Plant Now: Clematis ‘Freckles’

 

Long-blooming, hardy, and with attractive, glossy leaves year round, this flamboyant clematis is quite the novelty. Its bell-shaped, creamy blooms are heavily speckled on the inside. They start out raspberry red in colour then turn more purple-red as they mature. What more could you want in a plant?

Flowers in winter? Yes! Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurascens ‘Freckles’ puts on a terrific show in the cooler months. The flowers dangle at the ends of multi-branching stems, but there is no problem getting a good peak at the inside of the flowers, as ‘Freckles’ climbs up to 4m high.

‘Freckles’ was raised from wild seed collected in the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, so the plant likes a well-drained gritty soil in sun.

Plants available in New Zealand from Yaku Nursery.

Images: Top image by Jason Ingram; bottom image from Clematis in Seattle.

Plant Now: Clematis


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Clematis plants are in shops now, so it’s a great opportunity to see them in bloom before picking out a variety to plant. Depending on which variety you grow (spring flowering, summer flowering or autumn flowering), you can have a clematis in bloom for most of the year.

Flowers may be small (as little as 2.5cm) or large (up to 25cm in diameter), single or double. They prefer a moist, well-drained soil that’s neutral to slightly alkaline in pH. They need plenty of water and regular, balanced feeding. When planting, mix a handful of bonemeal into the soil.

Clematis make great cut flowers. Pick when the blooms have just opened and remove all foliage.

Photo credits: The top images comes from Snippet & Ink; the second image is from Grey Likes Wedding.

Lovin’ those dahlias


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I adore dahlias, and so does Studio Choo, who put together these gorgeous bouquets. The top image has dahlias, roses and hydrangeas, among other blooms; the middle one has dahlias and clematis. The bouquet in the bottom image is more about nigella (love-in-a-mist), peonies, passionfruit flowers and clematis foliage. Simply divine.

Clematis


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I adore clematis, the large delicate-looking flower heads of various varieties providing a lavish display in the garden for almost every month of the year. The flowers might be purple or red, white or cream, soft or loud pink, or lavender blue.

They might also be yellow, like Clematis tangutica, a rather unusual looking species with its lantern-shaped blooms that appear from midsummer through autumn. In late summer wispy white seed heads appear alongside the flowers, and both are excellent for the vase. If you plant this species, give it a good prune in winter, after flowering.

All clematis like a fertile, organic-rich, free-draining soil in full sun to partial shade. They do best when their feet are shaded, so mulch the base of the plant to keep the roots cool over summer.  [Read more…]

Spring blooms


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Such beauty in one bouquet. These spring arrangements include a mix of pretty pastels and look as though they’ve been plucked straight from the garden. The main flowers in the top two images include tulips, roses, clematis and astilbes.

Astilbes produce their fluffy blooms from spring through summer, with plants growing best in part shade and moist soil. The silver-felted leaves look to be Senecio cineraria ‘Cirrus’. Unfortunately, as far as I know, we don’t have this plant in NZ.

The bottom arrangement includes dogwood branches, hellebores, ranunculi and purple lilac. Such a delicious spring mix.

Images via  Once Wed (top and middle) and The Knot (bottom photo).

Rosy outlook


Wedding bouquet

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Get a head start on spring by ordering your rose bushes for winter planting. Look online for specialist rose nurseries. There are a far great number of rose varieties and species available by mailorder than there are at your local garden centre. Bare-root roses will be sent out in winter, when they’re dormant.

In the meantime, be inspired by these delicious photos from Style Me Pretty. I adore the light pinky-brown rose. The berries look to be from the snowberry (Symphoricarpos), and the white flower in the bottom photo is love-in-a-mist (Nigella).

The cutest birdhouse


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If you’re going to install a birdhouse in your garden, you might as well make it a pretty one – like this very cute avian home entwined with clematis. It’s just the thing for a cottage garden or large country garden. I can’t wait until my clematis start blooming. One of the varieties I have, called ‘Elizabeth’, has gorge white blooms with a chocolate scent.
The above image is from Meadow Brook Blog.

Summer bouquets


Flower bouquet by VSF
Summer bouquet by VSF
These two floral designs, from VSF, look to me like quintessential summer bouquets (albeit early summer). Gorgeous roses and pretty cottage garden flowers are mixed with scented foliage and vines. The top design features roses, pretty blue tweedia, wild clover, yellow fritillaria, scented geranium leaves and ferns. The bottom design includes large white clematis flowers, umbelliferous Queen Anne’s lace and blue and white love-in-a-mist. If you have a cottage garden, you probably have most of these plants already. Lucky you!

Dahlias, Clematis, Calla Lilies

The weather has warmed up dramatically, so it’s time to get cracking in the garden. I’ve been sowing hundreds of flower seeds, as well as a few plants and tubers.

Dahlias
Dahlia tubers can be planted now for summer and autumn flowering. Plant them so their necks are 5-6cm below the soil. If they’ve already sprouted, position them so the base of the shoot is just below soil level. For detailed information on planting dahlias, click here.

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My two clematis are in full bloom. Clematis montana ‘Tetra Pink’ and ‘Elizabeth’. The latter has a gorgeous chocolate scent (truly!) and both can climb to a whopping 7-10m high if you let them.

Clematis come in all shapes and sizes, from dainty diminutive blooms to giant dinner-plate show-offs. They can be compact growing or high climbers. They also flower at various times of the year, so if you plant several different varieties you can have at least one plant in flower almost year-round.

Believe it or not, clematis are superb cut flowers. Pick when the flowers have just opened and remove all foliage. Check your local garden centre for plants, or try a specialist nursery like Mr Clematis.

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Calla lily (Zantedeschia) tubers can be planted for midsummer blooming, although bear in mind that tubers under 3cm won’t produce flowers until their second year. Buy tubers from garden centres or from specialist mailorder nurseries, like NZ Bulbs.