Clematis cuttings: I didn’t kill them all

But this one’s dead.

dead clematis cuttingLike the Monty Python parrot, this cutting isn’t sleeping, fainting or otherwise revivable…

As gardeners we must learn to deal with these things. We are strong, we are brave, we are driven and we are just the tiniest bit nuts.

Thus begins part two of the saga of the clematis cuttings, based on a huge long tedious book that you would never get through so fortunately I’ve made this condensed version with only the essential technical gardening stuff in it. (I cut out the back-room seed-pod deals, chlorophyll money, hot flower affairs and sordid root scandals because I knew you wouldn’t take ANY interest in those things unless maybe you are Cathy and she’ll just have to use her imagination.)

The music lightens…

It’s been about 6 weeks, and this cutting is still alive-

Clematis montana cutting

Yes it is a Clematis montana, which I believe is a pretty wild and tough species type that you probably can’t kill even if a dead cutting was something you really really wanted. But wait, there’s more…

lg flower red clematis cutting

This is a cutting from a large flowered clematis. For those of you who need specific nomenclature, it’s the one by the gate.

Oh all right, here is a picture.

red clematisSee why I hesitated– an aged bloom, but the colors are sort of purple edges and redder up the centers of the petals. And it has a name probably.

clematis cutting

This is another large flowered one that is new and hasn’t actually bloomed its purple blooms yet. Those little sprouts are coming!  The rest of the ten survivors look like the ones shown above and, because I like you, I didn’t photograph them all. (They are still in their little plastic-bag-covered pots, sitting outside in shade, which isn’t too important because it rains all the time anyway.)

I’ve read last rites to about four cuttings out of the fourteen, which is better than my luck with making chicken with dumplings or growing basil outside the greenhouse.

Like Forrest Gump that is all I have to say about THAT –until the inevitable part three of this epic thriller.

tall Thalictrum blooms

This is something I just had to photograph for you today. I can’t find proper notes (as you know I usually keep impeccable plant records) but I recall this is termed a Japanese Thalictrum.

I love so many things about it. It’s very tall, around six feet or so, it comes back every summer but stays in its space, it has layers of horizontal leaves that are architectural looking, and then the perfectly round buds like tiny balloons or, if you want more class, lavender colored pearls.

(That’s a Quaking Aspen tree with white bark at the side of the image, living up to its name today in the wind.)

Thalictrum round bloomsThe round buds on the Thalictrum open to little parachute blooms. (If I were a half inch tall I just know I could find something fun to do with them.)

This plant produces a lot of great seeds in late summer and they germinate easily in the greenhouse, which is why I have it growing in three places now.

In other news, I had to go into town yesterday (where I don’t live) and I took Max on his favorite walk there, on the paths in a rather wild city park.


There is this pretty walkway over water at the beginning of the trails. Sometimes people get married in this part of the park. (People may get divorced here too I don’t know.)

trailThen you wander through trees with mossy tangled roots and giant ferns and maybe Wood Elves.

Last fall the city put up a sign at the entrance to the trails, warning that a mountain lion had been sighted in the park. Max and I had a little trouble enjoying the isolated paths during the weeks when that sign was posted.

by the water

The woodsy path comes out of the shade for a while and goes by a waterway. Lot’s of dogs come here to swim but not Max. (If it were a dirt pile he’d be in there digging in a flash).  He wears his stylish harness for walks so he doesn’t get choked by his collar when he goes for a squirrel and also so other dogs will admire him.

*          *           *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Grace made me look in the bag of wine that Tillie brought back from Italy.  Unfortunately there was nothing inside but wine bottles and what appears to be a car key for a Lamborghini. (I hope you had an extra key Alberto.)

Since Tillie’s return, old pictures have been turning up in odd places. I found this one in the electric mixer bowl as I was about to make some bread…

Baby Tillie

There’s penciled script on the back:

“Rototillia. 8 months old. Just before that incident with the chickens.”


About linniew

Unpublished novelist seeks therapy in gardening. Westie assists.
This entry was posted in Max the Westie, Other great garden plants, propagation, Tillie and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Clematis cuttings: I didn’t kill them all

  1. Alberto says:

    I wonder what happened to those poor chickens!!!

    I really enjoyed this post, I’ve never been lucky with clematis cuttings. Your clematis looks like Ernst Markham have a look:
    The thalictrum is a delavayii. I just love it.

    Do you have a 18 blog where we can read sordid root scandals? I have hormone (powder) issues…

    • linniew says:

      I am afraid we will never learn the truth about the chicken story.

      You may be right on the clematis name Alberto, and I will note the Thalictrum in my garden journal for sure this time, thanks!

      And all my blogs are for immature audiences only. (Sorry about your hormone powder…)

  2. Grace says:

    Perhaps Tillie was letting you know, inadvertently, of course, that even at 8 months of age she was a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately since the photo was taken before the incident there aren’t any stray feathers to prove her point.

    I love that Thalictrum too and I hope mine seeds itself all over the place like the spring-blooming species does. Congrats on the success of your Clemmie cuttings. I hope you’ll keep us posted on their progress.

    Does Tillie still have a driver’s license?

  3. kininvie says:

    So the key thing is, do those clematis with the tiny tiny life have any ROOTS?

    There….now I’ve made you so eager to know, every time you look at those pots you’ll be tempted to give a little tug to see if there’s any resistance. And then maybe a bigger tug. And you won’t really be able to tell, so you will think, maybe I’ll have a little look inside….

    And then….

    Well you won’t know until you try

    Evil Kininvie

    • linniew says:

      Dear Evil Kininvie,
      Now you have sown the seeds of anxiety and curiosity both. Bad bad kininvie! The fragile lives of these cuttings hang in this balance, and I rest full responsibility for my undisciplined behaviors (ALL of them) right on your doorstep. Oh dear. This could be dreadful…

  4. Dear Linnie, Well, I’m impressed with your cuttings — more than I’ve been able to do. P. x

    • linniew says:

      Oh Pam, Kininvie suggests they may be playing ‘possum, rootless, veritable zombie cuttings. I could make a horror movie of this endeavor. Perhaps I should hang some garlic in the doorway of the greenhouse…

  5. Aimee says:

    Those poor chickens indeed. Clearly, Tillie was born (pun completely intended) a bad SEED.

    Hey – only 4 out 14 attempts isn’t bad at all. My friend Bev has had success rooting cuttings from clematis, so if the other 10 of your are showing signs of life, then I bet you’re on the home stretch.

    Thalic-what? I am head over heels! Where on EARTH am I going to find space for this in my yard?

    What a lovely park – that bridge looks to be the perfect spot for beginnings or endings, or anything in between – it’s just plain picturesque! Mountain lions are serious business, Max – proceed with caution! Stick with the dirt piles!

  6. linniew says:

    You will love thalictrum Aimee. It comes in all sizes, even tiny ferny ones, but this tall kind sort of blends in; it finds a space up above other shorter plants like a little tree.

  7. I like the idea of ‘medium’ life. I’ll remember that.


  8. Sheila says:

    After reading these comments, I am now tempted to pull on my Christmas cactus cutting … and root clematis’s – though it would help if I had one in the first place …

  9. Pingback: August rain « Women Who Run With Delphiniums

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