Clematis Budding Up!

After a morning of downpours, the sun broke out briefly this afternoon and drew me outdoors.  My fabulous winter bloomer, Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’, was putting on a glorious show (see photos below).  It is such a reliable winter-time bloomer for me.  Much to my surprise, several of my spring and summer blooming clematis already have fresh green growth (more photos below)!

A series of photos of my Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’
showing off in January.

Freckles2

 

Freckles1

 

Freckles3

Fresh new beginnings mingling with the old.  Oh, such promise!

C. ‘Josie’s Midnight Blue’

NewGrowth1

C.  ‘Sugar-Sweet Blue’

NewGrowth3

C. ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’

NewGrowth4

 

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

April Clematis of the Month — And More!

April's Clematis of the Month:  C. Guernsey Cream

April’s Clematis of the Month: C. Guernsey Cream

Clematis Guernsey Cream Wins April Clematis of the Month in My Garden!

Choosing just one Clematis of the Month for April was NOT easy.  Afterall, my Clematis alpinas were all blooming in April — with Clematis Pauline being my favorite this year.  Then, too, Clematis montana Vera was (and still is) looking great — but, being up so high in the cedar, it’s hard to photograph without a telephoto lens.  Clematis Guernsey Cream, though, was absolutely stunning in April and blooming early, too!

The determined C. Asao

The determined C. Asao

Clematis Asao Has Begun Opening

Originally, I thought either C. Josephine or  C. Fair Rosamond, with their big juicy buds, would be the next to bloom.   But two lovely C. Asao, one growing in each of my two big window boxes, had a different idea!  Because C. Asao is a Pruning Group B clematis, I never used to prune them until spring and then only lightly.  However, their ugly reddish brown leaves were a blight to my eyes all winter.  Two years ago I decided to remove both of them and plant Pruning Group C clematis instead because I could cut them back hard in the fall.  I happily purchased and planted C. Pariesianne and C. Justa as replacements.  But the contrary C. Asao had other plans.  They grew back!  They did not mind hard pruning, blooming in spring anyway!   And I think my replacements are being crowded out!  Dang.  But it is a pretty clematis.

Big juicy bud on C. Josephine!

Big juicy bud on C. Josephine!

Clematis Josephine Still Being  a Teaser

Now I really really think that C. Josephine will bloom next!  Check out this bud — it may even open tomorrow! Also, when I was poking around checking on my clematis this afternoon, I noticed that C. Etiole Violette, a great clematis  with its dark purple blooms, is also already in bud even though it’s generally a July/August bloomer.  Well, maybe June/August.

 

C. Duchess of Edinborough with Sunscald

C. Duchess of Edinburgh with Sunscald

Sunscald on Some Clems

Here in Seattle we have had an exceptionally cool and rainy spring with just a few sunny days mixed in.  But last week we were rudely blasted with a three-day heat wave.  I know many people enjoyed spring weather in the 80s but some of my plants (and I!) were not thrilled — we would have preferred our sunshine with temps in the 60s or 70s.   At least two of my clematis, C. Duchess of Edinburgh and C. Margot Koster, ended up with scalded leaves.  Guess I’ll just get out my little scissors and cut off the offending leaves.

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