I try to take a good walk every day, and yesterday on my way I was delighted to see a number of wild flowers in bloom. Here in August in our part of North Carolina the wildflower picture is not so extravagant as it is in springtime, but still I was pleased with what I saw. Let me share some of them with you (run the cursor over the pictures for identification).
I am beginning to see Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis ternifolia) growing wild throughout our area. It is indeed beautiful, but I must caution readers that I found it to be quite invasive in my previous garden. It was definitely not a choice for this one.
In my book, Guess What’s in My Garden!, I wrote about several plants that I nominated for induction into the “Thug Hall of Fame.” Sweet Autumn clematis was one of them. The plant that I had growing in my garden was gorgeous, had grown about fifteen feet up a pine tree, and never failed to get raves from my visitors when it was in bloom. Here is a picture of that plant; I think it is clear why it was so much appreciated. Who wouldn’t want that beauty in their garden?
The problem is with its seeds. When the blooms fade and seeds are ready, they are dispersed on “wings of cotton.” They reminded me of dandelion seeds floating about. That should have been my first clue of a potential problem. Each one of those blossoms produces many, many seeds. I began to find clematis seedlings all around the garden, particularly in clumping plants like peonies, daylilies, phlox, Japanese iris, and hosta. If not discovered and pulled immediately, they became quite difficult to eliminate. I moved a daylily here to my new garden and hidden therein was a Sweet Autumn clematis shoot. Cutting it off didn’t do the job. It kept coming back. After several years of trying to eliminate it, I had to dig up the plant, wash away the soil, separate the roots to locate the clematis, and only then was it free.
Gardeners in other climates may not have the same problem with Sweet Autumn clematis, but in our area, I am happy to let it grow in the wild. I am going to be especially vigilant when I see those seeds floating about.