"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
One Clematis, Two Clematis

One Clematis, Two Clematis

From The Clematis as a Garden Flower by George Jackman:

“The annals of Horticulture bear witness to the improvements which have resulted from the well-directed experiments of cultivars in the hybridizing or cross-breeding of the ornamental plants of other climes, after they have been introduced to our gardens. In fact, not a few of the finest plants we cultivate, owe their origins to this agency, or to the continued selection of the best seedlings. Some species in certain popular families have, indeed, been crossed and intercrossed until their fixity seems to have been completely broken up, and they now yield us seminal variations to an unlimited extent…. Considering what has already been done in this direction, as well as the rich stores of originals as yet untouched, and which is from year to year accumulating, intelligent cultivators, and clever painstaking experimentalists, should be encouraged to set themselves to work in good earnest at creating new forms of floral beauty….

“In this point of view, the Clematis may be looked on as a mine which has not yet become by any means worked out.”

From Beautiful at All Seasons: Southern Gardening and Beyond by Elizabeth Lawrence:

“It is wonderful to have such a variety of large-flowered clematis at hand.”

Spring is in full force here in the U.S. southeast, with plants and flowers emerging faster than a photographer (me!) can keep up with them. Having several hundred unprocessed photos — including daffodils, dogwoods, ferns fronds, plum blossoms, early irises, and a few to-be-identified species — means that our post-processing department (also me!) is pretty busy trying to catch up, while our gardener (still me!) starts working the landscape for this year’s planting extravaganza. But I took a break one morning this week and watched my Concord grapevine grow for a while; and even as I was watching the first Clematis flower growing in the same pot opened up; then a few hours later, a second one did the same.

Clematis flowers don’t last that long, and are only in prime condition for a few days. For several years, I had two varieties growing in four medium-sized pots on my back stairs, but last fall moved them all together into the grapevine’s giant planter (it’s about four feet tall and two feet wide) so they’d (hopefully) grow better and last longer living with the grapevine. Late southern summer heat (along the growth restriction imposed by the four smaller pots) always inhibited the Clematis vine’s exuberance and the vines fell apart mid-season — leaving only a tangle mess of dried-up leaves behind. I didn’t know for sure if the transplanting would work, but the Clematis vines started producing leaves a couple of weeks ago, then began making flower buds last week. The vines are thick with new leaves and seem pretty robust, so I’m expecting a good growing season for them all. it’s always fun to try a little gardening experiment and have it succeed. And as you can see from the last two photos below: there are still more Clematis flowers getting ready to bloom.

Thanks for taking a look!


    1. Dale

      Yes, they are. As soon as nights got a little warmer, the clematis started producing flower buds. They’re in a mostly-sunny spot in my yard, and seem to be doing well there. Not sure how long blooming will continue, since I just moved them into their new pot late last year.

      Daffodil season is already over here, much of it whisked away by thunderstorms and days of strong winds. But I’ll have about four posts coming up to “memorialize” it — photos I took in early March when they were at their peak.

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