high on vines: intoxicating garden climbers
J ACK IS A JUNKIE; KIWI VINES ARE HIS CRACK. He knocked down that little Clematis to his left in the process of capturing and subduing his desired prey: the young kiwi vine that’s now half-hidden beneath the subdued cat (above). Yes, some species of kiwi are like catnip, and though Jack thinks that’s the reason to add more to the garden, I’m high on other vines that are coming into their season, from vivid Clematis tangutica to (not yet, but soon) Codonopsis lanceolata. Some favorites (both mine and Jack’s):
The striking thick yellow tepals (the petal-like parts) of C. tangutica remind me of lemon peels, and though it usually blooms here in late summer-into-fall, I never cut the plant back this year (it grows over an old bed headboard used as a gate, above) so it’s happening earlier. Read its profile.
Much woodier but still vining is Jack’s beloved kiwi (that’s Actinidia kolomikta, above, a male plant photgraphed in spring, loosely espaliered against the west side of the house). The leaves appear dipped in paint, first just white splashes with pink ones following. It would get to 15 feet or so if I let it.
When a package of various young vines arrived for planting a month or so ago, Jack the Demon Cat had to have it, tackling the contents to get at the one little specimen of A. kolomikta ‘Arctic Beauty’ that was inside. Weeks of rain has delayed planting of some of these babies, and I have to keep them hidden or you-know-who finds you-know-what. Go stalk some chipmunks, Jack, and leave the kiwis, planted and unplanted, alone.
The other Clematis here are getting going, like ‘Gravetye Beauty’ and ‘Polish Spirit’ and ‘Venosa Violacea’ and ‘Duchess of Albany’ (above). I grow them up various shrubs and trees here, as those of you who have been here awhile know.
C. recta purpurea (mine is the variety ‘Lime Close’) starts out with the most extraordinary purple foliage in early spring (above), then creates a cloud of creamy-colored autumn-clematis-like flowers in June here. They spill out of an extra large peony-ring like enclosure I use to try to restrain this loose, shrubby thing, good for scrambling among perennials and shrubs.
Coming up soon: Codonopsis lanceolata (above), a real oddity I’ve had for years. Remember it from the “Name That Vine” quiz last summer?