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Clematis Montana

Blooms But Once A Year And It’s Worth It

It’s that time of year again: A time of colors and scents.  The unintended Clematis Montana (Clematis Montana var Rubens) proves itself of worthy for any garden again even though it blooms only once a year.  I can hardly see it’s leaves this spring.  The pool fence is covered with the beautiful pink flowers and it has attempted to climb up the patio roof.  We are still debating whether the scent is chocolate or vanilla.  Either way, I have an urge to eat the flowers every time I smell them.  I will be giving it a crew cut this year since it has been taking over other plants space.  Guilt ridden just thinking about cutting it but for everybody’s benefit (plant-wise) it needs to be done.

A great spot for having coffee in the morning or a glass of wine at dusk
A great spot for having coffee in the morning or a glass of wine at dusk
Clematis 'Montana' after the rain
Clematis ‘Montana’ after the rain
Making its ascent to the patio roof after climbing over the Abelia
Making its ascent to the patio roof after climbing over the Abelia
A cluster by the fence
A cluster by the fence

Clematis Montana

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.

A sea of pink with a heavenly scent

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.

Up close

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.