Clematis of the Month for March 2015: Clematis Markham’s Pink

C. Markham's Pink in full bloom.

C. Markham’s Pink in full bloom.

Here in Seattle (unlike the rest of the cold and snowy US) we had a mild winter and an unseasonably warm early spring.  As a result, all my atragene clematis, a group of clematis that includes alpinas, macropetalas, and koreanas, bloomed for me in March this year, more than a month earlier than usual!  These tough, cold-hardy harbingers of spring all have delightful bell flowers in many colors and delicate serrated apple-green foliage.  More of this group of clematis will no doubt make their way into my clematis collection.

Round buds of C. Markham's Pink

Round buds of C. Markham’s Pink

Clematis Markham’s pink was the first to bloom in my garden this year.  I love it’s soft pink blossoms and the small round pink balls that are its buds.  This clematis was named for Ernest Markham, an important early clematarian who, along with William Robinson, is responsible for saving many fabulous clematis hybridized by Francois Morel in the late 1800s and very early 1900s.  Among Morel’s hybrids are some of the most popular clematis still today:  C. Perle d’Azure, C. Ville de Lyon, and C. Comtesse de Bouchaud, along with many others.

Clematis Joe Zary, with it's sputnik flower.

Clematis Joe Zary, with it’s sputnik flower.

Also blooming in March is C. Joe Zary (a macropetala).  It’s new for me, as of last spring, and came highly recommended from Debbie of Silver Star Vinery.  Not only does it have spiky lavender flowers that remind me of sputniks or sea anemone, it is reputed to repeat bloom throughout the summer.  I can’t wait to see it blooming along with its host, a blue lacecap hydrangea.

C. alpina Cecile was blooming too high up in a tall variegated Azara for a good photo, but below are some of the other clematis that were showing off in my garden in March.

C. Blue Dander

C. Blue Dancer

C. Pauline

C. Pauline

New Zealand clematis, C. Pixie

New Zealand clematis, C. Pixie

Purple stems of C. recta purpurea already sprouting in March!

Purple stems of C. recta purpurea already sprouting in March!

Planted Three Clematis (C. ‘Louise Rowe’, C. ‘I Am Lady Q’, and C. alpina ‘Markham’s Pink)

C. alpina 'Markham's Pink'

C. alpina ‘Markham’s Pink’

Events both at home and at work have conspired to give me little time in the past three weeks for contemplating clematis, let alone doing anything with them or writing about them.  Things have let up a bit now, thank goodness.

I did manage to get three of my clematis planted between raindrops, only seven more to go.   (For tips on planting a clematis, click on the Buying and Planting Clematis category on the left.) To learn how to plant a clematis, see my earlier post.)  The first to go in the ground was C. alpina ‘Markham’s Pink.’   It is snugged up to an Azara, a narrow evergreen shrub or small tree with tiny dark green leaves.  I think the two will look stunning together when ‘Markham’s Pink’ blooms in April. 

This clem was hybridized by Ernest Markham, a British clematis enthusiast for more than 35 years in the early half of the twentieth century.  He and his employer and friend, William Robinson, took on many clematis from a prolific French hybridizer, Fransique Morel, when Morel lost interest in clematis.  As a result, we can grow many of Morel’s beautiful clematis today.  Here’s a list of the beautiful Morel clematis I grow–I am sure you will be seeing them in future posts, and perhaps you grow some of them yourself:  ‘Abundance’, ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’, ‘Etoile Violette’, ‘Gravetye Beauty’, ‘Huldine’, ‘Little Nell’, ‘Madame Julia Correvon’, ‘Minuet’, ‘Perle d’Azur’, ‘Purpurea Plena Elegans’, and ‘Ville de Lyon’. 

C. 'Louise Rowe'

C. ‘Louise Rowe’

Next I tucked a specimen of C. ‘Louise Rowe’ into the ground near both Rosa ‘Jude the Obscure’, a soft yellow David Austin climber, and a Choisea ternata, or Mexican Orange, which is an evergreen shrub with fragrant white flowers in early summer. 

This beautiful clematis sports pale mauve satiny double flowers in spring (May/June), then semi-double and single flowers later.   All three types of blooms can be on the vine at one time.  I’ve hankered for this clematis for some time and can’t wait to see it bloom with the round cabbage form of the yellow rose.  It will also look gorgeous draped over the Choisea.  I’ll be sure to post photos.

C. 'I Am Lady Q'

C. ‘I Am Lady Q’

Seems that I was in a pink-mauve mood when I recently planted clematis.   C. ‘I Am Lady Q’  is a lovely and prolific bloomer with nodding bi-color flowers in white and lavendar that blooms in high summer (July/August).  It was hybridized by Wim Snoeijer of Van Zoest nursery in The Netherlands.  I have the privilege of knowing Wim, who is a prolific producer of great clematis.   I chose to give ‘I Am Lady Q’ a home in a perennial bed in front of my deck where it can frolic with C. ‘Princess Diana’ (pink) and C. ‘Blekitny Aniol’, or ‘Blue Angel’ (light blue).

The weather looks fairly decent this afternoon, so I’d better get out there and dig some holes for all the poor clems still in pots!

%d bloggers like this: