A Gardening Journal

Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Clematis 'Midnight Masquerade' in Flower

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Soon this purple-leaved clematis will be crowned by a cloud of small white flowers, but at the beginning of the show, each flower is an individual. In the picture above, four petals surround a still-tight boss of icy green stamens. In the picture below, six petals. Five-petaled flowers will soon join in.

 

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Blush-kissed buds are at the tips of plummy stems. As the buds mature to flowers, the stems mature, too: They change from plum to green.

 

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And, oh, the foliage! These are the leaves (and flowers) of Clematis recta 'Midnight Masquerade', whose foliage is reported as being even darker than that of 'Purpurea'. Who knows whether the foliage of a British form, 'Velvet Night', is darker still?  

 

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All Spring, the dark foliage is already a thrill. But when the flowers appear, they do so with generous ambidexterity: Not only are they intriguing in their own right, they also call attention back to the foliage. After its weeks of display, its impact had begun to diminish. No longer. Purple leaves next to purple leaves is an elegant murmur. Purple leaves and white flowers, mixing it up together? That's a party. 

 

Here's how to grow Clematis recta 'Midnight Masquerade'.

 
 
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