Clematis Bells

BucklandBeauty - Copy

Clematis ‘Buckland Beauty’–beautiful bell flowers inherited from Clematis texensis.

Gardeners who have a nodding acquaintance with clematis are often only aware of the big beautiful heart-stopping, jaw-dropping blossoms of late spring.  As one becomes more and more enamored with clematis and delves deeper into the genus, the dainty beauty and wide variety of the bell-shaped flowers are the ones that captivate.

The southeastern US is a breeding ground for many bell-flowered clematis species, which have long been widely used by hybridizers to create lovely new plants.  Clematis ‘Buckland Beauty’ above, for example, is the result of a cross between Clematis texensis (a red bell-flowered species from Texas) and one of the other species.

The Texensis Clan

In my last post, I described Clematis texensis and some of its progeny.  The species, which grows in Texas, is variable.  The flowers tend to have a downward-facing bell shape, usually with recurved tips, sometimes lined with white or yellow.  The inside of the tepals can be various shades of red, yellow, or white.

Texensis6

A lovely red Clematis texensis with white accents

 

TexensisSeedling

A Clematis texensis seedling with reddish-purple outer tepals, white on edges and the underside

 

Texensis5

Here’s another, a bit pinker with a shorter flower.

Hybridizers discovered the wonderful red of Clematis texensis (also called the Scarlet Clematis) in the late 1800s, and still today exciting new hybrids come onto the market.  Crossing Clematis texensis with other types of clematis has resulted in an astonishing variety of new and beautiful plants, such as flatter blossoms of Clematis ‘Ville de Lyon’ and Clematis ‘Catherine Clanwilliam’ showcased in my last post.   Of course, many of the progeny have bell-shaped blossoms, like the aforementioned Clematis ‘Buckland Beauty’ and the following lovely offspring of this interesting species.

sonnette

Clematis Sonnette climbing through a variegated Azara.

 

DuchessAlbany1

Clematis ‘Duchess of Albany’, hybridized using C. texensis 125 years ago!

 

Princess Diana

The beautiful Clematis ‘Princess Diana’

 

PrincessKateST

Clematis Princess Kate ‘Zoprika’, one of the newest texensis hybrids coming from J. van Zoest Nursery in The Netherlands.  Photo from J. van Zoest Nursery.

The Crispas

Clematis crispa is another American species, native in the southeastern US.  This sweet small bell flower often has tepals that curl strongly back on themselves.  It comes in many soft colors–white, light blue, mauve, pink.  The crowning glory for this clematis is its beautiful light fragrance.

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One form of Clematis crispa

 

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Clematis ‘Betty Corning’, discovered growing in a garden in Albany, is clearly a Clematis crispa seedling, especially given its delightful fragrance.

 

RedPrincess - Copy

Clematis ‘Red Princess’ certainly looks to be a Clematis crispa hybrid, but the color suggests that Clematis texensis might be the other parent!

The Viornas

Clematis viorna, like C. crispa and C. texensis, is one of over 20 species that are native to the southeastern US and Texas, which are all grouped together in the viorna section of the genus clematis.  Clematis viorna is just one of the many clematis in the viorna section.  It has flowers in the shape of small bells or urns that come in colors like red, pink, reddish brown, and purple.  Many plants sold as the species may actually be hybrids of Clematis viorna and another clematis in the larger viorna clan.

ViornaBeautyBerry

One of my two Clematis viorna.  This one pairs beautifully with Beauty Berry!

 

ViornaFront

A different Clematis viorna looking adorable on my fence

Japanese Hybrids

Many interesting clematis with bell-shaped flowers have been coming out of Japan for many years.  Joy Creek Nursery is a good source for Japanese clematis.  Below are three examples.

 

FrontBell

The fragrant Clematis Kahori no Kimi–perhaps Clematis crispa is a parent?

 

Hakuji

Clematis Hakuji–another Clematis crispa descendent?

 

SAMSUNG

Clematis Shizuku–looking a little viorna-like?

The best sources I’ve found for bell flowers are Brushwood Nursery and Joy Creek Nursery.   So, come on–get one of these dainty-blossomed clematis for your very own!

 

 

 

 

 

Clematis of the Month, July 2015 – The Fabulous Texensis Clan

texensis

Clematis texensis, a species clematis from the river banks of Texas.

What a summer we had this year!  Zero rain coupled with excessive heat (at least as far as Seattleites are concerned).  Blech!  I didn’t have the spirit to venture into the garden half the time because so many plants, clematis included, were suffering–in spite of irrigation (as much as I could afford, anyway).

Even so, I managed to take a few photos in my hot and arid Pacific Northwest garden (sounds like an oxymoron!).  The standouts in July turned out to be the heat-loving Clematis texensis clan, including the first flowers from my first-to-bloom C. texensis species (see photo).  The tulip-shaped blossoms in the species range from scarlet to dark pink, with white, red, or yellow coloring on the inside of the petals.  Blooming above C. texensis in this photo are the light blue bells of another species, C. crispa.

In the late 1800s European hybridizers loved the red color and tulip shapes of the blossoms of C. texensis and used it extensively in their hybridizing programs.  More than one clematis expert has told me that almost all red and dark-pink clematis are descended from C. texensis!

Also blooming in my garden in July were two texensis hybrids :  C. Ville de Lyon climbing up a Decaisnea tree (also called Dead Man’s Fingers for it’s steely blue finger-like seed pods) and C. Catherine Clanwilliam.

VilleDeLyon

Clematis Ville de Lyon, a C. texensis progeny originally hybridized in France in the late 1800s.

 

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Clematis Catherine Clanwilliam, another child of C. texensis, this one hybridized more recently by British hybridizer, Barry Fretwell.

 

March Clematis of the Month

None of my clematis earned Clematis of the Month for either January or February, and almost not for March either.  But one of the three clematis I ordered from Brushwood Nursery arrived in late March — IN BLOOM!  And lovely blooms they are, too.

Clematis Sugar Sweet -- Blue

Clematis Sugar Sweet — Blue

Clematis of the Month — March:
Clematis Sugar Sweet Blue

This lovely clematis is a new introduction from Ton Hannink of The Netherlands.  He’s a clematis friend whom I know through the International Clematis Society.  This clematis and it’s sister Clematis Sugar Sweet Lilac are both strongly fragrant.  Even my little one with just two early blooms flaunted its perfume!  Because the vines will grow only 6′ – 9′, mine will look  great in a pot on the deck, where I can enjoy the wafting fragrance.  Another plus — they are pruning group c, which means pruning is a cinch — just whack ’em back to 1′ – 3′ sometime between late fall and early spring (probably wait til early spring in colder climates).  You can get one for yourself, just click here.

I actually ordered three clematis from Brushwood this year.  The other two are Clematis Etoile Rose and Clematis Mrs Robert Brydon.  The three pots are sitting together in the photo above, so some of the leaves are belong to the other two clematis.

Clematis Etoile Rose versus Clematis Duchess of Albany

C. Etoile Rose is a texensis hybrid.  C. texensis is a species clematis that grows on riverbanks in Texas and has small red urn-shaped blooms.  Click here for more information on C. texensis.  Since the late 1800s hybridizers have been using this species to bring red into the clematis color palette.  In fact, almost every red or dark pink summer-blooming clematis has C. texensis in its background.  In addition to C. Etoile Rose, C. texensis hybrids include C. Duchess of Albany, C. Princess Diana, C. Ville de Leon, C. Sir Trevor Lawrence, and many others.  I thought I already had C. Etoile Rose, but recently realized that what I really have is C. Duchess of Albany.  Both have pink tulip-shaped blossoms, but those on C. Etoile Rose are downward-facing, while the flowers of C. Duchess of Albany are upward-facing.  Mine were definitely upward-facing, so, of course, I had to purchase a C. Etoile Rose as soon as possible.

Downward-Facing Blooms of C. Etoile Rose

Downward-Facing Blooms of C. Etoile Rose

The Upward-Facing Blooms of C. Duchess of Albany

The Upward-Facing Blooms of C. Duchess of Albany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

clematis_mrs_robert_brydonClematis Mrs Robert Brydon

I had heard of C. Mrs Robert Brydon but had never seen it in person until I saw it in a vase on the table at a garden luncheon.  At first I thought the small flowers might be from some kind of Thalictrum, aka meadow rue, which is not surprising since Thalictrum and Clematis are kissing cousins.  I finally realized that in spite of it’s small size it just had to be a clematis!  I was right.  This one is not a climber — it prefers instead to lounge about on whatever is convenient.  Can’t wait to see it blooming in the garden — hmm, what shall I provide for it to lounge upon?

 

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?

Clematis in Germany & Holland, Part 1

Clematis in Germany & Holland, Part 1

Recently, in late June and early July, I was privileged to attend the 2013 conference of the International Clematis Society in southern Germany, mostly Bavaria, with about 60 other clematarians from around the world. What a fabulous time! And, oh, my heavens, such a plethora of beautiful clematis we saw — some of which are not yet available in the US.

Just prior to the conference, I took a little jaunt to Heidelberg where eons ago, when I was a sweet young thing, I attended the University of Heidelberg for two years. I didn’t see any clematis there this time around, but I enjoyed seeing the lovely old city again–still looking much the same after all these years (unlike myself).

Old Heidelberg

Old Heidelberg

The Village of Erlabrunn

The International Clematis Conference began in the small and beautiful village of Erlabrunn just north of Wurzburg.  Erlabrunn boasts about 200-300 inhabitants and is the home village of one of the organizers of this year’s conference, Klaus Korber.  Klaus is a past president of the society and the current director of the nearby Orchard, Trees and Garden Department of the Bavarian State Institution for Wine-Growing and Horticulture (LWG for short).  The village of Erlabrunn decked itself out in 800 clematis (planted in 2008)  in honor of the 2013 visit of the  International Clematis Society!   Wunderbar!

Erlabrunn, a Clematis Village

Erlabrunn, a village with Clematis fever!

Bear with me as I show you photos of just a few of the 800 clematis on view as we strolled around the village.  Please forgive the quality of some of the photos — we were often out and about in the heat of the day, which is definitely not the best time for photography!

Clematis Pamiat Serdtsa

Clematis Pamiat Serdtsa

Clematis Royal Velours

Clematis Royal Velours

Unknown Erlabrunn Clematis

Unknown Erlabrunn Clematis

Clematis Alba Plena

Clematis Alba Plena

Clematis Minuet

Clematis integrifolia Alba

Clematis integrifolia Alba

Clematis Piilu

Clematis Piilu

Clematis florida Sieboldii

Clematis florida Sieboldii

Unknown pale blue clematis

Unknown pale blue clematis

Lovely unknown clematis in a pot

Another unknown clematis in a pot

Nice Pairing!

Nice Pairing!

Clematis Princess Diana

Clematis Princess Diana

Lavendar clematis gracing a pot

Lavender clematis gracing a pot

Clematis Romantika

Clematis Romantika

Clematis Utopia?  or is it Clematis Omoshiru?  or maybe Clematis Fond Memories?  Whichever it is, I want all three.

Clematis Utopia? or is it Clematis Omoshiru? or maybe Clematis Fond Memories? Whichever it is, I want all three.

Clematis Hagley Hybrid\

Clematis Hagley Hybrid\

Clematis The President? with a peachy rose

Clematis The President? with a peachy rose

Clematis durundii

Clematis durundii

LWG Welcome

LWG Welcome

LWG Display Gardens

We were also privileged to spend a day at the nearby LWG Display Gardens directed by Klaus Korber.  We were treated like royalty–the staff readied and served great food and drink for us in the open-air greenhouse, and Klaus acted as MC, providing us with information about the gardens, their history, and his own love for clematis.  The gardens are chock full of many carefully grown — and well-labelled —  clematis, roses, and other perennials, as well as fruit and wine grapes.   Cherries were dripping off the trees, and we were invited to eat as many as we wanted and, omg, were they ever DELICIOUS!  I think I personally ate about a hundred.

Wonderful Table of Clematis Blossoms

Wonderful Table of Clematis Blossoms

But one of the best things that LWG did for us was to prepare a long  narrow table full of small glass bud vases, each containing one flower from one of the clematis blooming in the garden.  Throughout the afternoon at least a few of us were huddled around the table checking out the blooms.  We had great fun comparing and contrasting the clematis and, of course, testing each other on clematis identification!  Below are a few close-ups.  Which ones can YOU identify?

Can YOU identify this one?

Can YOU identify this one?

Or this one?

Or this one?

You've got some help with this one!

You’ve got some help with this one!

I will post Part 2 of my clematis trip to Europe very soon — stay tuned!!

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