This year will be clematis expert Raymond Evison's fiftieth appearance at the Chelsea Flower Show and to mark the occasion we asked him to selected his top ten favourite clematis.
Raymond has been growing and selling clematis since he left school at the age of 15 and over the years has introduced more than 100 new plants to our gardens.
Not easy then to select just ten clematis as favourites but here's what Raymond picked and how he made his choice.
"I've chosen clematis that will:
• perform well in the garden,
• deliver plenty of flowers over a long period of time,
• be colourful
• are easy to grow and maintain."
1) Arctic Queen (='Evitwo'). One that we raised and I believe it's the best all-time double white clematis. It's long flowering, from almost May – Sept or even later in a mild autumn, always flowering double and sometimes perhaps semi-double in the autumn. Ideal for planting in the garden or in a container for the patio. Can be grown in any aspect.
2) Diamantina (='Evipo039'). Our 2010 Chelsea Flower Show introduction, a plant I found as a sport on Crystal Fountain™ Evipo038(N) in 2002. An ideal plant for a container, for growing with wall-trained shrubs especially golden or silver variegated plants. Best in a south, west or east facing location. Always fully double flowered, very long flowering May – September.
3) Rebecca (='Evipo016'). An outstanding red clematis introduced in 2008 and named after my eldest daughter Rebecca. Can be grown in any location, holds its colour well in full sun, good through other wall-trained plants and also in a container.
4) Ice Blue (='Evipo003). A stunning off white, with blue tints, large 15-18cm wide flowers. Very long flowering – almost the first large-flowered clematis to come into flower and the last to finish flowering. Suitable in any location through wall- trained or free-standing shrubs or in a container.
5) Picardy™ (='Evipo024). A designer clematis which meets all the criteria a clematis plant should have for growing in a container: medium size flowers produced over a long period, repeat flowering, easy to maintain, simple pruning each spring. Will do well in a container or in the soil in the garden, ideal for a small town garden, in any aspect.
6) Angelique (='Evipo017'). Also like Picardy an ideal plant for a container or for the smaller garden, mass flowering over a long period, May – September. Dusky blue flowers which go well with grey foliage and ideal for the mixed border and looks marvellous with purple shrubs like Berberis.
7) Diana’s Delight (='Evipo026'). A 2009 Chelsea introduction with delightful pale blue flowers, long flowering, equally as good in a container or in the garden only growing to about 120-150cm. Its flower colours blend with all pastel shades.
8) Rosemoor (='Evipo002'). A 2004 introduction, a very bushy, well-furnished plant, lots of flowers, a stunning dark red to grow with roses, over archways and with other wall-trained shrubs.
9) Viennetta (='Evipo006'). A plant that when in full flower causes great acclaim, creamy white outer sepals and a stunning boss of central petaloid stamens, which contrast well with the outer sepals. Needs a sheltered position, best through evergreen wall trained shrubs, ideal for growing a container or in a conservatory.
10) Clematis 'Princess Diana'
Its flowers adorn the front cover of my latest book, Clematis for Small Spaces. I really love the species and small flowered clematis, but these are not so popular with the general public. This one is a great plant with an unusual miniature tulip shaped flower. It should be grown through other low growing evergreen shrubs where its charming flowers can be viewed from above.
Read full descriptions and details of how to buy these and other clematis at www.raymondevisonclematis.com. You'll also find advise on how to grow and maintain your plants.
Raymond Evison features as our Who's Who profile in the May 2010 issue (161).