'Nelly Moser' Clematis

"I look at the vines & the blossoms with loving;
I listen with glee to the thrush on the spray:
And so with a song in my heart I am proving
That life is more beautiful every day."

-Robert William Service


If you open your hand as wide as you can stretch your fingers, you'll have before you the size of the flowers on a 'Nelly Moser' clematis. Each petal is champaigne-pink with a carmine bar down the center. The anthers are purply-brown. When it goes to silvery seed, the tufts are nearly as attractive as the flowers.

It vines to ten feet height & after many years may begin to send up vines to fifteen feet. In our garden it flowers late April through June, with rebloom in late August, though in less mild climates this cold-hardy vine won't necessarily have the second bloom period.

It does not demand much if any pruning, & the spring flowering is on the previous year's vines. If pruning does seem necessary, as much as the top third can be shorn down after the spring flowers go to seed. This will induce fresh growth & enhance the late summer & early autumn rebloom. Ours uses a tall trellised rose for its brace & weaves up & through the rose briars. It is somewhat shaded by the greater size of the rose, & gets chiefly morning sun. Like other fancy hybrid clematis, it likes to have its leaves & flowers in full sun, but its roots should be shaded & cool, in moist, humusy, well draining soil. Even its leafy vines like to have a bit more protection than do other clematises, as the huge flowers can be shortlived in too much hot sun, but are long-lasting in dappled sunlight or with only morning sun.

'Nelly Moser' is an heirloom hybrid gardened since 1897, & developed from Clematis lanuginosa (aka, C. florida var. lanuginosa), a Chinese species. The breeder was Marcel Moser of Versailles, France. He took his first bar-flowered hybrid, named for himself, & crossed 'Marcel Moser' with 'Belisaire,' & arrived at 'Nelly Moser.'

This cultivar was in turn used in hybrid programs to develop a great many newer bicolor or barred varieties. But of them all, throughout the century-plus, 'Nelly Moser' has remained the most popular of the type. It is a recipient of the Award of Garden Merit.


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