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(ARA) - Tough and elegant. What better way to describe royalty? That's clematis, "Queen of the Vines." But do not fear. You don't have to have a royal garden to enjoy these spectacular flowers.

The Royal Horticultural Society has crowned a new series of clematis in its Bicentenary Plant Collection. The new Raymond Evison Royal Horticultural Society Bicentenary Clematis Collection will make growing clematis easier and more rewarding than ever.

This new series promises dazzling new cultivars that bloom much longer than traditional clematis. Bloom after bloom covers the compact vine from the base to the tip from spring till fall. And these beauties have more vigor and disease resistance as well.

"The Washington Post calls these plants 'super-performers' and that's just what they are," says Joe Gray, of Hines Horticulture. "Raymond Evison is the finest breeder of clematis anywhere. His hope is that these Royal Horticultural Society clematis will revolutionize the use of clematis in the garden."

Understanding how clematis fits in the big garden picture will guarantee success with this showy bloomer. According to famed British gardener Christopher Lloyd, "clematis does not relish isolation." American gardeners would probably say they are team players. In other words, clematis is a social plant that likes to mix it up in the garden!

"The Royal Horticultural Society Clematis Collection is very special," says Gray. "They were specifically selected because they are easier to grow, hardier and bloom longer than traditional clematis."

Rosemoor with deep-red dramatic blooms is a natural for climbing arches, arbors and pergolas. Its large flowers keep going from May to September making it the perfect gateway or transition for a garden room.

Once Harlow Carr, with its star shaped flowers in periwinkle purple, starts blooming in May it doesn't know when to stop. It is a workhorse in the garden, producing hundreds of flowers up and down the cane. This vine makes an ideal ground cover and is a must for use with grey-foliage, flat spreading conifers or any other ground cover plants.

Rich-blue Wisley weaving through roses from June to September can extend the beauty of the garden. In addition its greenish white stamens coordinate well with variegated foliage.

Hyde Hal with a somewhat shorter bloom time makes up for it with an explosion of luminous flowers. Think moonlight garden. Think fabulous cut flowers.

"Keep the roots cool" is the cardinal rule of clematis growing. Use mulch or groundcover, and even better, skirt her legs with compact shrubs for a layered professional look that shades her feet as well. And if you want to prune, do it when the daffodils bloom. Just pull the vine up like a ponytail and cut it 6 to12 inches from the ground.

With such a small footprint for such a big bloomer, this versatile vine can be tucked behind a perennial border for a flowering backdrop, or trellised behind low hedges as a screen.

For smaller garden spaces, try the Raymond Evison Patio Clematis Collection. Beautiful clematis bred for container use offer the same high flower and bud count. In containers they provide gardeners with long lasting columns of color. Choose from jewel-toned Picardy, Versailles or Cezanne.

Clematis is not just for the mailbox post anymore. Oh, the places they'll go!

For more information or to find a retailer near you who carries the Raymond Evison Royal Horticultural Society Clematis or Patio Clematis Collection, or for other growing tips from Mr. Evison, visit

Courtesy of ARA Content