Clematis 'Zo09063' SEA BREEZE

Clematis of the Month for November 2018

described by Roy Nunn

C. 'Zo09063' SEA BREEZE©Roy Nunn

At this stage one might wonder why I have picked to yet another light blueish small flowered Clematis in the Viticella Group to be Clematis of the Month, hopefully my reasons will become clear later.

This clematis was raised at J van Zoest nursery in Boskoop, Netherlands in 2016. As usual, no details of parentage are available for this hybrid, only to state that it is in the Viticella Group. Obviously, this is a hard prune type (Group 3). Ultimate growth height is to 3.00 metres, but so far my plant has only achieved 2.50 m, though this might be due to its age and adverse weather conditions.

C. 'Zo09063' SEA BREEZE©Roy Nunn

I first saw this plant in flower at Thorncroft Nursery, in Norfolk, after picking up Debbie Fisher from Norwich airport so that she could participate in the Chatsworth show on the Thorncroft stand. The main Thorncroft sales area has now moved elsewhere from Reymersden, this space is being used to grow on plants for shows. Two plants which were not up to standard for Chelsea and had passed their best for Chatsworth caught my eye as being worthwhile to try in our garden. These were C. 'Zo09113' PERNILLE and C. 'Zo09063' SEA BREEZE. As neither plant was required for show purposes they were promptly cut down and ended up in the boot of my car, thanks to Ruth Gooch.

C. 'Zo09063' SEA BREEZE©Roy Nunn

As it was late May, it seemed appropriate to grow both plants on for their first year with me in a large pot. I recently discovered, a new to me, compost from Melcourt Industries, which is their standard compost with added John Innes. I must say that this product is the best that I have used to date for most plants, so it seemed appropriate to use this in the container. By July both plants were in flower and continued to flower until September. C. 'Zo09113' PERNILLE was the most striking, mainly because it had 70mm flowers whereas C. 'Zo09063' SEA BREEZE only achieved 50mm. There were, however, more flowers on C. 'Zo09063' SEA BREEZE and there was something about the texture of the sepals that made them almost translucent and, on opening, the most pleasant shade of pale blue. The flowers were persistent for several weeks and by that time as they were being grown in semi-shade they had faded to a pleasant shade of light mauve to almost white, but they still retained their translucency.

In October I cut the plants down to 1.00 metre high and planted them in the garden. In spring of 2018 not a lot happened as we had a very cold spell, some early new growth on several viticella types was shriveled by severe frosts. No plants were lost during this period, just severely held back. New growth on our clematis did not appear until the end of May, just as the drought started. In June we had no rain and only 9mm in July (water butts tied me over until the August rains came). With the unusually hot sunny weather the most recently planted clematis were struggling, including C. 'Zo09113' PERNILLE with a few flowers to 25mm, but C. 'Zo09063' SEA BREEZE put on a reasonably good performance with 50mm flowers. I think the position chosen, facing due East, subjected the plant to too much sun and it would have appreciated a bit more shade at this time.

C. 'Zo09063' SEA BREEZE©Roy Nunn

It was noticeable that most established clematis suffered during this period of drought with smaller flowers, shorter flowering period and a few with no flowers at all. In our light chalk subsoil the most notable exceptions were C 'Blue Angel', C. 'Arabella' and C. 'Kaiu', which all performed as well as previous years.

C. 'Zo09063' SEA BREEZE©Roy Nunn

I was due to provide a piece for C. 'Zo09113' PERNILLE for this Clematis of the Month, but I need to reserve judgment on this plant until next year. C. 'Zo09063' SEA BREEZE on the other hand has performed well in hopefully exceptional weather conditions this year and I will be expecting greater things from C. 'Zo09063' SEA BREEZE next year.

Roy Nunn Roy Nunn

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