African Garden + shopping

Plant Shopping: Clematis 'Asao'

On her way out the door to school, my daughter stopped by the dining table where I was still having breakfast. She pointed to a Clematis bloom in the vase and asked, "What's that flower, I really like it." I replied that I wasn't surprised she liked Clematis 'Asao' because it's a Japanese variety which would appeal to her Anime-loving heart. It got me thinking how, ordinarily, I wouldn't grow such a Clematis. 'Asao' is an early large-flowered hybrid, but it blooms only once, and for not that long. I generally seek out the late blooming Clematis that bloom on new wood, or the early large-flowered hybrids that rebloom in fall.
edited 6/6/12 The following information is incorrect. My plant is weird, so please disregard the rest of this post and just enjoy the pictures. use google for the explanation.
You must be wondering, then, why I bought this plant, and why I continue to grow it. It's not just for its pretty face; there are many lovely pink Clematis. It could be because 'Asao' is the earliest of the large-flowered hybrids to bloom. But even that would not be enough. The answer is simple. It has sublime foliage.

The foliage isn't green, it's wavy and chartreuse. I know of no Clematis with foliage like it. The green foliage in the above photo is from Clematis 'Henryii', which is growing on the same trellis. The combination of bright pink blooms and electric foliage makes my heart sing, and the couple of weeks it's in bloom grant it a permanent place in the garden.

Clematis 'Asao' blooms on the trellis behind the sculpture, while the tree peony blooms by the arch.

Besides, that great foliage makes an excellent foil for a later blooming Clematis. I don't think 'Henryii' deserves that honor, and I'll probably replace it with something better to prolong the Clematis magic.

So while you're out shopping for plants, don't hesitate to pick up Clematis 'Asao'. It's a garden standout.

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Plant Shopping: Clematis 'Asao' + shopping