Miss Bateman Clematis

Today, our first Miss Bateman Clematis bloomed.

Last year, she first bloomed on May 5th. But we have had seven consecutive days of rain here in Western Massachusetts and maybe this weather pattern accounts for her tardiness in blooming earlier.

Miss Bateman Clematis. May 20, 2011. Photo by Bruce Barone.

Whatever, Miss Bateman is an extremely early bloomer (She was the first large-flowered hybrid to flower for us this year; two years ago, though, she never did bloom.) and is in addition noteworthy for her overall excellence as a garden plant.

Miss Bateman is an heirloom clematis dating to 1869, developed by nurseryman Charles Noble of Surrey, England, from a Clematis patens cross of ‘Fortunei’ with ‘Standishii.’ Both of these were spotted by by Robert Fortune growing in Tokyo neighborhoods, who sent them to Charles Noble & John Standish’s nursery in the early 1860s. Noble’s hybrid was named for Catherine Bateman, the daughter of a famous orchid grower, James Bateman.

She is compact to 8’, with 4- 6″ flowers of a creamy white with chocolate-red stamens. When the flowers first open in the cool days of early spring the mid-rib is frequently tinged pale-green but this quickly fades to pure white as the flower expands. Miss Bateman is naturally inclined to have multiple stems and proper pruning of young plants will ensure a full and robust specimen at maturity.

Spring flowering is so heavy as to nearly obscure the foliage. If a good fall display is wanted, it is advised to remove the seedheads as soon as flowering is finished and fertilizing generously, first with an all-purpose fertilizer (20-20-20) and then a blossom-boosting fertilizer. Deadheading is not generally necessary for clematis that flower in spring and fall, but Miss Bateman expends so much energy in the initial flowering that she needs the extra “shot in the arm”. Finally, to add to her virtues, Miss Bateman is not only beautiful but also thoroughly reliable. She’s an excellent candidate for the small garden and container culture.

Here is the photo from May 5, 201O;

Miss Bateman Clematis. May 5, 2010. Photo by Bruce Barone.


Is Miss Bateman Clematis in your yard?

I would love to hear from you!

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