Last week, it was with great excitement that I pranced around the backyard with delight when the first "Ernest Markham" clematis bloom burst onto the scene. Actually, "burst" is too strong a word (that's my enthusiasm coming through). It's more like the clematis quietly announced its arrival. "Look at me," it said with a wink. "I know you have been waiting." Indeed I have. Not just in the few weeks since I planted it, but for years and years.
I can't remember when I first saw a clematis, I just know that I have always wanted one. A clematis in full bloom was a sure sign that a serious gardener lurked somewhere behind the garden gate or down the flagstone path. Having always thought of myself as simply an amateur greenthumb, growing clematis (much like growing roses) seemed to be a lofty ambition. There was one other big factor: the perfect spot for the clematis was right up against a rickety, old fence that had threatened some form of collapse on a daily basis for nearly a decade. I couldn't possibly grow a beautiful clematis up that fence. Well, my green thumb has gotten a little greener and there is finally a new fence in the yard. So in went the clematis.
Now just a week after its first bloom, Little Ernie (I think I'll call this clematis Little Ernie) is bursting, yes bursting, with blooms. It has been well worth the wait. Some fanfare really is in order. There is one small problem, however. Little Ernie looks a little lonely don't you think? Now that I'm the serious gardener behind the garden gate, it seems only fair that I find Little Early some playmates. With the spectacular spectacle clematis has to offer, it won't be long before I'm cueing the trumpets yet again.