Meet the the queen of the flowering vines. Her royal highness can reach 20 feet with clusters of gorgeous flowers, draping from long stems.
Clematis* is a graceful bloomer that gets better with age. A mature plant can show off 100 or more flowers in the midst of summer. Let Clematis twine around the railings of your deck for a soft, free-flowing feel.
I often plant Clematis seedlings at the base of my scrawny, young trees. Since they do well in partial shade, and live for 20+ years, they're the perfect flowering partner. Woody vines slowly weave their way up through the branches, adding bright, contrasting color to green foliage.
And, in spite of everything you've heard, they are really quite easy to grow. Just pick the perfect spot and let them do their thing. Hardy Clematis, in full bloom, will take your breath away!
* Clematis (KLEM-a-tis) is a member of the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family. Clematis climbing vines are available in every color of the rainbow. The one featured here is called 'Etoile Violette,' hardy to USDA zone 4. Will bloom from July - August, with proper watering. Available at the Clematis Nursery and other climbing vine specialty online stores.