How We Discovered Celebration

At Sussex Plants, we’ve been growing clematis for years. Celebration was discovered by our very own, ‘Green Fingered Fred’ (Fred Godfrey) in 1993 when the DNA of a classic Jackmanii Alba, dramatically changed to produce a branch sport. Fred and his team discovered that the gold pigment in the leaves came from the mixing of DNA within the plant itself.

After years of trials growing and testing, the team has now perfected the plant with spectacular results.

A passion for clematis

‘Green Fingered Fred, the Gardening Guru’ is a clematis lover whose passion and expertise comes from years of producing a wide variety of clematis. The son of a rose grower and breeder, Fred has run a number of highly successful nurseries including Glyndley Garden Centre, ESK Plants and Sussex Plants.

Today, he grows over 30,000 clematis a year at Park Road Nursery as well as running ESK Plants in Eastbourne and a very successful Gardeners club with the best part of 5,000 enthusiastic members.

Fred and his team are constantly assessing new plants and cultivars. Only the very best are brought to the market.

The UK’s favourite climber

Thanks to its beautifully exotic and reliable flowers, Clematis is probably the most popular type of climbing plant in the UK. Also known as The Queen Of The Climbers, the plant was introduced to Britain in the late 16th century but it was during the Victorian era when ‘clematis mania’ spread.

Several species were introduced into the UK from many areas around the world which allowed nurserymen and gardeners to begin to experiment, cross-breeding them to produce hundreds of new varieties, many of which are still around today.

Clematis of this time were often named after their breeders or nursery owners such as Lord Neville and Jackmanii – still perhaps one of the best-known clematis in the world.