Tendril and SprayWednesday, June 07, 2017
Will the sunflower turn to us, will the clematis
Stray down, bend to us; tendril and spray
Clutch and cling?
Burnt Norton – T.S. Eliot
In literature the rose has no competition even from the lilies of the field. On the other hand the clematis has almost no references in literature.
The clematis is one of my Rosemary’s favourite plants. I dislike how careful one must be in planting it or moving it as it is easy to break its stem and it will then be game over. Then there is the difficulty in that there are at least three types of clematis that have to be pruned at different times of the year. Clematis montana and siblings can if you are not careful bring down one side of your house while the wisteria and the bamboo work on the other side.
There are a few clematis that are indeed fragrant like Clematis armandii which is much too big to ever grow now in our small Kitsilano garden. Most are pretty to look at and are scentless.
In spite of it all I do have a favourite and this is Clematis ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’ which is beautiful before the flowers open, beautiful when the flowers are open and beautiful when the flowers are spent.
Enclosed here is a scan of three (a fourth Clematis florida ‘Sieboldii’ has yet to bloom) from our garden.
I wrote about T.S. Eliot’s Quartets here. Burnt Norton, the first of them is the one that mentions the clematis