For more than six decades, Raymond Evison has been searching for, breeding, and developing clematis plants. For nearly 40 years, he has been growing clematis young plants on the island of Guernsey, and in 2014, he started his own clematis breeding program. Now, almost 10 years later, the first editions are out. At the RHS Chelsea, which took place earlier this year, they introduced their first new variety, Clematis Tumaini™ EviGsy151(PBR), and next year, two others will be added. The varieties are bred and propagated in his Guernsey Clematis Nursery, and the young plants are shipped all over the world. In this article more on the nursery, the breeding, and the clematis market.
Raymond Evison at Plantarium|Groen Direkt 2023
At Guernsey Clematis Nursery Ltd, around 2.5 million young plants a year are being produced on an area of 3 acres, which provides 20% of the world’s annual requirements for young clematis plants. Their biggest markets are North America, the UK and Europe. Sustainability has always been a hot topic for the nursery, and last year, they even received a Royal Warrant, granted by, at that time, the HRH, The Prince of Wales, not only for being a supplier of plants to the Royal Household but also for reaching a high level of sustainability.
“95% of the materials we use are recycled or recyclable, we harvest rainwater from our glass houses and use it for 3-4 months, and now we have solar panels that generate 80% of our electricity needs.” On top of that, they also reduced their use of peat. ‘In the UK, peat-free plants are in high demand. Therefore, we decided to reduce our use of peat, and our head grower, Chris Ozanne, has done great work to reduce it, and next year, the plants will be 90% peat-free. In propagation, we are almost 100% peat-free already.”
Chris Ozanne with Clematis Guernsey Flute EviGsy153 (PBR)
After fruitful cooperation with Poulsen Rosea A/S for years, Evison started his own breeding program, the Raymond J Evison Ltd breeding program, in 2014. Despite they have been breeding for almost a decade, the real journey starts now. “It takes about 8-10 years from pollination to launching to market, and therefore, 2023 has just been the start of their next phase in their breeding journey.”
What is special about their varieties, continues Evison, is that they are strong, repeat, and long flowering. “We want plants that are easy to grow for the grower, easy to sell for the retailer, and easy to succeed for the end consumer.”
Tumaini EviGsy151(PBR), click here for more pictures and information.
Clematis Tumaini EviGsy151(PBR) was the first new variety from the breeding program that was introduced at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year. And next year, two new varieties will follow, namely Clematis Guernsey Flute EviGsy153 (PBR) and Clematis Lindsay EviGsy152(PBR). “Guernsey Flute is a white long flowering variety, as a saleable plant can flower for about 8 weeks. Lindsay is a deep purple/blue clematis named after our director, Lindsay Reid, who worked alongside Evison for over 30 years and who will retire at the end of this year.” (Click here to learn more about these new varieties.
Clematis Guernsey Flute EviGsy153 (PBR), click here for more pictures and information.
According to Evison, the clematis market is doing well. “Sales are rising worldwide, except for China where it has been quite for a while for all plant material imports.” All in all, Evison is pleased. “We see that the clematis is still in high demand; there is always room for a clematis in a garden, and it is easy to grow and a rewarding plant with lots of flowers.”
Clematis Lindsay EviGsy152(PBR), click here for more pictures and information.
High hopes for the new varieties
When looking at the future, Evison has good hopes for their new varieties. “Our varieties are long flowering, which not only is an advantage for the end-consumer but also for the retailer. Many of the old traditional varieties only flower for two weeks, whereas our new varieties are anything up to 8 weeks, giving them exceptional shelf-life. In turn, the retailer will have a longer time span to sell the flowers as consumers want to buy plants with flowers. On top of that, our varieties are easy to prune; we call it the ponytail cut.”
Also, earlier this year, they entered into a working relationship with Plantipp BV, who is now taking care of the plant patents and plant breeder’s rights of the new selections. “It’s a win-win situation.”
And last but not least, in order to let the retailer and end-consumer succeed, they started engaging with them on social media. “We are breeders and propagators, and we supply growers, but in this way, we can support all the way through the chain. As we help them succeed, we will create and stimulate the demand for our clematis plants.”
For more information:
Raymond J. Evison Ltd.
Email [email protected]
Facebook: Raymond Evison Clematis
LinkedIn: The Guernsey Clematis Nursery