The Armand's Clematis (aka Evergreen Clematis) is just finishing up after putting on a spectacular show this year. It started blooming way back in early March. A few cold snaps along the way didn't seem to faze it much and the blooms just kept opening. This photo was taken in mid-March and the bloom was actually heavier a few weeks later.
I had tried to grow this clematis before but failed. It is hardy only to zone 7 and very cold winters, which we haven't had much of lately, can do it in. Like most clematis, it takes about 3 years to get going. You've heard the saying - "First year it sleeps, second year it creeps and third year it leaps" - this certainly applies here.
Clematis armandii is a vigorous climber and can quickly scramble into trees or cover a small structure. Occasional pruning may be required to keep it in check. The lovely fragrant flowers are beautiful but the long, narrow glossy leaves are highly attractive as well. This is a good vine for providing shade under a seating area or patio. Clematis like their roots in the shade and their heads in the sun. You can provide shade for the base of the vine by mulching or using rocks or pieces of broken pots. They prefer evenly moist soil but can tolerate drought once established. Be careful around young plants because the woody stems are fragile. Once the vine takes off, it is fairly low maintenance. I have not seen the pink flowered variety but there are some available ("Apple Blossom" is one and there are others).