Clematis ‘Glasnevin Dusk’

This beautiful clematis came from seed collected by Seamus O’Brien, Head Gardener at the National Botanic Gardens Kilmacurragh, when he was in Tibet in the late l990s.

Clematis tibetana subsp. vernayi usually has yellow or orange flowers and the best known variety is Clematis ‘Orange Peel’.  Seamus himself wrote that the plants were in seed when he visited so he had not seen the spectacular black flowers until one of his seedlings subsequently bloomed. The flower opens as a small, almost black, dark ball and slowly spreads out into a hanging bell shape with four thick sepals of a dark purple colour. These sepals expand further finally creating a star-shaped flower that eventually produces fine, silky seed heads.

It is a vigorous plant that flowers from late June into September and needs to be cut back each winter. It roots easily form inter-nodal cuttings especially if these cuttings are taken in early summer. It is not readily available but is mentioned in The Plant Finder and is listed in two Irish nurseries — Ardcarne in Co Roscommon and Deelish in Co Cork — although the best place to source this plant might very well be an IGPS plant sale. It could probably also be obtained by sweet talking a grower into offering propagation material or, better still, good rooted cuttings.

(As appeared in Newsletter 152, April 2021)

(Text courtesy of Carmel Duignan, photo by Seamus O’Brien and painting by Susan Sex)