Great Plants this Month Summer

Clematis ‘Black Tea’

image of Louise Sims
Louise Sims

If I wake in the night and can’t get back to sleep, I take a mental tour of the garden; and as it’s May I start by counting clematis.

I get as far as C ‘Black Tea’ … beyond shadow of a doubt, it’s this week’s star plant and can only be described as ‘sumptuous’. It’s not just the depth of colour and subtle variations as the light changes, the flower petals have an amazing velvety texture. It grows to six to eight foot and is a prolific flowerer.

It wasn’t until the second half of the nineteenth century that clematis began to be hybridised and reinvented, and new ones were being introduced from all over the globe. ‘Black Tea’, however, is a relatively recent creation, from Japan in 1995.

We should plant more clematis, especially in smaller gardens, because being vertical, the space they take up is minimal; I have a friend who grows over twenty in her 50’ x 25’ garden.

A final word about pot size: I almost never buy one in anything larger than a 9cm pot. This has several advantages … they are very quick and easy to plant and can be tucked into a space where those huge deep pots just won’t, they are very quick to establish, and they are cheap! I’ve never had a failure.

So that’s why I have so many – three for the price of one – I should be asleep before I’ve finished counting!

NB Louise has published a beautifully produced book of her plant profiles – A Plant for Each Week of the Year. It costs £9.99 and is for sale in our online shop here.

More NB If you’re not already a subscriber and you’d like a bit more gardening chitchat from the3growbags, please type your email address here and we’ll send you a new post every Saturday morning.

By the3growbags

We're three sisters who love gardening, plants and even the science of horticulture but we're not all experts. We'd love everyone even remotely interested in their gardens to be part of our blogsite.

2 replies on “Clematis ‘Black Tea’”

An inspiring website and much enjoyed the item plus photo of the dark velvet clematiis in particular. They really are great plants and very economic with space as you say though mine tend to be variable – great in some years, grudging in others but the blooms are wonderful. I will look out for your clematis when next at the nursery.

Bill thank you so much for your comment – yes, don’t you find the mention of ‘tea’ so very reassuring in any situation? With so many people doing brilliant things with smaller gardens, climbers that have the all-round star quality of clematis are really coming into their own aren’t they? Mind you we noted the bare-knuckled fighting at the Chelsea sell-off this year was on the dahlia stand – they are back and they are hot!

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