Thursday, April 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Dr. Ruppel's bright spring beauty

Looked all over the internet and found almost nothing on Dr. Ruppel, the hybridizer of this fabulous clematis. All I could find was "Argentina, 1973." Regardless. It's a lovely spring (and late summer) bloomer that popped open on my black fence this past week and caused spontaneous happiness among dog-walkers. This one came from the Morris Arboretum plant sale, which, if you haven't been to it, is one not to miss. It's May 12 this year (for the public).

Dr. Ruppel's bright spring beauty

Looked all over the internet and found almost nothing on Dr. Ruppel, the hybridizer of this fabulous clematis. All I could find was "Argentina, 1973." Regardless. It's a lovely spring (and late summer) bloomer that popped open on my black fence this past week and caused spontaneous happiness among dog-walkers. This one came from the Morris Arboretum plant sale, which, if you haven't been to it, is one not to miss. It's May 12 this year (for the public).

To digress: This is plant sale season, and there are wonderful places to buy. Check out Eva Monheim's column this Friday (called It's Time To ...) in the Home & Design section. She has suggestions for what and where to buy, but for a good roundup of sales at public gardens in the area, go to greaterphiladelphiagardens.org; they've compiled a roundup. After going to a lot of these, I think I'll never again buy plants at box stores - if I can help it. Local garden centers and area plant sales are the way to go.

At the local sales, plants are grown there by knowledgeable people who often are on site to answer your questions. That was my experience at Morris. I described the site - shady - and my desire for a spring rebloomer, and the mysterious 'Dr. Ruppel' was suggested. Good choice. It's got large (6-8") flowers with ruffled petals and a darker pink stripe down the middle. The color is described as pale "orchid purple" or fuschia, and it's billed as a good cut flower, though all I ever do with cut clematis is float them in a bowl of water.

'Dr. R' is a Group 2 clematis (a medal for you if you know and understand all this), which means you prune lightly in early spring or late winter. You can deadhead for reblooming or watch for the seed heads, which are supposed to be a show in their own right. Love this plant.

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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