I have often had visitors comment – you have such exotic blooms! But I really only grow easy plants – morning glories are a perfect example of exotic blooms for little work. Both these beauties are blooming now. And this is definitely one of the easiest ways to get pure blue in the garden! Read more about morning glories by clicking here and clicking here.
A sunny day last September, I was out taking photos and was enthralled with the stunning blooms of morning glory. The startling purple, fuchsia and pink encircling a glowing white center, left me in awe. Such a simple seed, which grows quickly and easily into a lush vine, and then exalts with stellar, striking blooms until frost. The heart shaped leaves backdrop in lively green. And what is more enchanting than a twisting, twirling, twining vine making its magical way up an aged garden post? Read more about morning glories by clicking here.
A snowy white bloom for a snowy winter’s day – only this creamy, dreamy bloomer bestows her frolicsome blossoms in May and June. ‘Guernsey Cream’ is an easy to grow clematis that blooms consistently and prolifically. This particular vine was growing out of the front lawn, scrabbling about in part shade, when we first moved to our home. I transplanted it to a protected sunny corner inside a wrought iron obelisk, and it blesses with me with a slathering of large (5+” in diameter), frothy blooms every spring, and a spattering of more blooms through the summer. You can read more about clematis by clicking here.
Next door to the ‘jackmanii’ clematis, blooms a ‘fireworks’ clematis. I take many photos of this clematis too! ‘Fireworks’ has a candy pink bloom with a cherry pink river up the middle of each petal. Again the center is a fascinating cluster of fairy hair. Nature has that way of mixing it up in the garden as shown with the extra-large bloom that opened beside an extra-small bloom – I thought of this pair as mom and babe! For more detail on clematis, click here.
Jackmanii is the best known variety of clematis. It is easy to grow, easy to find in greenhouses, and probably in more gardens than any other clematis. But this does not make it common! When my jackmanii is blooming, I become obsessed, and take many photos. It has a simple form, with elegant four or five petal blooms. New blooms are inverted, frosty trumpets. The petals then spread and rise in jewel tone. It opens a deep, velvety purple with hints of violet. Sunlight, or age of the bloom, amplify the violet. The flower center is a miniature bloom of its own - an exploding star of filaments. When these rich blooms hang in clusters from the rustic, gray arbour, you can feel the garden joy! For more detail on clematis, click here.
Clematis let me pretend for a brief moment that I live in Hawaii, or somewhere tropical! The exotic blooms are hard to match, and much loved and collected by many gardeners. This rambling vine can climb up a purposeful structure like a trellis or obelisk, or climb a small tree or shrub for added interest. As with so many of my favourite plants, there are many varieties of clematis, just part of what makes them collectible and addictive. There are spring, summer or fall bloomers, and even ‘re-bloomers’, that bloom in both spring and late summer. Clematis is demanding in its preferences: full sun but shaded roots, moist, rich, well-drained soil, and they don’t like winter winds. When planting, dig an extra 4-5” in depth and fill with rich soil, then plant with the root ball slightly above soil level and keep it moist until established. After planting, I often add stones or two bricks to protect the roots, but you can also use extra mulch, or plan for leafy perennials to shade the roots. Pruning is another key clematis topic, for which you need to understand your vine’s blooming habits. If your clematis blooms in spring on last year’s vines, then prune only dead and weak stems after blooming. If your clematis blooms on new growth in late spring or summer, then prune lightly to strong buds in early spring. If your clematis blooms late summer or fall, then prune back hard in early spring to above the first good buds. The extra care required, has always been worth the reward!
Technical stuff – Woody or semi-woody deciduous vine, blooms in spring, summer or fall, many colours and bloom variations, prefer full sun, don’t like winter winds and need to shade roots from heat, prefer moist, rich, well-drained soil.