The Lovely Clematis


Spring finally arriving I am particularly delighted to celebrate the end of a long wet winter with the blossoming of two of my favorite plants, which share the same large pot. At the lower end of this configuration spills the simple pink clematis, now charmingly entangling itself around the madonna who lives next to the pot, then wending its way into an adjacent metal grill glider, ever so happy to send its tendrils through and about and beneath the openings in the seat. And who cares, really? There’s still plenty of room to sit, and it makes very nice company.

My pink clematis lives with this large beautiful purple clematis and they live quite comfortably together. I so very much enjoy the combination.

As it happened putting the two clematis plants in one very deep, tall pot turned out to be a good thing, as apparently clematis likes to send its roots quite deep. It will not do well in a shallow situation. I had been told it liked to keep its roots cool and its above ground self warm. As the pot is on a patio, set back from the front, my clematis was afforded the best of both worlds. Each morning the leaves are bathed in morning sunlight, then as the sun heads west the patio becomes cooler and shadier, so the clematis plants are never baking in the hot California sunshine. As a result, happily, they have both thrived. Each year they return with abundance.

I set out to see what other clematis plants were taking the stage in my community. Here’s what I found. First, this simple white one which I found to be quite charming. I think there is always a place for a spray of white flowers in ones garden, don’t you?

My neighbor says she has white clematis (not yet in blossom) covering her back fence, and, apparently it grows in harmony with a pink honeysuckle. I love the idea of combining compatible vines in the garden, doubling the pleasure!

I trip to one of my favorite local nurseries yielded these two beauties. This purple one is regal and lush beyond words.

And this pink is lovely as ever, don’t you find?

Clematis apple

I do believe clematis is one of my alltime favorite garden additions. I love the varieties available and the color spectrums are all in my favorite ranges. I have found it very easy to care for by simply keeping it moist, loving it, and cutting away the dead leaves and side branches after it has blossomed. I have used my intuition as a guide. I have read the pruning guidelines for clematis and they have only left me confused. There are three kinds, apparently, and each blossoms at a different time of year, and needs slightly different attention. Sigh. If only I were That Kind of Gardener. Alas, I am not. And I seem to be doing just fine with this plant. Plants I do not resonate with I refrain from growing. That simple.
Clematis and I are pals. How about you?

Love and springtime blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Footnote: Correct pronunciation of this plant is CLEM-uh-tis. I think it varies from region to region.

12 Responses to “The Lovely Clematis”

  1. Yes, you seem to be doing quite well with your clematis! It’s Beautiful! What a Lovely addition to the garden, indeed!

    Love you,

  2. Good morning, Antonia! Glad you are able to enjoy in person! Love, Mom xoxo

  3. I too love clematis. Mine are getting ready still – this site in the Santa Cruz mountains is always about a month later than down on the flats. I’m hoping things hold off until the benefit garden tour late in May, when folks will be coming to look!

  4. Hi, Nancy! I bet they do. Ours are just opening. I don’t know why my two opened earlier than almost everyone else’s. Early bloomers. Best of luck with the garden tour! The clematis will make a good addition!
    Kathryn xoxo

  5. These are beautiful Kathryn, I enjoyed your post. I’d only seen the purple variety before, I had no idea there were so many.
    Thank you!

  6. Although i try to surround myself with flowers, inside and out, I always welcome the beauty you provide, Kathryn, with your very professional photos of floering beauty.

    We had a very cold winter for Florida this year snd perennials are still struggling to begin their season of show.
    The shrubs , like Hibiscus, are starting to sprout new leaves on the south side of our house, BUT the North side is much slower.
    It is a patient, waiting game.

    We are winding down our Winter stay here and head to Maine in mid-May.
    Can’t wait or the beauty that will welcome us.

    Keep up all the inspiration! We are happy recipients.

    All the best, Betsy and Al

  7. HI, Kathlene! Yes, it’s amazing how many varieties there are! I tried to pinpoint where they had originated, and they seem to have been prevalent on many continents for a long time. So they’ve had a varied journey and lots of time to evolve! So PRETTY! Glad you like the post. Kathryn xoxo

  8. Hi, Betsy, This is a very sweet comment. Thank you. Very much appreciated. Have a safe, wonderful journey north. Kathryn xoxo

  9. How grand. I especially like the 4-petaled pink one. Wish I could grow it here but I think it’s a zone 6 if I’ve got the right one. I have had mixed succes growing them here. The trick is to get shaded roots but sun on top. I’ve had the best success with Autumn Clematis which is selfseeding all over the yard and I’m digging it up and moving it to safe spots. Common names I have heard for the Autumn Clematis are “Traveler’s Joy”, “Virgin’s Bower” and “Wayfaring Stranger”. What wonderful visions those eastern mountain names invision. We are up to lilacs blooming here, of every shade and color. I have everything from shoots from my great-great grandmother’s common purple to special tissue culture doubles but room in my heart for them all. Lilacs are such a committment, at least 10 years before you get really good blooming if you start small and then an every other year show for best color. I should deadhead them after bloom but they are 10-12 feet high, or more and I’d have to go up ladders to try. Violets of every color going like crazy all through the yard, The front lawn is a blanket of white with some dark purple and red-violet scattered throughout. Found a new patch of yellow ones in the back. Don’t know where they came from but am guarding them with love. Hugs, Julie

  10. Hi, Julie! Your garden sounds like it is full of spring! I have lilacs, too. Aren’t they marvelous?? And bless the little violets! Yellow? How fun! Hugs, Julie. Kathryn xoox

  11. Hi Kathryn,
    You know, I have never planted clematis, but I have often wanted to, and I have a perfect spot.
    I know what you mean about the pruning requirements and confusion, as I think this has stopped me in my tracks. Your comment of using “intuition as a guide” opens the door to clematis again! That idea is food for thought, and being still and listening with more than ones ears would explain why I sometimes prefer to plant or transplant in the cool of the mornings, or prune where or when. I can sense a garden that has this approach which has an atmosphere to it…call it enchantment, or the like, but it is there, as compared to a yard where the approach is to power through things with lots of noise.
    Interesting to consider, and I think a clematis will be right at home!
    🙂 Philip

  12. Hi, Philip! Wow. You’ve opened up an important conversation which could be a post onto itself: Using Intuition to Guide Us Through the Garden! Yes! It certainly is possible to tune into the needs of a plant, I believe. Careful observation certainly is a companion to that endeavor. And I love what you are saying about the subsequent vibe of a garden. I once visited a mountain in the East Bay that had had its essence stripped out of it. I’d never had that experience before. I didn’t even know until then it was possible. I hope it’s been revitalized since. One can pray. Thank you for your very thoughtful comment and good luck with the clematis! You will LOVE it! Kathryn xoxo

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