I have never been a Clematis person. I wanted to be; I yearned for the vertical gardening, and needed something to put color on my garden fence. Not only would Clematis not do well for me for years, but they would die, despite amended soil, watering, lime, shaded roots. They scorned me, so for years I gave up, and scorned them in return, not buying or even thinking of them.
Over the last couple of years I have done slightly better with a few of them, after moving them to better locations, but their performance has still been poor in general, and their dead-looking vines are a bleak depressing sight during the winter, hardly worth tolerating, for the possibility of blooms the next summer.
Perhaps ‘Princess Diana,’ a type 3 Clematis with tulip-shaped bright pink flowers, will fulfill my need for a colorful vine that doesn’t give up after one pathetic show. My princess is only in her first year, so it is premature to hope, but she has grown six feet since May, and has presented me with two very long, very bright, very tulip-like flowers, in October!
Shall I hope that the happy, bright princess displays more blooms next year, or shall I continue cynical with regards to Clematis? Next year I will post an article showing how she does. If she does well, she will have, with her magic, changed my cynical attitude toward all Clematis, enchanting my mind with the power of her beauty.
Princess Diana is hardy to zone 5, and as a type 3 Clematis can be cut down close to the ground in late fall, eliminating the existence of old dead vines all winter. She is fast-growing, likes moist soil, and tolerates a fair amount of shade. She is said to sport a long growing season, July through October in the Northeast.