest Flower & Garden Show is next month.  The weather has been unseasonably warm here in Seattle (though a bit drippy).  So, of course, I have an early form of spring fever!  I really should get outside and finish pruning my Group 3 clematis (the ones that bloom in July and August on new wood), but instead, I stayed inside and drooled over the offerings from my three favorite online mail-order sources for clematis:  Silver Star Vinery, Joy Creek Nursery, and Brushwood Nursery.

Three of My Favorite Clematis

Before I get started, though, I will pause to recommend, both to beginners and to old hands a like, three of my personal favorite clematis, all which are available at all three mail-order nurseries.

 Clematis 'Gipsy Queen'


Clematis ‘Gipsy Queen’

Clematis ‘Gipsy Queen’

This clematis has sumptuous and velvety deep dark purple flowers with rich red overtones on opening, then ages to a lighter reddish purple.  It always stops me in my tracks whenever I see it in bloom (even if I just saw it a minute ago!).  This large clematis (up to 12 or 14 feet) is always recognizable to me, even from a distance, for its size, its lush purple color, and the spacy-ness of its flowers.  Its tepals spread out gracefully, leaving space between them, especially at the base, where the tepals narrow near the center of the flower like the base of a spoon, adding a special charm.  C. ‘Gipsy Queen’, a sun lover, is easy to grow and comes on strong (at least for me) in late July and August when so many of my other clematis are beginning to wind down.

C. 'Guernsey Cream'

C. ‘Guernsey Cream’

Clematis ‘Guernsey Cream’

C. ‘Guernsey Cream’ is usually the first large-flowered clematis to bloom in my garden in spring, sometimes as early as mid-May.  I am always so happy to see it’s rich creamy blossoms, sometimes with green overtones.  It blooms luxuriantly for several weeks before resting for a time.  If I cut it back a bit after blooming, I may get a few more blooms in the autumn.  Several clematarian friends advise me to boldly cut it back really hard to get many more blooms in the second flush.  I’ll try,  really, I will.

Clematis Betty Corning

Clematis Betty Corning

Clematis ‘Betty Corning’

The third of my favorites is the delightful and dainty C. ‘Betty Corning’, with its open bell-shape and soft mauvey-blue color, which shows well when paired with many other clematis or with roses.  It blooms its little heart out in July and August.  The pièce de résistance of this clematis, though, is its lovely light fragrance that wafts around the garden on a warm summer day.  It’s another one that I just can’t be without!

Three More Recommendations from Each Nursery

Brushwood Nursery

As I perused offerings from this nursery, which has all kinds of vines, not just clematis, I chose three excellent clematis to recommend to you that I grow myself.

FairRosamondClematis ‘Fair Rosamond’

A beautiful and easy-care early-blooming white clematis with a contrasting dark-red boss (which is all those reproductive parts clustered together in the middle of the flower).  This 7-9′ vine would pair nicely with a dark-leaved small tree like Forest Pansy Redbud.  It blooms in June and has a very light fragrance of violets.

C. 'Etoile de Malicorne'

C. ‘Etoile de Malicorne’

Clematis Etoile de Malicorne

This is a two-tone large-flowered spring bloomer that blends well with dark blues, dark pinks, purples, and whites.  I grow it to great effect with C. ‘Ville de Lyon’, an intensely pink clematis with rounded tepals (see a photo of this clematis under Silver Star Vinery below)–though their bloom times just barely overlap.  This tall plant, growing to 9-12′, blooms in May/June and pushes out a few blossoms again in the autumn, if you’re lucky.

C. florida 'Sieboldii'

C. florida ‘Sieboldii’

Clematis florida ‘Sieboldii’

A real stunner, C. florida ‘Sieboldii’  blooms in July and August and looks good with just about anything!  It bloomed so well for me in the back garden that I had to have one for the front garden, too.  It has a reputation for being a bid persnickety.  Some years it blooms beautifully, then the next has only a few flowers.  But in this case, even one flower is worthwhile.

Click the links below to see which clematis from Brushwood I am thinking about ordering for myself:

Clematis ‘Vancouver Fragrant Star’, because it’s fragrant.

Clematis ‘Vanessa’, because I’ve met Vanessa and because it blooms in late summer and fall.

Clematis ‘Lady Betty Balfour’, because it also blooms in late summer and fall.

Joy Creek Nursery

Joy Creek Nursery offers many kinds of plants, but fortunately for me clematis are one of their specialties.  Here are three they offer that I enjoy having in my garden.

C. 'Asao'

C. ‘Asao’

Clematis ‘Asao’

C. Asao is a Japanese hybrid that blooms in May and June.  The flowers are pink, gradually morphing to nearly white at the base of the tepals, nicely setting off the yellow center.   This clematis often has just a few extra tepals–not enough to call it double, but enough to give the flowers a ruffly look.

Clematis Alba Plena

Clematis Alba Plena

C. ‘Alba Plena’

This unusual and gorgeous clematis is in Pruning Group C, which means it is easy to prune (just cut it back hard in winter or early spring) and that it blooms on new wood in July and August.  It’s unusual greenish-white blossoms have a large boss in the center.  Sometimes this plant can be a bit finicky to establish, but the effort certainly pays off!

 

Clematis 'Pauline'

Clematis ‘Pauline’

C. ‘Pauline’

C. ‘Pauline’ is a spring bloomer with sweet little nodding bells and delicate leaves.  I love how the dark purple color stands out against the greenery.  Being an alpina type of clematis, this one doesn’t need pruning every year, though after a few years it may develop a ratty look and need a rejuvenation.  It enjoys partial shade–the dappled shade of a deciduous tree suits it perfectly.

Three of the clematis that caught my eye at Joy Creek Nursery are:

Clematis ‘Candida’, because I loved it in my Boston garden–it’s flowers are so large and lovely (sorry, no photo at Joy Creek, but you can see one here.)

Clematis ‘Haizawa’, because it’s adorable — and I saw a robust specimen last summer in a Seattle garden.

Clematis ‘Obotozukiyo’, because it is so delicately pretty.

Silver Star Vinery

C. Star of India

C. Star of India

 

The blossoms of C. ‘Star of India’ are a rich purple with a stand-out red stripe in the center.  The fat tepals overlap, making for a rounded form.  This beauty sports its blossoms in July and August on 9-12 foot vines.  Because it’s a summer bloomer and blooms on new wood, it’s easy to prune (cut it back hard).  Great for any garden with full sun.

 

C. Ville de Lyon

C. Ville de Lyon

Another beauty, C. ‘Ville de Lyon’ is intensely pink with the outer rim of each tepal even darker than the inside.  Once you’ve seen this one in bloom, you will always recognize it.  It’s a tall clematis, often growing to 15 feet.  Because it’s a heat lover, be sure to plant it in a hot sunny spot (keeping it well-watered, of course).

C. Romantika

C. Romantika

A really dark rich color that stands out when placed against a light background such as Lonicera nitida ‘Baggesons Gold.’  Blooming in summer with numerous small flowers, it always catches the eye of visitors to my garden.  Easy care, just needing a hard prune in winter.

 

 

The clematis below are calling my name from Silver Star Vinery.  There may be more than one clematis per page, so you might have to scroll down to find the clematis I’m interested in:

Clematis ‘Arabella’, because I’ve admired it in so many gardens

Clematis ‘Barbara Harrington’, because I’ve admired it in the Silver Star Vinery display garden.

Clematis ‘Kasagai’, because I never heard of it and there’s no picture.  Tantalizing.

I hope all this eye candy will encourage you to buy a new clematis or two!

August Clematis of the Month

Clematis viorna in early August, blooming away.

Clematis viorna in early August, blooming away.

C. viorna still blooming in October, color-coordinating itself with the purple beauty berry.

C. viorna still blooming in October with beauty berry.

August was a difficult month for clematis in Seattle, where we suffered the hottest summer on record, along with very little rain.  OK, OK, so some people loved it — but not me or my clems.  I’m learning the hard way that most clematis do NOT like really hot dry weather.  Many of mine took a snit and slowed down or stopped flowering altogether, AND developed crispy brown or spotted leaves.  Hrmph, not an alluring effect.

But Clematis viorna came through the hot weather like a charm, perhaps because it originates from the summer-hot southeastern US.  This clematis, which began blooming for me in late May or June, continued to sport loads of blossoms and unscathed leaves throughout the month of August, making it my garden’s Clematis of the Month for August.

Purple leaves of C. recta purpurea for the second time.

Purple leaves of C. recta purpurea for the second time.

C. recta purpura, blooming a second time in late August!

C. recta purpura, blooming a second time in late August!

The Challenger

Clematis recta purpurea was a contender this month, even though it was Clematis of the Month for July.  This clematis, which has the most beautiful rich purple foliage in the spring, bloomed wonderfully in June with small fragrant white flowers.  As noted last month, I cut it back to the ground when it finished blooming and quickly got new purple leaves, as expected.  But I did not expect it to bloom again!  Check out it’s second blooming in August!

Problem Clematis

In June and July, I cut back several clematis–hard–for various reasons.  Clematis Vancouver Morning Mist wilted in June for the FOURTH year in a row.  I cut it back to the ground and informed the culprit that my patience was gone.  In the fall, it would be OUTA HERE!  One August morning, I noticed something pink beckoning me over by the entry path.  Good gracious!  It was C. Vancouver Morning Mist opening the first of what turned out to be seven blossoms.  I must have scared the living daylights out of it!  I guess I’ll keep it.

C. Vancouver Morning Mist -- Reprieve!

C. Vancouver Morning Mist — Reprieve!

I was loosing my patience with C. Duchess of Edinburgh, too.  This clematis had one woody stem with no flowers and scorched ugly leaves.  Yuch!  I couldn’t take it.  Even though I might seriously set it back, I chopped it to about six inches.  It’s in a pot with a great-looking, heat-loving Chilean Glory Vine (probably a little crowded in there), so I didn’t miss the clematis much.  Well, to my surprise, C. Duchess of Edinburgh came back FAST with big fresh new leaves — and a bit later with several big fat buds!  The blooms were not double as they are in the spring, but they were lovely large pristine white blooms that looked great with all the greenery.  I wonder if clematis leaves grown in the cool moist spring and early summer in Seattle just aren’t programed to take our hot dry summers.  In my experience (especially this summer)  leaves that come into being in the heat of summer handle hot and dry just fine.

The Duchess Blooms!

The Duchess Blooms!

As mentioned in an earlier post, my young Clematis Tartu (with lovely large ruffled lilac blossoms in spring) succumbed to the wilt just as the first flower bud was ready to open and had to be whacked back to the ground.  Very disappointing, especially since I had it in a new ceramic pot by the patio!  But like C. Vancouver Morning Mist, this one grew back quickly and actually had several blooms in August.  Check it out!

C. Tartu blooms without wilting!

C. Tartu blooms without wilting!

What these three clematis have taught me is that if a clematis wilts, has scorched leaves, or is looking just plain ugly, go ahead and cut it back!  It may well come back and bloom again in the same year.  Some of my clematarian friends (like Debbie Fisher of Silver Star Vinery and Linda Beutler of the Rogerson Clematis Collection) have tried to tell me for years to cut them back at the drop of a hat, but I guess I just needed to see it for myself.

A Few More August Blooms

C. Beauty of Worcester blooming in August instead of spring.

C. Beauty of Worcester blooming in August instead of spring!

Clematis Freckles blooming in July instead of October!

Clematis Freckles blooming in August instead of October!

C. Kermisina blooming as expected--in August.

C. Kermisina blooming as expected–in August.

C. crispa

C. crispa

C. Little Nell (named for the young neighbor of the hybridizer)

Dainty C. Little Nell (named for the young neighbor of the hybridizer)

C. Princess Red

C. Princess Red

Gipsy Queen Takes a Turn for the Worse

Cascading C. Gipsy Queen

Cascading C. Gipsy Queen

Clematis Gipsy Queen, which bears stunning deep-purple velvety flowers with reddish overtones on a substantial hearty plant (10-12′), is one clematis I personally can’t be without.  It has the additional bonus of beginning a six-week period of bloom in late July or early August when most other clematis have already dwindled.  This plant resulted from a cross between Clematis Jackmanii and the large-flowered species Clematis patens in  1877 and has been gracing gardens for nearly 150 years.

Wilted!

Wilted!

C. Gipsy Queen, one of the first clematis I planted after moving to Seattle in 2004, has bloomed its heart out year after year–until this year, that is.  Imagine my dismay one recent morning when I discovered that more than half of the blossoms on my plant looked wilted!  Heartache!  I knew that Gipsy Queen was not prone to the dreaded clematis wilt, so I followed one of the wilted branches back to the ground–and discovered a large old woody base that was the source of all the branches with wilted flowers.  This junction seemed to be no longer able to support the branches that were depending on it.  I pulled all those vines out and tossed them.  What was left was a shadow of its former self.  I can only hope that this plant will generate new vines next spring and come back as the large and gorgeous plant that I love.  I guess the take-home lesson here is that we may occasionally need to rejuvenate older plants by cutting out large old woody canes to the base.  I can think of a couple of venerable clematis in my garden on which I may have to perform surgery next spring.

Old woody junction at base of C. Gipsy Queen

Old woody junction at base of C. Gipsy Queen

C. Ville de Lyon with the Berries of a St. John's Word Shrub

C. Ville de Lyon with the Berries of a St. John’s Word Shrub

Two More Late Summer Bloomers:  C. Ville de Lyon and C. Madame Baron-Veillard

I love to grow clematis that just begin blooming in late summer, like C. Gipsy Queen.   C. Ville de Lyon, for example, begins blooming for me about the same time, late July or early August.  Bred in France in the late 1800s, this clematis has lovely two-tone pink flowers with a cream center.  It looks as though it is a light pink flower whose petals are outlined in an intense dark pink.  Once you see this one in person, you will always know it.  It gets it’s coloring from its Texas parent, a red-blooming species clematis found on riverbanks in Texas, C. texensis, though it didn’t get the gene for the urn-shaped flowers of the Texas native.

Late-Blooming C. Madame Baron-Veillard

Late-Blooming C. Madame Baron-Veillard

C. Madame Baron-Veillard begins blooming even later (second week in August or so) and blooms sometimes til hard frost.  There is yet another late bloomer (that I don’t have yet — dang), C. Lady Betty Balfour.  This clematis, progeny of C. Gipsy Queen, has stronger pink blossoms that C. Madame Baron-Veillard.

If you don’t already have one of these late-blooming clematis, extend your clematis blooming season by getting one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

July Clematis of the Month: Clematis recta ‘Purpurea’

Gorgeous Plum Purple Leaves in July

Clematis recta ‘Purpurea’ showing off its second growth of plummy purple leaves in July .

Clematis recta ‘Purpurea’ is an upright plant that does not climb (the recta part of its name means erect) .  In my garden, the show starts in April, with the plant pushing fat purple buds up through the earth.  As time passes the buds elongate and stretch up and up.

C. recta purpurea

By early June, C. recta ‘Purpurea’ has reached six feet and begins to open small star-shaped white flowers.

C recta purpurea buds

Later in June it blooms extravagantly with thousands of tiny white flowers that waft a delicious fragrance through the garden.  The weight of the blossoms eventually causes the plant to flop, but oh, so gracefully.  As so often happens with purple-leaved plants, the leaves begin to lose that luscious purple color, but there is a solution!

recta purpurea

The reason this plant earns the status of July Clematis of the Month is that, if cut back to the ground (yes, to the ground!), it will grow a new clutch of purple buds that will quickly stretch out again, this time to about four feet (in my garden, anyway).  See the top photo above.  And now, in the first week of August, my plant even has new flower buds for a second showing of tiny fragrant white stars.  (FYI, the purple structure behind the clematis is my new bee hive.)

rectapurpureaAugust

Clematis recta ‘Purpurea’ is a great plant choice for any garden!

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

Clematis ‘Guernsey Cream’ and the Clematis montanas Enter the Fray

Saturday morning, my Clematis ‘Guernsey Cream’ began it’s show — once again, the first large-flowered clematis to open in my garden.  This year the blooms came more than a week earlier than last year.  Lovely whenever it blooms!

The first blossom of Guernsey Cream -- just opening

The first blossom of C. ‘Guernsey Cream’ — just opening

Guernsey Cream, Fully Open

C. ‘Guernsey Cream’, Fully Open

A cluster of Guernsey Cream blooms just two days later

A cluster of C. ‘Guernsey Cream’ blooms just two days later

Yesterday, Clematis ‘Will Baron’ showed its first blossom,
but it was hidden inside the tangle of vines.

Clematis Will Baron, acting shy

C. ‘Will Baron’, acting shy

 I think the next to bloom will be Clematis Josephine.
Here it is in luscious bud.

C. Josephine showing off her fat buds.

C. Josephine showing off her fat buds.

Yesterday, I looked UP and realized my Clematis montana ‘Vera’ was blooming about 40′ up in its support system — a 90′ Port Orford Cedar!  Very difficult to get a good photo when the flowers are so far up, especially without a telephoto lens.  I hear they have lens attachments for smart phones now.  I’ll have to look into it.

C. 'Vera' up the tree

To make up for the poor quality of the C. montana photo above, I am adding photos of two beautiful Clematis montana I encountered in the last week or so.

My daughter Mireille's C. montana

My daughter Mireille’s sweet  C. montana

An unknown C. montana I saw today in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle.  Beautiful!

An unknown C. montana I snapped today in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. Beautiful!

My Clematis recta purpurea is not blooming  yet, but the rich purple leaves and stems are certainly putting on a show!

Oh, the rich purple leaves of C. recta purpurea!

Oh, the richly colored leaves of C. recta purpurea!

 Are your clematis starting to bloom, too?

Let the Blooming Begin!

Clematis blooming has begun in earnest at my house.  My Clematis alpinas and macropetalas are lighting up the garden with their blooms!  I really should plant more of them — what a happy boost they are in the spring.  The first to open was Clematis Blue Dancer–again!  It was the first to bloom last year, too.

Clematis Alpinas and Macropetalas (Atragene group)

Clematis alpina 'Blue Dancer', the first to Bloom!

Clematis Blue Dancer, First to Bloom!

Clematis Markham’s Pink in bud.

Markham's Pink

Here’s Clematis Cecile, first in bud, then newly open, and finally fully open.

Clematis Cecile in Bud

Clematis Cecile in Bud

Cecile Just Opening

Cecile Just Opening

 

Cecile Fully Open

Cecile Fully Open

Next up is Clematis Jacqueline du Pre draped over a daphne.

C. Jacqueline du Pre with Daphne

C. Jacqueline du Pre with Daphne

Here are two photos of Clematis Pauline.  I’m not sure why the second photo is so oddly intense, but I thought I’d show you anyway.  The blooms do present with a luminous color.

Clematis Pauline

Clematis Pauline

 

Clematis Pauline showing off her luminosity (maybe a little too much)

Clematis Pauline showing off her luminosity (maybe a little too much)

Clematis Joe Zary is a new one for me — I got it last summer from Silver Star Nursery, so it’s quite young still.

Clematis Joe Zary

Clematis Joe Zary

 Pruning Group 2 Clematis Already Showing Flower Buds!

Below are photos of the buds of several of my May/June Large-Flowered bloomers.  Ah, the anticipation!  Last year Will Baron and Fair Rosamond were neck-and-neck to be the first in this group to bloom.  We’ll see how this year goes.  Speaking of Will Baron, you may have read my earlier post about how I was going to be brave and cut back three of the old woody vines on this clematis to renew it.  Hrmph–time went by too fast with so many things to do and Will Baron developed lots of buds before I had a chance to prune it.  With all those buds, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  My new plan is to cut out the three old vines AFTER it blooms.  We’ll see how I do.

Clematis First Lady in bud

Clematis First Lady in bud

Clematis Will Baron in bud -- I chickened out on pruning out the old canes.

Clematis Will Baron in bud — I chickened out on cutting back the old canes.

Clematis Vyvyan Pennell

Clematis Vyvyan Pennell

Clematis Fair Rosamond

Clematis Fair Rosamond

How are the clematis in your garden doing?

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