Monday, September 29, 2008

Favorite plants - Sweet Autumn Clematis

No haughty sounding name for this ruggedly beautiful clematis. Sweet for the intensely sweet fragrance that fills the air all around it. Autumn because its blooms herald the first days of the fall season.

This vine does not resemble the large flowering clematis that bloom in the late spring and early summer. Sweet autumn is a large vine, easily reaching 20-feet, usually more. The flowers are small, but there are hundreds. To me the real difference lies in the fragrance; sweet and strong it can fill the yard on a warm evening.

SAC is especially lovely n the twilight when each bloom shimmers like a tiny star amongst the dark leaves.

My father's SAC grows up some light wires, covers his field stone chimney, and spills onto the roof. SAC twines so there is no damage to walls and bricks like there is with ivy.

A great choice to soften the hard lines of buildings and fences. It creates an informal look perfect for cottage and country gardens. SAC requires no maintenance other than the occasional tuck or tie to keep stems contained and an early spring cut back. I have never seen disease or insect damage on this vine.
Please do leave the SAC standing until early spring. Small birds love to shelter from the bitter weather in the dense foliage which clings all winger long.

35 comments:

flydragon said...

What a gorgeous SAC your dad has!!!
I also have one but as we talked about before, mine has been done blooming since the middle of Sept.

tina said...

That is such an awesome specimen of Sweet Autumn! Huge! They are beautiful for sure. I will leave mine until spring.

perennialgardener said...

I can't imagine the corner of my Arbor Garden without SAC! It is alittle rampant & vigorous in it's growth, but I chop it back up till the beginning of July each year & it still rewards me with gorgeous blooms that smell heavenly.

beckie said...

Yours is a beautiful speciman! I have seen several of this type blooming around here and they make spectacular displays. If I could think of a place for it, it would be on my wish list.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Flydragon, I guess early is as good as late;) They should be as beautiful anytime.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Tina, see if you don't get lots of birds nesting over winter. Even tho you're weather is not as cold, I'll bet they still love your vine.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Perennialgardener, I know what you mean. I'm afraid I'm losing mine because it's in a bad place. Next spring I begin intensive therapy to save it.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Beckie, they do need the right location. Maybe you'll find just the right spot someday.
Marnie

Balisha said...

Would it tolerate part shade?

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Balisha, you probably could get by with 6 hours sun. Less than that and you will sacrifice bloom. The vine will do OK, but the amount of flowers decreases.

Kathleen said...

WOW! That last photo, of the SAC on the fieldstone is spectacular Marnie! I'm having a bout of envy! What a specimen is right. How long has it been there to get so enormous?? Thanks for the inspiration today and I'm glad you were able to post. We wouldn't have wanted to miss this!

Roses and Lilacs said...

My Dad has had it there for at least 20 years.
Marnie

walk2write said...

If I could be a vine, I would be a SAC! Easy to grow, beautiful, noninvasive, smells good, long-lived, hardy, attracts wildlife... What's not to like about her? Great post, Marnie!

Rose said...

That is one beautiful clematis! I've always loved these, but don't have a specimen here. My son has one growing over the gate to his backyard, so I took a few cuttings last week and am trying to root them. If they root for me, I'll follow all your suggestions for growing them. If not, it will be added to next spring's shopping list:)

Naturegirl said...

I would love to see this clematis somewhere in my garden!! Oh my all those white starry blossoms!!
I love to leave vines hanging over the fences and trellis for winter interest and bird shelter too!

BeadedTail said...

What a beautiful SAC! I bet it smells wonderful!

Rambling Woods said...

That is beautiful and good advice too. We actually build a brush pile at the base of our maple tree for the birds to hide it...

TC said...

My neighbor has one and it's gorgeous. I've been meaning to go take a cutting. I hear they're easily propagated. I've also heard they can be rather vigorous.

Sweet Repose said...

I have three vines started, this is the 2nd year and I just love them, you can never have enough. Just had a friend stop by tonight to ask what it was...she's getting a start next year.

sharon

Dog_geek said...

Wow - beautiful! So many wonderful flowering plants on your site... I wish I had the time/space/money to get all of them!

Kim said...

That's such a lovely clematis, I may have to track one down.

I also love the 'Leg Lamp' award that's on the side of your blog. There was a lamp like that in one of my favourite Christmas films, I think it was simply called 'A Christmas Story' about a lad called Alfie and all he wanted for Christmas was a BB gun. Very funny film :)

Kim x

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Walk2Write, you put it very well, what's not to like? I agree;)

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Hi Rose, try the seeds too. SAC can self seed fairly well, mine has twice.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Nature Girl, yes, they do add winter interest as well as bird shelter. I even like the rustling sound the dried leaves make in the wind;)

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Hi Beadedtail, it does smell wonderful!
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Rambline Woods, I have a brush pile for the birds along the hedgerow. It is full of activity in the winter;)

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Hi TC, Gorgeous yes, but not for confined spaces;) Hope your cuttings do well.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Sharon, in a couple more years your should have some gorgeous monsters. Then you can drag a lawn chair over on a warm evening and just inhale the heady fragrance;)
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Dog Geek, I don't really have that many varieties anymore. I used to be a 'plant collector'. Every year I'm cutting back.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Kim, I love A Christmas Story too. I watch it faithfully every year. That's where the 'leg' award lamp is from.

Mary said...

Wow...that is huge! Beautiful!

Carla said...

That is a beautiful Clematis! I wonder how it would do on the plateau. But then I don't know where I'd put it either.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I was thinking about putting in a pergola, but I don't think there's enough light for a Wisteria. I think SAC might be a candidate for this project if it can get by on 6 hours. It's such a beautiful plant from a distance & up close.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Mary, it is big but it looks charming on his house.

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Hi Carla, everybody would not have the right place for it. I think it would do fine in your area if you found a spot.
Marnie

RainbowMom said...

Oh my goodness! It's so beautiful! I would love to have one of these growing in our backyard.. (jots another favorite flower on my ever growing list)

Cosmo said...

Hi, Marnie--I'm getting so behind on my blog reading that I'm embarrassed--in any case, I love your posting on the SAC. I have a few vines, but the one culprit I struggle with is deer--they love it, and I got behind on my deer spray and they "trimmed" all the vines back to their roots in July. Anyway, all survived, but I didn't get a bloom this year--but yes, I will leave the foliage there for the birds. Yours is so beautiful.

Gail said...

Hi Marnie! You've posted some great information on SAC....leaving the vines until spring is a terrific idea.
I had to remove the vine from smothering a Japanese Maple and I miss its sweet fragrance and lovely form...gail

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
That is one spectacular autumn clematis! Wow. I love that stuff and wish we had room for one, but we're training a blue Wisteria instead. Maybe one of these years it will bloom. :-)

Great photos too!