Other features: very tough clematis that is ideal for cold, exposed sites
Hardiness: fully hardy
Delightful, slightly twisted, purple-blue bells form in mid- to late spring and are followed by whiskery seedheads, which cover the plant later in the year. 'Frances Rivis' is one of the best of the alpinas. It was raised by a Suffolk gardener of the same name in 1900, from seed. It blooms reliably each spring, no matter what the weather is and is perfect for a sunny trellis. It is one of the easiest clematis to look after as it needs little or no pruning.
Garden care: Pruning is not essential but you can remove any dead or weak growth in early summer to encourage strong new growth. Mulch in late winter with garden compost or well-rotted manure but avoid the immediate crown.