The Year of the Clematis

So I have been blogging around, reading a lot, finding remarkable people living in my computer. And I am just so impressionable (even at my advanced age) that I started thinking that my blog might need some new paint or something. WordPress offers lots of free and quick design choices, much easier than, say, painting the kitchen,  so I went for it. Kind of dark and brooding, like my hall wallpaper. That header picture across the top of the page shows a couple of oak limbs that go horizontal above my woods garden, and I just hope they can defy gravity a bit longer.

In other news, I have smuggled three new clematis vines into the garden mix. This is in fact The Year of the  Clematis. (Like the Chinese, I have years of.)  Here is a picture of one of the old vines, the only one  in bloom so far.

This is a Clematis montana type. It is a piece of cake to grow, but hard to prune so I don't much.

I have three other old clematis plants, which are finally starting to produce flowers nicely, but not yet this year. Can’t blame them for taking so long since I pretty much ignored them, when I wasn’t digging them up and relocating them. But suddenly I seem to need clematis, everywhere.

Clematis moonlight

New small plant, big flowers.

The vine in the cherry sapling teepee above is Clematis Moonlight newly planted in the Big Rock Bed Garden. (That other teepee in the background is supporting the climbing green beans in the vegetable garden, which will come together at the top and tie knots around each other.)

Then I have what I call the Edwardian Garden Ornament, shown in the next image.

iron trellis from Meier & Frank store


It’s not a bit Edwardian. I bought it at a garage sale about ten years ago for $25. It used to be a  clothes rack from the old Meier & Frank store in Portland (OR); now it is one of my more odd garden elements, made of iron and designed to look like bamboo. (Some of the wooden finial knobs are gone now but Mr. O assures me that he is making me new ones –he is a wood-turner–but don’t bet the rent on that getting done soon.)

A couple of years ago I planted those big Oriental lilies around the Edwardian Garden Ornament, a mix of Casa Blanca and Muscadet. They are spectacular in August, although the Plant Goddess feels they are too, um, columnar in form you might say as they push up all summer.

This is how the lily bed looked last July.

But the blooms perfume the entire garden.

Last August.

So this year I’ve added an interior clematis.

baby clematis vine

Petite baby clematis clinging to center pole.

The new little vine climbs up an added bamboo stake in the center. I calculate that this purple flowering one, called The President, will fill up the interior and the top of the Edwardian etc., bloom earlier and modify those lily plant forms somewhat, soften them, pillow them, probably grow in circles and choke them…  Extreme Risk Gardening, not for the weak of constitution.

Stay tuned for Clematis Two, The Sequel, as the season progresses.

And now some linguistic discussion:  I hate the word Clematis. It is that pronunciation conflict of  CleMATis versus CLEMatis.  And I hate them both. The first one sounds just…wrong. And the second one sounds not-for-polite-company. And whichever one you use the person you are talking with will say the other one, correcting you by example. (Personally I would prefer clemaTIS. It sounds sort of French. But nobody says it that way.)


About linniew

Unpublished novelist seeks therapy in gardening. Westie assists.
This entry was posted in actual gardens, actual plants, stuff for your garden that isn't plants and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Year of the Clematis

  1. David says:

    We have a clematis growing up a post with a birdhouse. Every year I’m accused of hitting it with the lawn mover. And every year I invite my accuser to trim round all these flowers so I can more easily avoid them. Stalemate.

    • linniew says:

      Whoa David. I have had whole small boxwood plants mowed down my Mr. O and that riding mower. He’s broken a leg off the picnic table, pruned the lilac, destroyed one of the terriers best rubber balls (leaving only 7 others) and done the same general damage as your average gulf hurricane. Your accuser should make sure I’m in the jury box.

  2. Grace says:

    We have two things in common. We both live in western Oregon and we both have been rejected by literary agents. [They don’t want to gamble on memoirs either apparently.] Oh and a third, we both love clematis! Oh and then there’s the pronunciation, “clem A’ tis.” Or as we say around here, “clemmy.” Hope you’ll visit my blog, I’d like to get to know you. Hope that’s not too forward. []

  3. McArtor says:

    Enjoyed the visit to your blog. The structures in your garden are wonderful!

    • linniew says:

      Yes it is fun to sort of furnish the gardens with stuff.
      My favorite things are rocks, and I just wish I could lift bigger ones…
      Thanks for the comment!

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