Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Sustainable Flowers Podcast:

A conversation about sustainable cut flower growing and designing between two passionate Canadian  growers trying to figure it out.

Heather and Clara grow cut flowers for market on the northern edge of the Canadian Prairies.  In this podcast they discuss the issues they face and alternatives to conventional approaches that they are putting into practice or are trialing to ensure that their small-scale flower farming operations are sustainable. Looking to the past and to new technologies to learn the whys and hows, they discuss everything from peat to floral foam, Antirrhinum to Zinnias as well as their weekly adventures on their Zones 2 and 3 flower farms.

May 9, 2020

We can't believe our lucky stars! Raymond Evison, the pre-eminent clematis breeder and grower in the world, more than graciously agreed to chat with us about his passion, the wonderful clematis genus.  We cover SO much in this interview from his amazing horticultural background in England, his plant explorations in China, the clematis breeding process how to grow and prune them as well as all kinds of species and varieties that are suitable for those of us in more northerly zones.  

Raymond was so generous in sharing his knowledge and such gracious guest, we are sure you will love this interview as much as we did, we can hardly wait to have him back!   His website also has great tips for growing and pruning Raymond's Webpage - Growing Guides

Raymond provided us this list of clematis varieties to try for our Zones (Hardy to Zone 4- but I know I will be testing some of these here in my Zone 2a - in known microclimates), we can hardly wait for more of his new releases!

The viticella hybrids, 
Alba Luxurians
Etiole    Violette 
Royal Velours 
Polish Spirit

There are others ,but these are the most popular ones .

C. integrifolia 
C. X eriostemon 
C. jackmanii 
C. jackmanii Superba 
C. henryii 
C. Marie Boisselot

Raymond also suggested that we try the following as they are new ones rated to Zone 4, but may be hardier, he can't guarantee they will be but I know I am going to give them a try!  And we hope the Devon ( U of A) Botanic Garden does too!

Samaritan Jo

Pettit Faucon (also good as a cut)
And lastly the alpina species C. alpina and C. macropetala ( the species ) and their cultivars.  (just an aside- Clara has been growing an alpina in Zone 2a for 5 years!, even through -40 spells)

The varieties Raymond recommends as particularly good as cuts are: 

Marie Boisselot  ( Mme Le Coulter )
Prinz Hendrik *
W E Gladstone 
X Durrandii
Beauty of Richmond
And possibly Lord Neville and Lady Caroline Neville 

You should also try C .integrifolia and it’s  pink and white forms, and C. tubilosa, these have strong thick stems and work well .
Both the * ones were used for many years in the Dutch Flower Markets in Holland,it is likely the only one available now would be X Durrandii. Of the others, only Marie Boisselot is probably available

Raymond has won 30 Chelsea Gold Medals at the Chelsea Flower Show in England.  Check out a short video of one of his dsiplays here: Raymond Evison at Chelsea Flower Show .    He provided the following advice for his cutting and conditioning steps for his cut flower arrangements at the show (note he also has alot of potted clematis at the Chelsea show as well):

"What I (Raymond)  did with these varieties when we used them as cut flowers for the Chelsea Flower Show Exhibits was as follows:

  • Cut the stems about 45-50cm long in the early morning and then removed all the leaves and put the stems into a bucket of cold water for  24 hrs to condition them .
  • But before putting the stems in water I would dip the base of each stem in boiling hot water for 25 seconds .
  • note: It is always best to cut the flowers just after the flower bud had opened and not when the flower was fully open "

And since we know you are heading out to find more clematis to add to your collections, the suppliers of Raymond Evison Clematis in Canada are:

  1. BTN Valleybrook Gardens, Ontario
  2. Brookdale Treeland (or BTN), Ontario
  3. Sheridan Nurseries, Ontario.

 We can't thank Raymond enough for so generously sharing all of his knowledge and enthusiasm, we look forward to talking to him again in the future to hear about more of his plant hunting and clematis breeding adventures.


Our theme music was composed and performed by Heather's son Callum and audio editing was completed by the uber talented Laura Eccleston.