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Big Blooming Clematis

This test of 108 varieties separated the finicky from the fabulous

Fine Gardening - Issue 146

A garden is incomplete without clematis (Clematis spp. and cvs., USDA Hardiness Zones 4–11). From the moment I grew my first one, I was hooked. The flowers can be in-your-face bold or uncharacteristically demure, but it doesn’t matter to me—I’ll take them all. I haven’t quite ringed my small garden in clematis, but it’s getting close. Few flowers offer such a kaleidoscope of colors and a myriad of exquisite shapes. Hybrid cultivars (like the ones featured here) tend to be the most popular because their flowers are fabulously showy—often oversize—and always delightful.

Clematis are indispensable in any-size garden as accent plants on fences, walls, arbors, posts, and pergolas, but they are equally brilliant rambling over and through trees and shrubs and twining with other vines. The Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) has trialed an amazing 224 different clematis over the past 22 years including large-…

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