News Flash: Clematis Serious Black FOUND!

Sundquist Nursery Label for Clematis Serious Black

Sundquist Nursery Label for Clematis Serious Black

Update! If you didn’t get a chance to get to the Northwest Flower & Garden Show in February to pick up your own Clematis Serious Black, all is not lost! Nils Sundquist of Sundquist Nursery — the nursery that was selling Clematis Serious Black at the Show — will also be selling this plant at his Garden Opens on the Kitsap Penninsula. See Nis’ comment below!

While wandering around the Northwest Flower & Garden Show today, enjoying the sites and feeding my need for spring, I asked each of the plant vendors I ran up on whether they carried clematis.  Several were selling Clematis armandii and one even had a couple of New Zealand clematis.  But when I stopped by Sundquist Nursery late in the day, I hit PAYDIRT!   Sundquist Nursery is selling bare-root plants of — drum roll, please — Clematis recta ‘Lime Close’, aka Clematis Serious Black!   

Oh, those lovely little roots!

Oh, those lovely little roots!

To learn more about this very interesting non-climbing clematis that sports  black (well, almost black) leaves, see my earlier post on the subject.  Clematis Serious Black was recently featured in Fine Gardening magazine, but the source mentioned for the plant (the Northwest Perennial Alliance) carries only seed.  As luck would have it, if you can get  yourself (or send a friend) to the Flower Show between now and Sunday (2/24) at the Convention Center in downtown Seattle, you too can have a bare-root plant of Clematis Serious Black of your very own (I  already bought mine!).  $12!!!  The box I found mine in seemed to have 15 or 20 more, so hurry on down!

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.

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