CLEMATIS FAVOURITES

I would like to give my own personal forty favourites, describing them in more detail, commencing in the spring of the year, through the long hot days of summer when the Jackmanii varieties seem to be in perpetual bloom, and ending in the autumn with the late-flowering varieties, that in a mild season often tend to go on to December. In fact, we have had on the odd occasion a vase of clematis flowers on the Christmas table picked from the Nursery to add to the festive decorations. To start the year then, and very early in the year too, my first favourite to flower is the evergreen

C. calycina (species, by the way, are always spelt with a small letter, hybrids with a capital letter, thus all species are prefixed by the capital letter

C. for clematis, hybrids are simply given their name, for instance — Jackmanii).

C. calycina, then, an attractive glossy evergreen clematis, comes from the Balearic Islands, a group of islands off the Spanish coast, and is sometimes called

C. balearica. The leaves are small and fern-like, giving it the name of the ‘Fern-leaved clematis’, they are deep glossy green and turn to a bronzy hue in the winter. The flowers are bell-shaped, 1V6 inches across, pale yellow with red freckles on the inside and on a well-established plant thousands of these dainty little yellow bells will festoon the plant from January to March, depending on the weather of course. In a severe winter flowers will not appear until March. The only trouble with C. calycina is that it will not flower until it is well established, and this means that sometimes a plant will not bloom for the first two or three years. However, if one does not mind having white flowers instead of pale yellow, there is another evergreen variety of similar habit called

C. cirrhosa which flowers from a very early age, is just as free-flowering and grows vigorously to a height of about 20 feet. Pruning is not necessary because the plant flowers on the old wood; however, if the plant gets out of hand it can be pruned or thinned out directly after it has flowered, that is in March or April, which gives the plant the whole of the season in which to produce flowering wood for the following year.

The next favourite to flower is C. alpina. This beautiful mountain-blue clematis comes from the alpine regions of South Europe and an enchanting sight it is to see this clematis scrambling over the rocks. The flowers are single, four-sepalled about 2 inches long, and hang downwards like bells of satiny-blue. They are produced in great profusion in April and May, an ideal variety for the small garden, as it never makes a plant of much more than 6 feet. It will climb over a rockery, as is its natural habitat, but it will be equally happy on a wall, or growing through a shrub. The leaves are bright green, three-lobed, coarsely toothed, and the young stems are an attractive red in the spring, but develop to a natural brown during the season. Actually it is not a true clematis, but an Atragene, a group of plants closely allied to the clematis and now listed with them. The Atragenes have a form of petal as well as the outer sepals which form the flowers whereas the true clematis has no petals. There are other forms of the alpinas, pale blue Columbine, wine-red Ruby and double White Moth, but my favourite is the mountain blue of the alps, C. alpina. Worth a place in any garden.

A double variety of C. alpina is my next choice, the most beautiful of all the species, C. macropetala. This lovely clematis flowers at the same time, April and May, but with two or three rows of satiny-blue sepals, hanging downwards like miniature ballet skirts, each flower being about 2 inches long and about 3 inches in width. The foliage is similar to that of C. alpina, but the young growths are covered with down, giving it the name of ‘The Downy Clematis’. It makes a plant of 8 to 12 feet and needs no pruning. In time it will get very thick, but can be pruned directly after flowering if necessary. It was discovered by Reginald Farrer in Kansu, and was brought back to England in 1910. A pink form of macropetala called Markhamii has larger flowers than the type, equally beautiful but I prefer the blue variety.

Another beauty which flowers in April and May is the evergreen C. armandii. This handsome variety has 6- to 8-inch-long glossy-green tri-foliate leaves which are the main feature of the plant. These leaves are produced on long rope-like stems which hang downwards like some tropical vine. The plant itself will grow to a height of 20 feet or more, so these rope-like branches look very handsome. In the spring they are covered with clusters of creamy-white sweetly scented flowers which are 1 to 2 inches across and look like flowers of the montana group.

C. armandii is still comparatively rare and it is often confused with this variety, people thinking that it is an early-flowering montana. As with all early-flowering varieties it needs no pruning but if left unpruned for a number of years it becomes very thick, all the new rope-like branches falling down over the top of the previous year’s growths which eventually die. If you want to, keep this variety from becoming a thick mass of dead wood underneath the new wood, then it is best to prune back all the flowering wood directly after it has flowered. This would be in May and would leave the plant all the rest of the season to produce more attractive rope-like vines for the following spring, but it is best to wait for two or three years before pruning for the first time. There is a pale pink variety called Apple Blossom, a rather silly name as it is so pale that by the time it has fully opened it is white, the reverse sides of the sepals being tinged with pink.

We now come to the montana varieties. These valuable plants that cover everything in their reach with masses of flower in the spring. They originated in the Himalaya mountains and were first introduced to this country in 1831 by the Countess Amherst. In this region great trees are covered with them and in the spring the myriads of pink and white flowers must be a fantastic sight. I have seen pine trees in this country covered with montana blossom. Jungle-like branches hanging down from 60 feet high smothered in flower, looking like a flowering waterfall. My favourite montana is the variety called C. montana Pink Perfection. This is a clearer pink than the better-known rubens which although deeper in colour, is unfortunately often a target for the birds in the spring, whole plants being stripped of their buds, but apparently Pink Perfection does not taste so sweet and is left alone, which is lucky for us. The montana flowers are flat anemone-like, 2 to 3 inches across and in varying shades of pink and white, with a central boss of golden stamens. Most of the montanas have a scent, although very faint with some varieties, the best one for scent is C. montana Elizabeth but the flowers are a pale pink, although it has almost the largest flower of the group. This distinction is claimed by C. montana tetrarose, a recent introduction from Holland with lilac-rose flowers and golden stamens with bronzy foliage. All the montanas flower in May and June, but there is one variety that flowers in June and July and this is C. montana Wilsonii which has small cream flowers with twisted sepals and a very strong scent, almost overpowering if grown on the house, but a very valuable variety for extending the montana season.

My favourite white montana is not a montana at all but a variety known as C. spooneri. This looks exactly like a montana, flowers at the same time in May and June, with the same vigorous habit and absolutely smothers itself in pure white flowers in the spring. The flowers are larger than most montanas, and with its golden stamens is a very handsome flower when studied individually. Like many of our best species it comes from China, and was discovered in 1909 by Dr. Spooner, hence its name. The tri-foliate leaves are bronzy-green when young, and the stems of the plant turn black in the winter. There is an apple-blossom pink variety called C. spooneri rosea with attractive winged sepals. None of the montanas or spooneris need any pruning and do much better if left to their own devices. That is, of course, if there is unlimited space. If space is limited, then they can be pruned directly after they have flowered and by this method a montana can be kept in a very restricted space, but do let them have their heads if at all possible and you will be rewarded by fantastic displays every spring as your plants wind their way through shrubs and trees, over old buildings and sheds, smothering everything in their path in a mantle of delicate beauty. One word of warning, however, if you are growing montanas on the house, whatever you do, never let them get under the tiles. In no time at all their jungle-like vines will force the tiles up and the weather will get in and you will have trouble.

The first of the large-flowering hybrids to delight me in the spring is the beautiful Miss Bateman. This is often the first one to flower, coming out in early May. It is a medium-sized flower about 6 inches in diameter and makes a medium-sized plant of 6 to 8 feet. The flowers are pure white, six or eight pointed sepals. Each sepal on opening has a bright green stripe down its centre, which fades in time (each flower is out for at least three weeks) so that eventually the flower is pure white. The centre is very attractive, the stamens are chocolate-red surrounded by a corona of flesh-coloured filaments which makes a very handsome-looking flower. These early-flowering varieties flower in almost one major burst. When they have finished, in about six weeks, they do not flower again until the autumn, when fewer and smaller blooms are produced in September.

Elsie Frost is of course a must for us at the Nursery. This variety was a result of a crossing between the varieties Lasurstern and Mrs. Cholmondeley. The result was a plant of the shape of Lasurstern and the colour of Mrs. Cholmondeley, wistaria blue. The latter is a very old variety but rather floppy in habit and continues in bloom for a very long time, but to get its colours on to the firm shape of the handsome Lasurstern has resulted in a flower of great beauty. It flowers in May and June and again in September with six or eight large pointed sepalled blooms with crenulated edges and a centre of attractive dark brown stamens. An ideal variety for the small garden as it does not grow much above 6 feet. The original Elsie Frost, my mother, alas no longer with us, was very thrilled to have a clematis named after her.

I know Nelly Moser fades badly, especially when planted in full sunshine, but not to include her in a list of favourites would be almost sacrilege! Plant her in the shade, however, or even on a north-facing wall and those glorious huge cartwheel-like carmine-striped flowers will last much longer. All the ‘improvements’ to Nelly Moser lack one thing, that fantastic central mass of brown-tipped stamens which is such a striking foil for the mauve-pink blooms produced with such freedom in May and June. Sometimes rather slow in making a start, but when it does get going it is a sight to behold for about six weeks in the early summer. In September one often gets a second blooming of smaller by equally beautiful flowers. Nelly Moser will grow to about 8 to 12 feet and needs no pruning.

A variety Haku Ookan from Japan, is another favourite. This is rapidly becoming very popular with many people. Its deep lustrous violet blooms are set off to perfection by a mass of prominent creamy-white stamens which give it the Japanese name of ‘The White Royal Crown’. This variety also flowers twice a year, once in May and June when the flowers are semi-double and again in September when they are single. This peculiar habit is explained by the fact that the semi-double (and double) flowers are produced on the old wood, that is, wood which was produced the previous year. Single flowers appear on the young wood, which explains why they do not appear until September. The young wood which did not start to grow until June, has by September become capable of producing a flower, but only a single flower. However, this is a strikingly beautiful bloom, in fact to my mind a much more attractive flower than a double one. The great majority of clematis are of course single, but doubles seem to be gaining in favour, although to me they still look like a climbing dahlia!

Another new variety has rapidly gained my favour and this is a variety sent to me by one of our customers in the Argentine, and named after himself, Dr. Ruppel. This is a magnificent striped variety, an improvement on Capitan Thuilleaux which is an improvement on Bees Jubilee which is an improvement on our old favourite Nelly Moser! A few years ago I sent Capitan Thuilleaux to Dr. Ruppel telling him it was the best of the pink-striped varieties and I had a letter back from him, after the plant had bloomed, to tell me he had a much better variety, ‘Dr. Ruppel’,.and he promised to send me a plant, which he did. It arrived in July and looked completely dead and then we realised that it was winter-time in the Argentine, so naturally it would look dead. After a week or two our summer weather soon encouraged the plant to send out green shoots and the following spring we had the first flower which exceeded our expectations and really came up to Dr. Ruppel’s claim. It is a large flower of a bright strawberry-pink, with a deep carmine bar running down the centre of each sepal. The flower consists of eight pointed sepals with a central boss of golden stamens. A really magnificent variety.

H. F. Young is an improvement on Lasurstern, that well-known handsome deep blue variety that has for many years thrilled us with its exotic display every May and June. ‘Improvements’ do not always work out, and at the time of writing we have not yet had time to assess the capabilities of Dr. Ruppel. We hear it is a good grower in the Argentine and flowers well in that country, but will it enjoy the English climate and give us the same display? We shall have to wait and see, but with H. F. Young we have had time to put it on trial and very successfully it has triumphed. To look at it at first glance one would think it was a very good specimen of Lasurstern, but on closer examination, we find the flowers are not quite so large and that they are rather cup-shaped rather than flat as Lasurstern is, the edges are perhaps a little more crenulated and the centre is golden rather than cream. It is when we look at the plant itself we realise what an excellent improvement it is. It grows to a height of 8 to 12 feet and will get as wide. In the spring it is simply smothered with enormous deep blue flowers, from top to bottom, with flowers often literally on the ground, the whole plant being a sheet of colour. We have tried to count the number on a plant of this size but found it impossible, the estimate being well over a thousand! This magnificent show continues for six weeks or more in May and June and is repeated every year, with more and more blooms, surely a must for every clematis lover.

Kathleen Dunford is a rich plummy rosy-purple raised by one of our customers. The semi-double flowers are unique as they consist of two rows of sepals of the same size, usually semi-double flowers have an inner rosette of smaller sepals, but this is the only variety which has these same-sized sepals. Later on in September it has single flowers on the young wood, which are quite different. It grows to a height of about 6 to 8 feet and is another very useful variety for the small garden.

The President is a very old variety but still one of the best. It is a deep purple-blue finely shaped flower with six to eight pointed sepals and reddish-purple stamens. The main flowering period is May and June when the very large 8-inch blooms are produced in quantity. Later on it will flower on the young wood two or three times during the summer, depending on the season. This makes it a cross between the Patens and Lanuginosa groups, but it is usually placed in the first group. It makes a plant of up to 12 feet and needs no pruning.

Double clematis are not great favourites of mine, but I must admit that Vyvyan Pennell is a striking variety, and a plant in full bloom with the large violet-blue double flowers shaded with crimson is an unforgettable sight. It flowers in May and June and again in September, but this time with single blooms because they are on the young wood which has been produced during the summer. It is only on year-old ripened wood that the attractive double flowers are produced, so whatever you do, don’t prune Vyvyan Pennell or you will only get single flowers.

The Lanuginosa group contains a large number of varieties but as they overlap with the Jackmanii varieties often flowering at the same time, I have only chosen four of them. They can be left unpruned or can be pruned hard as with the Jackmanii, but it is best to leave them unpruned as you then get a double amount of flower, the early ones are borne on the old wood, last year’s ripened wood, and the later flowers appear very quickly on the young wood at varying times during the summer. Henryi is a gorgeous white with dark stamens, it is a huge stiff bloom with eight long pointed sepals, a beautifully shaped flower and one that will remain in water as a cut flower for up to three weeks. Clematis hybrids are not very good as cut flowers. Their blooms are apt to suddenly wilt and as they are so big the effect is rather dramatic, smaller flowers are not noticed so much if they droop in an arrangement but the collapse of a clematis bloom is catastrophic! So our beautiful Henryi is a very useful variety for the flower arranger. The plant itself will grow to quite a good-sized plant anything from 12 to 20 feet and the amount of blooms is remarkable, often two or three hundred appearing at the same time, mainly in June and July, but at other periods during the summer on the young wood.

William Kennett is another reliable old variety that has been with us for over a hundred years. This will make a plant of up to 20 feet and is a sensation when in full bloom in June and July with hundreds of huge lavender-blue flowers with purple stamens. Each flower consists of eight overlapping sepals deeply ribbed and veined and crimped round the edges, a very handsome variety indeed.

Violet Charm is in some ways similar to William Kennett, but the sepals are longer and the plant itself does not grow very big, 6 to 8 feet being its limit. Its great attraction is, however, that it is seldom out of flower, the handsome rich violet blooms are produced non-stop from June to September without a break and there is always a flower on an established plant of Violet Charm.

Xerxes is another variety that is seldom out of flower. This handsome variety has rounded sepals and is a beautiful deep violet blue with purple and crimson shading. A good one for the small garden as it does not grow much above 6 feet.

My favourite clematis now come to mid-summer and the Jackmanii varieties. What good fortune it was for us gardeners that just over a hundred years ago the firm of Jackmans of Woking should have crossed the then recently introduced large-flowering

C. lanuginosa from China with two of the species being grown here, C. hendersonii and C. vittcella atrorubens. From this cross came the world-famous Jackmanii that has graced our porches and pergolas for over a century and is still one of our most popular clematis. The deep purple flowers are produced in great profusion from late June until the end of September and often well into October. The flowers are of medium size, four-sepalled, and are produced continuously throughout that time. As soon as one flower dies another takes its place, so the effect is that of a plant perpetually in bloom. All the Jackmanii varieties need hard pruning as they flower on the young wood only. They can be left, of course, but these varieties will start to grow from where they flowered the year before, and they will grow their allotted amount before flowering, so the previous year’s wood is left bare often 5 or 6 feet, which looks rather unsightly. So cut them down hard, almost to the ground during the winter, but not later than the end of February, you will at least have the bottom few feet covered with leaves, you will never get flowers on these bottom few feet, only the Patens varieties will flower to the ground.

Perle d’Azur is my favourite of the Jackmanii group, and in fact it is my favourite clematis of all. It is the only pale blue variety in the hard-pruning varieties. The flowers are about 6 inches across, with four to six deeply ribbed sepals. (Clematis often vary the number of sepals on different flowers on the same plant.) The colour is almost sky-blue with green stamens. They are held gracefully on long stems, making it a most striking and graceful plant, and it goes on and on producing hundreds of blooms at a time, a well-established plant will have had two thousand or more by the end of the season. One of the best clematis and rapidly becoming as popular as its ancestor Jackmanii. A vigorous climber it will make a plant of up to 20 feet in a season.

Comtesse de Bouchaud is the best of the pink Jackmaniis. The flowers are saucer-shaped medium-sized, with six sepals which are deeply ribbed and an attractive shade of old rose and sometimes described as pinky-mauve. It is vigorous and very free-flowering, never being out of flower from June to September. A medium-sized plant, it is ideal for the small garden, growing from 8 to 12 feet.

Another fine purple variety is Etoile Violette, deeper in colour than Jackmanii it is small but most attractive. Each flower consists of six rounded sepals with a central boss of bright yellow stamens and hundreds of flowers are produced at a time. Another excellent variety for those with limited space, growing only up to about 8 feet. The flowering period is not quite so long, being from July to September.

Madame Julia Correvon is a very old variety that was lost to the trade for several years, being found again at the famous Hidcote gardens. The flowers are small, with gappy twisted sepals and recurving tips, but in spite of this description it is a fine variety. The colour is almost bright red with greenish cream-coloured stamens. Very free-flowering with masses of bloom from July to September and another good variety for the small garden, making a plant of about 6 feet. It has been known as Madame Jules Correvon, but is has been discovered that it was orginally Madame Julia Correvon and so this name is now restored to this most attractive variety.

A beautiful red variety from France, Rouge Cardinal, caused considerable excitement in the early 1970s. This is a definite improvement on all the previous so-called reds. Actually there are no real red varieties in the clematis world, the colour being either petunia red, or plummy red, but with Rouge Cardinal we have a glowing crimson, a gorgeous colour which seems to light up when the sun shines. The flower consists of six recurving sepals with golden stamens. Very free-flowering it is in bloom from June to September and makes a plant of about 8 feet. A good variety for the small garden.

We send clematis all over the world and consequently I have made friends in many different countries and as with Dr. Ruppel in the Argentine we exchange varieties new to our particular countries. Another such friend lives in Poland, Noll Wladyslaw, and I have been corresponding with him for ten years or more and he has sent me several new varieties from that country. The best one is Niobe, a fantastic colour. When it first comes out it is almost black, opening to a gorgeous rich ruby-red. The flowers are medium-sized, six-pointed sepals, which when fully out have recurving tips. Large golden stamens add to the beauty of this variety, contrasting strikingly with the ruby-red sepals. It makes a plant of from 6 to 8 feet, needs hard pruning every year and produces masses of flowers from June to September.

Twilight is described by its raiser, Percy Picton of The Old Court Nurseries, Colwall, near Malvern, as reminding one of an evening glow on a stormy night. A lovely description to a lovely variety. The colour is certainly different to all other clematis, best described as a lavender mauve.

It has six overlapping round sepals, making it a nice full flower with a centre of golden stamens. Vigorous and free-flowering it makes a plant of from 8 to 12 feet and flowers from July to September.

Victoria is a very old variety but still one of the best. Similar in growth and habit to the better-known Jackmanii it is paler in colour, being an attractive shade of soft heliotrope with buff-coloured stamens. The flowers have six overlapping sepals and as with Perle d’Azur they are held beautifully on long stems, giving the plant a graceful habit. It grows to a height of up to 20 feet, will flower with abundance from June to September and is an ideal variety for growing through shrubs and trees.

The summer is at its height now and some of the charming and rewarding species are just coming into bloom, weaving their vines through their supports and producing myriads of dainty flowers in many diverse forms, one of the appealing charms of the clematis. One such variety is C. orientalis which is a vigorous climber, growing to a height of 20 feet and more. The leaves are finely cut, glaucous green and dainty and are the perfect foil for the thousands of charming small bell-shaped flowers that appear from July to October. These flowers are unique, being thick fleshy golden yellow, cut into four equal sepals, reminding one of an orange cut into quarters, in fact it is often called the ‘Orange Peel’ clematis. The flowers are followed by attractive seedheads. If one has plenty of room there is not need to prune, but if space is lacking then cut back about half-way each winter.

Another of the summer-flowering species that is rather unique is C. integrifolia Durandii with waxy 4-inch-wide rich indigo-blue flowers which have deeply furrowed ribs on the four separated sepals produced from June to September. The growth is upright and woody, different to most clematis as the variety is semi-herbaceous and it must be tied to its support as the leaves are non-clinging. Most clematis climb by their leaves, but the leaves of Durandii are simple, entire and non-clinging. An ideal variety for growing through shrubs or specie roses as these will support the clematis without the necessity of tying. Hard pruning is necessary but as it is semi-herbaceous it will often die down to the ground during the winter.

A true herbaceous variety is C. recta which a hundred years ago was known as erecta, an excellent description of its habit producing tall, erect stems of 3 to 4 feet height with grey-green pinnate leaves, topped off by masses of small white fragrant flowers during June and July, ideal for cutting. It makes a very attractive bush for the back of an herbaceous border. Needs hard pruning every winter.

Another very useful herbaceous variety for flowering later in the season from August to October is C. davidiana Wyevale, which looks nothing like a clematis. It makes a bush of about 4 feet in height and has large coarse leaves. The flowers are produced at each leaf axil in clusters. They are hyacinth-like in size and shape and with a very good scent. The original variety was brought from China in 1864 by l’Abbe David after whom it was named. The variety Wyevale is an improved version raised at Williamson’s Nursery in Herefordshire. Hard pruning is necessary every winter.

Seedheads are part of the attraction of clematis, many varied and beautiful forms being seen on different varieties, such as the round ‘whirligig’ of large-flowering hybrids and foamy sprays of the ‘old Man’s Beard’ on our hedgerows in chalky areas. One very beautiful variety is C. tangutica Gravetye which has small, attractive, bright yellow lantern-shaped flowers which develop very quickly into handsome silvery-grey seedheads. As this variety flowers for a long period, July to October, and the early flowers are quickly turned into seedheads, one has the unique experience of having a plant with flowers and seedheads both at the same time. Originally from Russia it is known as the Russian Virgin’s Bower and makes a plant of 20 to 30 feet. If you have plenty of room do not prune, but if you are pushed for space it can be pruned hard each year.

Very few clematis came from America but there is one very unique variety called

C. texensis which has urn-shaped flowers of thick leathery sepals, bright scarlet in colour, but unfortunately not available in England. However, several crosses have been made which have produced some very interesting varieties. One of my favourites is C. texensis Etoile Rose, a dainty bell-shaped flower with four recurving sepals of a beautiful cerise-pink colour with silver margins to each sepal, opening out to about 2 inches wide. Trained over an archway these dainty bells can be viewed from below, the best way to see them. The texensis varieties are semi-herbaceous and die down to the ground every winter, so they are naturally pruned each year. It makes a plant of about 8 to 12 feet and flowers from July to October.

The native clematis of Spain is C. viticella, which came to this country in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, thus giving one reason for the popular name of clematis ‘The Virgin’s Bower’. Several varieties of this specie have been raised since then and one of the best is the deep crimson variety

C. viticella rubra. The flowers are saucer-shaped, about 3 inches wide, and are produced in great profusion from July to October. The plant itself grows to a height of from 10 to 20 feet and should be pruned hard every winter. Another of the viticellas that delight me in the late summer is C. viticella Minuet. This variety has cream-coloured flowers edged in mauve and held upright by long stalks, whereas most of the other viticellas hang downwards. It grows to 10 to 20 feet, and like rubra should be pruned hard every winter.

The last of the late summer- and autumn-flowering species to catch my eye is the scented Virgin’s Bower, C. flammula, which fills the garden during the autumn with a delicious almond scent. The flowers are white, four-sepalled and very small, but there are thousands of them covering the plant in a mantle of white. Ideal for rambling through trees and bushes it will grow to 20 to 30 feet and need not be pruned unless space is limited. Silvery seedheads follow the flowers in late autumn.

Three late-flowering hybrids complete my favourite forty. The first of these valuable autumn clematis is the well-known variety Ernest Markham. This was named after the head gardener at Gravetye Manor in the 1930s. This, his most famous production, is a warm petunia-red which seems to glow in the sun. It has six broad overlapping sepals making a good round-shaped flower with golden contrasting stamens. Very free-flowering it will produce hundreds of flowers continuously from August to the end of October and even into November if the autumn is fine. It is very vigorous, making a plant of up to 20 feet in a year, and should be pruned hard every winter. However, there is an exception to every rule and although we say that all Jackmanii and Viticella varieties flower on the young wood only, if Ernest Markham is left unpruned it will produce flowers on the old wood in the spring, but it is really best to prune it hard every winter. It seems that the late-flowering varieties alone have this ability to flower on the old wood in the spring although they are by nature varieties that flower on the young wood. There are another two varieties that have this peculiarity, one is the cerise red Ville de Lyon and the other is the rich royal purple Gipsy Queen which flowers abundantly from August to October. The flowers are six-sepalled, star-shaped with a velvet sheen on each pointed sepal, the stamens are reddish-purple and it will grow up to 20 feet.

The last to flower of my Favourite Forty is the very late-flowering Lady Betty Balfour. So late in fact that it sometimes refuses to bloom if the summer has been poor. So a warm south is essential for this beauty. It is a very vigorous grower with strong thick stems growing to 20 feet and more. The flowers are large, deep violet-blue with contrasting golden stamens, very freely produced during September and October. A beautiful and worthwhile variety to finish my clematis year.

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