Clematis 'Innocent Glance'

Clematis of the Month for June 2022

described by Brigitte Niemela

C. 'Innocent Glance'©Brigitte Niemela
The exquisite flowers of Clematis 'Innocent Glance'

My first success with double flowered clematis

Dear readers, I'm writing you from the heights of the Swabian Jura. This is one of the coldest regions in Germany and corresponds to US Climate Zone 6b. Long and harsh winters with regularly late frosts in April and May. Gardeners in similar climatic regions will certainly understand what that means for clematis culture. Enjoying the splendour of the double flowers of early summer clematis hybrids is very, very rarely granted. I'm sure, they can also understand how great my joy was when I finally succeeded. I owe this success to a pair of siblings, C. 'Innocent Blush'and C. 'Innocent Glance' both introduced by the Polish breeder, Szczepan Marczyński.

Szczepan kindly allowed me to publish some information on breeding and naming of these varieties. This is what he told me:

Regarding the names of my clematis varieties I try to make them refer to their appearance. The cultivar C. 'Innocent Blush' has pale pink flowers with a pink edge, looks like a blushing girl, hence its name. I chose it from a number of offers from my cousin Chris Evans who lives in the USA. The variety was created from the crossing of C. 'Duchess of Edinburgh' with C. 'Solidarność' in 2004. It had a breeding name of MAR-31-88-04 (the 31st seedling out of its 88th cross in 2004). It was launched on sale in 2012.

From this seedhead (crossing) there was another interesting seedling with the breeding name MAR-39-88-04, with a stronger pink color. I wanted its name to refer to 'Innocent Blush' and I was wondering about the second part of the name after “Innocent”. I considered different words but none sounded right. During the I.Cl.S. trip to Germany in 2013, I consulted different people - native English speakers what to choose. Linda Beutler suggested “Glance”. It suited me very well and the new variety was called 'Innocent Glance'. In 2014 it was launched for sale.

Breeding program for double flowered clematis

Getting clematis varieties with always double flowers is one of Marczyński's main breeding directions. So far he has introduced 10 large flowered hybrids and 9 varieties of the Atragene group. C. 'Mazury', introduced in 2006, was his first large flowered hybrid with double flowers on old and new wood (Clematis of the Month September 2010). C. 'Maria Skłodowska Curie' (early large flowered hybrid) and C. 'Golden Dream' (Atragene Group) are other highly recommended varieties.

C. 'Innocent Glance' and C. 'Innocent Blush' don't fit in the category “always double flowered” because their later flowers are semi-double or single. Therefore I ask myself what the difference is in comparison to other early large flowered hybrids that so seldom produce double flowers in my cold garden. Is it because their previous year's stems are more winter-hardy than other varieties? Or is it because the double flowers are produced from the very base of the previous year's stems and not from a meter or more upwards? This means, even though I give the plant a very hard prune, it will produce double flowers.

Growth and Flowering

Upright flower buds©Brigitte Niemela
Upright flower buds

C. 'Innocent Glance' is a leaf tendril climber that can reach 1.5 to 2.0 meters. It grows very bushy and compact. The main flowering season is from May to June. The first flowers that open in May are double. But soon there are also semi-double and single flowers on the plant. Flowering is continuous well into August. The acutely ovate flower buds stand upright. First the outer ring of tepals opens while the inner rings still stand pompom-like. Then they open up to a semi-circular dome, that flattens later. The stamens and pistils are visible and so the flowers are visited by pollinators. The flower colour is a rosy pink which is more intense at the edge of the tepals. The mid-rib and the pointed tips are often green. During cold weather and in shady positions the colouring is more intense.

The outer ring of tepals opens first. It is fun to watch the tepals unfold one by one.©Brigitte Niemela
The outer ring of tepals opens first. It is fun to watch the tepals unfold one by one.

One can find fully double, semi double and simple flowers at the same time©Brigitte Niemela
One can find fully double, semi double and simple flowers at the same time

Pruning and care

Later in season or after a very hard prune flowers are single©Brigitte Niemela
Later in season or after a very hard prune flowers are single

Flowers are produced on previous year's stems and on new stems. Therefore C. 'Innocent Glance' should get a light prune in autumn or early spring. If pruned hard, flowering season will be delayed and only single flowers are produced.

The lush abundance of flowers requires a good fertilization and a good water supply.

Design Ideas

C. 'Innocent Glance' (right), C. 'Innocent Blush' (left) and C. 'Mrs Cholmondeley' (middle)©Brigitte Niemela
Here C. 'Innocent Glance' (right)is combined with her sister, C. 'Innocent Blush' (left) and the skyblue C. 'Mrs Cholmondeley' (middle)

With its double flowers and the delicate coloring, C. 'Innocent Glance' is ideal for romantic gardens. The combination with its paler sibling C. 'Innocent Blush' is very attractive.

It is best to place them so that you can view them up close and enjoy the spectacle of the blossoms opening. Due to the moderate size, it is also advisable not to place it the in the background of a border. It is very well suited for container planting.

C. 'Innocent Glance' underplanted with Alchemilla mollis©Brigitte Niemela
C. 'Innocent Glance' underplanted with Alchemilla mollis

In a bouquet with Astrantia major 'Buckland'©Brigitte Niemela
C. 'Innocent Glance' in a bouquet with Astrantia major 'Buckland'

My thanks to Szczepan Marczyński for his help with this Clematis of the Month.

Brigitte Niemela Brigitte Niemela

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