"Do you think you could build me a trellis?" I asked.
"As you wish," he answered.
Hahaha! Caught off guard, I had to laugh! If that response does not sound familiar, watch the movie PRINCESS BRIDE. We watched that movie several times with our children when they were young. My husband enjoyed answering my requests with those three words forever after!
I decided a trellis was the answer in relation to the clematis vine below. Unfortunately, as this vine grew, it started crawling underneath the siding on the house. We knew it would eventually cause damage as vines spread and thickened.
Once the trellis was built, we cut as much of the vine as possible away from the house and connected the vine with cotton string to the trellis. After a few years, this CLEMATIS Montana rubens appeared to love its new home.
You would think that would be the end of the story.
It was not.
Sad to say, that vine did not live happily ever after.
Because the ground far beyond the trellis needed serious help, we were forced to dismantle the trellis to allow a tall excavator and dump truck to pass through.
The lovely pink vine did not survive the turmoil.
But, coincidentally, when we completed our yard work, the railing on the bridge going to Japonski Island was being renovated. We salvaged some of the old railing.
"Will you build me another trellis?" I asked.
"As you wish," he answered. Hahaha!
The second trellis was far taller than the first.
And... it came with a sidekick down on the left!
I happened to visit Juneau that summer and purchased several new starts of CLEMATIS Montana rubens. I grew each of the four small starts in a gallon pot for a year in order to beef up the roots. I had previously discovered that increasing the root mass pretty much guaranteed that a young CLEMATIS vine would grow well and flourish.
And it did! It took quite a few years, but the starts grew into this magnificent vine on our new, tall trellis:
As you can clearly see, the flowers are not pink! Occasionally, plants are mislabelled.
This vine, in fact, is CLEMATIS Montana alba with white flowers.
The good news is that both the pink and white Montana vines are very much alike. Best of all, they both have a lovely, powerful fragrance. The blossoms smell like Hawaii!
Of interest is that the vines on the left side of the trellis were exposed to the full impact of our rains. The flowers are far more plentiful than the flowers on the vines planted under an overhang on the right.
The growth on this trellis supports my observations with other varieties of CLEMATIS grown in our gardens. The varieties known to produce comparatively small flowers grow happily out in the open even though exposed to harsh weather and heavy rains. CLEMATIS varieties with large, showy flowers survive and thrive protected in our covered gardens, but have not done very well in our fully exposed gardens.
Let's look at some other CLEMATIS vines growing happily out in the open...
CLEMATIS alpina 'Helsingborg'
Early in June, alpina 'Helsingborg' begins to bloom.
Before long, the entire vine is covered with the small, purple blooms.
The blooms stay colorful for up to a month! As with all of the CLEMATIS vines we have grown, the petals do not rot on the vine. They drop off to the ground before dying.
The seed pods on alpina 'Helsingborg' are unusually attractive. They have a silvery shine in the sun.
CLEMATIS 'Markham's Pink'
This tough pink flowered vine has multi-petalled blooms that are a little larger than the CLEMATIS Montana.
CLEMATIS Tangutica AKA CLEMATIS 'Bill Mackenzie'
Now let's see some of the CLEMATIS vines happiest with protection in our gardens...
This was our very first Clematis vine. It bloomed each year mid to late summer. Partially protected, it grew beautifully year after year. So thrilled, I used it as the background for quite a few photos. Here are just a few of many...
CLEMATIS Blekitney Aniol AKA 'Blue Angel'
Far more protected and quite dry in our covered garden, this sweet vine blooms profusely from mid-summer into fall.
CLEMATIS Mrs. Cholmondeley
Mrs. Cholmondeley also resides in our covered garden. The covered garden is an extension of our greenhouse.
Blooming in late spring and again in the fall, covered with 8 inch blooms, this vine is quite the showstopper!
CLEMATIS Viticella AKA Madame Julia Correvon
In good company, this clematis vine is also a resident of the covered garden.
Fuchsia in color, the bloom time is mid to late summer.
CLEMATIS Ville de Lyon
I just love this vine! Magenta and ethereal, it blooms from mid-summer through fall.
Not only will climbing Hydrangea cling as it climbs up a tree trunk as in the above photo, it will also cling tenaciously to a rock wall!
WISTERIA Sinensis 'prolific'
Was I ever surprised and thrilled when my youngest sister, Marie, sent me Wisteria seeds. These were not just any old Wisteria seeds. These seeds were from the magical Wisteria vine that encircled a house with gigantic trellises. The house was up the street a ways from our childhood home in Massachusetts.
I started the seeds in pots the first year and planted the healthiest of the plants the second year. Once the vine had grown up about 4 or 5 feet, my husband welded a place for it to live.
So many clusters of unique flowers!
So true to the name... 'prolific.'
INTRUSIVE PERENNIAL VINE!!!
When I mention intrusive plants, I am referring to plants that won't go away. They grow and spread no matter how much effort I put into getting rid of them. They intrude into the spaces occupied by other plants... and gradually choke them out! Some of these plants drop zillions of seeds.
I must admit that it was my own early ignorance of intrusive plants that resulted in this never ending gardening challenge.
Plants can be intrusive in one climate, but not in others. Below is a vine I have found to be intrusive here in my gardens.
also known as
CREEPING JENNY, FIELD BINDWEED