Clematis Celebration

Clematis Celebration

The Scott Arboretum is awash in clematis. Over the past spring, we have increased our collection by 60%, adding over 50 new cultivars. Because of a cool, wet summer, these diminutive new additions are sprouting blooms and giving us a preview of their full potential.

Clematis orientalis 'Bill Mackenzie' is blooming along the Route 320 fence. photo credit: R. Robert

These two to three blooms provide glimpses of the diversity of Clematis taxa with flat open discs, nodding bells, singe, double, or tubular flowers. If you take a moment to inspect the newly renovated Dean Bond Rose Garden, you will discover a plethora of small newly planted clematis plants beginning to clamor among climbing roses and up new metal obelisks.

While the Arboretum has been trialing new selections of clematis for the past several years, this explosion of clematis cultivars on the grounds is in preparation for the International Clematis Society annual gathering to be held in the Delaware Valley in June 2014. We are one of three local institutions trialing 52 cultivars from Poland, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands for release in the United States.

Clematis 'Purple Dream' in bloom along side Rosa Graham Thomas. photo credit: R. Robert

A member of the clematis trial selection team, Jeff Jabco, our coordinator of horticulture, was ecstatic to see blooms on trial plant Clematis ‘Purple Dream’. These large nodding bell-shaped flowers are creamy-crimson on the outside and light-pink inside with a pleasant grapefruit scent.


Clematis AlainaTM is climbing this trellis in the container trials. photo credit: R. Robert

Our growing area is also overwhelmed with clematis being trialed for containers. This week Clematis AlainaTM has opened some wonderful pink blooms as it climbs the trellis. This soft pink clematis is underplanted with Heuchera ‘Delta Dawn’ and variegated Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’.

Clematis Diana's DelightTM is caughting everyone's eye on the Plant Sale field. photo credit: R. Robert

All this clematis excitement has also spilled onto the Plant Sale field.  The Scott Associates Plant Sale is offering a record number of 15 clematis this year. Currently in bloom and looking exquisite is Clematis Diana’s Delight TM. The lavender tones of the huge 6” to 7” blooms attract plant lovers from around the field and the creamy yellow centers add interest as they approach the plant. This cultivar is ideal for containers and small spaces.

Clematis chiisanensis 'Lemon Bells' blooms along the McCabe Library. photo credit: R. Robert

We hope to bring you more updates throughout the coming growing seasons as our exploration of clematis genera for the Delaware Valley continues. Conduct your own exploration with the numerous offers at the Scott Associates Plant Sale this weekend. To have a chance to own all 15 varieties, attend the Special Friends Preview Party tonight.

Becky Robert
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