It’s Clematis Time!

We got back from Michigan on Saturday, and I like to think that our various Clematis varieties had put on a show to welcome us home.

Clematis ‘Jackamanii’

When we left the Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ were just opening their first flowers. I had a vague fear that we might miss them at their peak. However, they were just approaching peak bloom when we returned. More on them later.

Path to the front door upon our return from Michigan.

But first, I have to talk about the Clematis ‘Betty Corning’. They were also just starting to show a few flowers. These were newish plants that have bloomed a little sparsely so far, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Clematis ‘Betty Corning’

What we saw on our return was the ‘Betty Corning’ of my dreams – just loaded with flowers! (By the way, does anyone know if Betty needs to be deadheaded? They’re supposed to have a really long bloom period, but I don’t know how much grooming that requires.)

Looking at the size of Betty, I realize I probably could have planted just one instead of two. But then, when have I ever planted just one of anything? It really goes against my principles.

‘Betty Corning’ and Butterflyweed

The ‘Betty Corning’ flowers are timed to coincide with the Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa), providing my favorite blue/orange color combination.


Betty is also blooming along with the ‘Fascination’ Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum). While the colors are quite similar, the contrast in shape and habit makes for an interesting pair.

It looks like Betty will help reduce flopping among its taller, more vertical neighbors, as it reaches out and twines round them. For Betty herself, I provided plain old metal tomato cages, which are now completely invisible.


Now, back to the ‘Jackmanii’. This is not the best year it ever had, but it’s still looking pretty good. It climbed all the way to the top of the house in this location.


Over in the Herb Bed, Clematis ‘Multi-Blue’ had a bunch of seedheads, which I deadheaded before taking this photo. However, there were also flowers in bloom.


And a number of buds indicating the show would continue.

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In the back garden, Clematis ‘Ice Blue’ was sporting a few flowers, some of them showing signs of earwig damage.


‘Ice  Blue’ has not been a vigorous Clematis in our garden, but I love the color.

Overall, it’s been a pretty good year for Clematis. How about in your garden.

61 Comments on “It’s Clematis Time!”

  1. Wow – that Jackmanii is amazing! One of my first ornamental purchases when I got a house of my own was a clematis – my husband still, to this day, mentions how I would always exclaim “Look at my clematis!!” when we got home as it was right next to the front door.

  2. I always remember the flowering Jackmanil in your summer posts…gorgeous! I’ve seen some clematis around our area but none flourishing like yours. Nice to see your flowering summer garden .. Spurs me on to think of Spring!

  3. None of these is familiar to me, but I do see quite a resemblance between your ‘Betty Corning’ and our native Clematis pitcheri. All of yours are beautiful, and like you, I enjoy that orange and purple combination. In early June, I saw an Arkansas ditch filled with a 50/50 combination of butterfly weed and spiderwort. The Asclepias just was beginning to bloom; it would have been even more impresive in another few days.

  4. Betty blooms for about 2 to 3 months here (April, May June) and then shuts down. Zone 9 though. However , Arabella and Rooguchi bloom a solid 6 or 7 months depending on our first frost which has been concurring later and later. Used to be late Oct early Nov but not til December the last several years. Your ‘Jackmanii’ is epic.

  5. Love the Clematis with the Veronicastrum! The entry to the house is a botanical ally-way! Such delight! In your travels feel free to head north and visit us in Maine, Wouldn’t you and your wife enjoy a WWOOF vacation here on the coast ( ha). We would be so appreciative to have WWOOF volunteers with such experience and gardening enthusiasm!

      • Hello Judy!Happy summer to you. Well, how lucky would we be to have two experienced and enthusiastic gardeners! We enjoy the blog you write and love hearing about your travels. If ever in Maine, do know you are welcome ( the WWOOF part kidding aside!), lots of beautiful gardens to tour here, including Maine Botanical Gardens, which is fantastic. Best to both…

  6. Your Betty Corning looks splendid, Jason! I lost mine last year, I think due to wet feet. My clematis Comtessa de Bouchard suffered a dreadful “accident” this spring when I was cleaning out dead stuff while it was blooming- I managed to cut two main stems and lost dozens of buds. I think I learned a lesson, but I’m not sure what it is! Your jackmanii is an inspiration, for sure!

  7. The clematis here are doing alright. Everything in my garden is smaller than usual this year due to the lack of rain and heat. I can see right now that I am going to have to invite Betty to my garden so we can get acquainted. She is gorgeous.

  8. I have never deadheaded my ‘Betty Corning’ and it doesn’t seem to care. But I also cut it back in winter, to about 18″, which I guess is NOT how you are supposed to do it. And yet I have the BC that ate NYC. My ‘Avant-garde’ is similarly loaded. I am beginning to think I am taking the wrong approach in trying to support clematis growing UP and should encourage it to climb other plants; the BC are both near redbud trees that are mature enough to handle her (I think). The Niobe I have been trying to nurture by the front porch has been a disappointment, though. Probably my fault.

  9. The front entryway looks great, the blue and orange together are awesome!
    Betty is now on my wanted list. I’ve seen pictures before but never knew it could be so nice in the garden, and the flowers are larger than I thought.

  10. While in school in the late 1980s, Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ was the first of that type of clematis we learned. There are so many weird cultivars available now, and I do happen to like many of them, but Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ is still one of my favorites because it is so simple and ‘tailored’, sort of what the Iris pallida is to the bearded iris. Okay, so it is fancier than that. I think that the growth is a bit more uniform. They certainly do not look like yours. They are not happy here.

  11. Yes, ‘Betty Corning’ is a winner, for sure! Great idea to use the tomato cages–that really worked well. Among the others you’ve highlighted, I really like ‘Multi-Blue’ the best–it’s gorgeous. Although all of them are quite attractive. I only have ‘Nelly Moser,’ so mine bloom in the springtime, which makes sense because of the shade in most of the garden during the summer.

  12. Jackamanii really does have the wow factor, it’s good to see it doing so well again. You do have some lovely clematis, Betty corning is just lovely, so delicate. I do seeing it with Culvers root, a pretty combination. xxx

  13. Hello Jason, you might have seen the photo of Tammy and I stood in front of a Clematis Jackmanii in full flower spilling over a rose arch. This year it’s finally established and flowered beautifully. Elsewhere in the garden I have clematis in various states of health, from flowering to completely wilted. The smalle rClematis varieties don’t do so well, but well-known, large, traditional varieties like Jackmanii, Miss Bateman and Nelly Moser do very well.

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