Clematis ‘Bill MacKenzie’, growing on the wall at the alpine house, a hybrid in the Tangutica group received the RHS Award of garden merit in 1976 and reconfirmed in 2001. Looking at the fresh yellow flowers produced freely over the plant and followed by silvery seed heads it is easy to appreciate this merit. The four petals resemble orange peel in their feel and thickness. It was named in honour of William Gregor MacKenzie, VMH, (1904-95), a former DHE student at the Botanics and later Curator of Chelsea Physic Garden from 1946-73.
The seedling originated at the Waterperry School of Horticulture, Oxfordshire in 1968 and was introduced to the nursery trade from there. Our plant was donated in 1976 by Bill MacKenzie himself.
Another Clematis, this time wild collected, C. grata is awash with miniature white petalled and multi anthered flowers with a musty scent on the Chinese hillside. A rampant climber it grips support with the leaf petioles turning anti clockwise around the host support. Collected on the Edinburgh Taiwan Expedition of 1993. Native to the Himalayas and western China.