‘Venosa Violacea’ is an old, old clematis, developed by the famous French nursery of Lemoine et Fils and introduced in 1883. It has the RHS Award of Garden Merit and is stocked by a wide range of nurseries. It’s a summer to autumn flowering cultivar of the Viticella group and is notable for each flower’s bold network of purple veins set against a white background. But it has its faults.
I’ve found that flowering can be a little sparse - it’s never quite as prolific as I’d like - and the edges of the petals tend to roll upwards, spoiling the shape of the flower.
A new introduction bred in The Netherlands, C. Super Nova ('ZO09088'), captures that same attractive colouring but improves on other features.
The six petals of the flowers lie almost flat, showing the colouring off well, although they may roll upwards a little as the flowers first open. They're coloured a dark violet at the edge with violet veins radiating into the white centre, creating an intriguing pattern. It flowers from June to September with significantly more flowers than C.‘Venosa Violacea’.
Pruning is simple: cut it back to 25cm (10in) in March and it will grow to 2-3m (6-9ft) by the end of the season. It’s good to plant alongside a mature silver-leaved shrub, such as Elaeagnus ‘Quicksilver’ which acts both as a support and a background in an ideal colour.
I should mention that there’s a very different clematis called ‘Supernova’ – but that one is a rather inelegant, pink, double-flowered variety.
Clematis Super Nova ('ZO09088') is available from Thorncroft Nursery
** Please note the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and are not necessarily those of the RHS **