A sweet reminder of autumn

Clematis terniflora ‘Sweet Autumn’ is an evergreen vine in my zone 7 garden that can reach up to 30 feet in a season. I have to keep it in check with severe pruning from early spring into the

early part of July. It blooms off of new wood so this intensive pruning does not diminish the blooms come August. The blossoms are small & white and when blooming in mass are quite spectacular. I love the light sweet fragrance that permeates the garden in the morning & evening hours. In my research of this vigorous vine I found numerous sources that stated not to plant this in your garden due to it’s invasive tendencies. Now I didn’t plant this Clematis in my garden, it was growing wildly among the overgrown vegetation in what is now my Arbor Garden. This area was a dumping ground for the previous owner of leaves & grass clippings and had various plants struggling to survive in the abundant shade from several weedy trees that were growing in the corner of my yard. When I removed those trees shortly after moving in we found a variety of perennials, shrubs, as well as Iris growing there. Initially I didn’t even know what this vine was for several years. I did suspect some type of native because of the rapid growth and strong survival skills. In fact, this year I was finally able to identify it for sure as Clematis terniflora. I had suspected that it was indeed this plant for the past couple of years. Every year I consider ripping it out, which at this point would be a task since the trucks are at least 3-4″ in diameter, but then it blooms and the scent is so sweet that it gets a reprieve again. The corner of my yard it occupies is on two trellises mounted to the fence and the post gives it a great deal of support. Its’ tendrils cascade over the fence and try to take over my neighbor’s overgrown Nandinas. He told me not to worry about it because if it gets too wild he just chops it off the bushes, lol. In the early morning the sun just lights up that corner as it reflects off the lovely little star like flowers. And when it starts blooming each August in the garden, it’s a gentle & sweet reminder that is fall is indeed upon us.

20 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Cindy on August 17, 2008 at 5:06 am

    I remember you mentioning this clematis in a recent post and it intrigued me then. I am glad you elaborated on it. It sounds lovely with its scent. I love fragrant vines. It sounds like this one likes your garden!


  2. Posted by Paula on August 17, 2008 at 5:46 am

    Oh it’s lovely cascading over like that!How interesting that it was left over from the previous owner. A week ago it felt like fall here with cool temperatures; for the past three days, it’s been over 100. I’d love to have some of your beautiful greenery to perk up the yard!


  3. Posted by OhioMom on August 17, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Fall-like temps this past week here in early morning, but not to worry the temps this week will remind me that it is indeed still summer and I will be back to whining 🙂

    Lovely vine!


  4. Posted by Jan on August 17, 2008 at 11:05 am

    I love my sweet autumn clematis. I had to get mine from my mother who had seedlings coming up all over her yard. I, too, now have plants popping up, so I can see how some gardeners think it is invasive, but I find it easy to just pull up the unwanted ones.

    Always Growing


  5. Posted by Sara G on August 17, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Your beagle is a cutie too!! Thanks for your comments on my blog.
    Take care and enjoy the rest of the weekend! They go too quickly!!


  6. Posted by Mother Nature on August 17, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    I love plants that have endured the test of time. Your lovely clematis is a beautiful way to say goodby to summer and welcome fall.


  7. Posted by flydragon on August 17, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Hi, I also have this growing in my garden, climbing up a Mulberry tree for support. Mine isn’t blooming yet here in Ohio but I expect it to be soon. I have never heard about it being invasive, and have never noticed it spreading itself around. Maybe I should look a little closer. I enjoy your blog.


  8. Posted by tina on August 17, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    I really love mine. I just learned this year you can cut it back to the ground and it will still grow like crazy! I got my start from a Perennial Plant Society and have loved it since. It has only made a few offspring but I have no qualms sharing them because it is such a great vine. That is great you found all those plants in the ‘dumping’ ground of your property. Sounds kind of like the previous owner was a gardener. And your neighbor sounds like a gem. I have to move my vine, I hope it does well. It is not as big as yours-3-4″-Zowie! That is huge!


  9. Posted by Balisha on August 17, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Good morning PG,
    What a find in the trash! This is the one that I have been looking for. I could never remember the name. I wanted it for the border of our woods. I thought that it might go up into the shrubbery along the border.It could be as invasive as it wants back there. Now I know what to buy. Thanks


  10. Posted by Meadowview Thymes on August 17, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    What a pretty plant. And you know how I love anything fragrant! Can’t believe we are even thinking fall, but it’s coming isn’t it? I went to McKinney yesterday to my favorite “country store” and it was decorated with pupmkins and smelled like cinnamon!


  11. Posted by Love My Cottage Garden on August 17, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    I just love the sweet autumn clematis. It is irresistable when it is blooming. I am afraid I cut mine back too far last year because it is nowhere in sight. OOPS!


  12. Posted by Naturegirl on August 17, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Oh what a sweet clematis and from what you describe I can almost smell it from her. Probably very soft scent
    that fills the air..little scented stars in your garden of bliss!hugs


  13. Posted by Nathan's Garden on August 17, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    It certainly is a beauty. I have few clematis but they have not put on much growth yet. Hope they look as good as yours one day.


  14. Posted by Perennial Garden Lover on August 17, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    I’m glad you all enjoyed my Sweet Autumn Clematis and that I could provide some information. I’m lucky my neighbor is such a nice guy and puts up with my jungle. lol


  15. Posted by cindee on August 18, 2008 at 12:57 am

    This clematis reminds me of the montana rubens. I had one for several years and something happened to it. It smelled soooo wonderful and it was a great bloomer. It was not evergreen though. I do have an evergreen clematis though that smells wonderful too. I am going to have to get one of the autumn ones too(-:


  16. Posted by lola on August 18, 2008 at 2:02 am

    I love Clematis but don't seem to have any luck with them. I planted a HF Young Clematis in the Spring & it's not even 5". I'm hoping it will pull through the winter & do better next yr. It will look pretty on the arbor in the back. Also it will help hide my tame thorn less blackberries from the birds. MAYBE. I've only gotten 2 berries this yr.


  17. Posted by Rose on August 18, 2008 at 3:13 am

    I’ve always wanted a sweet autumn clematis, but I had no idea they were invasive. I’ll take an invasion of this plant anyday:) Lovely post!


  18. Posted by Nancy J. Bond on August 18, 2008 at 3:46 am

    Beautiful, and the fact that it is an evergreen makes it all the more attractive.


  19. Posted by Anna on August 18, 2008 at 6:18 am

    I do love it and it’s on my list. I want to grow it along with a Lady Banks rose. One will bloom in spring and the other in Autumn.


  20. Posted by Dee/reddirtramblings on August 18, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Well, I learn something new everyday. I didn’t realize I could hack away at it throughout the summer. Maybe that will help keep the darn thing in check. It is lovely in the fall, but I also consider ripping it out every spring.~~Dee


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