--less successful in either my climate or in my garden because a winter chill might be helpful ('The President');
--or I bought a cheap specimen that will never perform that well ('Ernest Markham');
--or because I put them in the wrong spot and therefore it's my fault, not the plant's ('Asao');
--or it's just not as showy and large growing as others ('Rhapsody', 'Huldine').
'Huldine' is a lovely, dainty thing, visually overwhelmed by its arch-partner, Rosa 'Secret Garden Musk Climber'. I need to appreciate and value daintiness more than I do.
'Hagley Hybrid' could do better than it does. Not enough water and nitrogen. Plus I moved it twice.
Clematis 'Hagley Hybrid'
'Arctic Queen' may prefer a winter chill. The jury is still out on this one. Gorgeous, eh?
Clematis 'Arctic Queen'
'Rhapsody' is a beautiful small-growing clematis. It's main drawback is its small size; in all other respects a superb plant. Small plants get lost amidst my Escalade-sized roses.
My oldest Clematis is the one I call "Unknown Pink". I bought 'Hagley Hybrid' and 'Comtesse de Chamboud' to try to identify "Unknown Pink"; it's neither 'Hagley' nor the Comtesse. This one was big and beautiful for several years then suddenly declined. It's come back a little better this year.
Clematis Unknown Pink
I bought 'Ernest Markham' as a $5 cheapie, and it shows. This year was its best, a dozen flowers on two feet of stem. It can do much better than that but is planted in a shady spot. Two feet up is full sun, but will it grow two feet? Barely, and without enthusiasm.
Clematis 'Ernest Markham'
Clematis 'Asao' has one perfect flower before being swallowed by a Dahlia I swear I dig up every year, a Dahlia that manages to return despite my digging it up and throwing it out. The goal of its existence seems to be returning to swallow 'Asao'. 'Asao' makes my two-foot 'Ernest Markham' look huge.
Clematis 'Abject Failure'
'The President' is truly beautiful a flower, and is a strong grower in every garden but mine. I have three or four of 'The President', cheap ones from big box stores, expensive ones from specialty clematis growers, and this is the best of them, and this is the best year its ever had: six flowers on three feet of stem. The others look like 'Asao', but without 'Asao's yearly one perfect flower. This three foot "monster" plant is one of the cheap big-box versions, too.
Clematis 'The President'
Okay, now that I've shown off some of my many failures, hopefully I'll get off my lazy bottom this winter when my lesser Clematis are dormant, to move the failures to better locations, hit them with a lot of fertilizer, and either get better plants or dead ones. This malingering is a waste of water. I've read many times the old "feet in the shade, head in the sun" adage about planting clematis. In my garden, that's baloney: feet in the sun. They languish in shade: 'Ernest Markham', 'Asao', a 'Jackmanii' that prospered once I moved it, a dead 'Mme Julia Correvon' have proved that--at least to my satisfaction.