Will Goodwin is another of the classic large-flowered clematis familiar to many gardeners. It is one of my favorites, as the color of the flowers is an unusual lavender-blue. Next time you happen by a large-flowered clematis, take a close look at the flowers.
Of all the plants I have photographed I am struck by how substantial and thick large-flowered clematis flowers are. Orchid flowers are even more robust.
Clematis flowers are not delicate in form and texture like, for example, columbine.
I surmise this quality is what allows the huge flower petals to stay at attention rather than flopping around. They are quite remarkable.
Clematis Will Goodwin is a large-flowering variety that is soft in the garden. As mentioned, Will Goodwin has gorgeous lavender-blue flowers. They are large, 6″-8″ in diameter. The vine will grow 6′-12′ and spread is less, maybe half as tall. Stamens are a fairly quiet yellow or gold color. If you prefer a lavender clematis that is on the pink side of the spectrum, consider Nelly Moser.
Clematis are easy to grow once established. The old saw (often-repeated here and elsewhere) that vines sleep, creep, and then leap is true.
Be patient and keep your Will Goodwin clematis well-watered the first season.
The other clematis-related advice that is true is that clematis (especially the large-flowered climbers and the evergreen Clematis armandii) prefer shady and cool root zones with ample moisture. I like to plant perennials to shade Will Goodwin’s root zone, but a thick mulch will do as well. Will Goodwin will grow in partial shade (sun for at least a few hours), but really prefers full sun. keep the roots cool.
Clematis roots grow deep, and you can plant Will Goodwin a couple of inches under soil grade, a trick also used with tomatoes. Clematis and tomatoes are fairly unusual in this regard.
Do not, whatever you do, plant Will Goodwin deeply if you have poorly draining soil. Should you have poorly draining soil, it would be best to dig a very large hole and amend generously with compost before planting. I will admit I gave up spot amending years ago, preferring to improve the soil conditions of the entire planting area.
Taking the time to improve soil conditions should be the first job in any new garden. This is the great secret of gardening.
Will Goodwin is hardy zones 4-8 and deer don’t eat it.
Pruning Will Goodwin clematis
When to prune clematis confuses many. Will Goodwin blooms in mid-Spring on last year’s wood, with a second flush later in summer on new wood (this year’s growth). As I have said with regards to previous essays on large-flowered clematis, I recommend you don’t prune them at all. If you do need to prune an unruly Will Goodwin, then light pruning in early spring is generally recommended.
Should you prune summer, fall, or winter, you are pruning off the growth that will provide next year’s flowers. Prune Will Goodwin in spring or not at all. If you would like to learn more about pruning the different types of clematis, check out Fine Gardening’s article on the subject.