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.

BlueDancer2

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

MarkhamsPink1

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.

Armchair Gardening: Checking out the Mail Order Nurseries for Clematis

Early crocus, daffodils, and tulips are tentatively poking their heads up out of the soil to test the waters (so to speak).  My witchhazel is blooming.  The fragrance of the Sarcococca knocks my socks off every time I go in or out the door.  The Northwest Flower & Garden Show is next month.  The weather has been unseasonably warm here in Seattle (though a bit drippy).  So, of course, I have an early form of spring fever!  I really should get outside and finish pruning my Group 3 clematis (the ones that bloom in July and August on new wood), but instead, I stayed inside and drooled over the offerings from my three favorite online mail-order sources for clematis:  Silver Star Vinery, Joy Creek Nursery, and Brushwood Nursery.

Three of My Favorite Clematis

Before I get started, though, I will pause to recommend, both to beginners and to old hands a like, three of my personal favorite clematis, all which are available at all three mail-order nurseries.

 Clematis 'Gipsy Queen'


Clematis ‘Gipsy Queen’

Clematis ‘Gipsy Queen’

This clematis has sumptuous and velvety deep dark purple flowers with rich red overtones on opening, then ages to a lighter reddish purple.  It always stops me in my tracks whenever I see it in bloom (even if I just saw it a minute ago!).  This large clematis (up to 12 or 14 feet) is always recognizable to me, even from a distance, for its size, its lush purple color, and the spacy-ness of its flowers.  Its tepals spread out gracefully, leaving space between them, especially at the base, where the tepals narrow near the center of the flower like the base of a spoon, adding a special charm.  C. ‘Gipsy Queen’, a sun lover, is easy to grow and comes on strong (at least for me) in late July and August when so many of my other clematis are beginning to wind down.

C. 'Guernsey Cream'

C. ‘Guernsey Cream’

Clematis ‘Guernsey Cream’

C. ‘Guernsey Cream’ is usually the first large-flowered clematis to bloom in my garden in spring, sometimes as early as mid-May.  I am always so happy to see it’s rich creamy blossoms, sometimes with green overtones.  It blooms luxuriantly for several weeks before resting for a time.  If I cut it back a bit after blooming, I may get a few more blooms in the autumn.  Several clematarian friends advise me to boldly cut it back really hard to get many more blooms in the second flush.  I’ll try,  really, I will.

Clematis Betty Corning

Clematis Betty Corning

Clematis ‘Betty Corning’

The third of my favorites is the delightful and dainty C. ‘Betty Corning’, with its open bell-shape and soft mauvey-blue color, which shows well when paired with many other clematis or with roses.  It blooms its little heart out in July and August.  The pièce de résistance of this clematis, though, is its lovely light fragrance that wafts around the garden on a warm summer day.  It’s another one that I just can’t be without!

Three More Recommendations from Each Nursery

Brushwood Nursery

As I perused offerings from this nursery, which has all kinds of vines, not just clematis, I chose three excellent clematis to recommend to you that I grow myself.

FairRosamondClematis ‘Fair Rosamond’

A beautiful and easy-care early-blooming white clematis with a contrasting dark-red boss (which is all those reproductive parts clustered together in the middle of the flower).  This 7-9′ vine would pair nicely with a dark-leaved small tree like Forest Pansy Redbud.  It blooms in June and has a very light fragrance of violets.

C. 'Etoile de Malicorne'

C. ‘Etoile de Malicorne’

Clematis Etoile de Malicorne

This is a two-tone large-flowered spring bloomer that blends well with dark blues, dark pinks, purples, and whites.  I grow it to great effect with C. ‘Ville de Lyon’, an intensely pink clematis with rounded tepals (see a photo of this clematis under Silver Star Vinery below)–though their bloom times just barely overlap.  This tall plant, growing to 9-12′, blooms in May/June and pushes out a few blossoms again in the autumn, if you’re lucky.

C. florida 'Sieboldii'

C. florida ‘Sieboldii’

Clematis florida ‘Sieboldii’

A real stunner, C. florida ‘Sieboldii’  blooms in July and August and looks good with just about anything!  It bloomed so well for me in the back garden that I had to have one for the front garden, too.  It has a reputation for being a bid persnickety.  Some years it blooms beautifully, then the next has only a few flowers.  But in this case, even one flower is worthwhile.

Click the links below to see which clematis from Brushwood I am thinking about ordering for myself:

Clematis ‘Vancouver Fragrant Star’, because it’s fragrant.

Clematis ‘Vanessa’, because I’ve met Vanessa and because it blooms in late summer and fall.

Clematis ‘Lady Betty Balfour’, because it also blooms in late summer and fall.

Joy Creek Nursery

Joy Creek Nursery offers many kinds of plants, but fortunately for me clematis are one of their specialties.  Here are three they offer that I enjoy having in my garden.

C. 'Asao'

C. ‘Asao’

Clematis ‘Asao’

C. Asao is a Japanese hybrid that blooms in May and June.  The flowers are pink, gradually morphing to nearly white at the base of the tepals, nicely setting off the yellow center.   This clematis often has just a few extra tepals–not enough to call it double, but enough to give the flowers a ruffly look.

Clematis Alba Plena

Clematis Alba Plena

C. ‘Alba Plena’

This unusual and gorgeous clematis is in Pruning Group C, which means it is easy to prune (just cut it back hard in winter or early spring) and that it blooms on new wood in July and August.  It’s unusual greenish-white blossoms have a large boss in the center.  Sometimes this plant can be a bit finicky to establish, but the effort certainly pays off!

 

Clematis 'Pauline'

Clematis ‘Pauline’

C. ‘Pauline’

C. ‘Pauline’ is a spring bloomer with sweet little nodding bells and delicate leaves.  I love how the dark purple color stands out against the greenery.  Being an alpina type of clematis, this one doesn’t need pruning every year, though after a few years it may develop a ratty look and need a rejuvenation.  It enjoys partial shade–the dappled shade of a deciduous tree suits it perfectly.

Three of the clematis that caught my eye at Joy Creek Nursery are:

Clematis ‘Candida’, because I loved it in my Boston garden–it’s flowers are so large and lovely (sorry, no photo at Joy Creek, but you can see one here.)

Clematis ‘Haizawa’, because it’s adorable — and I saw a robust specimen last summer in a Seattle garden.

Clematis ‘Obotozukiyo’, because it is so delicately pretty.

Silver Star Vinery

C. Star of India

C. Star of India

 

The blossoms of C. ‘Star of India’ are a rich purple with a stand-out red stripe in the center.  The fat tepals overlap, making for a rounded form.  This beauty sports its blossoms in July and August on 9-12 foot vines.  Because it’s a summer bloomer and blooms on new wood, it’s easy to prune (cut it back hard).  Great for any garden with full sun.

 

C. Ville de Lyon

C. Ville de Lyon

Another beauty, C. ‘Ville de Lyon’ is intensely pink with the outer rim of each tepal even darker than the inside.  Once you’ve seen this one in bloom, you will always recognize it.  It’s a tall clematis, often growing to 15 feet.  Because it’s a heat lover, be sure to plant it in a hot sunny spot (keeping it well-watered, of course).

C. Romantika

C. Romantika

A really dark rich color that stands out when placed against a light background such as Lonicera nitida ‘Baggesons Gold.’  Blooming in summer with numerous small flowers, it always catches the eye of visitors to my garden.  Easy care, just needing a hard prune in winter.

 

 

The clematis below are calling my name from Silver Star Vinery.  There may be more than one clematis per page, so you might have to scroll down to find the clematis I’m interested in:

Clematis ‘Arabella’, because I’ve admired it in so many gardens

Clematis ‘Barbara Harrington’, because I’ve admired it in the Silver Star Vinery display garden.

Clematis ‘Kasagai’, because I never heard of it and there’s no picture.  Tantalizing.

I hope all this eye candy will encourage you to buy a new clematis or two!

Clematis Events in Portland/Vancouver Area

Clematis Ilka

Clematis Ilka in a Friend’s Garden Last Summer

May is clematis month in the Portland/Vancouver area in the Pacific Northwest.  Coming up we have Silver Star Vinery clematis being sold at two outdoor sales in Vancouver, a clematis celebration at Joy Creek Nursery (just 30 minutes from Portland), and the annual Clematis Garden Tour in Portland in support of the Friends of the Rogerson Clematis Collection in Lake Oswego.  Immerse yourself in clematis by attending one (or all three!) of these events if you live or are traveling close enough.

Plant Sale in Downtown Camas

Plant Sale in Downtown Camas

Silver Star Vinery Clematis Sales, May 10 and 11

Silver Star Vinery, a terrific mail-order source for clematis right here in Washington, rarely sells direct to the public.  But this weekend, proprietor Debbie Fischer will have booths laden with clematis for sale at TWO plant sales in the Vancouver area.  Since she can’t be a two places at once, I get to go down to help.  Lucky me.

Camas Patio, Plant, and Garden Fair:   This fair will be held in Downtown Camas, just east of Vancouver, on Saturday, May 10, from 9am – 4pm.   Come on down!  Click here for more details about the Camas Fair. 

Clark County Master Gardener Plant Sale:   Debbie will be selling tons of clematis on both Saturday, May 10, from 9am – 4pm, and on Sunday, May 11, from  10am – 3pm.  This sale is held at the 78th Street Heritage Farm, 1919 NE 78th St in Vancouver.  She’d love to see you!  Not only can you buy beautiful clematis, you can also get great information about clematis.  Click here for details about the Master Gardener Sale.

Joy Creek Nursery

Joy Creek Nursery

A Clematis Celebration at Joy Creek Nursery, Sunday, May 18

Joy Creek Nursery in Scapoose, Oregon, on the Columbia River between Portland and Raineer, will join with the Friends of the Rogerson Clematis Collection (FRCC) to celebrate clematis.  Attendees have the opportunity to see cut flowers from many varieties of clematis.  Knowledgable volunteers will be available to answer questions, and clematis will be offered for purchase.  At 1pm, Linda Beutler, curator of the FRCC and reigning president of the prestigious International Clematis Society, will team with Maurice Horn of Joy Creek Nursery to introduce great clematis, new and old.  Click here and scroll down to May 18 for more details.

FRCC Display Gardens at Luscher Farm

FRCC Display Gardens at Luscher Farm

Inviting Vines Garden Tour in Portland, Saturday, May 24, 10am – 4pm

I always attend this garden tour, but I can’t make it this year.  Boo hoo.  But if you go, you won’t regret it!  There are five gardens on the tour in North and Northeast Portland, plus Luscher Farm in Lake Oswego, where all 1,700 FRCC clematis reside.  Unusual clematis will available for purchase at both Luscher Farm and one of the other gardens.  Attendees will see how other gardeners incorporate clematis into their gardens.  All proceeds go to support the FRCC.  Click here for more details and to purchase tickets.

Silver Star Vinery Clematis

Silver Star Vinery Clematis

Coming in July — Silver Star Vinery Garden Open, July 12 and 13, 10am – 4pm

Debbie of Silver Star Vinery opened her display gardens and sales to the public last July — the event was so successful and so well attended that she’s opening again this year.   If  you are in striking distance of Yacolt, Washington, in the foothills of the Cascades north of Vancouver (one hour from Portland, Oregon) — do NOT miss this event.  Debbie has a huge display garden in the middle of a forest with hundreds of the clematis growing and blooming on all kinds of structures.  Mark your calenders for Saturday and Sunday, July 12 and 13, 10am – 4pm each day.

Three Favorite Clems

Clematis Betty Corning

Clematis Betty Corning

Cold damp autumn days run me indoors, giving me time to work on organizing clematis photos, peruse nursery offerings, and consider which clematis zing me the most. Many, many clematis have captured me over the years, but I would like to present here three of my all-time favorites. I simply could not be without any one of them.

Clematis Betty Corning

A Different Plant of C. Betty Corning, showing variability in color

A Different Plant of C. Betty Corning, showing variability in color

As seen in the photos above and to the right, Clematis Betty Corning, with it’s lovely bluish-mauve graceful bells and upturning tips, is a delightful sight to behold. Add a delicious scent and a long prolific blooming period and you’ve got a winner, at least in my book. This clematis was found as a chance seedling growing in an Albany, New York, garden by Betty Corning in the 1920s. She recognized the value of this great plant and got it into the hands of someone who propagated it and got it into commerce. Lucky for us, it’s still widely available. Everyone should have one of these in the garden! Available in the US from the following excellent mail-order nurseries: Silver Star Vinery, Joy Creek Nursery, and Brushwood Nursery. Also frequently sold at local nurseries.

Clematis Gipsy Queen

Clematis Gipsy Queen

A Cascade of Clematis Gipsy Queen

A Cascade of Clematis Gipsy Queen

Clematis Gipsy Queen

The dark dusky blossoms of Clematis Gipsy Queen arrive for me in late summer, when many others are winding down. This clematis shoots up long and tall (12 feet or more) in just one season. It pairs beautifully with roses, other clematis, and trees, but it also looks great on its own. The tepals separate from each other leaving an open gappy look that appeals to me. Clematis Gipsy Queen, hybridized from the famous Clematis Jackmanii in 1877, has certainly stood the test time.  I just wouldn’t want to be without this one!  Available in the US from Joy Creek Nursery.   

Dainty Clematis Viorna

Dainty Clematis Viorna

Clematis Viorna

Clematis viorna is a lovely little thing. Mine blooms from June through September and is always a big hit with visitors to the garden who have never seen a clematis with small bell flowers before. The hummingbirds love it, too!  Clematis viorna can climb trees, drape trellises, and combine beautifully with a variety of plants. For example, I enjoy this one paired with beauty berry as the berries and the flowers have a similar color palette, but it looks great with a dark pink clematis like Clematis Ville de Leon, too. Clematis viorna is a native species of the southeastern United States.  Available in the US from Brushwood Nursery.

Clematis viorna

Clematis viorna

 

 

A Fabulous Clematis Weekend

Last weekend, my husband and I drove down to Portland for a few days to relax, eat well, and just enjoy ourselves! For me, of course, that includes CLEMATIS! We visited Joy Creek Nursery, enjoyed an Inviting Vines Garden Tour of five lovely Portland gardens, checked out the fabulous gardens of the Rogerson Clematis Collection, and topped it all off with a special visit to Silver Star Vinery (a great mail-order source for clematis).

Joy Creek Nursery Display Gardens

Joy Creek Nursery Display Gardens

Joy Creek Nursery

On Friday after a delicious deli breakfast across from our hotel, we drove a few miles north to Joy Creek Nursery in Scappose. They had plenty of clems in stock, making deciding which ones I need quite a chore. In the end, I settled on two. The first is Clematis ‘Cassis’, a small reddish-purple double, with Clematis florida in its background–it was pictured on the tag as a luscious dark purple double. But when I looked it up on Clematis on the Web, I found it looks like this! Geesh, I like the first look better! Guess I’ll have to wait and see what I get. The other one I bought was Clematis heracleifolia ‘Cassandra’, which represents my first foray into the perennial clematis with highly fragrant hyacinth-shaped blooms.  While at Joy Creek, we picked up our tickets to the Rogerson Clematis Collection’s fundraiser, Inviting Vines Garden Tour, for the next day. On the way back to Portland, we made a stop at Cistus Nursery on Sauvie Island – this is a nursery with wonderful plants, though, alas, not much in the way of clematis.  They had only Clematis fasciculaflora–a winter bloomer, Clematis cartmanii Joe–a New Zealander, and a Clematis tanguitica (yellow bells). I didn’t need any of those. Nevertheless, several other plants from Cistus made the trip home with us.

The Inviting Vines Garden Tour
This annual garden tour orchestrated by the Rogerson Clematis Collection showcased five gardens, each one beautiful and unique, and all with clematis artfully incorporated. I saw a beautiful Clematis Josephine high up in a tree, an intensely blue Clematis Hakuoonan, and many others.

Clematis Josephine high up in a tree (and seen from a deck)

Clematis Josephine high up in a tree (and seen from a deck)

Clematis Hakuoonan, as seen in one of the tour gardens

Clematis Hakuoonan, as seen in one of the tour gardens

Lovely unknown clematis on Garden Tour

Lovely unknown clematis on Garden Tour

Rogerson Clematis Collection at Luscher Farm in Lake Oswego

018Our last stop on the tour was a visit to the Rogerson Clematis Collection (RCC) at Luscher Farm in Lake Oswego. What a treat! I am so impressed with how RCC has designed the gardens to enhance the ambiance of the old farmhouse as well as to showcase clematis and how to use them in a garden setting. Never fear, this is no clematis monoscape; rather, clematis are artfully blended with diverse and interesting plants and structures. A cadre of RCC volunteers, as well as curator Linda Beutler, were on hand to answer questions, sell unusual clematis from the nursery, and provide tours of the many gardens. Admission is free year-round!

Would you be surprised to learn that three new clematis from Luscher Farm came home with me? Well, they did: Clematis uncinata (a late-summer-blooming evergreen clematis with small white fragrant flowers), Clematis tibetana subsp vernayi var laciniifolia (orange bells with maroon stamens, also blooming in late summer), and Clematis ‘Jerzy Popieluszko’, a large-flowered Polish clematis with lovely big white blossoms on a short plant that should work well in a pot.

View of one of the Display Gardens at Silver Star Vinery

View of one of the Display Gardens at Silver Star Vinery

Silver Star Vinery

Silver Star Vinery is a wonderful mail-order clematis source nestled in the foothills of the Cascades northeast of Vancouver, Washington. Debbie Fisher, owner and head bottle washer (er, I mean head clematis tender), invited us to stop by on our way home from Portland. How could we refuse? This is a nursery that is not generally open to the public, even though Debbie has a humungous display garden filled to the brim with an amazing variety of healthy and beautiful clematis vines. Ahhhhhh. We arrived after a long and lovely drive from the highway up into the hills alongside a meandering stream. Debbie and her fellow clematis tenders, Dennis and Doug, met us at the gate. We wandered through the gardens with Debbie, who is a font of knowledge about clematis. Below are a few of the clematis we saw in bloom there–the Clematis Multi-Blue came home with us.

Clematis Asao

Clematis Asao

Lovely Clem, but don't know the name

Lovely Clem, but don’t know the name

Another beauty!

Another beauty!

Clematis montana Marjorie

Clematis montana Marjorie

Clematis H.F. Young

Clematis H.F. Young

Clematis Ivan Olsson (one of Debbie's Favs)

Clematis Ivan Olsson (one of Debbie;s Favs)

Clematis Daniel Deronda

Clematis Daniel Deronda

Another Unknown Clematis

Another Unknown Clematis

Clematis Multi-Blue (took this luscious beauty home with me!)

Clematis Multi-Blue (took this luscious beauty home with me!)

Clematis Garden Tour in Portland

I know it’s late notice, but . . .

Clematis Garden Tour in Portland!

When: Saturday, May 25, 10am – 4pm

Where: five gardens in SW Portland, as well as the Rogerson Clematis Collection’s clematis display gardens and nursery nearby at Luscher Farm in Lake Oswego.

Fee: $20

Click here for more info, including how to get tickets.

I am so sorry that I didn’t tell you all sooner about this! My life has been crazy lately.

I attend the fabulous Rogerson Clematis tour every year — it’s always on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. Attendees see gorgeous gardens that demonstrate how to use clematis effectively in home garden situations. Plus the Rogerson Clematis Collection (in Lake Oswego, just south of Portland) will be selling clematis — and, believe me, they have some unusual ones! One of the gardens will also be selling plants. And, if you have time, both Joy Creek Nursery and Cistus Nursery are nearby.

So if you don’t have anything planned for Saturday, make it a day trip, or even stay overnight in Portland. I am!!

Clematis Blooming in My Garden

Clematis Guernsey Cream

Clematis Guernsey Cream

Clematis montana Vera -- 40' up a 90' Port Orford Cedar!

Clematis montana Vera — 40′ up a 90′ Port Orford Cedar!

Clematis Will Baron with Rosa mutabilus

Clematis Will Baron with Rosa mutabilus

Clematis Crystal Fountain, aka Clematis Fairy Blue

Clematis Crystal Fountain, aka Clematis Fairy Blue

Clematis Josephine, just opening

Clematis Josephine, just opening

Clematis Fair Rosamond

Clematis Fair Rosamond

Clematis Asao

Clematis Asao

Clematis Serious Black (aka Clematis recta Lime Close)

Clematis recta Serious Black

Clematis recta Serious Black

The recent March/April 2013 issue of Fine Gardening magazine has a small article on page 16 about Clematis Serious Black (also known as Clematis recta Lime Close), in which the Northwest Perennial Alliance (NPA) is erroneousely identified as a source. As NPA is getting requests for the clematis, they asked me if I knew of a source. Update: Turns out that NPA is in fact a source — for the SEED of Clematis Serious Black. Please see comment from Fine Garding below for details about how to obtain the seed. And remember, a seedling does not necessarily look like its parent.

This non-climbing clematis throws 4-6′ vines that either ramble through the garden or require support. Its beauty is in its very dark purple (nearly black) leaves that show off the small starry white summer flowers. After checking my own Clematis sources, I found that Clematis Serious Black does not seem to be readily available in the US.  According to Clematis on the Web (a wonderful site for information about thousands of clematis), “The stems and leaves are purple and fade only very slowly. The leaves are a darker colour than those of recta ‘Purpurea’. The original plant was acquired as recta ‘Purpurea’ and grown by Miss C Christie-Miller at ‘Lime Close’, her garden in Oxfordshire, UK.”

Clematis recta 'Purpurea' in Bloom

Clematis recta ‘Purpurea’ in Bloom

Apparently, Clematis Serious Black has not made it across the pond in enough numbers yet for selling. But Clematis recta ‘Purpurea” is available–-I have it myself and love it. While its leaves are not quite as dark as Serious Black, Purpurea has strikingly rich dark purple leaves in spring and early summer, then blooms with white starry fragrant flowers. It really is a lovely plant and might just tide us over until Serious Black makes the scene in this part of the world.

Clematis recta ‘Purpurea’ is currently available at Joy Creek Nursery in Oregon, where you can mail order it. It is also available at T&L Nursery, a wholesale nursery in Redmond, Washington.

Trust me — as soon as I can find one, Clematis Serious Black will grace my garden!

NEXT POST: Brushwood Nursery, the last but not least of my three favorite mail-order nurseries for clematis.

Ordering Clematis: Joy Creek Nursery

A Gloomy February Day in Seattle

A Gloomy February Day in Seattle

Weather here in Seattle has continued gray and drab, though day-length is noticably getting longer.  Take a look at the photo I just took from the back deck!   Gloom and doom.  Days like this are best spent armchair gardening (reading gardening books and seed catalogues) or computer gardening (surfing the net for garden ideas or plants to buy).

Personally, I opted to drool over my favorite online mail-order nurseries, especially those that carry oodles of clematis.  I zeroed in on Joy Creek Nursery

Maurice Horn, co-owner of Joy Creek Nursery, is very knowledgable about clematis.  I once had the privilege of hearing him give a fascinating talk about the history of how clematis came into the horticultural world from the wild, including stories of some of the characters who hunted plants and brought them to Europe, and how some of the first hybrids, like Clematis Jackmanii, came into being.  As a result of strong connections to current Japanese clematis hybridizers, Maurice has access to many unusual and beautiful clematis, including little beauties with small bell-shaped flowers.

Joy Creek Nursery

Joy Creek Nursery

One HUGE advantage of Joy Creek Nursery over some of the other mail-order nurseries is that one can actually go there in person as well as order online or via telephone.  The nursery, which  is open seven days a week from March through October, sells hordes of plants and has truly fabulous display gardens where visitors can see how plants grow and combine with each other, including many clematis.  Joy Creek also runs a Sunday lecture series throughout the summer.  They are located in Scapoose, Oregon, on the Columbia River north of Portland. (Photo from Joy Creek Nursery.)

But back to my mail ordering.  The many plants I’ve gotten from Joy Creek over the years, whether mail-ordered or purchased in person, have always grown healthy, strong, and beautiful.  Below are photos of two, Clematis Bijou (a ground cover clematis from British hybridizer Raymond Evison) and Clematis Shizuki (one of the Japanese hybrids with a blue-violet bell crisply outlined in white that blooms all summer in a pot on my deck).   This year, I ordered two more clematis from Joy Creek Nursery–Clematis Kahori no Kimi and Clematis Princess Red.  Both have flowers in the form of pinkish-red nodding bells, and Kahori no Kimi is said to have the additional enhancement of a citris scent.  I notice Princess Red no longer shows up on their website.  Yikes!  I hope they didn’t run out before they put my order through! 

Clematis Shizuki

Clematis Shizuki

Clematis Bijou, a ground-cover clematis

Clematis Bijou, a ground-cover clematis

Ordering Clematis: Silver Star Vinery

Plants under Glass at the Conservatory

Plants under Glass at the Conservatory

Yesterday, after a nice leisurely Sunday breakfast out, my husband and I found ourselves near the Volunteer Park in Seattle with its beautiful old glass conservatory. All the grey foggy days we’ve had around here of late made us hanker for live plants and color, so we stopped by.

Seeing beautiful foliage and lush blooming plants put me in the mood to think about clematis (unfortunatley, there weren’t any in the conservatory).  When I got home I spent some serious time perusing the websites of my three favorite mail-order clematis nurseries in the US and day-dreaming about which new clematis I wanted to grace my garden.  Most years I buy at least a couple of clematis  from each one of these great nurseries.  I know, I know, where will I put them all you ask?!  Don’t worry, I always find a way–I have a big shoehorn just for this purpose. 

Clematis Star of India

Clematis Star of India

Today I will  tell you about Silver Star Vinery, which is located in the foothills of the Cascades near Vancouver, Washington.  This mail-order-only nursery offers a wide variety of well-established, healthy clematis.  Owner, Debbie Fisher, has strong connections with many European hybridizers and imports a few new cultivars almost every year.   Her big healthy plants tend to get going quickly.   Before she ships, she usually sends her customers an email telling them to go dig the holes cuz she’s heading to the post office!  I bought Clematis Star of India from her last spring and by July this saftig young plant had at least 25 beautiful flowers on it — and I’d had it less that six months!  Check out my photo.

So, after looking, and thinking, and making lists, and looking some more, I placed an order yesterday with Silver Star Vinery — below as a little teaser are just two of them.  (Please note:  I have permission from Silver Star Vinery to use photos from its website in my blog.)

Check back in a couple of days — I’ll tell you about Joy Creek Nursery and what I ordered from there.

Clematis crispa, a sweet little fragrant bell!

Clematis crispa, a sweet little fragrant bell!

A new Jackmannii -- Jackmanii purpurea.  Debbie says it's VERY floriferous!

A new Jackmannii — Jackmanii purpurea. Debbie says it’s VERY floriferous!

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