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Once enlarged, (for most but not all images), run your cursor over the image and a further enlargement icon appears bottom right - click to enlarge image further. ALL IMAGES ARE COPYRIGHT!
Item 2nd September 2007
C. patens x C. coactilis
Item 25th May 2007
Another superb edition by Ken Woolfenden and a complete must for the clematis lover. If you join the International Clematis Society you get the excellent Clematis International every year, and this alone is worth far more than the modest membership fee.
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You can easily join by going to http://www.clematisinternational.com/socindex.html -
On joining the Society new Members receive:
a copy of Clematis International for that year, once it is published. Also, of course, you gain marvellous access (On following link click on left-hand menu "About the Society" then "Seed Exchange") to the Society's Seed Exchange!
Item 7th May 2007
BCS Seed Exchange 2007
If you join the British Clematis Society, you can share in the annual Seed Exchange. Alternatively, you can buy seeds at BCS-attended shows throughout the season. Go to the main BCS website and look at the "events" pages to find out which shows the BCS will be attending this year.
Click image, and, once enlarged, run your cursor over the image and a further enlargement icon appears bottom right - click to enlarge image further.
The costs are NOMINAL and, from this one source alone, amateurs can acquire and grow the widest possible range of clematis including species and hybrid plants. It is worth the annual membership fee alone, but for the same money you also get the annual Journal, a "must-have" for any clematis enthusiast. Of course, it is down to the volunteers who receive, clean, sort, package, send and otherwise administer the Exchange that we have such a wonderful seed list available, and without their magnificent selfless efforts we would all be so much the poorer!
If you are interested in clematis you can benefit greatly from joining the Society. The costs are very modest and in return you will receive a wealth of printed information every year about your favourite plants; admission to the various meetings where you can meet other clematis enthusiasts at every level; and many other benefits. Just go here and follow the instructions. You'll never regret it! (All links open in a new window).
Item 29th March 2007
It was great day discussing clematis with Bengt Sundström, Helen Hadley and Denise MacDonald at my greenhouse. For information about the forthcoming visit to Sweden by the International Clematis Society, see this lnk.
Thanks to garden author Jean Stowe for publishing this article in Gardens Monthly magazine.....
A quick glance in the 'house.
A small cutting of a patens-type seedling: this one produces sumptuous large white flowers. Because the flowers are early, it lends itself to hybridising with any other early, compatible plants. There are lots of candidates and possibilities for future crosses of this type.
A seedling from the cross C. florida x C. viornae-hybrid: This is a favourite. The plant rapidly produces a stand of attractive foliage and then suddenly develops copious flower buds which open in an abundance of slightly smaller but fully-open lovely blue flowers around the head and shoulders; last year (second time of flowering technically, but first, really, as a more mature seedling) she was a real eye-catcher.
A seedling named Nina - which is truly spectacular under glass. The picture at the top of the Homepage is of the same plant. Out in the garden she is not so 'developed' in colour terms, but still lovely and impressive: however under glass the flowers are striking! This photo of a cutting of Nina with the light to the rear, so you can pick out most of the many flower buds. May not look it right now but in several weeks' time this plant will be a completely spellbinding sight. Honestly, really! Pity she won't be ready for the AGM!
A seedling from the cross C. patens x C. viornae-hybrid. The flowers are already formed/forming. The plant produces lovely smooth mid-green pinnate foliage followed by a succession of lovely flowers. At first the flowers buds are globose but they rapidly elongate and become very ribbed, whilst developing (on the exterior) a strong purply colouration. The flowers open pure white on the interior with a tuft of long white stamens, the exterior of the sepals retain their purple colouring concentrated especially along the veins. As the flower matures the sepals sweep backwards and eventually become quite reflexed, at the same time the prominent mass of long stamens opens up and begins to expand outwards.
The next plant, clematis G67 SM, has so strong a tendency to produce flowers that even the tiniest-possible rooted cutting produces almost full-size flowers. The flowers will eventually open in the usual fashion and then later produce normal seeds.
Clematis patens x clematis coactilis. Two distant and distinct cousins, clematis patens is a climbing liane which mainly produces early crops of very large brightly-coloured flat open flowers, on short stalks/vines from buds borne on the previous season's old vine material. Clematis coactilis on the other hand is almost at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum - an herbaceous native of the shale barrens of South Virginia, another (modest-sized) member of the integrifolia complex of the North American viornae group. The plant forms small clumps of silky-pubescent green leaves and foliage, bearing relatively large greenish (sometimes purplish) nodding urn-shaped flowers, which appear white or grey on account of the dense covering of silky hairs. (It is thought that) The viornae group have retained and developed the ancestral 'urn-shaped' flowers which are presented, by the range of species in the viorna group, in a plethora of styles with various evolutionary anatomical modifications.
For this cross the female, or seed, parent, was the large-flowered species patens, with the pollen donated by the coactilis. Of course where crossings are concerned one has to be very cautious with seedling comments, as the nature of the (new) plant is only very slowly and gradually revealed. You can't foreguess as to whether or not any crossing has been successful, and you have no idea about the nature of the plants arising, until they have had time to express their characteristics fully.
If these crosses have been successful, however, the mind boggles as to what the eventual flowers might look like! But we'll have to wait and see. The only thing you can be sure of is this - you KNOW who the seed-bearer was. The seedlings' structures were initially somewhat reminiscent of youthful C. coactilis plants, however, as they are developing there are strongly marked deviations from that pattern, especially in the foliage form, pubescence, bud shape, degree of extension-growth of the vines etc etc, and we know the female parent was C. patens, so one's hopes are raised. There are several batches of seedlings which have arisen from separate crosses, but at present most (but not all) of the seedlings are fairly similar in appearance.
At this point many large-flowered hybrids have already formed their flower buds - they will be ready to open from mid-April onwards.
Most other plants in the house (restricted to one or two main stems) (why?) will soon begin to produce buds for opening from May to June and beyond. A few late plants have yet to emerge but these will rapidly come through and make fast headway, now that day-length has passed a certain threshold. There are some species plants which will flower during the next four weeks.
Now is the time to think about this year's hybridisation programme. This will involve a large number of crosses between plants, and should yield seed from mid-season onwards. Some goals for this year include hybrids of C. florida with some of the North American urns, plus crosses of large-flowered plants, and C. patens, with other viornae-group members. The first large-flowered plants will be available for crosses in about 4-6 weeks, and the C. floridas will flower around the beginning of May. The seeds generated will germinate (HOPEFULLY!!!) in the following 12-18 months, and probably reach the flowering stage for the first time in 2009 and 2010. It is well worth the wait, and the time's going to pass, anyway. For more information on hybridising click this link.
Why? New plants in my house are restricted to two main vines for several reasons: the plants are much easier to manage, and the new vines can be tied onto stakes easily and quickly. Unrestricted growth leads to difficulty in coping with the volume of the plants. This is not a problem if you only have a few plants, but with large numbers is completely impractical - also, you run out of space, sooner. The smaller plants have lesser nutritional requirements, hence the medium in the pots, which normally lasts about 6 weeks before exhaustion, is able to supply the necessary nutrients for a longer time before liquid feeding becomes necessary. Only two vines are necessary - the first for the new flowers, the second for 'insurance' in case of accidental vine breakage. Just 2 vines might seem restrictive, but - - - the plants produce 100% of their current characteristics, and give you good, compact, manageable plants, in due course often full of flowers, in peak health.
extremely floriferous seedling enlarge the image up to full size and you'll see that every single bit of green is a flower bud; also the lower buds and shoots are the same, but not as developed yet. Full images so when loaded run cursor onto pic and enlargement icon appears bottom right - click to enlarge to full size
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