Outstanding Clematis from a True Gentleman

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Last month, while attending the National Green Centre trade show in St. Louis, I had the good fortune to meet and talk with Raymond Evison, renowed Clematis breeder, author and recipient of multiple Chelsea Flower Show gold medals. His most recent book, Clematis for Small Spaces, was named Reference Book of the Year in 2008 by the Garden Media Guild.

Mr. Evison couldn’t have been a more unassuming and courteous as he introduced me to several of the new Clematis cultivars that he markets under Raymond Evison Clematis through his nursery in Guernsey. Clematis have long been one of my favorite plants, and I hope to add many more to my gardens in the coming years. A few of the Evison Clematis in particular have caught my eye.

Rebecca™ Evipo016(N)
(photo courtesy of R. Evison)

Ever since I added C. ‘Rouge Cardinal’ to my garden, I’ve been on the lookout for other bold, red cultivars. Evison’s Rebecca™ fits that bill perfectly. Named after Mr. Evison’s daughter, this cultivar was introduced at the 2008 Chelsea Flower Show. It’s 6-8 inch velvety flowers bloom from early to late summer and perform best in a full sun location. The vines of  Rebecca™ grow 6-8 feet, making it a good choice for smaller garden locations.

Reflections™ Evipo035(N)
(photo courtesy of R. Evison)

The second of the Evison Clematis to catch my eye is the semi-double flowered Reflections™.  Another 6-8 foot tall vine, it would be ideal growing along a small arbor or deck rail. Its lilac-colored petals are said to shift hues as the season progresses, accenting the purple anthers and giving even more depth and texture to the blooms.

Shimmer™ Evipo028(N)
(photo courtesy of R. Evison)

C. Shimmer™ is a larger, single-flowered cultivar with dark lavender petals centered with a light blue bar. The early-season blooms measure 7″ across, growing smaller as the season progresses. I can envision Shimmer™ as an ornate background companion to white or pink Hydrangea paniculata or perhaps a dark red rose.

Clematis can be somewhat of a challenge to establish, but are great garden plants once they get a couple of years in the ground. Annual pruning (clearly explained on the Raymond Evison Clematis website) is the primary maintenance chore for most of the large-flowered varieties.

I was pleased to find that the Evison line of Clematis is offered through one of our local nurseries (check availability in your area). As the weather warms and our planting season begins, I’ll be sure to look for one of these beautiful introductions to add to my garden. I may even get a head start by ordering Clematis for Small Spaces to learn even more about incorporating Clematis into my landscape.

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One thought on “Outstanding Clematis from a True Gentleman

  1. Chris, I lost my original written comment and that means the text is lost from this mind of mine. But the essence of my words is how fond I am of the memories of you in your shorts in my father's garden. We were so excited to hear you and your mom and siblings pull in the driveway and someone shouting, “The kids are here!” I knew you had something special about you back then…your intense ability to observe and the look on your face when you were in awe of the bits of nature that escape most people's eye. You were a joy then…as you are now. I love “seeing” through your eyes each day. Thanks! Aunt Monica aka “Rose”

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