Sunday, May 1, 2016

Clematis, Fourteen and Counting, or Make Way for Mayleen!

Clematis montana 'Mayleen' Number 15?


Clematis are generally regarded as a two or three year projects. I seem to add a couple each year. My collection includes these:

Clematis 'Etoile Rose'
Clematis texensis 'Diana'
Clematis heraclefolia 'China Blue'
Clematis 'Sweet Autumn'
Clematis 'Hagley Hybrid'
Clematis alpina 'Blue Dancer'
Clematis 'Elsa Spaeth'
Clematis 'Josephine'
 Clematis 'Guernsey Cream'
Clematis 'Diamantina'
Clematis intregrifolia
Clematis 'Comtess du Bouchard'
Clematis alpina 'Alionushka'
Clematis 'Roguchi'

I have bolded my favorites. The lavender underlined ones also include links to them in their blooming glory. I think I have a least one clematis in bloom from mid-May until mid-October.

In all honesty, I have just planted 'Roguchi' and 'Diamantina' this last year. I hope they both make it into my favorites list. "Diamantina' is a large-flowering double clematis in the style of 'Josephine'. "Josephine appears so unworldly and I think very tropical that you would not think it able to survive the central Wisconsin winters. I will warn you, though, don't prune as they flower on old wood in their first bloom which is when 100% of its blooms are fully double compared to later season bloom on new growth which may throw out some smaller blooms which are not as fully double. Also, this is important, these large flowering doubles need a lot more water than other clematis. I also fear they do not enjoy very hot, hot weather which may clematis provide enough moisture do not seem to mind.

There are not a lot of gardeners growing clematis here. I think they have some of the same sort of bad rap roses have garnered in our area; fussy, difficult to grow, not cold hardy, take a long time to establish...

I think this is so unwarranted.

Visiting the Door Garden in Door County, a project of the Master Gardeners there, really turned me toward increasing the number of clematis I have. I was particularly taken by the multi-petaled varieties they grow.

So, although torn between adding a purple Jackmanii type which I have never grown although it was one of the first large-flowering clematis hybridized; I finally decided on a montana-- 'Mayleen'. I have shied away from the montana group simply because I have feared they are not as cold hardy as necessary. They are rate to zone 5 and I am in zone 5; I have found the central Wisconsin microclimate to be misleading. I have read numerous claims of their vigorous growth, supposedly they can reach 20' to 30', and can scramble over a house. I have seen pictures on the internet of just such a thing; whether the internet lies or not is a whole other thing. I'll see what work 'Mayleen' can make of my deep brown fence; a fence on which Jackmanii with its deep purple blooms would have been lost.

If it is as vigorous as everyone claims maybe it will add a bit of something to the plastic gray shed where the lawn mower is stored.

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