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?

A Fabulous Clematis Weekend

Last weekend, my husband and I drove down to Portland for a few days to relax, eat well, and just enjoy ourselves! For me, of course, that includes CLEMATIS! We visited Joy Creek Nursery, enjoyed an Inviting Vines Garden Tour of five lovely Portland gardens, checked out the fabulous gardens of the Rogerson Clematis Collection, and topped it all off with a special visit to Silver Star Vinery (a great mail-order source for clematis).

Joy Creek Nursery Display Gardens

Joy Creek Nursery Display Gardens

Joy Creek Nursery

On Friday after a delicious deli breakfast across from our hotel, we drove a few miles north to Joy Creek Nursery in Scappose. They had plenty of clems in stock, making deciding which ones I need quite a chore. In the end, I settled on two. The first is Clematis ‘Cassis’, a small reddish-purple double, with Clematis florida in its background–it was pictured on the tag as a luscious dark purple double. But when I looked it up on Clematis on the Web, I found it looks like this! Geesh, I like the first look better! Guess I’ll have to wait and see what I get. The other one I bought was Clematis heracleifolia ‘Cassandra’, which represents my first foray into the perennial clematis with highly fragrant hyacinth-shaped blooms.  While at Joy Creek, we picked up our tickets to the Rogerson Clematis Collection’s fundraiser, Inviting Vines Garden Tour, for the next day. On the way back to Portland, we made a stop at Cistus Nursery on Sauvie Island – this is a nursery with wonderful plants, though, alas, not much in the way of clematis.  They had only Clematis fasciculaflora–a winter bloomer, Clematis cartmanii Joe–a New Zealander, and a Clematis tanguitica (yellow bells). I didn’t need any of those. Nevertheless, several other plants from Cistus made the trip home with us.

The Inviting Vines Garden Tour
This annual garden tour orchestrated by the Rogerson Clematis Collection showcased five gardens, each one beautiful and unique, and all with clematis artfully incorporated. I saw a beautiful Clematis Josephine high up in a tree, an intensely blue Clematis Hakuoonan, and many others.

Clematis Josephine high up in a tree (and seen from a deck)

Clematis Josephine high up in a tree (and seen from a deck)

Clematis Hakuoonan, as seen in one of the tour gardens

Clematis Hakuoonan, as seen in one of the tour gardens

Lovely unknown clematis on Garden Tour

Lovely unknown clematis on Garden Tour

Rogerson Clematis Collection at Luscher Farm in Lake Oswego

018Our last stop on the tour was a visit to the Rogerson Clematis Collection (RCC) at Luscher Farm in Lake Oswego. What a treat! I am so impressed with how RCC has designed the gardens to enhance the ambiance of the old farmhouse as well as to showcase clematis and how to use them in a garden setting. Never fear, this is no clematis monoscape; rather, clematis are artfully blended with diverse and interesting plants and structures. A cadre of RCC volunteers, as well as curator Linda Beutler, were on hand to answer questions, sell unusual clematis from the nursery, and provide tours of the many gardens. Admission is free year-round!

Would you be surprised to learn that three new clematis from Luscher Farm came home with me? Well, they did: Clematis uncinata (a late-summer-blooming evergreen clematis with small white fragrant flowers), Clematis tibetana subsp vernayi var laciniifolia (orange bells with maroon stamens, also blooming in late summer), and Clematis ‘Jerzy Popieluszko’, a large-flowered Polish clematis with lovely big white blossoms on a short plant that should work well in a pot.

View of one of the Display Gardens at Silver Star Vinery

View of one of the Display Gardens at Silver Star Vinery

Silver Star Vinery

Silver Star Vinery is a wonderful mail-order clematis source nestled in the foothills of the Cascades northeast of Vancouver, Washington. Debbie Fisher, owner and head bottle washer (er, I mean head clematis tender), invited us to stop by on our way home from Portland. How could we refuse? This is a nursery that is not generally open to the public, even though Debbie has a humungous display garden filled to the brim with an amazing variety of healthy and beautiful clematis vines. Ahhhhhh. We arrived after a long and lovely drive from the highway up into the hills alongside a meandering stream. Debbie and her fellow clematis tenders, Dennis and Doug, met us at the gate. We wandered through the gardens with Debbie, who is a font of knowledge about clematis. Below are a few of the clematis we saw in bloom there–the Clematis Multi-Blue came home with us.

Clematis Asao

Clematis Asao

Lovely Clem, but don't know the name

Lovely Clem, but don’t know the name

Another beauty!

Another beauty!

Clematis montana Marjorie

Clematis montana Marjorie

Clematis H.F. Young

Clematis H.F. Young

Clematis Ivan Olsson (one of Debbie's Favs)

Clematis Ivan Olsson (one of Debbie;s Favs)

Clematis Daniel Deronda

Clematis Daniel Deronda

Another Unknown Clematis

Another Unknown Clematis

Clematis Multi-Blue (took this luscious beauty home with me!)

Clematis Multi-Blue (took this luscious beauty home with me!)

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