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 stature...lol!
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 collection...you can't go wrong! Best of all, they will reward you with beauty and enjoyment for years to come!