Saturday, May 15, 2010


No, not the cute, yummy miniature naval variety, but the more beautiful, showy vining perennials of the garden. Of the more than 250 cultivars available, I grow less than a dozen. Growing them is easy! The tricky part is the pruning!

So the three rules of pruning are: Spring bloomers grow on last year's growth, a hard prune after bloom time is key to set next year's buds. Summer and fall bloomers flower on current year's growth so not much pruning is needed...just to shape and clean up the vine as you wish. And lastly, some Clemmies are considered repeat bloomers. A heavy first flush early in the season then sporadically again in the year. Don't prune after first flush, otherwise you'll sacrifice the second set of blooms. Just watch your plants and know which pruning techniques apply.

Now, having said all this, I hardly ever prune my vines! I only clean up dead wood and wilt (disease) as needed! If you are a Clemmie lover, you know that these vines love their feet in the shade and faces in the sun! Heavy mulching is key as well as a good sturdy support. Anything will work~an obelisk, a trellis, an arch, even a tree trunk...with a little chicken wire and coaxing. I even add them in large containers~three stakes added to the center, teepee style and, VOILA! I have many vertical structures throughout the garden for Clemmies, and I laugh to think, just maybe, I'm making up for my lack of!

Nelly Moser is one of the most popular varieties of Clemmies. Known for her beautiful shades of pink with a deep mauve center ribbing. What's interesting is the two or so blooms I'm noticing in purple...I don't remember planting two varieties at this trellis. Do Clemmies change color based on PH balance...anyone?

With my hand flat, fingers splayed out, these blooms are even larger!

No wonder she's a favorite!

Going on her 12th year, this pinky/purple is the oldest planted Clemmie in my garden...and the name is right on the tip of my tongue...darn! The white double bloom is Duchess of Edinburgh...added a few years later.

Looks more like a dahlia though, doesn't it?

Having planted Niobe on another trellis, the blooms did not resemble the color description so I planted this second one last fall...still not convinced it was labeled correctly as Niobe is supposed to be a deeper red and bloom later...

Barely a foot tall, she's keeping company with the Forget-Me-Nots..which worked out pretty well I think.

A pretty-in-white that grows against the north wall of the house. I'm not sure of the name~any guesses? Possibly Henryi...?

One of my new favorites is Josephine. Planted just last summer, I'm thrilled with how well she's doing and I love the gigantic pom-pom like center! The seedhead will be quite interesting...

I will have to replace this little trellis with something sturdier. Oh, and that arbor in the background...

You've seen this Clematis Montana Rubens from previous posts but she gets more spectacular every year. Since this is a spring blooming variety, the rule of thumb would be to prune it back hard after bloom time for optimum results, right?

Well, as you can see, I cannot reach the top(!) so she is left to fend for herself. Shhh~don't tell her!

Not a bad view from Emma's bedroom window...

For such a small bloom, the details are quite beautiful.

And for an idea of scale, here I am...

So go ahead, plant your first Clemmie this season, or add more to your can't go wrong! Best of all, they will reward you with beauty and enjoyment for years to come!


  1. Hey, thanks for this. I think you identified a NOID for me that I've seen when walking Sheba. ('Nelly Moser')

  2. OMG! What a beautiful clematis on the arbor. Wow Lynn! You have so many pretty ones though. I love the two twining together that is a good idea girl.May have to copy that one. I really like the white double and the Henri one.Gorgeous, just gorgeous.

  3. This is the Most Amazing one I had ever seen!
    How do you get them to grow so nicely?
    Just breathtaking!!!

  4. I remember these from when I was a kid... don't know if I can really fit them into my yard though... not sure they'd mix too well with my cactus... but I'm seriously thinking of giving it a try. Georgous, aren't they? - claude

  5. Hey, Mr. Subj. Glad I could be of help! ;)

    Lona, thank you so much!

    France, these vines are pretty much care-free...I just sit back and admire! ;)

    Thank you, Claude...seriously, give clemmies try! Find the one from your childhood least the same color.

  6. Where are the unicorns? I don't see any unicorns!...some garden.

    Lynn, your yard is a magical place, and that view outside of Emma's window?
    I think I couldn't wait to wake up every morning :)

    Peace ~ Rene

  7. stunning, Lynn!

    as always - incredible photographic perspectives, framing!
    your work is breathtaking. thanks for the aerial view!
    first & last are my Faves!


  8. Lynn what a great post - I love Clematis too. Your arbour is breathtaking with those heavy blooms. In fact your whole yard looks very beautiful. Josephine is definitely a show stopper! I thought I lost her last summer but she has some buds ready to burst so I'm very happy as she's my favorite!

  9. Lynn, these photos are spectacular!
    I have one around my lamp post,
    deep, deep purple.
    Don't know the name,
    but it's loaded with blossoms!

    Your arbor is breathtaking, Lynn!

    Mary Jane

  10. Lynn - That arbour is spectacular. I've never seen a clematis so abundant before. Beautiful.

  11. Funny Rene! The unicorns were being camera shy ;) Em does NOT appreciate her lovely, ya know!

    Hey, thanks for stopping by, Chuck! And, as always, you're too kind!

    Linda~glad Josephine is looking great for you, too! The vines always look competely dead, don't they when dormant? That's why I'm always hesitant to prune til I see LIFE return ;)

    Thanks, Mary Jane! Maybe your purple bloomer is 'Jackmanii'...I LOVE that one, too!

    Thank you, Heather! Hard to believe it's from one plant...planted 8 yrs. ago when my arbor was built. Thanks for visiting ;)

  12. You really have such a beautiful collection of them. Your Nelly and Josephine both look much happier than mine. I'm always finding a new spot to grow one. The one on your arbor is just amazing!

  13. 250 cultivars?! You have a great collection! I can't believe the view from Emma's window. To grow up with that beauty around you - it's got to affect your life in someway.

    I have just a couple, but definitely need to go vertical - amass at least a couple more.

  14. Just found your blog - love it! I just read about & bought a Montana Rubens to plant in my yard this spring. Yours is incredible. I can only dream that mine does as well as yours!


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