I promised a follow-up photo of Clematis x cartmanii ‘Joe’ in full bloom and here it is.
This small clematis from New Zealand makes a gorgeous potted plant, but keep in mind that it is not hardy in a colder climate like Toronto’s (around zone 5b-ish) and must be overwintered in a cool greenhouse. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for climate context, cold hardy clematis that are grown outdoors are only just beginning to put out buds here in Toronto.
Two other varieties, ‘Cassis’ and ‘Vienetta’ also do well in big containers. They are a bit hardier than ‘Joe’, but here in Toronto still seem to require a protected place to spend the winter. My friend Barry (clematis enthusiast) says that if you don’t mind losing a plant to experimentation, it might be possible to overwinter either outside. He hasn’t tried it yet.
Check out Barry’s blog where he talks about how he has achieved the compact, spiral growth shown here (it’s his plant).
I love this little-big flower, Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant.’ The name is confusing here (if not a bit of a stretch) as it speaks to the flower size in relation to others in its species rather than within the crocus world as a whole. It is actually a cute little cup of a thing, much smaller than the big hybrids you see available as a forced potted bulb this time of year.
It is so graceful with its long, stretching neck and petals that open wide in the sun. I took this photo on a cheerfully bright afternoon last week and it was a delight to see them in exactly the same state today, nearly a week later.
I took this photo of Clematis x cartmanii ‘Joe’ a number of weeks ago in my friend Barry’s greenhouse, just before the buds opened. In a day or two I’ll update you with a photo of what it looked like today, with the blooms wide open.
Meanwhile, Barry has also posted about his plant with a bit of background information.
By example and his own enthusiasm, Barry has really opened my eyes to the diversity in the clematis world. I finally get what all of those nutty clematis spotters are going on about.
My friend Barry is growing these sweet and simple daffodils (Narcissus cantabricus) in his greenhouse and they’re currently in bloom.
I enjoy daffodils in a general way, much like I enjoy most flowers. However, I tend to be underwhelmed by their arrival as they come late when spring has already been around for a spell.
So over it.
It’s typically the early bloomers like snowdrops and crocus that perhaps get more hype from me than they’re worth since they are some of the first flowers to make an appearance. By the end of winter I am so gleefully giddy to see that spot of colour peering out from underneath the melting snow, I could throw myself onto the ground and cry with thankfulness.
We’re going to make it out ALIVE!
That grateful enthusiasm is a bit how I feel about these minute greenhouse daffodils. And they’re cuter than the big fluted type to boot.
Meanwhile, over at Barry’s garden…. acres of cyclamen, each plant unique, are continuing to unfurl from dormancy to charm us with their unusual leaf patterns and delicate flower stems.
Yes, all of that fuzziness in the background are dozens of tiny pots of unusual cyclamen — all grown from seed! Barry explained that they are on their forth winter, which I thought showed quite a big commitment and dedication. Can you imagine the work involved in seeding all of those pots and then taking each plant through their growing and dormancy seasons for four years running? And let me tell you they are all healthy and near-perfect. Every single one.
But according to Barry, each year has offered some new stage of development in the tiny plants that has held his interest and excitement through to the next.
Dear god, I think I might be getting into cyclamen now. But what plant genus isn’t worth getting excited about, really? They all have their merits on some level. And to top it off, it’s hard not to catch Barry’s contagious enthusiasm for his plants. Thankfully I can live out this particular interest vicariously through Barry’s hard work. No need to bemoan the fact that I do not have the space and skill (or patience) myself.