Apparently, there are some people interested in gardening at the New York Times. They just don’t happen to be the garden writers. Michelle Slatalla, the paper’s online shopping columnist, has a piece today about being suddenly overwhelmed, with a crazy impulsiveness that suggests she really may be a gardener, by the notion that she needs clematis.
Apparently located in the Real Garden State, California, Slatalla is able to hop in the car and pop over to Chalk Hill Clematis in Healdsburg and pick out what she wants. Even in benighted upstate New York, however, where popping over to Chalk Hill is the kind of dream we don’t even allow ourselves to have, I’ve had great experiences ordering from the Chalk Hill catalog. Fantastic selection. They send healthy plants. I planted three of the above Victorian lovelies last year, "Purpurea Plena Elegans," and they seem to be doing well in that anemic though hauntingly beautiful clematis way.
Plus, Chalk Hill does not ship bare-root as so many other catalogs do. This seems to me to be key. Has anyone ever planted clematis bare-root and had it survive? I’ve canvassed the globe and never found a single person who’s made a go of a bare-root clematis.