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Clematis Nelly Moser announces Spring’s arrival in central Virginia. © 2012 EddinsImages

I have a love-hate relationship with Spring. After frigid temperatures and months of nothing but dull landscapes of brown and grey, April’s warm weather – along with peeps of fresh green outside – are always welcome. Yet, it seems that I always get excited too soon. You see, invariably, an early thaw leads to a few warm days.


Then, it gets cold again.


Worst of all, many plants that dare to bloom during the early thaw, ultimately, wither and die. (I’d share photos of my husband’s tomato plants, but, it is too depressing). I hate that.

Nevertheless, I’ve learned that my clematis are better timekeepers than I. They seem to get it just right, year after year. And, when clematis variety “Nelly Moser” finally opens her petals, I know that Spring weather is here to stay. My striped, candy-pink Nelly, above, is just a newbie. Planted last fall, she is actually the smallest of all my clematis plants (there’s not much more to her than what’s shown in the photo), and yet, she is still the first to bloom, along with another couple of my youngsters, white clematis “Henrii.” My Henrii group are a bit less protected than the single Nelly Moser, and they got whipped in the wind during the last few days. My first-to-appear Henrii bloom looks a little shabby. I didn’t take his photo.

Now that I think of it, the Nelly Moser is just sitting in clay soil (not good for her) and, still,  she is first to bloom! Note to self: amend soil or move Nelly…

Regardless, both Nelly Moser and Henrii are fairly common varieties and are regarded as excellent repeat bloomers, each with a relatively long flowering season. Although, I remember not being overly impressed with either variety when I was first familiar with clematis, (candy cane pink = too cute; white = boring), I’ve come around over the years. Because of their easy maintenance, excellent hardiness, great repeat blooming, potential for sizable blooms (Nelly Moser, up to 9 inches; Henrii up to 7 inches ) as well as prolific blooming – I’ve had these varieties absolutely smothered with flowers, even when I’ve totally neglected them –  each has grown to become an all-time favorite of mine. Best of all, I adore roses, and clematis make perfect rose companions.

Hummm… now that Spring has arrived, my rose buds will open soon.

I just love Spring!

Photo taken with an iPhone 4. © 2012 EddinsImages