The Constant ‘Constance’

Posted by LindaB on Sunday, April 6, 2014


And so it begins, the season of flashier flowers than the subtle clematis beauties of winter. Often the first amongst these is ‘Constance’, in the clematis horticultural group known as the atragenes (at-rah-jen-knees). This group contains species such as Clematis alpina, chiisanensis, fauriei, koreana, and macropetala, and are often referred to as the “little bells” of spring. Most have only four sepals, but when the double C. macropetala is involved in the breeding, the resultant hybrids are likely double, too.

Such is the case with ‘Constance’. This culitvar is consistently one of the earliest to bloom in the Rogerson Clematis Garden’s Spring Border. Our specimens, as seen here, clamber though a long hedge of Viburnum tinus. Any pruning of ‘Constance’ is done directly after the first flowers have faded. With a bit of fertilizer added at pruning time, ‘Contance’ will bloom again in August, and will likely produced a modest autumn show in early October.

‘Constance’ is named for the British actress Constance Cummings, and was raised from a seedling of C. ‘Ruby’ by a family friend of Ms. Cummings, Kathleen Goodman of Hull, UK. The plant was introduced to the trade in 1992, and had rapidly established itself as a favorite of this group. The vines can reach 12′ tall if left unpruned, but can be maintained at a more modest 6-8′ with a good tidying, as mentioned above, done directly after the first round of flowering is over.

As if the plant needs further selling points, it would be remiss of us not to mention how very tough the “little bells” of spring are. The winter hardiest of all clematis, Clematis siberica (yes, as in Siberia), takes winters to Zone 2-3. The rest of the species can take winters down to zones 3-4 with little or no damage.

Interestingly, what this group does not like is excessive winter warm. In the humid areas of Zone 8, and in Zones 9-11, all of the atragenes are expensive annuals. Without winter cold to reset their bloom cycle, and in areas where summer temperatures do not drop at night, the plants bloom themselves to death in a year’s time. While we grow ‘Constance’ and her cousins to perfection here in the greater Portland area, in Atlanta, GA, also zone 8, she is doomed to failure because of the summer heat and humidity, which is not factored into USDA zone designations.

However, in Denver, or out on the prairies, or in the high desert areas of eastern Washington and elsewhere, the atragenes will be the most cast-iron of the clematis commonly available for sale.

FRCC Awarded Major Grant

Posted by clematis on Thursday, April 3, 2014

We are very happy to report that Clackamas County, through its Community Partnership Program, has given FRCC a grant for $4,750 to help promote tourism in Clackamas County by marketing the Collection and the Rogerson Botanic Garden to a wider audience of gardeners and horticultural enthusiasts. We will use the money to print brochures, which will include information on local hotels and restaurants; create additional content on our website about the Collection and the garden; and increase awareness about the Collection on other gardening and travel blogs, website, and social media.

Thank you Clackamas County!

Events Schedule for 2014

Posted by clematis on Saturday, January 18, 2014

Friends of the Rogerson Clematis Collection Events Schedule for 2014

A schedule of events is like a garden; it needs to be walked through often.

April 12 & 13, 10 am – 3 pm: Hortlandia HPSO Spring Plant & Garden Art Sale
Held at the Expo Center on Marine Drive.
FRCC will be selling clematis and answering questions. This event is a great opportunity to learn more about clematis as well as expand your knowledge as a gardener.
Volunteers are eligible to participate in HPSO’s early shopping opportunity.
Contact: Susan Toler: 503-642-5528 or (preferred)

May 3 & 4 Sat. 9 am – 4 pm and Sun. 9 am – 3 pm: Spring Garden Fair (Clackamas County Master Gardeners)
Held at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby, OR
FRCC will be selling clematis, of course, but there are lots of other vendors there with items not found anywhere else! You’ll see everything for sale from vegetable starts to flamboyant garden art, plus there will be workshops on site throughout the event.
Volunteers opportunty
Contact: Susan Toler: 503-642-5528 or (preferred)

May 9, 10 am – 2 pm: FRCC Celebrates National Public Garden Day
(Sponsored by the American Public Garden Association ) Join us at Luscher Farm for guided tours, plant sales and information sharing.

May 10, 9 am – 5 pm: Garden Expo, Spokane WA
Spokane Community College, 1810 N Greene St.
The Inland Empire Gardeners (TIEG) have a fantastic annual plant and garden art sale and this year will be better than ever because FRCC will be there! 15th Annual Spokane Garden Expo’s theme is “Gardening Inspiration–Let it Grow!” FRCC will have plants for sale suitable for the Spokane and central Washington climate zones.
Contact: Linda Beutler: 971-777-4394 or (preferred)

May 18, 9 am - 5 pm: Clematis Celebration at Joy Creek Nursery
Join FRCC and Joy Creek Nursery in the revival of one of our favorite clematis events. A fabulous display of clematis blossoms will be on hand for your amazement, provided by the nursery, the Rogerson Clematis Collection, and members of FRCC. Cookies and lemonade provided by Joy Creek, as well as their usual varied array of clematis for sale (for this event, Joy Creek will donate a percentage of clematis sales to FRCC and give FRCC members a 20% discount on any Joy Creek clematis purchase). At 1:00 pm Joy Creek’s Maurice Horn and FRCC’s Linda Beutler will take a look at what’s best of the newest clematis introductions from around the world.
Questions? Contact: Linda Beutler: 971-777-4394 or Joy Creek Nursery, 503-543-7474

May 24, 10 am – 4 pm: Inviting Vines Open Gardens
This year FRCC’s highly anticipated tour of private gardens features five outstanding gardens in Northeast Portland. Tickets will be available from selected local garden centers (after May 1), or online at this site, after April 15. The collection will also be open for guided tours and plant sales. Clematis will be for sale at one of the private gardens on the tour. All proceeds benefit garden development at the Rogerson Clematis Botanic Garden at Luscher Farm.
Volunteer opportunity
Contact: Susan Toler: 503-642-5528 or (preferred)


Every Friday from 9:30 - 1:30. Work on the collection at Luscher Farm, both in the garden and in the greenhouse. It’s a great way to learn from the experts.
Contact: Donna Soderberg: 971-777-4394 or

Every fourth (4th) Saturday from 10:00 – 1:30 Beginning March 29. This is the first year we will officially be open for work parties on Saturday. Work on the collection at Luscher Farm, both in the garden and in the greenhouse. It’s a great way to learn about the Queen of the Vines; Clematis. Bring your clippers & gardening gloves. Wear gardening clothes and bring a snack (although we will have tea and cookies for break time which we call, “elevenses”).
Contact: Donna Soderberg: 971-777-4394 or
Docent Day is every fourth (4th) Wednesday 10:00 – 1:30 Beginning March 26. Learn how to lead visitors through our Botanical Gardens & greenhouse at the Rogerson Clematis Collection.
Contact: Susan Toler 971-777-4394 or

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