Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A New Year and A New Format

Happy New Year! 

First, I need to apologize. For years I would be alerted via email to new comments on this and my other blog. At some point this helpful feature disappeared. I don't check as often as I should and this time I missed a bunch of you. I'm very sorry. Your feedback is the highlight of this endeavor so thank you. I'll do better this year. 

With the new year comes a change in my format. Each week I'm going to focus on one plant. I'll share photos and prose. If you too have the plant I'm writing about, please share your thoughts and experiences with it. Even if you don't, your comments are most welcome.

This first week, my favorite plant: Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurscens 'Freckles'. 

I bought 'Freckles' in 2017 at the height of my Clematis obsession and to satisfy my desire for more winter-blooming plants to feed the resident Anna's hummingbirds. Donahue's Nursery was the only place selling it at that time. If you've ever purchased Clematis from this nursery you know that they arrive in small, four inch containers--too small to safely plant in the ground. I re-potted mine and babied it for a year then planted it close to the patio so it could grow through the branches of my winter-blooming Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn'. 

Last year it put out a few of its characteristic red-spotted (freckled) flowers but they were so high up, I could barely get a good look. Still, I was thrilled that my plant was doing exactly what it was supposed to do. 

The first bud on Clematis 'Freckles' as the vine scrambles up Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn'

This past fall I made sure to train the vine so it wouldn't be too high when it bloomed. And it's blooming like crazy!

I brought one vine/stem into my patio and trained it against this little wire thingy.

Winter hardy to only USDA Zone 7a (0 °F), this winter beauty won't survive in the colder climes. I understand how fortunate I am to be able to have it thrive in my relatively mild Zone 8b garden.

You can read more about Clematis 'Freckles' on the International Clematis Society's website.

Joy Creek Nursery also sells this Clematis now. However, as of this writing it is sold out and they haven't yet replenished their stock. It's a fantastic plant and high on my favorites list.

Thank you for visiting.
Again, your comments are most welcome.


  1. As always, I enjoy your flowery posts. Living in the sub tropics, I can't grow most of what you grow, but I enjoy seeing the beauties from your gardens.

    Have a wonderful 2020 ~ FlowerLady

  2. Great timing on this post, Grace! I'll look more into this one. I need to get more winter blooming plants in my garden to feed those hummers that are hanging around.

  3. How I wish I had the success you do with Clematis!

  4. This is one of my favourite clematis and winter flowering plant. Tough as old boots and great for pollinators. Thanks for such a lovely write up

  5. This pretty bloom looks like a Hellebore bloom with its freckles. How nice to have one blooming in the winter.
    I will try to be better with reading and commenting this year. I also need to improve on the frequency of my posts. Here's to new beginnings.

  6. I like this format and your first flower is a beauty.

  7. What a cool clematis! It looks like a hellebore.

  8. Grace girl ! Happy New Year and wow on that clematis .. the first picture made me think of a hellebore flower ! .. it is quite amazing to see it as such a clematis flower.
    My obsession this year is Autumn Moon Japanese maple .. there is a nursery not too far away from here that has it .. rather pricey but oh ! I am OBSESSED !
    Hope all is well with you and yours and you will have a terrific garden year!


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