I've always loved clematis but have never planted any. Several times (including just now) I've tried researching it and I'm honestly overwhelmed by the number of options. I've seen several folks here post pictures of their beautiful clematis flowers, so perhaps folks can guide me.
I'm in US zone 7a (mid-atlantic area), so we get some freezes but rarely anything serious, and temps never go below 0 F (-20 C) which seems, from a couple of sites I read, to be a cutoff temperature for several varieties.
I'd like these to grow up against a 6' wood fence along the side of my fairly deep yard. It used to be a "privacy" fence but the wood has shrunk to where it's now more like a very tall picket. If you're facing the fence, you're facing southeast.
Some parts of the fence are unshaded other parts get some shade from trees. I'd seriously love to have a nice variety of clematis and other flowering vines all along the fence that bloom at all different times during the season, maybe things I can plant together that will bloom at different times and/or different heights. I already have a number of smaller shrubs along there that could help shade the roots, which is what else I read is important.
I'd also need to find varieties that I don't have to remember to carefully prune each year - I'm just not realistically going to do that. I'm good with stuff that either never needs pruning except to cut back dead sections, or that does well to be cut back every few years, but I'm useless when it comes to things that require much more careful attention -- each year on the ninth day before the first expected frost, cut only certain branches to certain lengths with cuts at a certain angle leaving only a certain number of the strongest and most central.... at that point my head blows up. I will never remember to do things like that, so please recommend accordingly.
Thank you for any suggestions you can make!