Monday, November 16, 2009

Twining, Twining, Sweet Autumn Mine

Oh, fair one fragrant with white flowers!  Oh, lovely beauty with swathes of ripening tufted seeds!  Sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora) is aptly named.  This durable twining vine is drenched in small fragrant white flowers in September that then ripen and dry to become delicate starry seed heads.  During the growing season, it's mid green delicate leaves cover trellises, fences, lattices, and any framework where its tendrils can twine.

This clematis is fast.  It hangs with a tough crowd and goes to all the wrong parties.  It can easily cover 10 feet in a season and grows anywhere from full sun to partial shade.  It was beloved by the Victorians for its vigor and fragrance. You can even cut it down every year to keep it from eating your garage.

Looking to screen the neighbors' trampoline, swingset, or hideous patio furniture?  Need to block something in a tight spot?  Climbing vines can be your answer.  Some 4 x 4's, lattice, and a little sweat equity can create a living wall that not only provides privacy, but delights the eye and pleases the nose.

Sweet autumn clematis in bloom on a picket fence.

Tufted seed heads

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