Winter wouldn’t be the same without a blooming clematis adding floral pizzazz to the garden.
They may not have the flamboyance of summer-flowering kinds, but in the subdued light of winter they're just as valuable.
The majority are from the evergreen, parsley-leaved C. cirrhosa, found in the Mediterranean.
Rather than sending out long, rangy shoots, it tends to scramble up and over structures, making it useful for covering fences, walls and larger garden structures.
From November it produces clusters of small, bell-like blossoms which, depending on variety, range in colour from creamy green to dark maroon, with various amounts of purple speckling in between.
They need a structure to climb up, when they'll achieve 3-3.5m (10-11½ft). Train and tie them in as they grow to prevent them creating a bundle of tangled shoots.
Completely different in look is C. urophylla ‘Winter Beauty’.
It has much larger, sumptuous, evergreen foliage, rather like a summer-flowering variety. The small, white, thick-petalled flowers appear from December onwards.
All winter-flowering types love a sheltered position in sun or semi-shade and a moist, but well-drained soil. They also won't need pruning save for thinning out unwanted and tangled growth.
Why not give these a try?
C. cirrhosa ‘Lansdowne Gem’: Blooms of creamy claret appear November to March. A sport of ‘Freckles’.
C. cirrhosa ‘Advent Bells’: Pink speckled blossoms from November. Cross of ‘Freckles’ and C. napaulensis.
C. cirrhosa ‘Wisley Cream’: Award-winning variety with clean, creamy-green bells from January to March.
C. urophylla ‘Winter Beauty’: Evergreen with larger leaves. Thick-petalled white flowers from December to March.
How to get the best from clematis
1. Plant 20cm (8in) away from a sunny wall or a fence.
2. Train in growth to a support or framework of wires.
3. Partner varieties with specimen shrubs such as pyracantha.