Things I See Around Town

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).

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Sweet Autumn Clematis

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?

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Sweet Autumn Clematis in my Chapel Hill 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.

 

About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and has been a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in Stallings, NC with his wife, in close proximity to seven of his eight grandchildren.
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5 Responses to Things I See Around Town

  1. pbmgarden says:

    A friend in my neighborhood had a similar experience so I’ve hesitated to plant this. Certainly is lovely though.

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  2. John, thank you for this insight to the Sweet Autumn Clematis. I grew it, or something similiar in my VA Beach garden without difficulty from seedlings, although the vine tried to swallow my privacy fence. It is pleasant enough in bloom, and annoying when not. A neighbor has SAC growing ALL over her garden and just offered to dig one or two for me. Timing is everything, and I’m so grateful to you for writing this post in time to save me from accepting her kind offer. Lovely look at the local wild flowers. The Joe Pye Weed you’ve shown looks quite different from mine. Is that a particular cultivar? I love the rich pink color of the trumpet vine 😉

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    • johnvic8 says:

      You will be grateful to stay away from SWC (presuming it acts there as it does here). I think the color question about Joe Pye Weed(it is wild) may be because my iPhone camera sometimes does some funny things with certain colors. It was much deeper on the plant. And the trumpet vine color had more orange in it. But, we have to catch the photos when we can.

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      • Yes, color can shift quite a lot depending on the camera, and how one works with the photo. Yours are lovely beautiful. It is always interesting to see what one can capture while just walking around.

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