From 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names by Diana Wells:
“[They] rank amongst the noblest of ornaments for low walls, trellises, etc., to which they must be necessarily in the first instance be nailed or tied; but once firmly fixed, they should be allowed to fall down in rich picturesque masses. Probably, however, the simplest and grandest use that could be made of them would be to plant them on large masses of rockwork, giving them a good depth of rich, light, and sandy earth, and allowing their shoots to fall over the face of the blocks without any training or pruning….
“When grown in this fashion… the Clematis should receive every encouragement, so that it may not in any way be checked in its development.”
“The never-ending thousands of purple flowers of the Clematis… form a rich combination of flower and foliage, the beauty of which no words can express.”
The galleries below feature three blooms from a President Clematis vine growing in a pot near the pond in my back yard. It’s due for replanting — and movement to a sunnier spot — since it only produced a few flowers this year. It’s a very-early-spring job to relocate most flowering vines and plants here in the southeastern U.S. — in part because if you wait much past the end of April, there’s a good chance of a large temperature spike in May that will turn you into a perpetrator of plantslaughter.
It can be a puzzling balancing act to figure out when to relocate plants here: a freeze in April isn’t unusual, but neither is a heat wave in May. I think you actually only have about 20 minutes (possible exaggeration!) in April-May to move plants successfully, and it’s still a bit of a crapshoot. But I’ll give it a try in early 2022.
Here’s the first flower.
Despite dodging frequent rainstorms over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been alternately working in the garden, taking pictures of my own plants and flowers, and making trips to Oakland Cemetery to photograph whatever has come into bloom (I found tons of fresh-faced irises over the weekend; stay tuned!) — and I’ve again accumulated quite a backlog of unprocessed photos. Every now and then — say, for example, when I see I’ve got several hundred photos to work through in Lightroom — I get a little nostalgic for the days when you took pictures with a film camera, dropped the rolls off at the nearest pharmacy, then picked them up and stuck a few prints in a photo album before cramming the rest in a drawer.
On the other hand: it’s probably true that if I still shot film, I’d have built a darkroom by now, and I’d be spending my evenings bathing print paper in developing chemicals instead of poking at a keyboard, patiently picking tiny bits of pollen, bugs, and spiderweb filaments off flower petals and adjusting exposure sliders and colors. Someday, though, I’d like to learn more about how analog (darkroom) photo processing compares with digital, and how the capabilities of both line up with each other.
Here’s the second flower, a flatter and larger bloom.
The flowers in this post exist in the real world among a tangled mass of clematis vines and leaves, their clay-pot home, and a surrounding village of other stuffed planters. So even though these were close-up photos, I still did a lot of cropping and background darkening to eliminate the visual clutter and focus on the petals and the flower’s central structures, despite having positioned the lens as close as I could (about a foot from the subject).
Handheld macro photos at such short distances can be a challenge, because the slightest movement pushes the image out of focus. One trick I learned that helps address that is to focus manually, move slightly forward so the subject is just out of focus, then move slightly backward and take several shots (in burst mode or using exposure bracketing) just as the image comes back into focus. Sounds weird, maybe, but I think it works because you’re not trying to force yourself into a stiff position and are instead matching your movements to the movement of the camera and to the rhythm of the camera exposing the shots. Try it, you’ll like it! 🙂
Here’s the last flower; it was missing one petal, so I posed it to show its best features.
Thanks for reading and taking a look!