This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Every homestead has some particular location where vines would form an added beauty to the surroundings, if such have not been already planted, and in this direction we desire to introduce to a more extended notice, the genus that heads this paper. It furnishes us with a great diversity of habit - from the delicate, slender-growing vine that is best suited to a fine wire trellis, or perhaps trained to a neat stake in our flower gardens - up to the rampant "Travelers' Joy," that in one or two seasons will completely cover a large arbor or porch with its wonderful wealth of foliage. And what a marvelous variety in the size and color of their flowers. Such species as our native C. Virginiana, with its large clusters of pure white bloom, or its near congener the C. vitalba, of Europe, and the well-known and deservedly popular C. flam-mula, fragrant as the Jessamine, have all small flowers. Then another class, of which we will cite as an example, the C. virticella, of Europe, has medium sized flowers, bell-shaped in appearance,. borne on long, gracefully curved stems.
Still another, with small bell-shaped flowers, is represented by our own C. viorna. And then we arrive at the showy, although none the more valuable species and varieties to the florist.
Japan with her multitude of novelties has contributed her full quota of Clematis, along with her other rare floral gifts. C. patens which we believe was the first one introduced, was the forerunner of a long list whose name is now already legion, with a cry of "still they come."
Lastly, the section having the largest sized flowers of all, is represented by its type and parent, C lanvginosa, the woolly-leaved Clematis.
The prevailing colors in the family are white, blue, pink, and purple, with all their intermediate shades and tints, in some cases so charmingly mingled as to make it almost impossible to describe them properly. Again, we notice in some varieties a series of vein-ings and stripes, which imparts a beautiful effect to the flower, and in a few rare instances as in "bicolor," we have two entirely distinct colors.
The clematis is an illustration of a rather unusual character in botany, that is, a flower without some flower leaves or petals; and what the ordinary observer usually believes to be these organs, are in reality nothing more than the floral covering or sepals, and which in most other genera are usually of a green color. But the flowers are none the less lovely for this, as these sepals are capable of assuming the most gorgeous tints imaginable, and in the skillful hands of the gardener have assumed such wonderful improvements and transformations as to now rank among the finest and most costly of our modern plants.
A few hints in regard to their culture may not prove amiss. Their thick, fleshy roots, which form a distinguishing feature in the whole genus, are produced in abundance, and enable them to luxuriate in a soil filled with stimulating manures; indeed, it is useless to plant a Clematis where the soil is at all poor, as in such it will never give satisfaction. In addition to a liberal supply of rich compost previous to planting, we would recommend an annual surface dressing of short decayed manure in the autumn, which may remain to serve as a mulch during the succeeding summer.
We want plenty of bloom and as large and showy flowers as we can possibly induce, but to accomplish this, we must bear in mind, requires strong stimulating fertilizers, when the result will amply repay the cultivator. If each wash day the soap-suds should be poured around these specimens a marked change will soon become apparent.
During the growing season care must be taken to train and fasten every slender stem to its support, for if for a time this should be neglected, the habit of the leaf stems to cling pertinatiously to the nearest support, amounting almost to instinct, will soon create a tangle, which, in the endeavor to separate, often becomes a serious matter to the vine itself.
The propagation of the Clematis is not attended with any great degree of mystery, although in the case of some varieties care is necessary to root them properly. Old plants may be divided, and every bud having a few fibers attached.will grow and form a new vine; but in the newer kinds, where it seems necessary to raise a large number of plants from a few specimens, more skill is required. Cuttings of young wood grown under glass will strike root more readily than when taken from out-iloor vines. Those prepared with one or more buds at the top of the cutting (none below being needed), may be at once placed in a sand bed with a brisk bottom heat, where they will soon form roots and be ready for potting off. It is bad policy to plant these in the open ground the first year, or even in the soil of a frame, as vines so grown will prove inferior to those which are allowed to remain in pots the first season to become well established. The young plants may be grown in a cool greenhouse, or cold pit under glass, and frequently watered and syringed throughout the season.
A little diluted manure water, say applied once a week whilst they are growing, will tend to make large plants.
Many varieties root easily from layera. This should be performed as soon as the young wood commences to ripen, a slit being made in the shoot close to a bud, and then curved downward into a small pot filled with loose, rich soil. To retain the moisture, which is indispensable with layers, the pots should be sunk in the ground and a slight covering of moss scattered over the surface. In the autumn all that have not rooted will quickly do so if treated as cuttings; that is, by carefully detaching them close to the scarified point, where may be generally noticed a cal-lused swelling, and then subjecting them to a warm sand bed in the propagating house.
Growing Clematis from seeds is one of the most interesting methods of reproducing a large stock of plants, and whilst we arc well aware that we cannot judge of their character in advance, excepting with the true species, still there is a certainty of producing many beautiful flowers and useful vines. A large rockwork or heap of roots covered with these mixed seedlings is one of the most picturesque and attractive objects we have ever beheld; or for massing on a large trellis, or over coarse shrubs for screening unsightly places, they are equally valuable. The seeds must be collected immediately after they are thoroughly ripe, and sown in boxes of sandy soil, with a very thin covering of sand, and placed away in a moderately cool greenhouse, when the young plants will make their appearance during the following spring. Presuming these are allowed to grow the first year in the boxes (which is decidedly the best plan), the second year they may be planted out in nicely prepared beds, when the greater proportion will soon show bloom.
Skillful hybridization with Clematis has produced the greater part of our choice varieties, but as this portion of the subject is not embraced within the practical part of cultivation, and at the same time is attended with so much trouble and care, we shall pass it by for the present.
As regards blooming, the Clematis may be classed into two sections; first, those which bloom upon the old wood, that of the previous season; and secondly, those which perfect their bloom upon the young wood of the same year. This feature must govern our trimming operations in a great measure, care being exercised not to curtail the shoots of the former too severely, else a diminution of flowers will be the result.
There is yet another class which belongs to the herbaceous plants whose roots are perennial and hardy, but whose tops die to the ground in the autumn. These are all handsome additions to the garden, and are delightfully fragrant in addition to their beauty. Of these the C. erecta with white, and C. carutea odo-ata with blue flowers, are fine examples.
But many of our readers, we presume, would like to know just what to plant and what to leave alone. In answer to the former, we may reply, it is indeed a difficult task among so many beautiful forms and colors; but difficult as it is, we could not answer the latter part of the inquiry at all, for we scarcely know of one that we feel like placing on the rejected list. In suggesting a"list that we feel confident that will prove satisfactory to the majority, we will first call attention to the true species, and afterward name a selection of the finest hybrids and varieties.
Among the former as very valuable, are C. cirrhosa, greenish-white, blooming very early; C. patens, or, as it is better known, azurea grandiflora, with bluish-lilac flowers; C. Standishii, light mauve, and very beautiful; C. florida, creamy-white, in autumn; C. Fortunii, creamy-white; C. Grahami, pale green, very late; C. viorna, a native of this country, with curious little purplish bells; C. Virginiana, another native of great value, large clusters of small, white, fragrant flowers; C. vitalba, similar to the last, but a more rampant grower; C. lanuginosa, the cream of the species, a native of Japan, and the parent of many of our most famous hybrids, pale lavender; C. viticella, blue or pink bells, very abundant; C. flammula,the old fragrant, white flowering species; and C. erecta, a herbaceous plant bearing numerous large heads of snow white, sweet-scented flowers.
In our list of standard varieties, we have not included any of the very new kinds, many of which, however, will prove grand acquisitions. The following have all been thoroughly tested in this country, and are unexceptionable in every way: Sophia, an old variety with very large lilac flowers; John Gould Veitch, lavender-blue, double, a superb bloom; Sie-boldii, creamy-white, with a mass of purple petals in the center; Gloria de St. Julian, pure white, of immense size; Imperatrice Eugenie, similar to the above, fine; Jeanne d'Arc, another of the very large flowers, grayish-white; Hendersoni, bluish-purple, bell-shaped; Viticella venosa, reddish-purple, elegantly veined; Jackmanni, the queen of the Clematis, deep voilet-purple; Renaultii ceerulea grandiflora, a French hybrid, violet-blue with rosy-violet stripes; Rubro-violacea, maroon-purple; Caerulea odorata, reddish-violet with pure white stamens, deliciously fragrant; Hybrida fulgens, mulberry, very free bloomer; Atropurpurea, very abundant, deep blue.
We close our list with a brief enumeration of the choicest novelties: Henryi, Lady Bo-vill, Lady Caroline Necill, Lady Londes-borough, Lawsoniana, perhaps the largest sized flower of the Clematis family, measuring nine and a half inches in diameter, Lord Londesborough, Lucie, Lucie Lemoine Mag-nifica, Miss Bateman, Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Jas. Bateman, Otto Fraebel, Rubella, Symesiana, The Queen, Thos. Moore, Viticella rubra grandiflora, and Wm. Cripps.
Madame Van Houtte. Flowers pure white, very large, of the finest shape and good substance.