Clematis atragenes Blooming!

Seattle has been drowning, drenching, and dripping for the past three months. Most days, staying reasonably dry while working in the garden has not been possible. Nevertheless, the garden is burgeoning, and the Clematis atragenes have begun to bloom. These are early spring bloomers have delightful nodding bells in many soft colors and delicate foliage.  Included among the C. atragenes are C. alpinas (usually single), C. macropetalas (usually double), and C. koreanas.

I have sadly lost three of my six atragenes, C. Jacqueline du Pre (a crisp and lovely pink and white alpina), C. Cecile (a delightful blue-purple alpina), and C. Pauline (a richly colored purple macropetala).  Hrmph!  Maurice Horn of Joy Creek Nursery told me that he fears that the warmer weather of recent years in the Pacific Northwest has taken a toll on these cold-hardy plants.  We may start having trouble growing them here.  The three I lost were all against the house; the three I have left are all in the open garden, which is presumably a bit cooler, at least in winter.  I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Hmm, maybe I should buy more just for testing purposes.


In my garden, the first to bloom (as usual) is C. Blue Dancer with its extra long sepals.


Here’s the luscious and rosy C. Markham’s Pink, just beginning its show.  I also have C. Willy, another pink and white one, but his buds are still tightly closed.

The Race is ON!

Clemats 'Pixie'

Clemats ‘Pixie’

My sweet little fragrant New Zealand Clematis ‘Pixie’ opened it’s first flower the other day, crying Seattle raindrop tears, and now sports several more blooms.  Pixie is the only clematis currently blooming in my garden (other than that cock-eyed out-of-sync Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ described in an earlier post). 

Clematis 'Markham's Pink'

Clematis ‘Markham’s Pink’

But which spring-blooming clematis will be next?  Four or five Clematis alpinas and Clematis macropetalas are budded up and ready to burst.  My treasured Clematis koreana seedling (see last post)  is in the running, too, with its little bud swelling a bit more every day.  And Clematis montana ‘Vera’, 40’ up a 90’ Port Orford Cedar, should be showing off any time now,  draping the tree with festoons of pink.

Clematis 'Cecile'

Clematis ‘Cecile’

Clematis 'Jacqueline du Pre'

Clematis ‘Jacqueline du Pre’

Clematis 'Pauline'

Clematis ‘Pauline’

Clematis 'Blue Dancer'

Clematis ‘Blue Dancer’

My First Ever Flower Bud on a Seedling!

Oh, the anticipation!

Oh, the anticipation!

A flower bud!  Yay-haw!

On one of Seattle’s recent lovely warm spring days I decided to take a peak at my clematis seedlings to see how they faired over the winter.  Although I keep all my seedlings outside year round, I protect them a bit from Seattle’s winter rains by tucking them under Adirondack chairs and glass tables.  When I pulled all the trays out into the open the other day, I was thrilled see my very first flower bud nodding in the sunshine!  And such a lovely thing it is, too, don’t you think?

My clematarian friends first encouraged me to plant clematis seeds in 2010, and I’ve planted more every year since.  Though many have sprouted, none had budded yet—until now.  This particular plant, which I personally caused to come into being, is from seed sent to me in 2010 by a friend in Sweden.    The mother clematis (mysteriously named Clematis koreana var fragrans H38) is a spring-blooming plant with fragrant nodding bells (click here to see photos).    Though not widely grown, H38 is important because it has been used in seed crossings to develop several fragrant clematis. 

A Treasury of Potential

A Treasury of Potential

Hmmm, I wonder which clematis I should cross mine with to try to achieve a brand new fragrant clematis hybrid.

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