Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My Love Affair with Bell-Shaped Clematis

 
 A bell-shaped Clematis at the entrance to Chen's garden in Milton, ON. I believe this one 
is called Betty Corning (Viticella Group Clematis).

The large number of photographs I have taken are a testament to my love affair with every type and color of bell-shaped clematis. I seem to find them in all the best gardens.


Marion Jarvie's Garden, Thornhill, ON


Marion's Garden

Marion's Garden

Marion's Garden

Marion Jarvie's Garden, Thornhill, ON

This picture shows you something I like about these types of small flowering clematis: they don't take a ton of ground space and shoot up like arrows from amongst other perennials and shrubs. 

Planting them in amongst other perennials suits them as they love to have their roots shaded while the top growth gets full sun.

Depending on the variety, they can also provide a nice, long-lasting floral display.

A closer look at the clematis in the previous image.


Here is something I learned by making the mistake myself: Don't plant this type of clematis to the side of your plant support. 

Plant it directly under it so it grows up through the centre of the support. This way it is held in place and won't flop in strong winds or heavy rains.

Merlin's Hollow, Aurora, ON 

In his garden, David Tomlinson has a bell-shaped clematis growing up through a large tomato cage.

Merlin's Hollow, Aurora, ON 

Merlin's Hollow, Aurora, ON

I think this variety may well be Princess Diana (Texensis Group Clematis).

David also has used a variety of bell-shaped clematis to cover the arbor 
that leads to his "Fragrant Garden". 


At the moment I have only one variety of bell-shaped clematis (one plant in the front garden and another is in the back garden). Every time I show them I am embarrassed to have to admit that I lost the identification tags for them. 

Recently a friend suggested it might be Clematis, integrifolia.



I hoped to add more varieties of bell-shaped clematis last spring, but found they were a lot harder to find at local nurseries than I would wish. So this year I am going to do a mail order a few.

Here are a three varieties I am considering purchasing from Gardenimports. (They ship in Canada and with a special permit to the USA):


Left: Princess Kate from Gardenimports. Texenis Group Clematis that blooms mid-season with upward facing flowers. Blooms June to September. Grows 10-13 ft.

Clematis Texenis Group are a series of trumpet-shaped, late flowering group of clematis. 

Right: Queen Mother:  Viticella Group Clematis. Flowers mid-season. The Gardenimport's catalogue promises downward facing flowers that appear in June and continue non-stop until June. Height 4' 6''

Clematis Viticella usually have pinnate leaves (resembling a feather) and nodding single or double  bell-shaped flowers that are produced on the current year's growth. Interesting to note that Viticella Group Clematis are less prone to clematis wilt.


Beth Corning,Viticella Group Clematis: Starts to flower mid-season and continues to bloom for a couple of months. Lightly fragrant. Height: 8' Pruning Group C.

More Information and Links:


The page of clematis available at Gardenimports.

More information on the Viticella Group of Clematis.

Brief Notes on Planting Clematis: Clematis don't like to be moved, so choose your site carefully. Soak the plant in a pail of water for 10-15 minutes before planting. Place a generous layer of well-rotted manure or compost at the bottom of your planting hole. The root ball of your clematis should be about 5 cm below ground level. Back fill the hole with soil that has a generous amount of peat moss and/or compost and a few handfuls of bone meal. Water thoroughly and frequently.

I always have trouble keeping the pruning groups straight, but paying proper attention will give you the best floral display. Here are a few quick notes on pruning:

Group A: These clematis flower in early spring on growth produced in the previous season. It is best to prune them shortly after they flower.

Group B: These clematis bloom in early summer on the previous season's growth and then again later in the gardening season on the current season's growth. Remove all dead or weak stems in March and prune the rest to a leaf bud at about 25 cm above ground level.

Group C: This final group produce blooms on new growth each year. Cut back all vines to the ground in March.

25 comments:

  1. I am so glad you have done a post about bell shaped clematis! Over the past year, I have loved every one you have photographed. Those sweet little bells add the sweetest beauty, elegance and whimsy to the garden.

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  2. They deserve your adoration ! So delicate and fragile, yet they bloom in cold weather. Beautiful. Note to self - must get more. I only have Cirrhosa Wisley Cream at the moment but it is such a great contributor to the garden because it blooms so early.

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  3. You have convinced me that I must buy some! I have lots of viticellas, but no bell shaped clematis, they are so beautiful, no garden should be without them!

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  4. I'm in love too! The bell shape is lovely and so different from the regular varieties. I was just looking at GardenImport yesterday and thinking of adding to my small collection

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  5. I've never seen these beautiful clematis. I actually think your little "blue" bells are the prettiest! The darker purple & white bells in Marion's garden are very sweet too. I like the selection of your mail order. I actually moved my mom's clematis (2) into my garden, where they are struggling. I knew about the shade for the roots, but I think it just got too hot where they were. I can't even remember when they flowered, so will have to check on my photos for a date and I can prune them properly. We have a Jack Miner (sp?) clematis that I always clipped down in the fall ... didn't realize pruning should be done in March. Thanks for the growing tips. Wendy x

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  6. Such fantastic information here Jennifer! I really like how that gardener used a tomato cage...that is pretty brilliant! And I like the shape of these clematis as well....I am really considering these after reading your post especially the fact that there are several species that stay relatively small in the garden bed. Beautiful photos! A wonderful week to you!! Nicole

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  7. How many nice bell-shaped clematis and nice gardens, Jennifer! Thank you for information on pruning: it's very important because one can prune the brunches and then won't have the flowering.

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  8. I didn't realize there were so many varieties of clematis, they are beautiful! I am inspired to include them in my garden, I love the idea of training some of the more petite varieties onto small trellises. I don't think I can pick a favorite, they are all beguiling.

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  9. Clematis are one of my favourite garden plants - I have one viticella, blue with white inner petals, I don't know the name - the leaves are just showing at the moment but I need a new support - thanks for reminding me.

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  10. I swear, I learn something new each time is visit you here, Jennifer! Thank you for that.
    We have lots of clematis, some of it very, very old, but you know, I've never heard of bell-shaped clematis. it's really pretty.

    Happy day to you!

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  11. They are absolutely wonderful, and sometimes the big clematis are too much. These pretty ones can fit in everywhere.

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  12. Surprising how some flowers love to face the sky...., and some so humble always looking down.

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  13. And some of the species are really easy to do from seed for those folks who'd like to try. Gardens North usually has a good selection for those adventurous types. Reminder to self....I've got to go back to my summer pictures....that rain-dropped photo was so lovely. B.

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    1. Thanks for the Gardens North recommendation Barbara! I checked out the website and I will definitely be trying to grow a few clematis from seed.

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  14. These are actually my go-to clematis. While I love the large ones, in my zone (3b), the bell shaped ones tend to be much more reliable. Plus, they aren't nearly as susceptible to clematis wilt. A big plus after losing one of my Jackmanii's to it after a uncharacteristically humid summer. You have showcased some beauties. :D

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  15. Oh my gosh these are so cool and so pretty. I've never seen any Bell Shaped clematis before but I love them now. They are so unique.

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  16. Some delightful examples, I do love the blue bell clematis. Your choices are gorgeous too.xxx

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  17. I am definitely a convert to the bell shapes now. I appreciate the tip too about planting with the support directly above.

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  18. My favourites too!! such a lovely variety here and beautifully photographed. There is a little yellow one that used to be quite popular about ten years ago, but we hardly see it now. Quite vigorous.

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  19. Jennifer - these are absolutely stunning!! Wow! I think the 3 you hope to get from Garden Imports would be worth every penny.

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  20. Love your blog header Jennifer and I'm with you on the bell shaped clematis! I have two of the 'Texensis' varieties plus 'Betty Corning' and 'integrefolia.' Love them all. That 'Princess Kate', is GORGEOUS! If I saw her, I'd seriously consider adding another. Very nice post. Makes me long for summer and to see the garden in bloom again....
    Thanks for your nice comment on my blog too.

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  21. These are so beautiful!! I have a soft spot for these types of clematis, too. I have a native clematis 'Crispa', a 'Roguchi' and I think 'Betty Corning'. I just planted Betty last year and then the bunnies ate it but it resprouted in the fall. I'm hoping to actually see some growth and blooms this year. Your newest ones are gorgeous!

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  22. I want them all (lol). I love the clematis and wish I had more space in my garden.
    Great blog Jennifer.
    Have a wonderful day.

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  23. I love, love, love these type of clematis but unfortunately they don't love me. I've killed 3 already. Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous.

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  24. Jennifer I love bell-shaped clematis too and realized I only have 2. I need a few more. Gorgeous examples you captured.

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