This site is a pictorial record of the plants raised by me and, when named for an individual, the reason for so doing - as I have found from my contact with customers that this often intrigues them
Any plant which exists in very limited numbers is,by that very definition,rare.But rarity alone does not make for demand. However, coupled with beauty, it creates desirability; especially when difficulty of propagation dictates that numbers will remain low.
C.aethusifolia itself is a pretty little scrambler, with fine 'parsley-like' foliage and small, scented, soft- yellow bells. Destined to be only ever available in very limited numbers, so be prepared to pay a premium if you find this plant listed.
alpina 'Jaqueline du Pre'
C. alpina ‘Jacqueline du Pre’
An exceptional variety amongst the alpinas – the demand for which can never be met, year on year. In addition to the distinctive two-tone pink colouring, the flower is large for an alpina, with the exceptionally broad sepals showing to advantage the silver-pink edging.
Along with C.macropetala ‘Snowbird’, it was taken for our first – and last – foray into the portals of The Royal Horticultural Society to place for judging. A considerable undertaking at that time; with a newly established nursery – not only financially, but in effort. Firstly a coach journey from the west coast of Devon (where we were then based) to our nearest city, Exeter; thence by train to London and finally via the underground – guarding our delicate packages .
It was April, 1984, coinciding with the first appearance of Mr. Raymond Evison on the Floral B committee. Placed amongst only about a half dozen exhibits - and displayed on contrasting foliage that we had also transported – they brought forth appreciative remarks from two female staff on duty. Both specimens reached the dizzy heights of being awarded Preliminary Commendations. Christopher Lloyd in his book ‘Clematis’ states “according to Raymond Evison, it is like . alpina ‘Willy’.” For those unfamiliar with this last-mentioned variety, I would describe it – apart from other distinguishing features – as being at the far end of the spectrum in pink forms of C. alpina.
It pleases us to know that the eponymous lady had the plant bearing her name growing in a container on her patio during her last years.
C.alpina 'Peveril white'
For many years, we had offered for sale at ‘Peveril’ a white alpina which had been raised here and was simply labelled ‘white alpina’. During the 1980’s, a number of other white alpina cultivars appeared on the market – each bearing its chosen name. As one or two of these purported to be the first white alpina, it seemed timely to put a name to our so far unnamed seedling.
Like C. alpina ‘Jacqueline du Pre`,this again has broader sepals, giving a better display than, say, the narrow-sepalled C. ‘alpina sibirica`.
Pruning Code: C
Another clematis bred to satisfy the demands of modern gardens, i.e. compact and free-flowering over a long season.
The pinkish, wine-red flowers hold their colour well – without fading to the grubby purple which bedevils so many other reds. As if a continuous flowering season was not sufficient,an added bonus is provided by the very attractive, mottled cream variegation on the young leaves.
Named for a daughter-in-law; wife of Neil.
Pruning Code: B / C
This is, in essence, the world famous C. ‘Arabella’ in another colour.
Identical rounded 3 in (7.5cm) flowers, produced in profusion over a similarly non-stop flowering period. The pretty lavender-pink sepals have a deeper shade along the mid-rib, complemented by stamens of a similar shade but tipped with deep yellow. Another easily grown and trouble-free clematis.
Pruning code : C
When many seedlings are produced from a given cross and have similar characteristics, it can sometimes be difficult to choose but one. C. ‘Arabella’ stood out from the beginning, mainly for its striking boss of contrasting stamens. During its trial period, it became apparent that one of its main features was its non-stop flowering period. This, coupled to the fact that it is easy to grow, and with the bonus of being relatively disease free has ensured its success.
The appeal of the flower being immediate to us, it was initially placed on an archway in the nursery garden to act as a foil to the much sought after C. texensis ‘Etoile Rose’. It came as somewhat of a surprise when demand for C. ‘Arabella’ outstripped that for its exalted neighbour.
It is named for the wife of Lieut. General John Kiszely, M.C. – and daughter of Lord and Lady Herschell.
It is now to be seen for sale everywhere; noted on display from a small plant selection at our local farmers’ co-operative, city market stalls – and every garden centre and nursery visited. Barely a month goes by without it being featured in some gardening journal and, now, listed in catalogues of nurseries in far-flung places on the internet. Indeed, it must be one of the most widely grown clematis.
Its cause is helped by being a wholesaler’s dream; easily propagated,blooming at cane height to obligingly ‘sell itself’ – and flowering for a remarkable length of time. An ‘if only’ of life – i.e. the resources to have placed Plant Breeder’s Rights upon it!
A further accolade to its award of an AGM came by way of its choice as representative of the genus included in the set of Royal Mail stamps issued to mark the bicenntenial year of the Royal Horticultural Society.
There being no financial gain, I took pleasure in the description of it having been bred by me in the original transcript that I received. My vanity took a knock, however, on finding in the presentation pack that the phrase had been altered to read “raised in England”! The appeal of the flower being immediate to us, it was initially placed on an archway in the nursery garden to act as a foil to the much sought after C. texensis ‘Etoile Rose’. It came as somewhat of a surprise when demand for C. ‘Arabella’ outstripped that for its exalted neighbour.
This fantastic new variety is from the same breeding programme as the ever- popular C.' Arabella'. It has the same attributes with regard to the long -flowering habit and ease of cultivation - and is surely destined to become a winner.
The beautiful clear pink colouring is accentuated by the 'almost red' reverse.
Large-flowered, mid-season hybrids have never figured largely in the hybridising programme at ‘Peveril’ – and the ones that have been named are progeny from crosses with a specific result in mind. Even though C. ‘Burma Star’ met the criteria of being a compact, free-flowering plant, it was actually languishing around the nursery for some years before finally being entered into our catalogue.
It was named to honour a relative who endured the pain and privation of the Burma campaign. Although it was decided in the year of 2000 to discontinue future memorial services – in consideration of the ageing of that fine band of men – the flower will, hopefully, flourish as a reminder of their spirit.
Pruning Code: B
It was always one of my aims (and still is) to expand the number and the colour range of clematis to cover the so-called ‘quiet’ period, i.e. June – July. C. ‘Caroline’ was one of the earliest of these and has justifiably become one of the most popular. However, it is difficult to adequately explain the universal appeal of this cultivar.
The individual flowers are pretty – and decidedly different – with the peach overtones to the basic shading. It flowers at a useful time, mid-summer, and with a sheet of flowers from ground level . All this stated, it just has an indefinable attraction. Its ‘massed’ flowering habit lends itself more to background or frontispiece association with plants rather than combining with.
It was named for Mrs. Caroline Todhunter, a knowledgeable plantswoman whose own garden is much admired by visitors when open to the public. Her infectious enthusiasm has been a source of encouragement to all the work carried out at Peveril Nursery.
One of the new generation of herbaceous clematis; having as their trademark, the extended flowering season and the small, pitcher-shaped flowers borne from June until September -rosy-purple in this instance.
The following three clematis are similar to C. Cascade' but differ in colour.
The outside, being a soft purple-rose' is complemented by the pale 'old-rose' shading,on the cream interior.
A soft lavender shade, highlighted along the ribs in a deeper colouring - graduating to cream inside.
Attractive mid- pink , with a delicate pink interior.
This is one of the few cultivars ‘introduced’ by Peveril Nursery and not raised here.
That feat was achieved by the eminent surgeon Mr. Ellis Strachan, pioneer of the ‘Cavitron’ equipment used in brain surgery at a hospital in the city of Plymouth, Devon.
When he first brought a specimen to show us – a visit made whenever possible between clinics situated in north and south Devon – the strength of the sepals made an immediate impact on us. |Ironically, he thought little of the flower himself – a seedling from a cross between C. ‘Marie Boisselot’ and C. ‘Vyvyan Pennell’ – but, apart from the above-mentioned asset, we thought the translucent white with ice-blue edging very appealing.
The naming was left to us; by sheer chance, poring through a book on antiques provided this – on sight of a pair of candlesticks made from the eponymous semi-precious stone.
The attributes of this plant were later passed on as seed parent of C. ‘Kiri Te Kanawa’.
Worthwhile winter-flowering, evergreen climbers are welcome additions.
Nodding, open bells like those of . cirrhosa ‘balearica’; soft chartreuse-yellow with fine maroon speckling inside – set off by the large, contrasting deep red stamens. Flowers can appear at any time through winter into spring.
Pruning Code : A
C. cirrhosa. 'Isca'
The same in leaf and habit as C.cirrhosa 'Halcyon'. The flowers open pale yellow,changing to creamy- white - with a large boss of pink- red stamens.
C. cirrhosa. 'Isca'
It is easy to see why C. flammula is one of the most desirable of late-summer flowering climbers – with its myriad of star-like white flowers and a perfume which pervades the whole garden. It can, however, be rather fussy in its requirements and, I know from experience, that many people have difficulty in growing it.
C. ‘Cirrus’ is a flammula hybrid, having the same ‘flower power’ albeit with a lesser scent. It does, however, have the advantage of being easy to grow.
Prune - A.
New clematis of true C. x jackmanii persuasion rarely seem to appear. The modern trend for short, compact plants may be fine for the generally smaller gardens of today, but many gardeners still like a taller plant that can be grown above doors and windows and over pergolas.
Initially, the deep mauve buds and newly opening blooms give the impression of a much darker flower. On opening, this deep colour stays on the outer edges, gradually shading to white at the centre – which is again offset by the dark-purple stamens. The whole effect of the plant is enhanced by the manner in which the depth of colour on the reverse of the sepals on half-opened flowers emphasises the veining on those that are fully open. Typically of this group, this later flowerer is smothered in blooms – and lends itself admirably to combining with roses and other climbers.
Pruning code - C. ‘Consort’
C. cylindrica 'Peveril'
Although the botanical term 'cylindrica' was used originally for a North American species, the name , as used today, denotes the hybrids from C. crispa x C. integrifolia - normally a non-clinging or semi-clinging plant with solitary, nodding, purple-blue flowers.
This 'Peveril' hybrid has pretty frilly-edged flowers in a clear soft blue.
Pruning Code: C
A dainty little cultivar appeared on the scene; the result of crossing C. texensis ‘Etoile Rose’ and C. viticella ‘Alba Luxurians’.
Concurrent with its first season, our local newspaper ran a campaign under the heading ‘Exeter Leukaemia Fund’ to raise £1,000,000 for a much needed specialist ward. The emphazed letters ‘ELF’, together with a little elf-like logo, suggested the name for this plant. It also provided an opportunity to contribute to the fundraising.
Generous contributions were received from various sources, from local golf club to the namesake
Elf UK Ltd., - together with customers from afar, as well as those residing in the Exeter area who purchased plants. At the time of writing, it is pleasing to state that the new facility has just been opened and that plants of C. ‘ELF’ have been planted in the garden adjoining it.
Pruning Code: C
Herbaceous, growing to about 3ft (90 cms) – with deep rosy-pink recurved bells, red on the outside, Multi-flowering, with a very long season. It produces striking silver seedheads.
Pruning Code : C
C. eriostemon ‘Heather Herschell’
The earliest recorded cross between two clematis species, i.e. C. viticella and C. integrifolia c.1835, is still a popular and worthwhile plant in its own right – although the ‘rather less than exciting’ purple needs careful siting. This original cross has been reprised at various times since – and several which I made many years ago were not considered different enough to warrant naming, apart from one of a warm purple shade which was unfortunately lost and exists only as a photograph.
C. eriostemon ‘Heather Herschell’ is from a similar cross made years later and, from opening its first flower, we knew was going to be a winner. And so it has proved to be; one of the easiest, most disease-free plants to grow – and rewarding, with literally hundreds of rich warm pink bells. It also has the bonus of a classy scent.
It gave me great pleasure to name this exceptional cultivar for such a gracious lady; an enthusiastic gardener with informed knowledge of a vast range of plants. It pleases me that, without bias, Lord Herschell regards it as being the finest plant that I have bred.
Pruning Code: C
Later-flowering clematis of x jackmanii persuasion are always popular, as the many admirers of the larger-flowered varieties can extend the otherwise limited season with use of these.
A very small range of blue cultivars makes this new variety an even more desirable addition. The mid-blue colouring shades to a deeper tone towards the centre of the attractively-shaped flower.
It is named for the pioneering surgeon Mr. Keith Eyres. Having worked with world famous bone surgeon Professor Michael Saleh in Sheffield, in the county of Yorkshire, he moved to the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital in Exeter, Devon. Here, he carries on use of the Ilizarov technique; a treatment developed to lengthen bones which are deformed or too short.
Pat had the benefit of his skill in a more general form – and wished to express her appreciation in this way.
C. Eyre's gift
Open nodding bells in two shades of lilac. A strong grower and free flowering.
I’m including C. florida purely because of the kudos of re-introducing it to this country after many years – and as an opportunity to counter assertions made in the book ‘Clematis’ by Raymond Evison, which I’m surprised an editor allowed to be made without reference back to me.
As stated briefly in my first book ‘Clematis’, published 1989, “I felt privileged to be able to describe this rare species from sight”. Over the years, many writers have made reference to it; obviously with second-hand knowledge only as no European has seen a plant in living memory ,I hope that, from the illustration (a photograph taken two years prior to publication) readers may share some of the excitement that I felt when the first flower bud opened, after a most traumatic journey from its homeland.
Here, I will add some background detail. Following correspondence with Mr. Wang Dajun at Shanghai Botanic Garden (the gentleman’s rather whimsical title at that time being Chief Horticultural Engineer) we despatched a consignment of clematis, consisting mainly of large-flowered hybrids, to start to replace collections that had been destroyed during the ‘cultural revolution’. In passing, I expressed the wish that I could have seen a specimen of C. florida.. Some months later, in the spring of 1985, I was amazed to receive word that I could expect a package containing a plant! It transpired that personnel from the Shanghai Botanic Garden had been on a collecting expedition in an area not accessible to Westerners at that time.
My excitement turned into apprehension when the package failed to arrive when due. I contacted the local branch of the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, as it then was, in the hope of advice. Their personnel had always been a source of invaluable help when importing and exporting plants – with reciprocable pleasure in co-operation in our sending plants to unusual and distant destinations – as a change from inspecting more mundane crops. They discovered that the treasure was held up at Mount Pleasant, the main sorting depot of the Post Office in London. True to form they pulled out all the stops – though I feared their efforts would be in vain, given the time lapse involved.
They didn’t fail me – and the package duly arrived. I opened it with some trepidation and found what I can best describe as a piece of yellow string. Against the odds, it survived and I slowly propagated from it – to eventually reach that momentous day of seeing the first flower revealed. The dated transparency which produced the photograph in my book, along with the correspondence, are still in being; to substantiate my claim of being the first Westerner to have sight of it after many years.
Interestingly, as if to prove how one writer frequently copies after another, all say that C. florida has a green stripe down the reverse – as is the case with both C. florida ‘Sieboldii’ and C. florida ‘Alba Plena’. The original description, however, states a purple stripe and even Johnson, in 1846, and Jackman, in 1872, still describe it thus. Plants listed as recently reintroduced into cultivation are simply not true; being no more than single sports from C. florida ‘Sieboldii’ or C. florida ‘Alba Plena’; and, to this day, I still have the privilege of seeing – and growing – the only wild collected representative.
It has been disappointing with regard to hybridization; passing on its propensity for growing tall before flowering together with a once in the season only flowering habit.
Pruning code : B
I mentioned earlier, under florida, the disappointment in relation to the offspring from this delectable species-which I felt held such promise.
These two early examples illustrate what,initially, appeared to be exciting new hybrids-before they very quickly faded to dust and ashes.
This two-tone pink, almost non-clinging variety was originally introduced for the cut flower trade. The blooms last for several weeks in water; even the buds open, which is unusual for a clematis. It does, however, make a good garden plant, flowering all summer.
Prune - C
C. fusca ‘Peveril’
This very dwarf form was collected in Hokkaido. Growing only to 12-18 ins (30-45cms) high makes this a welcome addition to front of border planting.
Pruning code - C. fusca ‘Peveril’
Another easily grown late-flowering climber with solitary, nodding flowers - which are quite large, at 1 1/4" (3 cm) across, for this type of bloom. The sepals are wide, with a pretty frilled edge, showing to perfection the rich velvety interior.
Pruning Code: C
C. heracleifolia ‘Peveril’
The flowers are large and nicely waved as with the form ‘Wyevale’. Albeit of a pretty light-blue colouring, I would not have added another to the list were it not for the outstanding scent that it possesses. The unmistakeable perfume of apricot is unique and very distinctive.
Pruning Code : C
C. integrifolia ‘Pastel Blue’
Not only are all of these herbaceous clematis a welcome addition to the colour range, they also have more flowers per stem than the wild form. A very attractive light blue representative
C. integrifolia ‘Tapestry’
A rich, purple pink-red, lightening towards the tips.
Pruning code - C
C. integrifolia ‘Pastel Pink’
A paler pink that C. integrifolia ‘Rosea’ – pretty in its own right.
C. japonica ‘Gokonosho’
In 1985 I received from Takashi Shiraishi, a clematis enthusiast in Japan, a variegated seedling of C.japonica which he had discovered growing on the slopes of the eponymous volcano. Variegation in clematis is rare – and this was a particularly attractive form.
Unfortunately, over the years it became more and more prone to reversion until, regrettably, it became impracticable to keep it going. I did return some young plants to Japan – where it may, possibly, still be in existence.
Pruning code - B
When two plants are cross-pollinated, there is, of course, a fixed goal in mind. In practice, this optimism rarely comes to fruition. C. ‘James Mason’, however, fulfilled its role of producing a white, large-flowered hybrid with its large, dark boss of stamens.
In its infancy, our nursery was situated just inland from Devon’s west coast. On a wintry ‘shut off from the world’ type March morning came a ‘not to be forgotten’ telephone call. The lady caller. with a warm Australian accent, enquired as to whether we had stock of C. macropetala ‘Snowbird’ – which we had advertised as a new plant in that month’s journal of the Royal Horticultural Society. Answered in the affirmative, the next question was whether it was possible to despatch to Switzerland – to the home of James Mason; the lady being Mrs. James Mason, known in her own right as actress Clarissa Kaye.
There duly followed a generous order, (indicating a predilection for white flowers) which was despatched by air in crates. At that time, more than twenty years ago, the cargo caused considerable excitement at Exeter Airport – which then dealt with mainly domestic flights. There was much consulting of regulations and procedures before the plants were forwarded to Gatwick airport for transporting on to Zurich. Today, Exeter airport has expanded to operate long haul journeys – with sizeable aircraft turning above our nursery as they prepare to land.
Delight expressed with the quality of our plants meant that orders were received in ensuing years. This typified the great support that the Masons gave to horticulture generally in this country. Recognition of this was given in the naming of a rose for James Mason by Peter Beales. The pleasure of this was slightly tinged with embarassment; this was so because it is red – as associated with the county of Lancashire (the ‘War of the Roses’. so called,in English history) – and James was very proud of being a Yorkshireman!
Hence, the naming of this classy white cultivar. Sadly, he was only to enjoy it for one season. It was, however, nurtured with great pride by his widow.
Pruning Code: B
C. ‘Joan Sandeman-Allen’
A typical mid-season double – having a neat central boss of lavender sepals, with the outer guard sepals mottled in dusky pink. This colour is carried in to the second flush of single flowers from the current season’s growth.
It has been named for the wife of James ‘Sandy’ Sandeman-Allen, MBE, DFM, - initially the treasurer and, from 1994, honorary chief executive of ‘The Guinea Pig Club’ – the unique body of grievously burnt Allied airmen who were treated by the celebrated plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe. Joan’s contribution to the charity has been directed towards the wives of these gallant gentlemen.
For us, their warmth and humour add to a day.
A small but most appealing herbaceous plant growing to about 1.5 ft (0.5m). The cruciform flowers are the brightest, and clearest pink of any clematis.
C.'Kiri Te Kanawa'
‘Kiri Te Kanawa’
It was immediately obvious from the first sighting of a flower on this cultivar that its seed parent, C. ‘Chalcedony; had passed on the strength of its sepals to its progeny – allied to the rich deep blue colouring and generosity of flowering habit inherited from C. ‘Beauty of Worcester’. Only in growth did it reveal the bonus of flowering in double form in its secondary – and even more prolific – crop of the year.
Coinciding with the first instance of its secondary flowering, the much admired Dame Kiri Te Kanawa was seen in concert – wearing a full-skirted dress of deep blue. Following this event, there ensued the quest to obtain her permission to give her name to this flower – which has a commanding presence in the garden, just as the diva herself does on stage. It was by way of a handwritten letter from Chicago that our request was answered in the affirmative.
When stock was sufficient for plants to b advertised for sale, the response was overwhelming and impossible to cope with. It became evident from contact with customers that, such is the appreciation not only for her talent but also her personality, plants were being requested by gardeners who had never previously grown a clematis and whose knowledge of opera was skimpy to say the least!
Dame Kiri has grown specimens in gardens in London and France; eventually, after the trials and tribulations of quarantine necessary for exporting, plants were finally supplied to her New Zealand home aim on which she had set her heart.
An unexpected development occurred in the case of ‘Kiri’, which gives reason for referring to the annotation regarding C. ‘Rhapsody; i.e. the letter from Raymond Evison reproduced therein.
To preface this; my first photographic sighting of pre 2005 Chelsea hype in respect of a ‘new’ clematis named ‘Franziska Marie’ after a daughter of Raymond Evison. Its similarity to ‘Kiri’ was immediately apparent; even more so after TV coverage of the show. Following purchase of plants for a comparison trial – and finding it impossible to distinguish between them – I contacted the Community Plant Variety Office and discovered that ‘Kiri’ was already being used as a comparison plant, despite the PBR application form (made available to me) giving the pale lavender C. ‘Belle of Woking’ as the closest comparison!
It so happens that PBR trials for clematis are undertaken in England; however, months of correspondence with the relevant office of the EU in France ensued, parallel with the ongoing trial and the attempted prevarication by the applicants regarding perceived slight differences.
The eventual outcome was refusal of PBR – and justification of my objection. Hence, my reference to the letter, showing that ‘Kiri’ had been obtained years earlier. An illustration of it also appears on page 82 of ‘The Gardener’s Guide to Clematis’, published l998, - author, Raymond Evison. How interesting DNA testing would be!
c. ‘Lathkill Dale’
Herbaceous, growing 2.5-3ft (60-90cms). The outward facing, wide-open integrifolia type flowers are a pretty, light lavender-blue; the soft cream stamens being an added attraction. As with ‘Ember’a long flowering season.
Pruning Code : C
C. 'Lord Herschell'
From the earliest days, I had made various attempts to increase the very limited range of herbaceous clematis. Early results were poor and, although a few colour variations were introduced into the C. integrifolias, it is only in the last few years that any significant breakthrough has been made – but with the advent of some rather exciting multi-hybrids.
The most noticeably different of these is C. ‘Lord Herschell’ – having quite large, tulip-shaped flowers on a truly dwarf plant only 45 – 60 cms tall. It is worth noting that the normally rich purple colouring can, in some soils become more pinkish/purple.
It may seem somewhat inappropriate to name a cultivar so short in height after a gentleman who is tall and retains that unmistakeable military bearing. However, this is ameliorated by the status of this plant in breaking new ground by way of being the first true‘patio’ suited clematis.
Lord Herschell has a tremendous knowledge and love of plants – and there can be few worthwhile nurseries in this country that are not known to him. He first visited our nursery when in its very early days; appreciating that, even at that time, a number of clematis were available which were unobtainable elsewhere. The interest and encouragement shown in the hybridization programme over the years has never wavered – and his visits to the nursery are a source of pleasure.
Truly ideal for growing in a container in harmony with a wide range of companions and a spectrum of colours, C.‘Lord Herschell’ will just as happily front a small shrub in the garden. It flowers continuously from June to September; new buds seeming to appear almost overnight. Growers appreciate its varied uses and, consequently, often accommodate two or three plants in their garden.
Pruning Code: C
C. macropetala 'China C’
Clematis macropetala was the first clematis species that I grew, and it is probable that this fact partially explains my long-held affection for this species and its cultivars.
From the time of its introduction, C. macropetala was grown extensively from seed and, with it, the inevitable crossing with C. alpina. Indeed, both C. macropetala and C. alpina cultivars are so intermixed today, it is almost impossible to find the true wild species. Macropetala 'China 'C; was grown from wild collected seed, and its pretty mid-blue flowers are neater and have a more wide-open shape than the usual forms.
Pruning Code: A
C. macropetala 'Madeleine'
Although, as I have stated, C. macropetala is one of my favourite species, I resisted the temptation - which many have not - to name every slightly-different-coloured seedling that comes along.
The deep purple of C. macropetala 'Madeleine' was unique at the time that it was raised - and its shape follows the more usual many-petalled, fuller and larger flowers. A much vaunted recent cultivar, purporting to be the first purple C. macropetala is but a scrawny, few-sepalled shadow of 'Madeleine'.
Pruning Code: A
C. macropetala 'Louise'
C. macropetala 'Louise' has, as one of its parents, the wild form C. macropetala 'China 'C' - and the neat, graceful lines of its parent have been handed down to its progeny. The flatter, more open 'ballet skirt' shape shows to perfection the soft pale-pink interior; the outer sepals are deeper with a strong cyclamen-pink stain around the base.
Even when displayed amidst the deeper hues of its like, it more than holds its own in the matter of customers' choice. It was named for our daughter.
Pruning Code: A
This species has a special place in the gallery of cultivars raised at ‘Peveril’ because it has the distinction of having been the first. Notwithstanding this fact, it never fails to delight every spring when it comes into flower – its pretty, many-sepalled nodding flowers of pristine white greeting a new gardening year.
C. alpina ‘White Moth’ was already on the scene at that time – C. alpina being used advisedly given its shape and number of sepals. Numerous other white or even off-white cultivars in the atragene section have subsequently appeared in catalogues – often ascribed to the C. macropetala group when more correctly placed in the C. alpina group. Despite all newcomers, C. macropetala ‘Snowbird’ remains the most desirable .
Pruning Code: A
The same pedigree as the world-renowned C.’Arabella’ – and possessing the same admirable qualities.
The flowers are slightly larger than those of ‘Arabella’; the sepals are very dark velvety purple and the filaments are set off by red anthers.
Pruning Code : C
Elongated nodding bell shaped flowers, silvery- lilac on the outside ,warm rosy- purple on the inside - marked with deeper veins. Its height 8-10 ft (2.5-3.5m) allows for seeing into its pretty face.
C. montana ‘Peveril’
A C. montana type species was received as seed sent from Sichuan. China. Plants subsequently propagated surprised and delighted us; surprised us by flowering in its first year in mid to late July – as has proved to be its habit since – and delighted in its sizeable, pure white sepals and what must surely be the longest stamens of any clematis; the shimmering effect of these giving the flower particular appeal.,
Plant material sent for identification failed to match any on record; the plant therefore given the nursery name.
Pruning Code: A
C. montana 'Veitch's variety'
Many years ago I was given a C. montana plant which purported to have originated at the old Veitch's nursery in Exeter. After a trial period, however, it proved to be identical to C. montana 'Picton's variety'.
Some years later, I managed to gather some cutting material from an old C. montana actually growing at the old Veitch's nursery - which is now, sadly, covered with houses. This, the true 'Veitch's variety'', is a very deep pink - even more so around the edges.
A last minute reprieve indeed for a link from a distinguished past; seemingly neglected in its own vicinity.
Pruning Code: A
C. ‘Mrs. James Mason’
Mention of the eponymous lady has already been made in the text referring to C. ‘James Mason’. The appearance on the scene of this lively violet, magenta striped seedling presented us with the opportunity of naming it for her – in the form that she was so proud of – wife of James Mason.
Experience has taught that a couple of seasons at least are needed to assess a plant’s potential – in addition to the variable number of years following initial hybridization. This cultivar was a case in point. The spring of its first flowering was particularly cold and dull; a consequence being that, although semi-double in form, the flowers were a pallid shadow of themselves – and the new arrival could well have been discarded.
Fortunately, it proved itself and, with its attractive colouring, pretty frilled edging to the sepals and generous flowering habit, it has become a very popular member of the mid-season large-flowered hybrids. It gave great pleasure to Clarissa – who gave us a yearly update on its performance up to the time of her untimely death. We know that, in many instances, plants of C. ‘James Mason’ and C. ‘Mrs. James Mason’ are grown in close proximity – just as they were in the garden in Switzerland that they so lovingly tended.
Pruning Code: B
C. orientalis 'Hatherly'
C. orientalis 'Hatherly' was bred at Exeter University, Devon. in the early 1960's - from the similar parentage which gave rise to the now well known C. orientalis 'Bill MacKenzie'. Although raised before 'Bill MacKenzie', it suffered from the still operable syndrome of 'who' raised it rather than how good is the plant.
It subsequently disappeared from cultivation; fortuitously, however, one or two people connected with the university had kept it going in their own gardens. It was from one of these plants that I built up stock; which hopefully will ensure that it enjoys a wider distribution than the original small nucleus allowed.
The bright yellow flowers are as large as those of C. orientalis 'Bill MacKenzie', but very quickly open into a flat, wide-sepalled star with upturned tips; the stamens, however, are not as dark. It is equally floriferous - and starts to flower at a lesser height than is the case with 'Bill MacKenzie'.
C.'Patricia Ann Fretwell'
‘Patricia Ann Fretwell’
The greater part of my hybridizing programme is concentrated on working with the species but, on occasions, use is made of large-flowered hybrids. Such was the case in respect of C. ‘Patricia Ann Fretwell’.
My intention was to experiment with the use of C. texensis hybrids in breeding. Selected as parents were C. texensis ‘Gravetye Beauty’ and the delectable, large-flowered, double in form C. ‘Miriam Markham’ In due course, the first flower opened – in single form – to reveal a lively, appealing flower of a warm clear pink with rich red bars along the sepals; the latter justifying the input of C. texensis ‘Gravetye Beauty’.
A pleasing result; however, that was before seeing it flower in May of its second year. When the double-flowered version revealed itself, it was a case of “come and look at this”! The rich red shading covered the outer sepals and permeated the inner sepals with varied markings. Altogether stunning and distinctive.
Having, over the years, seen plants raised by me written about at home and abroad, appear on television, entered for awards in European countries by growers of whichever – and even described as ‘new this year’ in the catalogues of other nurseries – all without mention of the breeder, I felt that the family name on this cultivar would make a statement. It took eighteen months, whilst starting to build up stock, to persuade my wife that this flower should bear her name. I was fully aware that her preference veers towards the smaller flowers of the species rather than what she laughingly calls this ‘voluptuous’ flower but, even allowed time, a plant breeder cannot guarantee more – or better – to follow.
Pruning Code: B
C. ‘Peveril Peach’
This is included purely for the purpose of explaining a naming confusion.
In 1983, a mid-season hybrid was named for its outstanding coloration. The bright, rosy-carmine pink with peach shading to the centre was unlike any other clematis, even though it was only once flowering. Unfortunately, after various trials, it displayed the same propensity to fade quickly and badly – so it was decided to withdraw this variety.
This same name was used later – in 1990, for a small bell-shaped flower. As this is not permissible, it was renamed C. ‘Sonnette’.
This large-flowered cultivar was one of the first to be raised at Peveril Nursery.
Although softly coloured, the lustre that gave it its name soon demonstrated its appeal when exhibited at major flower shows. Displayed amongst more brightly coloured companions, it not only holds its own but actually attracts more attention than many others.
Its facility for combining with most other climbers – and with many shrubs – has given it enduring popularity.
Pruning Code: B
C. 'Peveril Pendant'
One of the most intriguing offspring to evolve from the ongoing multi-hybrid programme, C. 'Peveril Pendant' is certainly not one to be confused with any other. A strong and vigorous climber to around 10 ft (3 m); terminating in loose sprays of tubular bell-shaped flowers, reddish-purple inside and out. Flowering from mid-summer into autumn.
Pruning Code: C
C. recta ‘Peveril’
The popular herbaceous C. recta has long been grown from seed – which is the reason why any plant you may purchase can vary in height from 3 – 6ft (1 – 2m) and which may or may not be scented. C. recta ‘Peveril’ is a shorter, more erect-growing clone and is scented.
A sibling ‘Garnet’- with a similar colouring excepting for the cream band which runs down the centre of each sepal. These, too, recurve at the tips to roll back and touch the exterior.
Pruning Code: C
The earlier allusion to C. ‘Caroline’ – regarding my quest to expand the choice of in-between season cultivars – brings us naturally to C. ‘Rhapsody’. Not only does C. ‘Rhapsody’ bring a new colour to this ‘quiet’ time but a very distinctive one.
We know from contact with customers that perceptions of mauve, blue and even purple, vary greatly. However, its likening to ‘Watermans ink’ in our catalogue does seem to convey its colouring. The flower is enhanced by the pronounced ribbing on the sepals and, even as it fades – lightening around the ribs – it is a clematis not to be confused with any other. Yet another bonus is its classy scent. The fact of having a Gershwin fan in the family – allied to rapturous appraisal of its distinctive blue flowers – meant little hesitation in the naming of it.
Following in the wake of C. ‘Arabella’ , it is now to be found on most garden centres; only recently I was confronted by crates from Holland on display in my locality.
The merits of this cultivar earned it one of the four AGM’s obtained by my introductions.
I was amazed, therefore, to see in a copy of the ‘Plant Finder’, 2003, that the breeder was given as ‘F. Watkinson’. Apart from the error, I can only surmise as to why a name was specifically printed at all; at variance with the general format. To add to my indignation, I became aware that the plant had received a recommendation at Boskoop – with the same name again given as the breeder.
The gentleman referred to, now deceased, was known to me – having called at my nursery when ‘Rhapsody’ was first released. He told me, ruefully, that he had intended to use the name for a variety that he had raised. As he also ‘informed’ me that someone other than myself had raised C.’Elvan’, I did not give too much serious attention to his statement regarding the use of the name ‘Rhapsody’. It was only rigorous investigation by the International Clematis Registrar that brought to light the fact that the name had been printed in his catalogue dated 1993.
With my plant widely available (being produced in considerable numbers in Holland for example) I contacted a botanist at the RHS, Wisley, to point out the error. To precis the ensuing correspondence and telephone calls, it transpired that an assertion from Raymond Evison had sufficed to determine its raiser and, incredibly, they had no photograph of it on file – despite its award of an AGM!
From the letter reproduced below, it can be seen that Evison had obtained my plant by at least 1994, which accounts for it being illustrated on p86 of his book ‘Clematis’ published in 1998 – but again attributed to Watkinson.
I knew from my experience of the horticultural trade that only my cultivar had been in circulation. I submitted to the RHS a transparency taken in 1992 and used in my book ‘Clematis as Companion Plants’, published in 1994, - also some flower heads. I can still hardly believe the response; i.e. “the sample appears to be smaller and darker than the specimen at Wisley”. I found myself explaining that flowers from a polytunnel were likely to be! It must surely have been realised that no other clematis could be mistaken for this distinctive cultivar.
I refused to submit to pressure placed upon me to change its name. The outcome? My name has now been registered as the breeder; the cost – this fine cultivar, so deserving of an AGM, has had it removed.
Pruning code - B/C
Although bearing many similarities to the desirable, tender and temperamental C. texensis, this new multi-hybrid possesses the attractive urn-shaped flowers - albeit in a pinker tone. It has the distinct advantages, however, of hardiness, ease of growth and prolific flowering. Indeed, once flowering starts, the display is continuous until the autumn frosts.
A bushy,multi-stemmed plant, with flowering beginning at around 3 ft (1 m), it makes a particularly suitable container variety.
Pruning Code: C
An unusual herbaceous variety, growing to around 3ft (1m). Although white, the deep maroon bar on the reverse shows through as a pale pink bar; very dark maroon-purple stamens.
Prune - C
C. tex. var. Lutiola
C. tex. var. Parviflora
This all-scarlet American species was introduced in 1868 and is included for the benefit of readers who are unlikely to have seen this 'still rare in cultivation' representative of the genus - and a key player in the Peveril hybrids.
By 1888, the Revue Horticole also listed the forms, scarlet with yellow interior - var. 'luteola' - and a smaller-flowered, dark red - var. 'parviflora'. All of these three forms are extant and, over the years, I have managed to obtain and grow all of them. The late Sir Cedric Morris had a rare all-yellow form - from which I was about to obtain promised propagating material - when he unfortunately died. Along with other plants from his garden, this yellow C. texensis disappeared; a great loss.
A rare and difficult species to acquire, it is equally difficult to grow; its progeny, however, are some of the most amenable of clematis. Not since its original hybridisation in the late 1800's and early 1900's had any further work been carried out - and it had long been my ambition to produce more of these wonderful hybrids. Some of the progeny listed hereafter are now world famous; others, so new, that they do not yet have names. There are still more to follow, as this is an ongoing programme.
Pruning Code :C
C. texensis ‘Attraction’
A slightly more ‘open’ tulip-shaped flower, the sepals being an elongated tubular shape.
The sepals are a textured coral-pink and are complimented by dark pink stamens. There is a slight coruscate effect to this flower which, added to its colouring, causes it to find great favour with Pat.
Pruning Code : C
C. texensis 'Catherine Clanwilliam'
This undoubtedly has a flower with the largest diameter amongst these hybrids. The 2 1/2 ins. 6 cms rich pink sepals are long and broad, with a slight twist towards the tips. These soon expand into a more open shape - showing the textured sepals and large, loose boss of beige-pink stamens. Unusually, for this group, the follow-on seed heads are an attractive burnished bronze - which gleam beautifully in sunlight.
This cultivar is named for Lady Clanwilliam; a very keen gardener who has made interesting and delightful gardens both in Northern Ireland and in the county of Wiltshire in south western England.
Pruning Code: C
C. tex. 'Dawn Light'
A C. texensis type which doesn’t have the vibrant colour normally associated with this group.
The tulip shape quickly opens into an open star with the tips of the sepals turned back. The pinkish-mauve colouring shades to a white centre; the stamens are beige. It is probably more ideally suited to sympathetic combination planting.
Pruning code : C
C. texensis 'Dedication'
Another hybrid of classic 'tulip' outline. The interior is deep purple-red, the dark stamens also adding to the overall depth of colour. In complete contrast, the outside of the sepals have barely any colour at all. A strong grower, it makes a welcome addition to this gradually expanding family.
The year of its first flowering, 2002, marked 50 years of the reign of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II; it seemed appropriate, therefore, given its 'royal' colouring to name it C. texensis 'Dedication'.
Pruning Code: C
C. texensis 'Lady Bird Johnson'
A few months after the excitement of seeing C. texensis 'The Princess of Wales' in flower for the first time, the only other seedling from that cross also revealed itself.
The contrast illustrated the vagaries of nature; dusky red, heavily-textured sepals edged in light purple (deepening as the flowers age, we were to discover) - only the boss of yellow stamens in common. Without the total 'pzazz' of its sibling seedling but, nevertheless. a newcomer to a select band.
The naming of this flower suggested itself by chance. It came by way of reading a couple of articles concerning the dedicated work of Lady Bird Johnson in the conservation of wild plants by planting them on the verges alongside the motorways of her native Texas.
The request for permission was speedily given by way of a most pleasant letter from her secretary. Our local village postman, for his part, was intrigued at delivering an envelope bearing the mark of the 'LBJ' ranch! One has only to look on the internet to see how much the Wildflower Center impacts on the town of Austin in Texas - and the tremendous contribution made to this worthy cause by Lady Bird Johnson.
Pruning Code: C
C. texensis 'The Princess of Wales'
Preference for the large-flowered hybrids, the species or the herbaceous clematis is totally personal. There are some clematis, however, which have an exceptional appeal across the board. C. texensis 'The Princess of Wales' certainly ranks amongst these - and the reputation of Barry Fretwell is inextricably linked with the hybridizing of it.
None of these gems amongst clematis had been raised since the early 1900s. C. texensis itself is not only rare but difficult to propagate; the hybridization of 'The Princess of Wales' took a period of eight years from start to sight of the first flower.
As the first bud startd to open - following the years of eager anticipation - intense disappointment was,ironically, the first reaction. This was due to the rich, red colouring on the outside of the bud, which pointed to the flower being akin to C. texensis 'Gravetye Beauty'. Female optimism persisted, with periodic visits as the flower unfurled - culminating in a yell that reached the furthest point of the nursery premises - where disappointment was being channelled in to vigorous work. The vibrant pink of the sepals had finally revealed themselves; the elegant trumpet shape encasing rich yellow stamens: all in all, exceeding hopes of what might be achieved. It was unfair that the propagator was not the first to see his achievement - but there was a joint gazing in admiration and joy for many minutes.
The enthusiasm for the recent royal marriage and new princess provided the impetus for requesting permission for the plant's naming - which we were thrilled to receive. On its own merit, C. texensis 'The Princess of Wales' quickly established itself as one of the most popular clematis; beautiful, easy to grow and with an exceptionally long flowering period. It is now grown in many parts of the world and, when seen in a garden it is then eagerly sought after by other gardeners.
A couple of years after its introduction, another C. 'Princess of Wales' appeared in catalogues. There had been two large-flowered cultivars so named in the previous century - in honour of Princess Alexandra - one being a single, pale lilac, the other white and double in form. Both had long since disappeared from commercial production . The one to 're-appear' was in the guise of a pale lilac version and, strangely, made its way back on to the scene via New Zealand. Its provenance cannot be explained in this quarter.
To add to confusion , the powers that be in charge of nomenclature have decided to change C. texensis 'The Princess of Wales' to C.texensis 'Princess Diana' - a form which we were expressly instructed by Palace officials not to use when permission for naming was given. Therefore, the naming which was stipulated (and which we had intended will continue to be used by us.
In the case of C. 'Arabella', it was discovered that this name had already been used by Lemoine but, to avoid a name change of my cultivar now so widely grown, it was decided to conserve the name. As this parallels the circumstances regarding C. texensis 'The Princess of Wales', but with this cultivar preceding C. 'Arabella' by some years, one can only wonder at the consistency in regard to nomenclature.
The year of introduction regarding C. texensis 'The Princess of Wales' was 1984. Imagine my surprise, therefore, in discovering that it was being displayed (along with C. texensis 'Lady Bird Johnson') at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2001 by a Guernsey nursery - and described as 'new'. This was, consequently, given coverage as being so in newspapers and magazines, also a trade journal. I can only direct to my first book, published in 1989, in which it is described and pictured.
In 1991, a deal of press coverage and articles in gardening magazines made mention of the gala concert in the Royal Albert Hall to mark the 30th birthday of H.R.H. The Princess of Wales'. We were pleased to receive a request to supply flower heads with which to decorate the Royal Box and elsewhere. A performance of Verdi’s Requiem was given by the London Symphony Chorus – of which the Princess was a patron.
We later received gracious letters from both the organiser – who accompanied The Prince & Princess of Wales and informed us of her delight at seeing her flowers – and from a representative of the LSC expressing appreciation of the impact that the flower decorations had added to the occasion.
C. ‘Peveril Profusion’
Again, a differing version to join this select branch of the clematis family. The six-sepalled flowers of this one are smaller than average - opening out quite quickly into this pretty, informal shape. More flowers too are produced - over a very long period - giving a continuous show throughout the summer.
Very distinctive, the colour is certainly not to be confused with any other; deep plum-pink with a lighter pink edging, which changes to silver-pink - and with attractive complementary pink stamens.
Pruning Code: C
Since breeding C.texensis 'The Princeess of Wales' in 1984, I had settled for this being the most vibrant flower that I would hybridize. However, this contender is now on the scene, riveting the eye from many paces.
The longer than usual sepals for this type of flower quite quickly open to form a star shape.A bright luminous, mid to light- pink, more mauve-pink around the edges and paling towards the centre. Another outstanding feature is its almost continuous flowering from summer until the frost.
C.tex. 'Red Five'
This C. texensis hybrid has the usual tulip-shape flowers which so typify this group. They are smaller, more 'tubby' outward-facing bells - of the most intense red yet to be found in a clematis - the colouring fully coveriung both the inner and reverse of the sepals. It even takes its leave with a show of deep red-bronze foliage.
As a family, we have derived a great deal of pleasure from Formula 1 motor racing - particularly during the period when our sons were in their late teens and early twenties. These years coincided with the era when Nigel Mansell, O.B.E., was at the zenith of his career. The vibrancy of the colouring led to its naming as 'Red 5' - his racing signature.
Pruning Code: C
C.tex. 'Sir Trevor Lawrence'
When I started my nursery, C. texensis ‘Gravetye Beauty’ and ‘Duchess of Albany’ were obtainable, though not easily. At the time when I was trying to trace any still existing plants of other C. texensis hybrids i.e. ‘Admiration’, ‘Grace Darling’, ‘Countess of Onslow’, ‘Sir Trevor Lawrence’, by coincidence, a letter and photograph appeared in the journal of the Royal Horticultural Society from Sir William Lawrence regarding the last-named hybrid.
With a cheek equalling my desire to bring back any of these plants into cultivation, Pat took it upon herself to telephone Sir William – lauding my skill as a propagator! The response was heartwarming; to our great delight a spray of flowers arriving by post a short time after. The rich, crimson, violet-edged blooms were looked at and admired constantly. Another parcel arrived; as a true gardener, anxious for the survival of this hybrid named for his grandfather (a former President of the RHS) Sir William had sent cuttings from his precious plant.
In time, his faith was justified, as I gradually built up a nucleus of stock. Meanwhile, he had kept up a regular correspondence with us – having the endearing idiosyncrasy of writing around the edges of the notepaper before progressing to a continuation sheet. When C. texensis ‘Sir Trevor Lawrence’ finally appeared in our catalogue, he was absolutely delighted.
On a summer day a year later, a gentleman appeared on the doorstep of our home situated on the nursery. When Pat opened the door, she was asked “are you Patricia”? Upon affirming that she was, the gentleman said “I’m Sir William – and promptly planted a kiss on her cheek.
A couple of years later, the letters ceased – and we were saddened to hear that Sir William had died. However, we were glad to know that, through his generous help, we had re-established the plant of which he was so proud.
Pruning Code: C
C.tex. 'Ruby Wedding'
Although the flowers initially open into the same tulip shape common to this group, the spoon-shaped sepals quickly open out to form a narrow star shape. The advantage in this is that the deep ruby-red is enhanced by the long, contrasting cream stamens.
Pruning code : C
Constantly in flower from early summer until the frost. These creamy-white, gappy, saucer-shaped blooms have the added attraction of being complemented by neat, grey-green foliage. Growing to a height of 6-7ft (2m) makes it suitable for a number of differing planting positions.
Along with C. viticella ‘Chatsworth’, named after the stately home of the Duke of Devonshire in my county of birth – and ‘Lathkill Dale’, named after one of my favourite dales in the same area – Thorpe Cloud is one of the hills that give the National Park in Derbyshire the name of ‘The Peak District’.
C. triternata 'Tranquility'
C. triternata ‘Rubro-marginata was raised in 1863 – and has remained the sole representative of a C. viticella x C. flammula hybrid until now.
C. triternata ‘Tranquility’ has the same 4cm cruciform, scented flowers, but with deep-pink buds – which open in to pale-blush stars with deeper pink reverse. This creates the impression of a soft pink cloud.
A strong grower, bearing thousands of flowers in late summer.
Prune - CC. triternata ‘Rubro-marginata was raised in 1863 – and has remained the sole representative of a C. viticella x C. flammula hybrid until now.
C. vedrariensis 'Dovedale'
Nicely-shaped,two tone flowers-with attractive C.chrysocoma-like foliage,shaded purple-red underneath.
Prune - A
Another welcome addition for smaller gardens – for which the normal growth of viticellas is too large.
The small, four-sepalled, nodding flowers have pretty crimped edges – and are a rich claret-pink with a velvety sheen. The sepals are a contrasting greenish- cream.
Prune Code =C
C. viticella 'Chatsworth'
One of the longest running - and most frustrating -hybridising programmes here has been to acheive my long held aim to increase, not only the number of viticella hybrids, but also rather limited clolour range.
Some of the earlier crosses are mentioned elsewhere. C. viticella 'Chatsworth' however, is one of the more recent hybrids and brings a welcome freshness to the justifiably popular viticella group. The nodding , rounded , 8cms flowers qualifies its placing among the larger - flowered viticellas.However, it retains the habit of flowering over a long period for which this group is famed. Individual flower colouring is difficult to describe, the soft pinkish - blue ground colour is overlaid with a blue central bar - the overall, ,stand back' effect though is undoubtedly blue.
To many, like ourselves, who have spent who have spent at least part of part of their lives in Derbyshire , Chatsworth House and estate will most probably have meant one visit and most likely many - from first school outing through to visits with grandchildren.
Chatsworth House and its treasures needs no mention here, the surrounding though, evokes many memories - and from each of the seasons. The attractions of spring and summer are obvious: when touched with winter snow, the outlines of the hills beyond and the deer in the park are enhanced. However, there is something about a light autumn mist that makes for a very special feeling in those surroundings, the 'mother of pearl' colouring of this eponymous flower brings such days to mind.
There have, from the earliest days, been various reddish-hued viticella cultivars. Since then, nothing particularly distinctive had appeared.
However, when C. viticella’Brocade’ first flowered amongst a batch of red seedlings, it was immediately apparent that a winner had emerged. The orange-brick red is unlike any other red shades amongst the large or small-flowered clematis. Even the shape is different – being more akin to the well-known montanas.
Pruning Code: C
C. viticella 'Elvan' has the distinction of being the first named viticella hybrid from a programme that was started in 1974. Too well known to need a description, this easy to grow and prolific cultivar has become one of the standards for a beginners initiation into growing clematis.
In one book on clematis, my choice of name was queried, i.e. the likening of a pretty flower to the description of a crystalline rock. I counter with Chambers Dictionary, new edition 1998, where it is given as an adjective for elf -'elf-like or mischievous'.
Pruning Code: C
C. viticella 'Mary Rose'
This species is included by reason of 're-discovery' initially - and a feat of propagation subsequently.
In only the second year of the nursery's history, a customer brought to the nursery a piece of stem from what she had correctly surmised to be a clematis - which was unknown to her but growing on the house of a friend. Her description of the flower did not make it readily identifiable to me either. The material that she had gleaned was totally unsuitable for propagating and, as the owner of the property in question was made to sound somewhat 'eccentric' and unapproachable, it seemed that the plant would remain a mystery.
In time, however, an invitation to visit was extended and, following directions, we found ourselves driving through numerous five-barred gates and traversing several fields set in a picturesque valley in mid-Devon. The property, when located, turned out to be a Palladian mansion. Strangely, for a property of its time, there was no formally laid out garden surrounding it; just a few wild rhododendrons - and an unpromising setting in which to find what we were seeking.
Taking in our surroundings, we were somewhat startled when the lady of the house suddenly appeared armed with a shotgun! It transpired that she was heading for the vegetable garden to deal with invading jays. Thereafter, we were duly escorted to the rear entrance of the house - leading, in former days, to servant's quarters. Ancient, entwined clematis stems, looking like the trunk of a tree, had made their way from the basement to reach the light and surround the entrance. Atop this - and before our excited gaze - was a mass of small, double, amethyst-coloured flowers; they were in sunlight, as they need to be, to do them full justice. It made well worthwhile the waiting to view it and the subsequent period until the appropriate time came around to take cuttings - permission to so do having been given with grace.
The difficulty of propagation in the first year made it all too clear as to why the species had disappeared from the scene!. Meanwhile, an opportunity arose to visit Dunster Castle in Somerset, S.W. England, where we were thrilled to find on a staircase the original print of Robert Furber's 'Twelve Months of Flowers', dated 1730. The month of August is depicted by 'double purple virgin's bower' - unmistakably the same flower so recently retrieved - the mansion itself dating from 1742. Parkinson, in 1629, described this double 'of a dull or sad blewish purple colour' which produced no seed.
Gradually, a nucleus of stock was established. It so happened that the first flowering coincided with the momentous raising of King Henry VIII's flagship 'The Mary Rose'. The concurrence of this event with the re-introduction of this species settled its naming. The month of August that year marked the 80th birthday of H.M. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother - and we were delighted that a gift of the first plant to leave the nursery was accepted. A short while later, we received a surprise request for a plant on behalf of H.R.H. Prince Charles, patron of 'The Mary Rose Trust'.
As one might imagine with a plant so old, various names were used to describe this clematis – especially in the earlier decades. To add further confusion, many of these names were used for the other old double viticella, now known as ‘Purpurea Plena Elegans’. It is indisputable, however, that, from this one source, emanated all plants of ‘Mary Rose’ worldwide.
Pruning code : C
C. vit.'Peveril Pristine'
The never-ceasing popularity of C. viticella ‘Mme. Julia Correvon’ is due to its ‘flower power’ and ease of cultivation. These attributes apply equally to C. viticella ‘Peveril Pristine’ – which has similarly sized and textured flowers.
Although, on opening, these have a pinkish blush, they soon change to a cool white; the stamens a greenish-cream.
Prune - C
C. vit. 'Reverie'
Prettily-shaped, small viticella type flowers. The transluscent, pale blush-pink with pink bar on reverse creates the impression overall of a soft baby-pink colouring.
Pruning Code : C
C. vit. 'Tango'
From the very beginning of my efforts to breed new clematis, one of the criteria was that no plant would be named unless it was recognisably different from an existing one.
Although C. viticella 'Tango' is a shorter-growing plant, with more red in its colouring than C. viticella 'Minuet', I feel that the difference is not sufficiently great. Looking back, this is the only clematis named which, with hindsight, would not have made the grade. One factor that it does emphasise is the variation in colouring that differing soils can induce.
Pruning Code: C
C. vit. 'Zephyr'
Looking like a mini C. ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’, this soft-pink coloured viticella is very free-flowering and adds another colour into this range. It is particularly appealing for smaller gardens, as its height of 8ft (2.4m) is far more compact than normal viticellas.
Pruning Code: C
The newest additions to the Peveril collection
The first fully double pale yellow clematis. It fades gracefully to a pure white. A delicately coloured delight.
Prune - B
Similar rich colouring to the popular C.Mrs. N Thompson, but unlike that variety, retains a good colour until the end.
Prune - B
A mid- season hybrid, having a first flush of pointed double white flowers .Set of by contrasting dark stamens. Single blooms later.
Prune - B
Flowers, fully double both mid-season and later, in a rich palette of reddish-purple shades.
Shown below are other plants raised over the years at Peveril alongside the clematis.
This delightful patio rose is ‘Clarissa’ x ‘Peek-a-boo’. Though softly coloured, the tight buds hold one’s gaze. The stems are red and the foliage glossy. When field-trialled, it revealed a great virtue; it ability to cope with rain.
My first experience of passing on a new cultivar to a wholesaler – received with enthusiasm but with no comeback thereafter.
A compact, bright-yellow leaved form of euonymus fortunei.
A sport from hypericum ‘Hidcote’. The small, grey-green foliage forms a smaller plant. The flowers are intriguingly cup-shaped and rumpled. So named for the obvious sharp point to the leaves.
Akebia ‘Amethyst Glow’
Anyone who has grown the usual akebia knows that the dark purple flowers are anything but showy.
This plant offers a welcome alternative, with its pale amethyst flowers – the male ones being paler but with contrasting purple stamens. It retains the well-known ‘chocolate’ scent.
Unlike any normal digitalis, these are true perennials – lasting for several years in a border. Although the flowers are small, the fact that they are sterile allows for these to be continually produced throughout the summer.
They were given originally to plantswoman Jane Henry who, with her husband Mike, ran Churchill’s Nursery – which was situated at the opposite side of the river valley. Apart from friendship, it was a productive business relationship; they directed customers to us who were seeking clematis and we did likewise for customers of ours looking for the more unusual plants.
She was so impressed with them that, true to her nature, she passed them on to a wholesale nursery in which she had confidence – with great emphasis on the fact that they had been raised here and that payment arrangements should be directed to me. For our part, we were happy to offer naming for their three daughters. This was readily agreed to – with the colouring of each plant designated as Jane felt appropriate to the personality of her daughters..
After numerous years and various excuses for non-production, and no recompense, I discovered that they were listed in ‘The Plant Finder’ under the less than inspiring names ‘Foxy Apricot’ and ‘Foxy Pink’. Should you purchase any,it would please us to imagine that you might think of them as intended, i.e. apricot – Miranda, pale pink –Claire and deep pink – Victoria.
The latest addition to my plants - but already making an impact in Europe, the U.S and Canada.
This honeysuckle earns its place for its most distinctive apricot- orange flowers and attractive foliage. A prime addition to its charms - which sets it apart from other cultivars - is its very long flowering season.
My initial interest in clematis lay in making a collection and naming them correctly. The number generally catalogued at that time made the project feasible – albeit time consuming and requiring considerable effort., In some instances, it resulted in a re-introduction of plants that can now be found in nursery lists. Examples are C. triternata ‘Rubro-Marginata’ and C. integrifolia ‘Rosea’.
Now retired, I feel apprehensive about the continued availability of standard old favourites – due to the plethora of new introductions. In my judgement, the hype accorded to the great majority of these is unjustified; they would certainly not have passed the first stage of my controlled breeding programme.
A great deal of kudos is still accorded to plant hunting – although, generally, it does not equate with the danger and privation experienced by the pioneers of earlier times. I would have liked to travel; but a dedicated hybridist is tied to his charges – day and night, summer and winter – to tend to watering,, heating, lighting, pest control etc.
Ironically, some of my newer introductions illustrated on this site may not become generally available, due to a combination of reasons. These include the general unwillingness in this country for wholesalers to play fair with the breeder despite the benefit to themselves; the difficulty in the U.S. of weaning gardeners onto the species and small-flowered varieties – and, in Holland (source of most imports to this country), the concentration on a few varieties propagated in large numbers.
The greatest boost to my efforts has been the congenial co-operation with Rick & Jean Sorenson, ‘Pride of Place Plants’, British Columbia, during the last couple of years of running my nursery. Apart from distribution in the U.S., it has also brought contact with European nurseries, i.e. Plantipp in Holland, ‘Plantes du Monde’ in France and particularly Freidrich F.M.Westphal in Germany – with courteous and straightforward dealings that I appreciate. Consequently, for customers who saw some of my newest plants on trial and desired them (e.g. C. viticella ‘Chatsworth’) it will mean waiting for them to cross the Channel.
I thank customers who have been loyal over the years – and hope that plants obtained from me will give pleasure for years to come.
An honour - and welcome recognition
of my work with this genus.