When I returned to Tassajara last week for a brief visit, I was not surprised to find that the exciting display of wildflowers was over. No rains for months on end is normal in the California summer, and many plants go summer dormant or set fruit and scatter seeds for the next year. On of the exceptions is Clematis Lasiantha, the Chaparral clematis.
I saw her first on Wednesday morning as I was going for a stroll up the road. The trees and shrubs are quite dusty from the cars going back and forth, but one of the oaks was ornamented with a garland of clematis.
It was barely six o'clock and the light was still quite dim, but the creamy white blossoms stood out and the bees were already hard at work.
As I admired the delicate tendrils and beautiful flowers, I wondered whether my clematis at home had also finally opened its blossoms. I checked right away when I got home, and was delighted to find flowers on both of the two clematis plants I have.
I'm growing one plant in part shade, the other gets a little more sun. Both get fairly little water and seem to tolerate that. Regrettably, one of the plants goes dormant in August and doesn't green up again until March, but the other goes dormant later in the year. Both plants bloom a little more every year, and both are quite vigorous. California has only a few native vines, and having blooms in August is a double bonus.