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Clematis recta - ground clematis

Ground clematis with its dark-green leaves is like a perennial: it grows to over a metre in summer, flowers on that year’s shoots and dies back in the autumn. The stems are cut down before the new growing season. Ground clematis slowly spreads into a sprawling bush, forming a drift of little white honey-scented flowers, so that by the middle summer months the whole bush is covered with flowers. These are followed by silvery seed heads right up to the onset of winter.

Ground clematis tends to need staking in gardens. Though not a climber, it does need some support if surrounded by other plants. Neighbouring plants will do this very well if they are sufficiently sturdy. If Ground clematis has room to spread in any direction, it can be left to grow naturally, as on the Azalea Slope and in the Rhododendron Valley at Mustila.


Clematis virginiana - devil’s darning needles ( or Virgin’s bower, old man’s beard



This clematis is common in the forests, roadsides and riverbanks of the eastern parts of North America. It climbs up trees, grows over bushes and fences or – if it has nothing to cling on to – along the ground.

We have added devil’s darning needles to our clematis collection because of the great increase in interest in recent years, but it is still quite rare in Finland. The little white flowers form on new stalks, but whether they actually come out in the short Finnish summer depends on their origin. At Mustila we have blossom every autumn near the Festival Area. The seeds of our variety were collected in Quebec in 2002 and the plants have adapted well to the short growing season

The flowers are small, white and fragrant. This clematis is dioecious, meaning that each plant carries only male or female flowers. The caryopses on the female flowers form furry balls as they dry. Once devil’s darning needles has become established, it thrives even in Finland and the shoots may grow several metres in one summer. It is worth planting for its strong growth and beautiful, sturdy foliage alone: any blossom is then an added bonus!


Clematis ochotensis


This clematis has no common English name. It comes from Northeast Asia, around the Sea of Okhotsk. Clematis were used to be called forest vines and the clematis ochotensis also grows on the forest floor in its natural range, often climbing round bushes. The variety at Mustila comes from Kamchatka and it climbs 3–4 metres up the trunk of a very old Manchurian Walnut (Juglans mandshurica), flowering well.

The leaves look a fatter version of the Siberian Clematis (C. sibirica) because the individual leaflets are broader. The tepals of the flowers are also slightly broader and this makes the flowers rounder than those of the Siberian Clematis. The main flowering is in spring, but purple blooms continue to appear throughout the summer. The plant flowers on old wood. This means that if, for example, a mole has bitten off the stem, there will be no flowers the following season. In nursery conditions the first flowers may, however, appear at a height of 10 cms – in other words, as soon as wood has begun to form. The colour of the flowers varies from fairly light to dark purple, depending on the plant’s provenance.


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