Raymond Evison is a English gardener and plant breeder who has worked in developing clematis cultivars for over 50 years.
When I went to West Coast Gardens looking for a balcony-suitable climber I was directed to the “new” Evison clematis’. Apparently they flower in late spring and then again later in the late summer. Mine has been forming buds for the past few weeks and I’ve been excitedly waiting to see what the flowers will look like. Today I was rewarded. I chose a pink double flower variety called “Empress”, simply because I thought the picture on its accompanying card was pretty. I’m definitely not disappointed.
This clematis has been joyfully growing on my balcony for about a month, climbing noticeably higher on a daily basis. It seems to love the east-facing space where it gets good strong morning sun and avoids the strongest heat of the day.
In the winter I’m directed to cut the upper 1/3 of the plant and leave it outdoors where (as long as it has moderate wind protection) it will be safe until it begins to grow again the following spring.
Here are some photos I’ve taken over the past week. Enjoy!
White rock balcony
There is no way that you can compare gardening in a full size zone 3 yard and gardening on a balcony in zone 8. In Edmonton I had a 60 x 120 foot lot and I took advantage of most of the property for my hobby. By the time I sold my house I had seven composters, several raised beds for vegetables and I’d converted half the front lawn to garden. Much to my (late) mother’s chagrin I even grew corn in my front yard.
I had gogi berries, raspberries and haskap (honey berries). I ate Carmine Jewel cherries from my tree in the backyard while waiting for dozens of tomato plants to produce their yearly bounty of juicy plum tomatoes for canning. I’ve grown tomatillos for salsa verde, I’ve had a spaghetti squash plant produce so many squash that I had to take them to the food bank, and I’ve eaten carefully stored carrots and potatoes well in to January.
Those days are over but not forgotten.
A balcony can support all sorts of plants, including fruit and veggies. Breeding has produced a bounty of fauna that is satisfied with life in a container, although container living means much more attention to their care.
Container plants need a good quality soil that retains moisture. They need regular watering and fertilizing – everything they need will have to be provided at regular intervals. Two hot days in a row with a moderate wind and balcony plants can be baked in situ.
My balcony is east-facing so it gets a strong morning sun which abates at around 11 am and by 4 pm it becomes a cool place to sit and enjoy the sound of birds and a gentle breeze. So far all of my herbs and flowers are doing spectacularly and I’ve potted two tomatoes, a Hungarian pepper and a cucumber. I’ve got two different climbers – a black-eyed susan vine and a specially bred clematis which is going like crazy (I’ll blog about that another day).
So although I can’t garden on the same scale as I have in the past, I can still enjoy my hobby. And hopefully I can enjoy some fresh tomatoes in a couple of months.
Clematis Jackmanii is one of the most popular and widely grown clematis culitvars in Canada. Hardy to zone 4a, I’ve found it to be not only successful but prolific in my zone 3 garden.
It prefers cool roots but flourishes in direct sun, blooming from mid summer into the fall. Mine is at its prime this week, already more than 8 feet tall and covered in luscious 5-6″ purple blossoms.
I trim my Jackmanii to 24″ above the soil in the late fall once it has finished flowering, but if I forget or don’t get it done before snow falls I can do the same in the spring before the new sprouts emerge.
Clematis Jackmanii was originally developed by horticulturist George Jackman of Surrey England in 1862. It can be purchased at virtually any garden center in North America.