People are continually reminding me how dreadful I am with Clematis and how they always die – sometimes before I even get them to the check-out. Well, this particular clematis is a bit different. When we moved from the previous garden I took several clematis with me, one of them was planted in the compost heap and trained into the large ornamental cherry at the corner of the garden. I knew it was a Montana (mile-a-minute) group type but I had to go hunting through the old garden Plant List on this site to find out the exact variety.
After some sleuthing, it turns out that it is indeed a Clematis Montana “Wilsonii”, a lovely white flowered Montana that is actually scented – unusual for a clematis. I brought it with us when we moved and I must have conveniently ignored the fact that it was a Montana when I planted it against the stout ornamental blossom tree in the front border. Understandably, it didn’t flower last year when it was transplanted, but this year it erupted into flower all along it’s length, which incidentally went from knee-height to “way overhead” in the space of a few months.
This is actually the very first time this clematis has flowered since it was planted three years ago. It’s been a long wait but when you see these flowers dangling about the tree then it is worth it.
I’m not very well organised with labelling plants and recording what I planted where so it was with some surprise that I recognised the Clematis group type when it flowered and then wondered why on earth I would plant it where it is now. I must have had visions of this clematis filling the canopy of the tree with starry flowers, cascading out of the branches and billowing in the wind. The only trouble is that it’s going to cascade out of the branches alright and it’s going to billow on the pavement and across to the other side of the road! I shall have to be careful to keep tabs on this vigorous clematis lest it take over the entire border. Mind you, that might have been the look I was going for all this time. Clematis Montana “Wilsonii” is one of more diminutive Montanas that “only” grow to 9 or 10 metres tall. The tree is currently three metres high and two wide. At least it gets good reviews in online shopping sites.
The really observant among you might notice two types of clematis leaves in the photo above; one belongs to the Montana and there is also a second clematis – thankfully much smaller – called “Star of India” that will make an appearance with luxuriously purple flowers after the white has gone in the summer.
Just for some context and more drooling, a short hop away to a family member’s garden reveals what a more mature Clematis Montana can do and also happens to be indicative of the ultimate size our little one might aspire to:
We’ll have to see just how the roses, clematis, tree and of course, the iconic white picket fence come together in the coming years. Perhaps I am compensating for all that plain gravel in the front by ensuring the borders (and beyond) are filled as much as possible.