I love my neighbour’s porch. It’s hardly a garden but they have quite a few stunning clematises of different sorts growing against a small hedge of azaleas and something gorgeous like this flower is always in bloom.
This clematis is called the White Anemone Clematis, also known as the “Montana”. A very prolific flowerer and will cover an entire fence very quickly.
Though the clematis has well over 200 species native to temperate regions worldwide, and the origin of the word clematis is well established (deriving from the Greek klema, the tendril of the grapevine, which many species of clematis also have), no one is knows when wild clematis first entered the garden.
Given the large number of attractive species native to Europe, Asia including Japan, and North America, however, its introduction was almost certainly early.
John Gerard, the English botanist, grew a number of clematis as early as the late 1500s, including the native British species, Clematis vitalba, but this particular variety had found favor in gardens well before then.
Besides being known to be the traveler’s-joy — because its thousands of tiny, highly scented blossoms were said to cheer the hearts of all who encountered it — the plant also had a practical use – its woody, pliant stems had been used for centuries to bind bundles of wood.
For more information on spring clematises, see Gardenworld.