It starts as early as January, with just a single bloom and a few buds.
The darkening days of autumn are over.
The solstice has passed.
Winter is inching toward a brighter spring. 🙂 It’s an excellent time to celebrate evergreen Clematis in the Pacific Northwest.
Clematis armandi has a tough evergreen leaf that our local deer ignore – even in winter when grazing choices are limited.
This clematis is poisonous to people, so maybe that extends to ungulates, too? The vine likes to be at the top of whatever it’s climbing, so there’s little left within reach of deer’s attention anyway. The show is up in the air.
The foaming white flowers that cover the weeping vines through February & March certainly catch my attention.
It’s a choice vine to situate so that you see it from your winter vantage points inside the home. Wouldn’t it make a lovely focal point while sipping your morning brew? This particular behemoth hides a 6-foot tall chain-link fence dividing a block of offices from a parking lot. It’s a good thing that the fence is sturdy.
Evergreen Clematis’ clinging tendrils can find purchase in small cracks of walls & even shingles. That’s why it’s most often welcome climbing pergolas & fences rather than homes.
By mid-May, the winter show will be over. It’ll be time to give the heavy climber a proper pruning before it overwhelms the world. Until then, I’m just enjoying the view.
Deer leave it alone – – no missing flowers or over-pruned foliage.
It attracts & feeds the local pollinators especially well because it’s native to our part of the world (southern BC & through the states to Mexico).
It’s very drought tolerant. I’ve seen them in Strathcona Park, growing in the gravel of a roadside pull-out! They actually seem to do better with LESS water in our garden. The plants that I watered more regularly sent out long blooming stems that flopped over under the weight of the blooms.
Once established, it’s easy-care. all I do is sheer off the spent flowers in July or August, creating a well-groomed look.
In our climate, it’s evergreen – – or shall I say, ever-grey. It’s so nice to have the tidy mounds of foliage through the more barren garden of winter.
Originally, I thought it would be an easy addition to our garden. I had a tough time getting the small 4-inch pots of Eriophyllum lanatum established. Although I watered them weekly, they struggled on our rocky outcrop – – a match to their natural habitat! After a couple of years, I was frustrated. What worked, in the end, was shifting the small starts to an area with deeper soil, that was still watered weekly but not baked in as much sun.
The plants quickly grew, spreading to a foot wide in one season. They were a bit lanky & not terribly attractive, but had established a stronger root mass. In the fall I divided them, keeping deep rootballs, & planted them into drier areas. They settled into their new homes over our moist winter & flourished with very little water through the following dry summer.
Now we have Wooly Sunflower in several areas: the boulevard, the rocky outcrop, & our more traditional flower garden. I’m on the lookout for even more easy-care native plants that suit…..
Other native plants that I’d welcome into our garden: