Look what happened while we were away out west:
The sweet autumn clematis burst into bloom.
What a sight to welcome us home, and what a heady scent as I walk out onto the deck each day.
I had stayed away from planting this vigorous vine, worried about having a monster on my hands. I relented in 2012 and put one in by the deck stairs. It has behaved beautifully. It drapes lushly and stays compact.
I don't know if it's a matter of a few more years before it eats the deck and comes for me on the porch, but so far it is a safe size and shapely. I cut it to the ground each winter, so that will control it, I hope.
It was so nice to come home from our trip and see this fully blooming and inhale the sweet scent.
(By the way, the photo below was from last year, but it is one of the most frequently re-posted shots of mine on Pinterest. It's everywhere now. I should have watermarked it. . . . )