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.

November and We’re Still Blooming!

Posted by LindaB on Saturday, November 10, 2012

Northwestern Oregon has enjoyed an unusually lovely autumn, and the coming of the rains, late this year, have inspired a bevy of beauties to stay in bloom, or return to bloom. Here’s the rundown of which clematis are blooming, and a few pictures to whet your appetite. You will see that the winter-blooming Cirrhosa group are already well represented, with the recently pruned C. cirrhosa var. purpurascens ‘Lansdowne Gem’ rebounding and forming buds already. Also forming buds outside is C. napaulensis, and if the weather continues mild and we avoid a hard frost, we will get bloom from this species. The plants of this species inside the greenhouse should be in bloom within the next two weeks.

Clematis patens 'Yukiokoshi'

    Inside the Greenhouse:

ANGELIQUE ‘Evipo017′
‘Doctor Ruppel’
‘Duchess of Sutherland’
‘Horn of Plenty’
‘Iola Fair’
‘King George V’
‘Margaret Hunt’

Clematis ANGELIQUE 'Evipo043'

    On the Terrace in Containers:

ANNA LOUISE ‘Evithree’
‘Blue Ravine’
CHEROKEE ‘Evipo041′
‘Etoile de Malicorne’
JOSEPHINE ‘Evijohill’
‘Lech Welesa’
PICARDY ‘Evipo024′
‘Prince Philip’
‘Snow Queen’
‘Summer Breeze’
VANCOUVER ‘Danielle’

    Terrace Walk:

C. cirrhosa ‘Ourika Valley’
C. cirrhosa ‘Wisley Cream’
C. cirrhosa var. purpurascens ‘Freckles’
C. cirrhosa var. purpurascens ‘Jingle Bells’

Clematis cirrhosa 'Wisley Cream'

    The IClS Beginner’s Garden:

‘Duchess of Albany’
‘Etoile Violette’
‘Kardynal Wyszynski’
‘Prince Charles’
‘Venosa Violacea’

    In Steppe:

C. tibetana subspecies vernayi var. vernayi

    Old Poland:

‘Anna Karolina’
‘Mikolaj Kopernik’

    Founder’s Garden:

‘Fond Memories’
‘Jenny Keay’
‘Sixten’s Gift’

    Baltic Border:


    Beech Tree’s Garden:

‘Mayor Isao’
‘Mrs. Yuki’
C. patens ‘Yukiokoshi’

Clematis 'Mayor Isao'

    Heirloom Garden:

‘Fair Rosamond’ (Bed B)
‘Lasurstern’ (Bed C)
C. tibetana (Bed D)
‘Belle of Woking’ (Bed E)
‘Edouard Desfosse’ (Bed E)
‘Candida’ (Bed H)
C. crispa (Bed H)
‘M. Koster’ (Bed I)

Front Bank:
‘Etoile Rose’
‘Gravetye Beauty’
‘Princess Diana’

Late June Bloom Report

Posted by LindaB on Thursday, June 28, 2012

Good heavens! It might be easier to tell you what isn’t in bloom. In every part of the FRCC gardens there are many clematis in bloom, testament to the value of getting 65% of the collection into the ground. Of particular interest just now is the International Clematis Society Beginners’ Garden, where we have planted many of the clematis on their list of great plants recommended to gardeners unfamiliar with clematis. We have two island bed dedicated to the 60 or so plants on that list, and all of the clematis pictured in this post are from the eldest of these beds. Each of these clematis is proclaiming loud and clear its worthiness to be on the list!

Clematis 'Abundance'

Beginners’ Garden
‘Abundance’ (Viticella Group)
‘Alionushka’ (Integrifolia Group)
‘Arabella’ (Integrifolia Group)
‘Betty Corning’ (Viticella Group)
‘Bill Mackenzie’ (Tangutica/Orientalis Group)
‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’ (Late Large-flowered Hybrid)
x durandii
‘Emelia Plater’ (Viticella Group)
‘Etoile Violette’ (Viticella Group)
‘Hagley Hybrid’ (Late Large-flowered Hybrid)
‘Helios’ (Tangutica/Orientalis Group)
C. macropetala ‘Maidwell Hall’ (Atragene Group)
C. mandshurica (Flammula Group)
‘Markham’s Pink’ (Atragene Group)
‘Minuet’ (Viticella Group)
‘Piilu’ (Large-flowered Hybrid)
‘Prince Charles’ (Viticella Group’
‘Walenburg’ (Viticella Group)
WISLEY (Late Large-flowered Hybrid)

The Beech Tree’s Garden
C. apiifolia
‘Black Tea’
C. fusca
C. hexapetala
C. stans
‘The Velvet’

Clematis 'Arabella'

Baltic Border
x diversifolia ‘Olgae’
‘Pamiat Serdsta’

Old Poland
‘Jan Pawell II’
‘Kardynal Wyszynski’
‘Mikolaj Kopernik’
‘Monte Cassino’

Clematis 'Alionushka'

In Steppe
‘Blue Boy’
‘Lake Baikal’
‘My Angel’
‘Rose Colored Glasses’
C. tibetana subsp. vernayi ‘Orange Peel’

Via Atragene
C. alpina ‘Pamela Jackman’
‘Ballet Skirt’
‘Broughton Bride’
C. fauriei
C. ianthina var. kuripoensis BSWJ700
C. potaninii
C. rehderiana
‘Rosy Pagoda’
C. tubulosa ‘Wyevale’

Heirloom Garden
‘Alba Luxurians’
‘Colette deVille’
C. crispa
x diversifolia ‘Eriostemon’
‘Fairy Queen’
C. florida var. flore-pleno
C. integrifolia
x jouiniana
‘Lady Caroline Nevill’
‘Madame Edouard Andre’
‘Madame Julia Correvon’
C. occidentalis var. grosserata
‘Perle d’Azur’
‘Purpurea Plena Elegans’
C. recta
C. tangutica
C. urticifolia
C. viticella

Front Bank
C. fremontii
‘Gravetye Beauty’
integrifolia ‘Hendersonii’
integrifolia var. nana
‘Little Belle’
Mongolian Bells seed strain
‘Princess Diana’
‘Swedish Bells’
C. viorna

Founder’s Garden
‘Blekitny Aniol’
‘Duchess of Waverly’
‘Fond Memories’
‘Jenny Keay’
‘Maria Cornelia’
‘Paul Farges’
‘Warsaw Nike’

On the Terrace in Pots
‘Blue Light’
‘Dark Eyes’
‘Fairy Dust’
‘Jerzy Popieluszko’
‘Mrs. T. Lundell’
‘Perrin’s Pride’
VANCOUVER ‘Danielle’
C. viticella ‘Lisboa’

Inside the Greenhouse
‘Burma Star’
‘Horn of Plenty’
‘June Pyne’
‘Kiri te Kanawa’
‘Prince Phillip’

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