Clematis 'Abundance' has been grown and evaluated by some of the most prestigious experts in clematis history and it has passed the test of time. It was originally hybridized by Francisque Morel of Lyon, France using the species clematis texensis which provides its red coloration. Morel gave it to William Robinson at Gravetye Manor, the famous author of "The Virgin's Bower". Proving its garden worthiness at Gravetye Manor, the head gardener, Ernest Markham passed it to Jackman's Nursery in Woking.
The Jackmans first introduced it in 1939-40 as Clematis 'Purple Abundance' and ten years later as just C. 'Abundance'. Christopher Lloyd described C. 'Abundance' as "a most satisfying clematis." And it is highly recommended by the esteemed Dr. John Howells. Most books that discuss viticellas include C. 'Abundance' as a good choice for the garden.
The numerous semi-nodding small flowers, 8-9 cms across (3½ inches), are purplish to pinkish red and have a textured quality to them. In hotter climates they will tend to be more pinkish. The 4 to 6 sepals are recurved at the edges and tips. The margins of the sepals are wavy and crimped giving a frilly appearance. The back side of the sepals has a white bar. The filaments range from pale whitish to yellowish. This clematis is very vigorous and can grow to 6 meters (20 feet) though in my garden it reaches 3 meters (10 feet) scrambling over anything in its path. It flowers on new growth. The literature reports C. 'Abundance' as blooming as early as in June but certainly July through September. In my garden outside Atlanta, Georgia (zone 8) it blooms April through May, ending by June 1st. I cut it back on July 1st to 0.6 meter (2 feet), it blooms again in August.
I have had C. 'Abundance' growing in my garden for a number of years. It has never ceased to surpass my expectation in the number of blooms and the healthy nature of the leaves, which is critical in hot humid climates. It does not produce many viable seeds so one does not need to worry about any invasive tendencies. I let C. 'Abundance' scramble across Iris, over hydrangeas and up a tall urn water feature. Since C. 'Abundance' is so vigorous, it could overwhelm smaller roses and shrubs. Consider it as a companion to larger shrubs, which have finished their spring blooms such as camellias or philadelphus. It also makes a nice combination with budlleias and the large hydrangea paniculatas. C. 'Abundance' deserves its place on the International Clematis Society's list of Clematis for Beginners.
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