This clematis is doing extremely well this season, chock-full of large violet-blue hand-sized blooms. Besides the peonies, and some of the (overblown) German irises, the large-flowered clematis varieties are some of the few flowering plants that survive Zone 3b and still manage to provide a tropical atmosphere to the garden. H. F. Young requires a sunny location but it can tolerate morning shade. It grows to about 3m in height.
I was in south-west Saskatchewan last week, camped among the cottonwoods along the South Saskatchewan River. On my last evening the skies to the north became dark – lightening and increasing winds indicated trouble was on the way. The rancher on whose property I was staying had said there was a tornado warning for the area, so I battened down the tent and took shelter in the car. As the storm neared, I decided to move the car up from cottonwood’s to escape possible dead-falls, and I parked on somewhat higher land. That is when the hail began, and the car was rattled with dime-sized hail stones for a good 15 or 20 minutes. Branches and leaves were strewn around, but there was no signs of a funnel cloud at any time. At the end of the storm I returned to my tent – it had withstood the winds and rain and hail without problem. I was able to end the evening with a good read and then slept under the patter of recurring showers.
Back in Edmonton, and a few days later, it was to start happening again. Hours before sunset, the skies were already dark. Lightening skittered in the west and the winds began to pick-up. Soon tree-tops in the field across were whipping back and forth, and our west facing window was getting pelted with small branches, leaves and then large drops of rain. Once more there was the threat of a tornado.
We were spared the twister, but we still had some damage. The following morning we found that a 16′ length of one of our internal fences had blown down, the punky wood of the posts unable to resist the turbulence that had blasted around and between the house and garage. In the front west facing garden the damage was surprisingly not too severe, with only the larger perennials such as Lovage, Valerian and the Centaurea macrocephala blown open and a couple of tall Delphinium stalks snapped. In the back the effects were similar, and there was generally little damage to the garden plants.
Except for a general tussled look and the damaged fence, the garden had weathered the storm well. It produced four full rain-barrels and a couple of vases of cut flowers. With a bit of cutting back and tieing-up and some fence-work, the garden should once more be its usual not quite tickety-boo, self.