Photo © Wim Snoeijer
Wim Snoeijer was born in Gouda, The Netherlands, in 1960. He became interested in plants for "no particular reason" and went to Boskoop, horticultural centre in Holland, to get a diploma as landscape gardener.
After military service spent in Germany he designed some gardens in the Gouda area and worked in a plant shop. He got a diploma as flower arranger and “did some weddings”.
In 1985 Wim started to work as head gardener of the Department of Pharmacognosy at the Leiden University. Part of the job was to check the taxonomy and nomenclature of the plants used by the scientific staff and thus he became interested in that field. Accordingly he published a couple of checklists on nomenclature of Humulus (hop) and Cannabis. The Department was the ICRA (International Cultivar Registration Authority) for Catharanthus, Wim being the Registrar (like the RHS is the ICRA for Clematis).
Around 1988 Wim became interested in Clematis. He visited Jan Fopma in Boskoop as he heard that the nursery had a vast clematis collection. This was the result of world traveling by Jan and collecting plants from other famous clematarians such as Skinner in Canada, Magnus Johnson in Sweden and Mrs Beskaravainaja in Russia. At Jan’s collection he started to make pictures, descriptions and herbarium samples.
Wim quickly became interested in hybridising Clematis - in the first place because he discovered that the published parents of a certain cultivar were not correct. Thus he started to hybridise similar crosses to check its parentage. The first aim was to get a pink ‘Durandii’ and at the same time to check the parents of ‘Aromatica’. Over the years Wim has done a lot of hybridising of which several introductions have European and/or Japanese Plant Breeders Rights and some have Plant Patent in the USA.
In 1996 Jan Fopma retired and his clematis business and collection were taken over by Jan van Zoest who already had a clematis nursery at that time. Wim was "part of the deal" and so was able to proceed with his hobby at the new site. In 2003 he started to work at the Jan van Zoest Clematis nursery as the Leiden University had to cut finance and Pharmacognosy was choosen to close down. Since then Wim has been one of the few commercial Clematis breeders worldwide.
Alongside the many articles Wim published on Clematis, he also did some research on Agapanthus and his book on the subject was published by Timber Press in 2004.
Wim's main interest today is Clematis cultivar classification as after many years of crossbreeding he is quite aware of the relationships between the cultivars. In December 2008 he published his book about the subject titled: Clematis Cultivar Group Classification with Identifying Key and Diagrams. One of his important views is that cultivars should be classified based on how they look rather then being classified by their supposed origin.
With his experience in cultivar group classification he was the major consultant for compiling a cultivar group classification for Galanthus, which was published by Hanneke van Dijk in 2011 in her book titled: Galanthomania.
Over those years of Clematis interest he has collected over 7000 herbarium specimens, covering some 800+ cultivars and species, all stored at the National Herbarium in Holland, Leiden Branch.
Information kindly provided by Wim Snoeijer