Behind the Private Gates, Design, In the Garden


Ode to the Autumn Clematis

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Vivacious… embracing…enveloping…a bit free with her favors…and goes by the honeyed name, Sweet Autumn Clematis.

Am I describing a lady of questionable behavior or a trailing vine that appears with great enthusiasm just at this time of the year? To see her is to love her with fresh lime green buds opening to a beguiling five-petaled white star that grows in vast abundance.

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For some, clematis paniculata is a nuisance and might even be called “invasive” (quelle horreur…). I’ve been of this sentiment in the past but have now come to adore her. One just needs to learn how to manage her possibilities (don’t they say that about all us girls?). You will be richly rewarded.

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A dear friend’s small “library” on his Newport property is such a perfect and elegant example — so much so that I grabbed camera, pen and paper and started creating this post.

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This time of year when gardens are starting to look a bit rugged at the edges (especially after a long, unseasonably hot late summer), along she comes with her flowers abundant on a mat of green that trails and clambers and wraps itself around any structure it encounters.

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It became a bit of a game to find differing examples of just what I’m describing, but so rewarding. If not already, I hope you’re now awakened to the possibilities of what the Autumn Clematis can add to a spot in your garden. Doesn’t everyone need a bridal veil?

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Next year at this time I’ll have a surprise for you — it’s already in the works. One must start early on garden projects.

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

8 thoughts on “Ode to the Autumn Clematis

  1. Bettie,
    Have always loved the fall clematis paniculata. White is magical at night and oh the fragrance.
    I grew it in N.C. as I had more space. Pared down to condo living which my husband says is “ant hill living”. Have the most wonderful combined heavenly blue morning glories and moonflowers that took the porch as in kudsu…grew inches each summer night. Totally wild but has been beautiful night and morning all summer.
    happy gardening, and visits to that little library…magical getaway,
    Lynn

    1. Hi Lynn, morning glories and moonflowers sound like wonderful substitutes for Autumn clematis!! Two-for-one…happy fall, wherever you are. Cheers from Newport, Bettie

    1. As soon as my friend finishes decorating, I may be able to coerce him to share the interior. Stay posted all! Bettie

    1. As soon as my friend finishes decorating, I may be able to coerce him to share the interior. Stay posted all! Bettie

    1. As soon as my friend finishes decorating, I may be able to coerce him to share the interior. Stay posted all! Bettie

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