My thanks to Wim Snoeijer for providing the first photo, taken by Wiert Nieuman. The second was taken by myself, the others by the author, Fiona Woolfenden.
Clematis 'Zobluepi' BLUE PIROUETTE is a very upright growing plant with an upward facing flower. This can make it a little difficult to place in the garden but means that the plant lends itself to being used as a cut flower.
C. 'Zobluepi' BLUE PIROUETTE was raised by Wim Snoeijer from Holland in 1992 and introduced and registered by J. van Zoest, where Wim works, in 2003. Wim
categorizes it as being in the Diversifolia group, so it is a tall growing integrifolia type. Indeed, one of its parents is C. 'Rosea', an integrifolia, and the other is the larger flowering C. 'Warszawska Nike' ('Warsaw Nike') from the late Brother Stefan Franczak from Poland. A cross of a light pink and velvety red/purple-violet flowers produced a violet blue colour.
The flowers are 7-10 cm (3-4 inches) across with 4 sepals. One of the most attractive features of the flower is the white and yellow centre of stamens which contrasts well with the blue sepals.
The plant grows to a maximum of one meter 70 cm tall (about 5 and a half feet). With its upright habit its positioning in the garden has to be considered. As you can see from the photo of the plant growing in a garden it does not climb and it is not lax enough in its habitat to sprawl across a small shrub. I have recently planted C. 'Zobluepi' BLUE PIROUETTE in my garden to grow through a 5-foot obelisk. The idea being that I can try and contain it in the obelisk and tie in any stems that escape! The plant should be pruned to the ground every year in winter.
C. 'Zobluepi' BLUE PIROUETTE (left) growing with other clematis in a garden in Veitshöchheim, Germany
However, C. 'Zobluepi' BLUE PIROUETTE has come into prominence when used as a cut flower. For my birthday in 2019, my husband bought me three floristry lessons for arranging spring flowers. I walked in the room for the first session and looked at the flowers set out for us to use, and I was delighted to see C. 'Zobluepi' BLUE PIROUETTE!
Here I need to add additional explanation. Firstly, when sold as a cut flower, this cultivar is known as C. 'Zobluepi'PBR AMAZING®™ BLUE PIROUETTE. Secondly, you will also notice that in the top photo the flower is fully open flower, whereas the flowers for use as cut flowers are not, the flowers are sometimes still in bud or the sepals will still be curled. In addition, to me I think the blue colour is not so intense.
C. 'Zobluepi'PBR AMAZING®™ BLUE PIROUETTE
The design we made was a spring garden and contained 5 stems of C. 'Zobluepi'PBR AMAZING®™ BLUE PIROUETTE and 5 stems of Ruscus hypophyllum at the back which was meant to represent a hedge or border. In the front of these were 10 stems of a highly scented narcissus. Below these were 6 Tulipa 'Pink Dream', a bunch of hyacinths and 5 Anemone 'Jerusalem Blue'. At the bottom covering up the oasis (floristry foam) was (I was told) Pittosporam tobira, a variegated thick leafed pittosporam.
We cut the ends off the clematis stems and gently pushed them into the oasis foam. My first stem went straight into the oasis in the right position. I placed two other stems in the back row and then the two other stems were cut slightly shorter and slightly in front of the Ruscus. Some of these did not look right first time and I took them out and replaced them, trimming off some stem as I did so.
Flower arrangement containing C. 'Zobluepi'PBR AMAZING®™ BLUE PIROUETTE
The next day I realized that a few of the clematis stems had drooped along with some of the anemone flowers. I decided to remove the flowers that were drooping which were three of the clematis stems and two anemones. I cut off the ends of the stems and put them in water for 24 to 36 hours. The next day I put them back in the display and the flowers were still good two days later when I gave the arrangement to a friend as I was going away for a few days.
C. 'Zobluepi'PBR AMAZING®™ BLUE PIROUETTE
A week after I had made the arrangement, I asked my friend how the clematis flowers were doing, and she replied really good. She had had to remove the narcissus from the flower arrangement but otherwise both the clematis and anemone flowers were still good. After 13 days the clematis flowers were still good.
The arrangement was watered once a day and misted twice a day with water. My friend and I just used cold tap water with no additives. I snipped off some of the clematis flowers where the stems had drooped and bent and a few leaves which had back spots on them.
I consulted Wim Snoeijer, who bred C. 'Zobluepi' BLUE PIROUETTE and I asked him what he thought about using clematis in oasis and how long the flowers should last.
Wim said that clematis cut flowers were very thirsty plants and needed a lot of water. He suggested creating a reservoir in the oasis by putting the stem into the oasis slightly deeper and then pulling the stem up to the desired level. This creates a stem hole reservoir. I did not follow his advice as I had already made my floral arrangement by then, but the flowers still lasted.
There is information on the J. van Zoest website on how to treat the clematis stems for use in flower arranging.
Clematis cut flowers are being seen for sale in Western Europe, so if you spot them you now know that you can buy them with confidence that the flowers will last!