Clematis 'Valge Daam'
Clematis 'Valge Daam'©Ken Woolfenden

Clematis of the Month for April 2008

When I saw for the first time Clematis 'Valge Daam' in flower this white clematis was for me a must to have in the garden. It was several years before I could buy a plant.

'Valge Daam' is a crossing of C. 'Bal Tsvetov' × C. 'Madame Van Houtte'. Uno Kivistik made this hybrid in 1980. 'Valge Daam' means "The White Lady" in Estonian.

In the past 'Valge Daam' (1980) was perhaps one of the best-known of the Kivistik hybrids outside of Estonia. Now more and more of Uno Kivistik's hybrids are available in Western Europe. Kivistik's hybrids are known for being healthy and hardy clematis.

Clematis 'Valge Daam'©Ken WoolfendenThis compact plant, usually not more than 1.5 - 2.5 metres tall, has a beautiful 15-18 cm white blossom made up of six or seven broadly oval tepals, the tepals overlapping but often having a distinctive gap at the base. It has flowers which have unusually long pointed tips, which is not always seen in the pictures, that give a starlike appearance to what is essentially a rounded flower. If you observe the color in detail you will see a very faint undertone of lavender, no doubt a sign of its inheritance from a Russian hybrid 'Bal Tsvetov'. 'Bal Tsvetov' is not known in Western Europe.

Stamens are 20 mm long and the filaments are white.

Anthers are pale yellow.

Flowering time is July- October.

Hardy in zones 4-9.

The pruning group is 2 but opinions differ on the pruning, the Estonian advice being to trim back moderately after the summer bloom, whereas Western gardening books advise hard pruning. The best practice is to look to the plant and make a well-shaped clematis by removing the old and dead wood to keep the plant in shape.

You can place the plant against a wall, trellis or fence but combinations with shrubs and roses are worth trying because 'Valge Daam' does not grow too strongly.

A beautiful combination is 'Valge Daam' with the rose 'China Town', a yellow rose with a delicate scent, approximately 3 m height. Other combinations can be done with shrubs with dark green leaves or dark flowers at the same time as 'Valge Daam'

'Valge Daam' is a healthy clematis and not sensitive to wilt.

Ton Hannink Ton Hannink

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