Several weeks ago I noticed that a spring planted clematis beside the greenhouse had browned, not a little, but every leaf. Dead brown. Of course, I feared that it had succumbed to too much sun. While the book on clematis suggests “head in the sun, roots in cool shade”, this one was all sun through much of the day. So, I was quite surprised and relieved when a leafy green shoot appeared, winding up through the lattice.
Today, ‘Nubia’ (above) sports a handful of deep red flowers, and I am reminded of plans to plant other clematis that will rebloom or flower later than in the typical spring and early summer. While ‘Nubia’ climbs a lattice, other clematis start more ideally in shade at the base of shrubs, with stems climbing high through branches into the sunlight. In the spring, or later in the year, the flowers bring color to otherwise green shrubs, though care must be taken in selection to choose a clematis that will not overwhelm the shrub.
A poor choice for climbing through shrubs, the vigorous Montana rubens clematis suffered considerable freeze damage several years ago, but it has now recovered to again cover the deck railing. Its flowering period covers only a few weeks, but today I search for clematis to flower after rubens, and two common spring bloomers, the large, purple flowered ‘Jackmanii’ (below) and the equally large, white ‘Henryii’ that climb through a tall nandina at the far side of the deck. There are dozens of choices, so I must first identify shrubs best suited to hosting the vines.