Sunday, June 03, 2018

Clematis redux

A week ago I spotted a large, showy flower growing in an obscure spot: up against the chimney, where the downspout for the rain gutter has an elbow that redirects the water ten feet from the foundation. I vaguely remember planting a clematis here many years ago, perhaps fifteen or more, and being disappointed that it never took. I also remember occasionally spotting single flowers of this same type hidden amongst the weeds there. It only occurred to me last week that this might be the clematis, somehow surviving many years of neglect and occasional heavy weeding. A reverse image search (with a result of "Leather flower") and request to my friends for help identifying it determined that, yes, this was definitely a clematis. I went out and weeded around the clematis, giving it some room to breathe and a chance to see the sun. I carefully pulled out some weeds and clipped others. In the process I managed to clip right through the stem of my sole clematis blossom.

Clematis blossoms have long stems, and I had managed to avoid killing the plant itself. I found the main vine, which fad several buds on it ready to blossom. Hoping to make it up to the plant, I dug up an old trellis on which I had once tried to train my hummingbird vine. (Ha, ha. Train a hummingbird vine. From its Wikipedia entry: "It grows well on arbors, fences, telephone poles, and trees, although it may dismember them in the process. Ruthless pruning is recommended." Starting about three years after I planted it, I have spent decades trying to kill or at least control the hummingbird vine before it dismembers the house.) I wove the clematis through it, careful to not knock off any buds in the process. And then I waited.

I waited the better part of the week. The buds didn't begin to blossom until Friday, June 1. These pictures were taken the next day.

The brightness at the bottom of the two lowest petals is actually the spot where the sun was shining - after noon, the sun cuts across the flower obliquely, and the shadow of the house eventually falls over it.

Additional buds have opened since these photos were taken, and several more are waiting to open.

This flower looks like velvet in the high contrast monochrome images, and the sunlight is much more distinct.

We'll see how big the clematis gets this year, and how well it comes back in coming years.

No comments: