A BLOOMIN' SURPRISE

It's no secret that I love clematis. I absolutely cannot get enough of them. Last time I counted I think I had 22 different varieties growing in the garden. A few of them are not doing well, so that number may go down, but it's far more likely that by next summer the number will go up. Having maxed out my options for trellises, obelisks and other structures to grow them up, I started growing them up trees and shrubs. It's now my favorite way to grow them.

Want to know why? It's because they bring renewed life to another plant. And this weekend a little clematis surprise reminded me of that.

Clematis 'Gravetye beauty'

I planted 'Gravetye beauty' about three years ago at the base of the Serviceberry tree, where it grew a bit, despite the shade, but never flowered. This year it grew long enough for me to train it up the trunk of the tree and tuck it around a lower branch and, having done that, I promptly forgot about it.

And then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that the Serviceberry was blooming. In September. And the flowers were red! Of course it wasn't the tree, it was 'Gravetye,' finally showing its stuff. Frankly, it has no business blooming right now, but I suspect it is so happy that it finally saw some decent sun that it couldn't help but show its gratitude with a few blooms.

The Serviceberry itself doesn't look so hot at this time of year. It's a bit sparse at the bottom and it doesn't do much in the way of fall color. But now that it has beautiful maroon flowers growing from its branches, suddenly it has fall interest.

Well done, clematis. Well done. 

7 comments :

  1. I just ripped out some bittersweet that was about to take over the neighborhood. It was growing along a chain link fence that I was trying to hide. It hid it alright. It was about to hide everything around it and I was ready for a change. Now I reason that I have a long expanse to plant a gallery of clematis. This is my vision anyway. I will look about for this little beauty you have chosen to show us. I love growing clematis up trees and into shrubs. They seem to like it better too.

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    1. I read that post of yours and cried a little at the thought of all the could-be thanksgiving wreaths! But I understand. It is quite an aggressor in the garden.

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  2. It's so easy to be grateful for these fall surprises before it gets too cold to have flowers at all. Thanks for sharing your nice surprise moment in the garden. -Beth

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  3. I've never been keen on clematis. I feel they barely earn their minimal care. But I love this tree idea. It's a perfect application for their gangly nature, which is when they are at their best...in my opinion anyway. I wonder if you could get Virginia Creeper and clematis to cohabitate. Try it and let me know :)

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  4. I've got two Clematis sitting in pots right now that need to get planted SOON!

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  5. I'm with you! You can never have enough clematis! Up trees, into shrubs, on porch posts, light posts, trellises and obelisks and, especially on arbors with roses. I wrap tree trunks with crop netting for clematis to climb. There are some very short varieties that are beautiful in hanging baskets or tall urns. I plan to try Chelsea, only 2' - 3', with bloom all summer, in an urn next season.

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  6. I'm with you! You can never have enough clematis! Up trees, into shrubs, on porch posts, light posts, trellises and obelisks and, especially on arbors with roses. I wrap tree trunks with crop netting for clematis to climb. There are some very short varieties that are beautiful in hanging baskets or tall urns. I plan to try Chelsea, only 2' - 3', with bloom all summer, in an urn next season.

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