Garden Bloggers Blooms Day: Clematis 'Freckles'

My Clematis 'Freckles' growing on next door's garage wall

The frosts of a couple of weeks ago turned all but the hardiest of my summer flowers to a memory, and now it's the turn of the winter bloomers to take a star turn in VP Gardens.

The earliest of these is Clematis 'Freckles'. The guidance says she blooms from November through to February; mine's been throwing out the odd bloom or three since July. This isn't a rare occurrence; it happens here most years and I know Alan has had the same experience this year.

I can thank NAH for this year's plentiful blooms. This is a pruning group 1 clematis, so I tend to neglect her dreadfully. NAH in Drastic Gardener mode cut her down to the ground last year when the huge tangle of stems invaded next door's garage. He left her for dead, but she's made of sterner stuff and has grown back more strongly than before. It was worth sacrificing last year's winter display ('Freckles' flowers on old wood) for what's there now.

The guidance says growth is up to 4 metres; be prepared for much longer than that if you leave this clematis to her own devices like I've done. I've found stems popping up in all kinds of unexpected places in the garden. I've also found a few self layered plants - note to me: I must keep a much closer eye on her in future.

This clematis may look quite delicate with smaller leaves and thin, wiry stems... but remember, this is a winter flowering plant so it's a tough cookie. Having said that, a sheltered position is recommended as the plant has a hardiness rating of H4, so my neighbour's west facing garage wall is ideal. It's also much stronger than you think; when NAH cut her back I realised she'd been holding my enormous fig tree upright. It's now sprawled right across the patio instead.

I've started a renovation pruning of my fig, and the plan is eventually it'll form a fan across my neighbour's garage wall. This means there won't be room there for my clematis, so in the spring I'll take some cuttings ready for her new home further along the garden boundary. I hope the fence is to her liking.

I chose this clematis because it hails from Mallorca; a place of happy times in the past. It also provides nectar for bees foraging for food on warmer winter days at a time when there's not a lot else around. I love that Raymond Evison named her 'Freckles' when he introduced the plant in 1989, because his daughter Rebecca had plenty of them when she was a little girl.

She's definitely a star plant in my garden. What's starring in yours?

Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

* = or Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurescens 'Freckles' to give her full name


  1. Very pretty!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

  2. How pretty. I love a vine covered wall. Sorry about the fig, hopefully you'll have it looking great in a season or two.

    1. It's a longer term task with the fig as it's grown so big. I see a 3-year long (at least) pruning programme happening. Once I've tamed it, things will be fine :)

  3. I am in love with your Freckles! And I think that it is so interesting that I have never seen this clematis in Spain in nearly 30 years, and here I see it for the first time on your blog. From Mallorca, you say? Incredible. While my climate in central Spain is not as benign as in Mallorca, I see from your RHS link that Freckles is hardy to -10 degrees, so it should do well here.

    Now my next question is: where do I find one?! Can you imagine if I couldn't find a supplier here?

    Happy GBBD!

    1. Welcome to Veg Plotting! Yes, 'Freckles' came from seed collected in Mallorca and then grown on at the Raymond Evison nursery on Guernsey - unfortunately they don't deliver outside the UK. If you have a good local nursery they should be able to advise how you might source one in Spain? Another option is to look for Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica, I think you can guess where this one came from! She's not so freckled as 'Freckles', but still lovely.

  4. What a beauty VP especially so for shining at this time of year. I imagine that you didn't thank him at the time but well done to NAH for the drastic haircut.

    1. For once we'd discussed what the Drastic Gardener was going to do! We're both surprised that she survived the experience ;)


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