clematis ‘roguchi,’ summer-into-september star
YOU’D THINK WITH SO MUCH WIND AND RAIN that the high-fliers of the garden—the vines—would have been knocked off their pedestals quite literally. Somehow in spite of it all, vines like Clematis ‘Roguchi’ have managed to hold their ground—er, airspace. A look at one somewhat upwardly mobile hero of the sodden September garden.
I don’t know why I waited so long to add Clematis ‘Roguchi’ to my garden, but I finally did so a couple of years ago, and then bought another plant this spring. (It’s also found as ‘Rooguchi’ in various catalogs, and don’t ask me which is correct. What everyone agrees upon: it’s one of the best small-flowered clematis there is.) I quickly learned that it is long-blooming—in North Carolina, Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery says May through September; for me, it starts a little later but goes all summer long, and into fall.
Clematis ‘Roguchi’ performs like a herbaceous perennial—it’s more of a scamperer than a climber, and it doesn’t become some crushing woody vine. Because of that neighborly demeanor, it’s beautiful when scrambling up and into a shrub nearby—think rose, or Japanese maple, for instance—or weaving through other perennials closer to ground level (those leaves in the photo are Geranium macrorrhizum; it’s kind of weaving in and out of a mound of them in my front yard). You can help it to hold on to a tripod or trellis, if you prefer. Whatever the choice, this hybrid of Clematis integrifolia reaches about 6 feet wide or tall, maybe a little more, and likes a spot in the sun.
‘Roguchi’ seems to be free from clematis wilt, and is very hardy over a wide range. If only everyone could agree how wide. As with its name, you have to take a position on hardiness, too. Certainly 4-9, but maybe colder and warmer.
I’m thinking another plant is in my future—one that I’ll plant alongside one of my Japanese maples in a pot, which I overwinter in my unheated barn. Sound like a good idea?