A clematis for containers

Even small gardens can boast a clematis vine.

When your garden consists mostly of large containers, you have to push the limits with what you grow, if you want to make a splash. Growing upward is always impressive – and is doable in containers. (I've grown a number of vines in big pots over the years.)

But it's easier if you grow plants that are the right size for containers and for the limited spaces in which they're usually placed. That would seem to leave vines out of the equation.

But not so. The first year the Raymond Evison patio clematis plants were introduced, I got two. One promptly got knocked over by the dog, and that was the end of it.

But one has been growing and blooming reliably ever since, even though it got neglected its first two years and was once left outside over a freezing Boston winter.

No wonder I've since bought one of each of the varieties that I've found available in the US: Picardy, Versailles, and Cezanne.

Cezanne has the largest blooms – light violet and about 6 inches across – on a vine about 3 feet long.

I love the color of Picardy flowers – reddish with yellow stamens in the center. They're a bit smaller than Cezanne's blooms; say, 4 to 5 inches.

Versailles has the deepest color – a rich wine red -- and, for me, the longest blooming time. In my garden, the vine is usually a bit shorter than those of the other two cultivars.

The hardest part has been finding them. But now there's a website that lists where they're available by state.

I would recommend these for mailbox growing, too. So many homeowners don't know when or how to prune clematis, and so the vines that climb up the mailbox or lamppost become an unsightly, tangled mess.

You avoid that problem with the Raymond Evison Patio Clematis Collection.

I read speculation somewhere that these vines planted in pots won't live as long as traditional clematis vines growing in the ground. But – as long as you keep the dog out of the garden – that hasn't been my experience so far.

But even if it were, I'd still like to have at least one of these adorable little vines in my garden all the time. They're charming, they're different, and they cause you to look twice. I don't expect much more from a vine.

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