Belle of Woking

Friday, June 15, 2012

Late last Summer something very exciting happened here. My Belle of Woking Clematis bloomed! After three years! Just when I was about to dig her up. And she was worth the wait, even though there was only one measly flower. I knew her reputation for being difficult when I first took up with her but I'd also heard tales of her immense beauty. Plus, my old Dad grew up in an orphanage in Woking (an interesting story if you're curious) so I really wanted to grow it for him so I could make lots of jokes about how his girl sure was looking fine today, etc.

Then in early Spring I noticed my plant was really taking off and lots and lots of BIG blossoms were forming. Until...

BAM! I thought the flower from last Fall was pretty but this one was incredible! So blousy and romantic and white as the driven snow. Incidentally, I have read that the blossoms are blue or lilac but as you can see mine are decidedly white with cream/yellow stamens. I'm in love.

Some info and tips on growing this variety:

1. It blooms on old growth but a light pruning after Spring's flowers are spent (mine is still blooming on June 14th here in Portland) may encourage the second bloom in late Summer/early Fall.

2. Mine is growing in a large terracotta pot on the north side of a lattice fence. This situation keeps the roots cool. I gave the plant a good topping of compost in early Spring and plan to do that again in late Summer. Some of the blossoms are on the north side of the fence which gets no direct sun and some are on the south side which gets a lot of sun. My conclusion? This plant can grow happily in at least part shade.

3. I would say the blooming time is 6 weeks in the Spring. Amazing, right? I expect the blooms in late Summer to come in late August or early September and that the flowers to be less blousy like last year.


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