The Teddington Gardener

This blowsy old girl makes a splendid show

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Clematis Mrs Cholmondeley, in my garden today

‘This blowsy old girl makes a splendid show.’

‘A (blue) large-flowered clematis that simply can’t stop flowering. From tip to tip the early flowers are very large, but because of the narrow sepals and large gaps between them towards the base, one’s impression is not so much of size as of prodigality. Any massed effect in the garden should have a complimentary feature to offset it, and here I should like the climbing sport of an old Hybrid Tea rose, ‘Caroline Testout’ or, even better, ‘Lady Waterlow’. Both are pink.’

‘Cholmondeley’. Pronounced Chumley. I remember overhearing the musings of a woman visiting my garden when she contemplated a defunct but still labelled specimen. ‘Mrs Chol-mon-deley. Mrs Chol-mon-deley is dead. Poor Mrs Chol-mon-deley.’

from ‘Clematis’, Christopher Lloyd. Revised Tom Bennett 1989

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