Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Tangle of Clematis

There were a number of pleasant surprises in the first weeks after moving here in the spring of 2010.
Not least was the discovery of two well established clematis vines.
 This photo taken April 10, 2011 shows the lovely green-veined white one.
Not so appealing was the make-shift trellis of rusty chicken wire and metal stakes.

Last September grandson Devin undertook to remove the posts while I clipped the chicken wire free and rolled it up for disposal.

D. set in place this tidy black trellis which M. had bought for me at auction.
We worked carefully around the two varieties of clematis which had set new plants amongst the large flat rocks which kept the roots shaded and cool.
The clematis began blooming last week, taking me a bit by surprise.
[Checking photos from 2011, I find that as well, the crabapple, pear, and redbuds are in bloom this year 10 days to two weeks early.]
I have been tying in the vines growing at the base of the trellis, coaxing in any that would reach the supports without strain.

I am left with a wayward clump of the white vines which won't reach the trellis.
One lengthy vine had clambered over a clipped boxwood next to the carport and was venturing around the brick wall . I gently guided it back toward the parent plant.

This is easily identified as the old favorite Nellie Moser.
This single blossom is on a length of new growth vine only about 10 inches tall.

A ladybug displayed against exquisite white petals.
I don't have a name for the white clematis, although I expect it is an old standard.
I don't want to revert to ugly wire, but need to devise a way to tie up these vines before they sprawl into the path of the lawnmower.

In clearing this area D. and I removed strangling lengths of a non-productive grape vine, which had wound through the nandina, gripped the eave troughs and the edge of the carport roof.
This sprig of Nellie Moser wasn't noticeable  last year--it is now twining gracefully through the nandina.
During my many years of gardening in Vermont I coveted a clematis [or 2 or 3!]  I wasn't sure that they would be hardy there.
As I have looked through the varieties on offer in a number of on-line nurseries I realize that
the two established here have enduring appeal.
I would, however, like to plant an autumn-flowering clematis.
Perhaps when the greenhouse becomes a reality I can situate one along the wall.
But--isn't that where I dream of planting a climbing rose?

After nearly an hour of searching through on-line images and plant catalogues,
I'm prepared to guess that my white clematis may be Alabast.  The photos and descriptions match well.
this variety was introduced in 1998, so certainly not an heirloom.
The other possibility is Duchess of Edinburgh which is early flowering, described as having green shading.
In most photos it appears to be more double-flowered  than mine.


  1. My clematis are just beginning to show some life. They are so pretty, I love yours. I can't wait for mine now!


  2. Shan; Spring is rushing so fast here! So much yardwork needs to be done immediately and I'm not keeping up with it.
    I updated my post on the clematis to suggest two possiblites of variety for the white one. Knowing its name probably isn't as important as simply enjoying it--but the search for the identity is interesting.

  3. I have 2 clematis plants that flower right through the summer into Autumn.
    One is 'Blue Angel' a pale blue that looks wonderful at dusk and the other is 'Rebecca' a dark Maroon colour with beautiful velvety petals.
    Both seen to be quite hardy and very prolific.
    Just a suggestion.

  4. I love clematis ...and I had a Nellie Moser ...note the word had. Last week Jay was in the garden getting rid of some dead bits and proudly announced that all the dead stuff near the bins had now gone.
    In fact it was starting to grow new shoots and all it needed was to be tied back after being flattened by the last high winds. I dashed out and it was now level with the ground.
    Note to self ...give clear instructiond to a helpful non plant person. lol

  5. Your clematis are lovely, I especially like the white one.

    Yesterday we tackled an overgrown star jasmine in the front hedgerow. Last year I got depressed during the long hot summer and didn't do much of anything and this vine got away from me.

    Have a great week enjoying your spring gardens and blooms.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  6. How pretty! We have a Sweet Autumn clematis. Each year you have to cut it down to one foot. Its amazing how much it grows in one year. But it doesn't have the pretty blooms like yours. Smells good though! BTW, I love your header!

  7. They are beautiful. I'll be moving to the country soon and can't wait to see what plants are established there. I especially love the white ones.

  8. I had 6 Jackmanii? several years ago. they were beautiful and doing well until after the destructive neighbors poured anti freeze on them and killing 3. I moved the last surviving three to my parents where they are doing better there.
    I loved the purple color.
    Your yard is looking so beautiful.
    My yard is slowing coming to life, still have to be careful, its only April now, and not summer, yet.
    Have a wonderful week.

  9. I have 2 in post, but lost the labels while they were in waiting. They're sure to be a nice surprise!

  10. Aren't they pretty? The white one with the greeny centre is most unusual. I have several here. The best was the most amazing Montana rubens which was so prolific and even my next door neighbour (farmer) remarked on it. His son, however, doesn't like me and one day when he thought I was out chose to take the trasher to it and went backwards and forwards until it was ripped to pieces. By the time I got out there the damage was done and I hoped it would put fresh growth out, but no . . . Barsteward . . .

  11. Very beautiful clematis. I love the white one especially. I find that clematis viticella is the least temperamental of the clematis.

  12. Briony; Thank you for the suggestions--those varieties aren't known to me. I suspect that the very hot/humid summers in Kentucky shorten the blooming period of many plants that carry on where summers are not so intense.
    Angie; I am quite nervous when J. makes his rounds with the weed-whacker--his Mom used to say that all men were dangerous around a garden if they had access to any sort of power tool. I'd like to think your Nelly Moser will survive its harsh 'pruning.'
    FL; Whenever I read your posts I think that you do a tremendous amount of work year round in your lovely garden. The heat and humidity of July-August are very off-putting.
    Jane; I am rather determined to find a spot for an autumn clematis. Re the header: the apple tree is ancient, very twisted, but for a few days in bloom it is gorgeous.
    Deb; The former owners of our Kentucky farm were gardeners. Plants had been neglected as the wife had died and the old gentleman not able any longer to tend the yard. We have a rich legacy of shrubs and flowers here--I hope you will be as blessed in your new place.
    Denim; I don't like to think what kind of idiots destroy other peoples' plants! The Jackmanni are a variety I coveted when I first saw clematis in garden catalogs. Your weather being similar to WY I'm sure you could have several blizzards yet before winter is really over!
    Kath; Isn't it a pain how those labels fall out of the pots or migrate off somewhere when stuck in the ground? I always think I'll remember what I've planted in a particular spot--of course I rarely do!
    BB; It sounds like your neighbor is as nasty as Denim's when it comes to respect for plants--aarrgh! Montana Rubens is another variety that I liked from its catalog presentation.
    Elizabeth; You've given me another variety to look up--I can tell that clematis could become a new interest for me. I wish my camera could show how truly lovely the white flowers are--the tracery of green on the petals is so delicate.