October Clematis of the Month

Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora)

Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora)

Sweet Autumn Clematis Gracing the Fall Garden

Sweet Autumn Clematis Gracing the Fall Garden

Sweet Autumn Clematis wins, hands-down, as Clematis of the Month for October in my garden this year — for the second year in a row.  This clematis, loaded down with buds in September, burst into bloom in very early October, then bloomed its heart out throughout the month and even into November.  In Boston, Sweet Autumn bloomed much earlier for me  (in August) and the scent was stronger because of the more intense heat there.  Nonetheless, I love it in Seattle, too.  The delicate white blooms are lovely and the light vanilla (or is it hawthorn?) scent on sunny days is a welcome addition to my fall garden.  A species clematis, whose natural habitat is in China and Japan, Sweet Autumn is a large plant (throwing vines as long as 30-40′ in one summer) that needs plenty of space to grow.  Don’t be alarmed about the size, though, because it can be cut back hard – to only one foot high – in spring. 

A note of caution for gardeners in some parts of the eastern United States – Sweet Autumn can be almost invasive there, but not so here in Seattle. 

It’s correct botanical name is currently Clematis terniflora, but in the past it’s had a confusing number of unpronouncable monikers — C. paniculata, C. maximowicziana, and C. dioscoreifolia.  Under any name, it’s a winner in my garden!

Other October Bloomers

A few other clematis in my garden managed to open a blossom or two during the month of October, though most are winding down for the winter now.  I hope to see some winter bloomers (like C. napaulensis and C. cirrhosa) showing off in a month or two.  If they do, I’ll be sure to post photos! 

A Luscious Last Blossom of C. Asao

A Luscious Last Blossom of C. Asao


C. Bagatelle (aka C. Dorothy Walton)

C. Bagatelle (aka C. Dorothy Walton)

C. Margot Koster's Last Few Blooms

C. Margot Koster’s Last Few Blooms

C. alpina 'Joe Zary'

C. alpina ‘Joe Zary’

C. Versailles

C. Versailles

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.

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.

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