An old French variety ‘Etoile Violette’ holds its own among modern varieties and has been given the Royal Horticultural Society’s prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM) which is for plants of outstanding excellence. Vigorous and free-flowering, it produces its violet flowers from mid-summer to early autumn. As with all the late-flowering clematis, pruning is easy. Simply cut back the stems to a pair of strong buds 15-20cm (6-8in) above ground level before growth begins in early spring. This pruning technique makes late-flowering clematis useful for training into shrubs, trees and climbing roses.