I received the Spring Meadow Nursery’s catalog, Flowering Shrubs, this month which showcases their wholesale “starter plants” for 2012-2013. The reason it caught my eye is because it featured the cranberry-colored introduction, Clematis ‘Sweet Summer Love’, on its cover (see above). Needless to say, the photograph piqued my interest, so I went to my computer to do a search to see if there were any other American retail nurseries carrying it. I discovered that there are presently only few nurseries offering it according to my Google search, and they were all in Europe. I guess that should be expected since it was only recently introduced in 2011by the renowned Polish clematarian and breeder, Szczepan Marczynski.
Just like Clematis terniflora (Synonyms: C. paniculata, C. maximowicziana, C. dioscoreifolia) (common name: Sweet Autumn clematis) the new introduction, Clematis ‘Sweet Summer Love’ is in the Flammula Group. I think it would be interesting to know which clematis Mr. Marczynski used in its breeding to obtain its unique cranberry coloring.
On page 92 of Flowering Shrubs was the following description of their new offering: “Wouldn’t it be great if Sweet Autumn clematis flowered sooner and longer and came in other colors? Now it does! ‘Sweet Summer Love’ gives you everything you want: the flowers, the fragrance, the ease of growth and cranberry-violet blooms that start over a month earlier than others”. I concur with their assessment that it would be great!
According to an online article by the famous plantsman, Graham Rice, Clematis ‘Sweet Summer Love’: Combines fragrance and colour: “‘Sweet Summer Love’ is happy in any reasonable soil where it gets at least some sunshine, such as on an east, west or south wall or fence. It can be limited in size by hard pruning every spring, just cut the plant down to about 8in/20cm above the ground as the buds start to burst”.
Since I have yet to grown it personally, I can only report on what others have stated about this plant’s potential virtues. What I discovered makes it sound pretty appealing in that is reported to have: a cherry-vanilla fragrance with hundreds of 1-2 inch cranberry-purple flowers that are produced during the summer months. One thing you might take into consideration is that it will need a large area for it to grow in since it can reach a height of 10 to 15 feet. But having a clematis that blooms in summer is especially welcoming because this is when the majority of our clematis (those in the Patens and Jackmanii Groups) are normally taking a little siesta.
I would like to commend Spring Meadow Nursery, Inc. for not only offering an interesting clematis from the Flammula Group, but also because the attest to the fact on their website that this clematis will also grow in USDA Zones 10 & 11 rather than taking the usual “limited zoning route” of suggesting only USDA Zones 4-9 as the correct zoning criteria. The Clematis Queen would personally like to thank them for their forward thinking!