Flood of flowers and fragrance
Spring wouldn’t be complete without the Clematis Montana (Clematis montana var.Rubens) blooming. A sea of pale pink flowers draped on the pool fence and so crowded we can hardly see their leaves. Not just the beautiful delicate flowers that make the Montana the desired climber for cottage gardens, but also its fragrance that is so breathtaking. It is a mix of vanilla and chocolate that perfumes the garden in spring for a month. In May, the lilacs at the corner of the toolshed pass the fragrance baton to the Montana who, in the next couple of weeks, will pass it to Ms. Kim Lilac at the corner of the pool deck.
We have the Montana by accident, by the way. I ordered two Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora) years ago in hopes of having some flowers that would keep the garden fragrant in fall and early winter. I planted them not far from one another. A year later, the one on the pool fence bloomed pink – and in spring! I knew then it’s not a Sweet Autumn, but what? After doing some research, I found that it’s a Clematis Montana. No complaint here, just surprise, and even more surprised when it did really well in our garden. As far as I know, we’re not supposed to be able to grow the Montana in our zone; it’s too cold for this cultivar. A vender in the city assured me of as much.
Now, its bloom becomes something we wait for every spring. It can grow to 30 feet and grab everything in its path. I will have to prune it a little bit this spring after the bloom fades, to keep it to one side of the fence. I never have to take care of it, aside from mulching once a year. The down side is that it only blooms in spring, then we have to wait for another ten months. It is worth the wait though.