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The Truth* about Clematis 'Betty Corning'
1 week into blooming

Meet Clematis 'Betty Corning' a/k/a "Betty the Beast." It's a heavily blooming, healthy Clematis. I fertilized her last year, and she grew wildly huge, but I managed to keep her mostly on the supports. This year, I thought I was so clever; I didn't fertilize her. So what?

She's bigger than ever and threatening to pull the chickenwire off the chimney and spread her grasp into the crabapple.

Squirrelhaven's 'Betty Corning' is on the east side of the house, planted on the south side of the chimney at the top of a small slope, partially shaded by the crabapple tree.

'Betty Corning' is a type 3 Clematis, meaning it flowers on new wood. This is all new growth; I pruned hard in March.

the copper colored stems are this year's growth

According to the Missouri Botanic Garden and BBC Gardeners' World, 'Betty Corning' gets 5 to 6 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. Hah! By contrast, Clematis on the Web lists it as 8 to 9 feet tall. That's definitely more like it. The Victory Garden website describes Betty as "[o]ne of the most vigorous clematis hybrids." Now that I can believe.

I cut off some of the new growth and brought it inside for a vase ('Betty Corning' makes a good cut flower, especially the long-stemmed blooms),

Clematis 'Betty Corning' with Clematis 'Natascha' and 'Fairy Blue' (Crystal Fountain) and peony

but I fear the pruners are going to get a workout very soon, as Betty the Beast continues to thicken.

It's doing a good job of covering the ugly chimney, but I've had to tie down some of the canes to keep it growing towards the north. As I noted previously, Clematis are photo tropic, and this one is growing in partial shade, so it wants to lean toward the light.

There is some question concerning the fragrance of 'Betty Corning'. According to Clematis on the Web, cultivars of 'Betty Corning' in the UK are fragrant, while American cultivars are not. However, in 95F heat I detected a light fragrance from the blooms of my plant.

I can't recall ever noticing the fragrance before, so it might depend on environmental factors.

'Betty Corning' is a wonderful, tough, blooming machine that I highly recommend to anyone who has an arbor, arch or pergola to cover in full to partial sun. Despite last summer's drought (it doesn't get any supplemental water, as the sprinkler usually misses it), it is better than ever and loaded with buds. If you've got the room, give 'Betty Corning' a try. As for me, I'll be on the lookout for a much larger trellis.

*This is the way this plant performs in my garden. Performance under other conditions may vary.

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The Truth* about Clematis 'Betty Corning' + work