Clematises are magnificent garden plants which flower for a large part of the summer. The Clematis family is large: there are some 500 species around the world, mainly in the Northern hemisphere.
Large-flowered Clematises are very eye-catching when they flower, it’s best to take account of the colour when making your selection, and also their flowering period. The late-flowering varieties are attractive because they lend colour to a late summer garden, a time when a bit of extra brightness is welcome.
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- The earliest flowering (April) include the soft blue Clematis alpina, with cultivars in dark blue ('Francis Rivis'), pink ('Willy'), rose-red ('Ruby') or white ('White Moth').
- There are also attractive cultivars of Clematis macropetala, particularly in pastel shades: blue ('Blue Bird') and pink ('Rosy O'Grady').
- The best-known fast-growing variety is Clematis montana var. rubens, which is covered in pink flowers in May. This plant is ideal for hiding an ugly shed or other eye-sores around your property. There are many cultivars to choose from, 'Tetrarose' and 'Mayleen' are considered the best with pink flowers.
- A moderate-growing species is Clematis viticella.
- Of the yellow-flowered Clematis tangutica, 'Aureolin' and 'Golden Harvest' are attractive varieties, as is the cross-bred 'Helios'. A full sun position will produce a host of flowers.
- A double-flowered Clematis, such as 'Multi Blue' with its sharp bracts, is gorgeous and unusual.
- The evergreen Clematis armandii is also special. This is the most hardy, but only in a sheltered spot. The foliage is shiny green contrasts beautifully with the flowers in April-May. Look out for the cultivars 'Snowdrift' with its white flowers or 'Apple Blossom' which has slightly pink blooms. Plus these plants have a beautiful fragrance.