Clematis that Bloomed in April and May of 2018

With the exception of two recent additions, I have unfortunately been delinquent in posting about clematis for several months–blooming months at that!  My camera, however, was still clicking away.  Below are a few of the beautiful clematis I came upon, in my own garden as well as others, during April and May of last year.

4-17JoeZary

C. ‘Joe Zary’ blooming in full sun in April. If it were in more shade, the color would be stronger.

5-15Asao2

The delightful and delectable C. ‘Asao’.  Such lovely shades of pink and sometimes semi-double.  This one is always one of the first three large-flowered clematis to bloom in my garden.

5-15Josephin2

Early blossoms of C. Josephine ‘Evijohill’.  Always a heart stopper!

5-15SugarSweetBlue

Clematis ‘Sugar Sweet Blue’ wafting its fragrance on my deck, backed by a stunning Chilean Fire Tree (Embothrium).

5-20FirstLady

C. ‘The First Lady’, one of only a few clematis actually hybridized in the US.  I don’t know which First Lady was meant to be honored with the name, but I think of my personal favorite First Lady whenever I look at it.

5-20SilverMoon2

C. ‘Silver Moon’ looking ethereal in the shade.

5-23KenDonson2

C. ‘Ken Donson’ strutting his stuff.

5-23Rebecca

The redder than red C. ‘Rebecca’!

5-26DuchessOfAlbany

A visit to C. ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’ on a garden tour.

5-26FondMemorie5-26s

Oh, be still, my heart!  C. ‘Fond Memories’ while on a garden tour, gloriously blooming before my own even started.  Definitely one of my favorites!

5-26LincolnStar

Still touring gardens–C. ‘Nelly Moser’ or one of her imitators.

5-26NellyMoser

Another C. ‘Nelly Moser’ look alike spotted while garden touring.  Could be C. ‘Bees Jubilee’.

5-28Tartu

Back home to find C. ‘Tartu’ blooming away.  Love the two-tone ruffly look.

5-29MrsChumley2

Last, but definitely not least, the time-honored classic, C. ‘Mrs. Cholmondeley’ (pronounced Chumly)

Clematis in Germany and Holland, Part 2

Clematis in Germany & Holland, Part 2

This is Part 2 of a four-part description of my experiences at the International Clematis Society’s Conference in Southern Germany this past summer, including a pre-trip to Heidelberg and a post-trip to Holland. If you haven’t already read Part 1, you might want to go back and read that first (check category:  International Clematis Conference).

Würzburg

On our third day in the charming clematis village of Erlabrunn, we spent the morning walking around the village and enjoying all the beautiful clematis planted everywhere for our enjoyment. In the afternoon, we were off on a little river cruise to nearby Würzburg where we saw the Fortress Marienberg, with a beautiful view of Würzburg and its surroundings. On view were innumerable steep fields full of grape vines growing in neat rows – this area is afterall in the heart of Germany’s wine country. Then we visited the Würzburg Residence, a sumptuous palace built for a bishop in the 1700s. The central main hall of the residence is large enough for carriages with teams of six horses to drive into so the elite passengers would not have to disembark outside in the elements!

The Wurzburg Residence

The Wurzburg Residence

In the evening we were treated to a wine tasting in the Würzburg Residence wine cellar – very healthy tastes of six delicious local wines. The wine cellar still shows off casks that are hundreds of years old, but of course they use newer ones to make today’s wines. Afterwards, the chatty giggly group boarded a bus to head back to Erlabrunn.

The Wine Cellar

The Wine Cellar

The Village of Uettingen

The next morning, we packed up to head for Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart. On the way we made a little detour to the village of Uettingen, where we were enchanted by two lovely gardens, each one very different from the other.

Garden of Corinna Seubert-Korhman

Garden Dreams, the garden of Corinna Seubert-Kohrman, is beautifully laid out into garden rooms with carefully orchestrated color schemes and embellished with Corinna’s garden accessories. Views from one garden to another lead the eye through complex layers of texture and color, often to one of the many focal points that grace the garden. Corinna and her husband Frank purchased the run-down property twenty years ago and have transformed it into a showpiece, with Frank restoring the house and other buildings and Corinna establishing the garden. Corinna loves to use a wide range of garden accessories, planters, trellises, and outdoor furniture of extraordinary style in her gardens and offers many of these items for sale in her showroom.

Deft Use of Color & Texture

Deft Use of Color & Texture

A View from One Garden Room into Others

A View from One Garden Room into Others

Garden Accessories

Garden Accessories

Our group of clematarians (aka clemaniacs) included several clematis hybridizers. Two of them, Manfred Westphal of Clematisculturen Westphal in Germany and Szczepan Marczynski of Clematis-Container Nursery in Poland, spent several minutes standing before a large clematis loaded with pale blue blossoms discussing whether the plant could be Clematis Prince Charles or not. They finally concluded that the plant was a C. Prince Charles look-alike, not the real thing.   Unfortunately, the bright sunny day made getting good photos a bit difficult.

Faux C. Prince Charles in Question

Faux C. Prince Charles in Question

Manfred and Szczepan discussing the authenticity of C. Prince Charles

Manfred and Szczepan discussing the authenticity of C. Prince Charles

 The Garden of Marianne and Peter Kraus

The second garden in Uettingen, the creation of Marianne and Peter Kraus, also is made up of a series of garden rooms, each one with its own aura and all chock full of wonderful perennials, annuals, climbing roses, and clematis, many of them rare or unusual. My Russian friend Valentina, a rosarian as well as a clematarian, was in heaven! She was particularly delighted to see the antique blue-toned rambler Rosa Vielchenblau in full bloom. Only when it was nearly time to go did I discover that I had seen only half of the garden! It was on a double lot with a tall clipped hedge separating (or in my case – hiding) the second garden from the first. I had very little time to take in all there was to see on the other side of the hedge!

Gardener Marianna with Lothar (Germany), Iris (England), and Klaus Korber (Erlabrunn)

Gardener Marianne with Lothar (Germany), Iris (England), and Klaus Korber (Erlabrunn)

The Dusky and Alluring Clematis Romantika

The Dusky and Alluring Clematis Romantika

Clematis Pamiat Serdtsa (I think)

Clematis Pamiat Serdtsa (I think)

Clematis durundii

Clematis durundii

Clematis The President

Clematis The President

Attendees Carol (England) and Crystal (Germany) resting in the shade

Attendees Carol (England) and Crystal (Germany) resting in the shade

Klaus Kölle

Next stop on our way to Ludwigsburg was the Gartencenter Kölle in Heilbronn (one of several upscale and very successful Kölle garden centers around Germany). Owner Klaus Kölle was there to greet us and offer us an outstanding outdoor luncheon, after which we were all treated to tours of the bowels of the nursery business – way in the back where all the plants are grown for market. Then off we went to the large and gorgeous home garden of Klaus Kölle and his wife – auf dem Äckerle (which means On the Little Farm). This garden was utterly unbelievable. Huge with a lawn down the middle and deep deep borders all around, loaded with gorgeous plants, including many beautiful clematis, and showcasing vistas into the valleys and hills beyond.  An absolutely jaw-dropping stunning garden. And we had the great honor of being able to lounge about in it imbibing cool drinks and taking in the atmosphere.

Klaus Kolle and Daughter Welcoming the International Clematis Society

Klaus Kolle and Daughter Welcoming the International Clematis Society

Just a portion (maybe 1/3) of the beautiful Kolle garden.

Just a portion (maybe 1/3) of the beautiful Kolle garden.

Eye-Catching Unknown Clematis

Eye-Catching Unknown Clematis

Clematis Justa

Clematis Justa

Purple Clematis with Yellow Rose -- Wonderful Combination!

Purple Clematis with Yellow Rose — Wonderful Combination!

Clematis Julii?

Clematis Julii?

 Ludwigsburg

In Ludwigsburg we had yet another palace to see.  I chose, instead, to go with two friends across the street to spend the day checking out  Ludwigsburg’s shops and cafes.

SchlossLudwigsburgInnenhof

The Garden of Elke and Friedrich Schmid

In the afternoon we traveled a short way by bus to the garden of Elke and Friedrich Schmid. This garden had loads of clematis in bloom, many of them held up by interesting natural supports. Though the weather was damp, we were undeterred. I think each one of us checked out every clematis on the property, plus many other interesting plants. Herr Schmid’s grandchildren, who have lived in the US for several years, were on hand to translate for their grandfather to those of us who speak English better than German.

Clematis on a Tripod Made of Natural Materials

Clematis on a Tripod Made of Natural Materials

Clematis Rooguchi

Clematis Rooguchi

Clematis Royal Velours

Clematis Royal Velours

Clematis Tie Dye

Clematis Tie Dye

Clematis Nelly Moser (or a look alike) Gracing a Dark-Leaved Maple Tree

Clematis Nelly Moser (or a look alike) Gracing a Dark-Leaved Maple Tree

Clematis Blue Angel Adorning a Conifer

Clematis Blue Angel Adorning a Conifer

Unknown Red Clematis

Unknown Red Clematis

The Ever-Beautiful Clematis Venosa Violacea

The Ever-Beautiful Clematis Venosa Violacea

That evening we were treated to another wonderful wine tasting, this time with nine wines, at the Bottwartaler Vinery – a much newer and more modern winery that the one in Wurzburg.  We were able to purchase wines there, and a couple of bottles flew home with me to the US.

Clematis in Germany and Holland, Parts 3 and 4, Still to Come  

Hmm, looks like I’ll have to report on my clematis activities in Europe this summer in four parts instead of two or three.  Part 3 will describe more activities in Germany, including another display garden, two more clematis gardens, and a clematis and rose festival in Unterleitzheim that occurs only once every three years.  Part 4 will cover the time I spent in Holland with wonderful friends who have a beautiful garden. I will also describe a visit to Ton Hannick’s propagation greenhouse and a trip to Boskoop to see two nurseries specializing in clematis.  So be sure to check back!

The Nitty Gritty of Pruning Early-Blooming Large-Flowered Clematis (Pruning Group B)

Clematis 'Guernsey Cream'

Clematis ‘Guernsey Cream’

Introduction

The early-blooming large-flowered clematis are the ones with heart-stopping, jaw-dropping huge and beautiful blooms in May and June. A few even bloom as early as April, at least in Seattle’s climate. Some well-known cultivars in this group include Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’ (pink), Clematis ‘Rebecca’ (red), Clematis ‘Guernsey Cream’ (cream), and Clematis ‘Daniel Deronda’ (blue). (See photos .)

Clematis 'Nelly Moser'

Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’

Unfortunately, Pruning Group B clematis hang onto their leaves and leaf stems all winter long, resulting in a raggedy tatty mess. Don’t plant one of these clematis by the front door, because they can’t be pruned until spring when the new green vegetative buds begin to swell, showing us where to make our cuts. Fall pruning is out because it would likely send many of those beautiful flowers off to an early death in the yard waste.   The gorgeous clematis unfortunatley also have two additional downsides:  they require fiddly pruning and they are the ones prone to a dastardly disease called Clematis Wilt.  If I can gear myself up to do it, I will write a post about wilt one of these days.

Clematis 'Rebecca'

Clematis ‘Rebecca’

Clematis 'Danel Deronda'

Stripping the Vines

The time to prune these vines is when you begin to see green vegetative buds along the vines. The first step is to cut all the old leaves and leaf stems off the vines. The leaf stems (or petioles) are what clematis use to climb. They will have hardened over the winter and each one will have little hooks at the end (the leaf attachments), which greatly complicate untangling the vines. For a good look at what leaf stems look like, see the photo below of Clematis ‘Fair Rosamond’ before pruning. Removing the leaves and leaf stems, which is much like deadwooding a tree or shrub, is the most time consuming part of pruning the clematis in Group B. Take time and carefully remove all or most of these small leaf stems—work from the top down, bottom up, or inside out as long as you are cutting only leaves and stems, not the vines. I find that my little gardening scissors work best for this chore (see photo below). When done, you are left with stripped vines, some of which may have fallen off their supports since their little hook attachments were cut off.

Clematis 'Fair Rosamond' before pruning, showing old leaves and leaf stems

Clematis ‘Fair Rosamond’ before pruning, showing old leaves and leaf stems

Cutting Them Back

Now you can actually prune the vines.  Always do this work from the top down. The reason is that all the vines will look dead near the bottom, so you can easily cut a vine from the bottom, only to discover, to your chagrin, that the cut vine was carrying the bulk of the growth (and therefore the flowers). At the top of each vine, you will usually see a couple of joints on the stem with no growth, maybe a joint or two with puny growth, and then a joint with a large juicy green vegetative bud (see photo). Cut back to just above that juicy bud. Usually, between two inches and two feet of each vine get cut off. Don’t worry about any puny buds or no-bud joints below the juicy bud. Then tie or weave each vine onto its support. Spread the vines out as you do this and make as many as possible lay horizontally (or nearly so)—this effort will bring great rewards later with a more floriferous show over a greater area.  To see a vine with pruning completed, check out the after photo of Clematis ‘Fair Rosamond’ below.

Pruners work for cutting clematis vines, but my little gardening scissors work even better!

Pruners work for cutting clematis vines, but my little gardening scissors work even better!

After Pruning

Water and fertilize after pruning. Either use organic fertilizer (I use a mixture of manure and compost with a bit of bone meal and alfalfa thrown in) or any rose or tomato fertilizer.

Then sit back and enjoy the show! Once the clematis has just about completed its first blooming, a second bloom may occur later in the summer if you cut the vines back one-third to one-half. These clematis will grow many long vines over the summer, on which they will set the new flower buds for next year’s extravaganza. As these vines grow, twiddle or tuck the growing tips into their support in the direction you would like them to grow.

Clematis 'Fair Rosamond' After Pruning

Clematis
‘Fair Rosamond’ After Pruning

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