The nonvining clematis, which exhibits cascades of large, jewel-toned blooms as it eagerly twines its way up arbors and trellises, is probably the most popular of the flowering vines. However, many gardeners remain unaware of another, lesser-known group of clematis species that don't climb at all. Martha visits Louis Bauer of Wave Hill, a public garden in New York City, to learn about the nonvining, or shrub, clematis.

Though it has woody stems, the nonvining clematis grows like a herbaceous perennial and works well in a mixed border. To thrive, the plants need to be propped up a bit, so Louis drives twiggy brush into the ground beside them or plants the clematis in close proximity to other shrubs, such as artemisia. The nonvining varieties that Louis points out to Martha bloom in the late spring and include Clematis integrifolia, which has bell-shaped blue flowers, and C. durandii, with saucer-shaped indigo blooms.


Learn more about Wave Hill.


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