a clematis will string us along, enticing us with buds, then collapse with fungal wilt infection just as it begins to bloom?
True, we saw the lower leaves go yellow several days before this and since the vine's wilted in other years we probably we should've known it was coming. Yet hope springs eternal!
There are no truly practical preventives, and no cure for an infected stem. Read about what you can try here... of those, we usually cut the affected off below the lowest dead leaves (above, left) and give the plant TLC as it grows back.
Or maybe we should just dig it out. The vine on the other side of the post (above, right) seems to be resistant, and we could add a wilt-resistant, small-flowered clematis instead of this troublemaker. No shame there! Even many very good nurseries have discontinued growing large flowered clematis because they are so prone to clematis wilt.