I have gardened for many years but I had never seen a real live clematis till recently. I had seen pictures of different types of clematis but I had never seen a real clematis in bloom. That is – until we came to live in Gauteng.
We used to live at the coast – and clematis didn’t seem to be top of the list there.
Then one day at a garden display I saw this exquisite clematis plant with three of the most heavenly blue plate-sized blooms.
Suffice it to say that I was blown away – and of course I had to have it.
So I bought this very expensive clematis plant. It was very young and delicate so I looked after it with the greatest of care. I watched every leaf bud open.
Eventually my lovely clematis bore me 10 beautiful flowers and then around autumn it stopped blooming. Oh well! I was told it would do better in spring.
But no one warned me about black frost.
Winter came and we had the most viciously cold weather such as we had never experienced before. And with it came the black frost.
Now I had heard of black frost but I had always wondered what it was – because I had always thought that frost was white!
Well after a few weeks I understood exactly what black frost meant. All my shrubs and even the hardiest of them died and turned black. Even the bougainvillea as well as the huge elephant leaves of my giant strelitzia – all were taken. The actually turned black!
And of course black frost had taken my lovely, delicate clematis too.
As the winter drew to a close I looked at this hapless plant and decided to cut it right down. So I did.
It was a blow but I wrote off the plant and considered myself lucky that I had seen a dozen blue flowers in the summer.
Then as the days began to warm slightly I noticed new green growth beginning to strike all around the pot. Within a week or two the pot was covered in greenery and then it started to grow like wildfire. In fact, like Jack of beanstalk fame.
Then lo and behold! Fat green buds started to appear one by one. And then you couldn’t stop them. They sprouted in profusion till they covered the whole plant. I couldn’t even count them. My clematis had taken on a life of its own.
And then the buds began to open.
I can only say that the result was eye-stopping. A profusion of huge clematis flowers was covering the shrub all over in this heavenly blue shade.
In fact, I would have to put in higher stakes to support it. So I planned to insert the 4 stakes in the shape of a tepee.
A lovely surprise awaited me!
I was worried about inserting the stakes, so I lifted the greenery and flowers from the sides of the pot very carefully. And as I did so I saw something that delighted me.
All around the edge of the large pot were adventurous stems that had rooted themselves in the fertile soil.
Eureka! My clematis had produced a litter of babies!
Like peeping under a hen at her brood of chickens I was careful to quickly close them up again. I will have to wait until the plants have taken proper root and then I’ll try to re-pot them.
I’ll tell you what happens in a future post. So watch this space!
Meanwhile, wish me luck!