While residents of the northern hemisphere prepare for the fall colors and the first frost of the season, in the southern hemisphere becomes apparent that winter is clearly in retreat, as the early-blooming plants proclaim the arrival of spring.
Among the first and most spectacular early-spring bloomers are the vines known as Clematis. Clematis are mainly of Chinese origin, but they have been widely propagated and are currently found throughout the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Although scarce, they can also be found in some gardens in the Southern Hemisphere.
During the 17th century, the wild Clematis species native to China were initially propagated into Japanese gardens. Several varieties of exotic clematis were later on transplanted into European gardens. They found considerable acceptance in British and Canadian gardens where they expanded significantly becoming embellishing features in fences, arbors and trellises.
Hanging and expanding blooming vines of anemone clematis decorate the arbor and trellises.
Clematis are fairly easy to grow. They grow well in any good garden soil, but they do better in superior quality, well-drained, organic soil. They also grow well in containers. The most important requirement is for their roots to remain moist and fresh and the high growth to be in full sun. Because of their incredible blooming capacity, clematis are among the most popular of all garden plants.
This view from the top of the arbor shows three varieties of clematis. The most abundant is the white anemone. There are also a deep purple clematis and a lavander variety with larger flowers.
The genus Clematis includes about 300 species. They are vigorous, woody, climbing vines. In the early spring, they explode in a spectacular mass of flowers. Depending on the species, the flowers may have between 4 and 8 petals. The flowers of several species are lightly scented.
There are several species, varieties and cultivars with large, but less abundant flowers, such as Clematis alpina and Clematis orientalis. However, those with smaller, 4-petal varieties such as Clematis montana, or Anemone clematis, can produce an astonishing amount of flowers which, unfortunately, are rather ephemeral. The amazing flower bloom last, however, several weeks.