‘Freckles’ is one of the newest forms of Clematis available in New Zealand. It originated from the Mediterranean Islands of Balearic. It is not actually a new hybrid, but one only recently improved and revived from the ancient species.
Clematis Cirrhosa ‘Freckles’, is a most distinctive and attractive form of the Clematis species, and is now available in New Zealand.
A variable species in the wild, with numerous different leaf formations and variations In flower form and colour, ‘Freckles’ has been cultivated to become the only evergreen Clematis to have any colouring within the flower. Its’ bell shaped flowers are a creamy pink on the outside, cream on the Inside and covered all over with deep raspberry red freckles which turn reddish purple as they mature.
The species was first introduced into Great Britain during the latter part of the 16th century, but It was not until the English nurseryman Raymond Evison cultivated the plant at his Guernsey nursery from seeds collected from the wild in the Balearic Islands, that the plant developed its modem form. It was selected for its intense colour and large flower - being much larger than any other form of the species in cultivation.
“Freckles’ was described by a leading plantsman as ‘the new plant of the year’ and soon Clematis Cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ received an Award of Merit at the 1989 November Royal Horticultural Society Flower Show as a hardy winter flowering climber. In fact, this long flowering plant is unique in that it rests during the heat of Summer and then starts its growth again in the cooler months.
In the Southern Hemisphere the flowers appear on ripened stems from Autumn (April/May) through the Winter months finishing at the end of Winter (July/August.)
The leaves of this spectacular evergreen variety are a glossy dark green simple or trifoliate, with deep serrated edges. The underside of the foliage is slightly bronze, as are the new shoots. The bell shaped 4-tepalled flowers are almost 2 inches (4.5cm) in depth, and slightly scented, the tepals are recurving a little to reveal the stunning colour inside the flower.
Clematis Cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ is easy to grow and maintain, and will succeed anywhere In New Zealand and in most temperate climates that experience only light Winter freezing. It Is not particular about soil conditions but, being a native of the Mediterranean, prefers a sunny position. Pruning should be kept to a minimum as It is the ripened stems that produce the stunning Winter flowers. The plant will not require spraying with either pesticides or fungicides.
With Its brilliant raspberry red colouring throughout late Summer and Winter, this easily grown, low maintenance, hardy evergreen climber is an asset to almost every garden, arbour, fence or trellis and is available from leading gardening outlets.
An excellent source of Clematis ‘Freckles’ and many other species is:
NZ CLEMATIS NURSERIES
67 Ngaio Street,
Call Alister Keay, manager of NZ Clematis Nurseries, ph (03) 332 5890.
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