I made a happy accidental choice when I planted ‘Étoile Violette’ at the foot of our Amelanchier lamarckii: at the time, I hadn’t realised that for many reasons it was the perfect clematis for growing in a large shrub or small tree. Now, our snowy mespilus never looks dull, but there are certain shrubs that, however stunning in flower, look drab for the rest of the year (lilac, wintersweet, viburnum to name but a few) and these are ideal candidates for the viticella partnership.
‘Étoile Violette’ is quite simply, an outstanding, undemanding and generously free-flowering cultivar that with its slightly open habit of growth, is perfectly suited to this habitat. Each starry, deep royal purple flower has a contrasting central boss of pale yellow stamens, and they space themselves comfortably among the leaves of the Amelanchier; from now until the end of the summer, it will be in flower.
Pruning is straightforward, being in Group 3, you just cut back all the old stems to the lowest pair of buds in February, pull out all the old growth (it can easily reach 3-4 metres) and the job is done!