Clematis for the Shady Garden
One of the first sun-loving plants I learned to crave when I became a gardener was clematis. As many of my readers know by now, however, very little of my garden gets full sun (in fact, none of it does, although a portion of it gets western sun and that qualifies as far as I can tell). I have grown, loved and photographed many clematis – and will share more of them in a later post. I have a particularly soft spot in my heart, however, for three that have flowered well for me and my clients in shady sites: Clematis ‘Dawn,’ Clematis ‘Silver Moon,’ and Clematis ‘Blue Moon.’
I started with ‘Silver Moon,’ a light-blue colored large-flowered clematis, planting it behind some shrubs next to a fence on the east side of my house. The color was breathtaking, although it probably would fade out in direct sun. It flowered regularly for me for some years, eventually succumbing (I think) to stem breakage once too often during my attempts at a one-person spring cleanup. I have used Silver Moon’s cousin, ‘Blue Moon’ (now apparently known as Clematis ‘Claire de Lune’) on a client’s arbor in serious shade. It took several years to establish but this year is blooming prolifically, benefiting from additional indirect light that now reaches the area because of the loss of a large hickory tree on the other side of the driveway. The early form of the bloom looks like this:
Mine has never really taken off, but here’s ‘Blue Moon’ on the client’s arbor this year (some five years after planting): After night comes the dawn – Clematis ‘Dawn,’ to be precise. This is my favorite, probably because I love the way it looks as it opens,
and its almost perfect form as it presents itself fully.
Singly or in groups, it never disappoints.
I must explain that this clematis – which will probably never bloom as prolifically as the Blue Moon clematis on my client’s arbor – represents to me a real triumph. It gets absolutely NO direct sun; I planted it behind a large old pieris in my front yard, against the brick wall of my north-facing house. Its colors are delicate and its shape gorgeous. I should plant it for clients more often. Speaking of planting, if this post has whetted your appetite for any of these clematis, I can recommend an East Coast mail-order nursery that has supplied me with my plants and does a phenomenal job of packing and shipping these delicate treasures, Completely Clematis ( in Massachusetts) . On the West Coast, Chalk Hill Clematis used to sell clematis online but apparently has become primarily a cut-flower supplier. If any of my readers can recommend other trusted online suppliers, I’d love to know about them.Explore posts in the same categories: landscape, Landscape design solutions, photography comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.