Clematis, Preparing to Bloom: Gallery 2 of 2

The gallery below contains the second set of images of clematis plants and their early spring vines and buds. These are photos of a President Clematis — whose colors, at this stage, include dark green in the leaves and a distinct purple vine. The leaves will fade to a lighter green as the plant grows, but the vine keeps its purple color throughout the growing season as it stretches on and on and gets thicker in width.

This one is fond of attaching itself to a nearby chair, which certainly adds interest to the chair but limits its usability for sitting. I normally (and carefully!) detach the vine from the chair and twist it back on itself or the supports in its pot … but just for fun this year, I think I’ll let it be. And, of course, my photo-brain is already wondering how the deep purple flowers will look on the blue-green background. 🙂

The previous gallery is here: Clematis, Preparing to Bloom: Gallery 1 of 2.

Select the first image to begin a slideshow … thanks for taking a look!

Clematis, Preparing to Bloom: Gallery 1 of 2

From The Secret History by Donna Tartt:

“If I had grown up in that house I couldn’t have loved it more, couldn’t have been more familiar with the creak of the swing, or the pattern of the clematis vines on the trellis, or the velvety swell of land as it faded to gray on the horizon, and the strip of highway visible … beyond the trees. The very colors of the place had seeped into my blood….”

From The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde:

“In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold its purple stars.”

From The Writer in the Garden by Jane Garvey:

“Stick a clematis in a sunny spot with its roots shaded and it will reward you for years.”

In early February, I assembled a small gallery that included the very first signs of spring appearing in my garden: a few tiny leaves from one of my three clematis vines. Since then, the plants have suffered through and survived a week of below freezing temperatures, gotten tangled by repeated windy days, gotten soaked by long rainstorms … and yet have started producing new vines at a frenetic pace while pushing out dozens of flower buds. It will be another month, probably, before the flowers start opening; but I’m as fascinated by the vines and buds at this stage as I will be by the flowers when they bloom.

Here are fifteen closeup images from two of the plants that I bought last year. I planted them in pots after flowering season, so I haven’t seen the flowers; and the plants came with a tag that identified them only as “clematis” — so I don’t know the variety. When the flowers do bloom, I’m sure I’ll take many new shots … and possibly get some help identifying the strain.

For several of these photos, I tried to isolate bits of the vine suspended in space, and emphasize the curves and detail in the leaves and buds. I’ll post a second gallery over the weekend, of a President Clematis that has a very different appearance from this one.

Select the first image to begin a slideshow … thanks for taking a look!

Wordless Wednesday: Autumn Ferns Celebrate Spring!

Fire Island Hosta: Seven Views

The hosta babies are growing up so fast that the resident photographer can’t keep up! This lovely plant is a Fire Island Hosta — I have one in a medium-size pot but would like about a dozen more. As you can see from the photos, the leaves have a softly detailed texture emphasized by their luminous yellow-green color, supported by burgundy stems. This one might be large enough to split into separate clumps and relocate this year … though I’m often hesitant to do that because of the risk of losing the plant. It still has room for root growth in the pot, so I may look for some new ones instead.

One can never have too many plants!

Thanks for looking!

Owl on the Prowl

This absolutely gorgeous barred owl has been a regular visitor to my back yard for nearly a decade, making its debut in the summer of 2008 as a youngster. The first time I saw it, it was perched on my Japanese Maple but quickly moved to the fence separating my property from my neighbor’s after getting flashed by the camera. For the first few years, it came back often, but these were the only photos I got until it was large enough and steadfast enough to remain mostly indifferent to my presence in its adopted garden.

Fast forward a few years and here’s what the owl looked like last summer. In all but two of these photos, it’s sitting on what’s become its favorite branch on the cypress trees behind my pond. Its downcast eyes — in the first two photos — are trained on the carp in the pond, and it will watch them for hours until I either shoo it away, or it manages (though it rarely does) to snag one of the fish (which are not intended as owl-snacks!) and fly off.

I haven’t seen it yet this year, but early in the evenings for the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard it — not too far away — as its very distinctive call is unmistakeable. Hearing the call again reminded me of these photos — a couple of which appeared here in 2018 when I first started blogging again and was re-learning how to use WordPress. I went through my archives and reprocessed these thirteen photos to share with this post. I think the last one’s my favorite, and, while I did use a zoom lens to get so close in, the owl was only about ten feet away: we’ve gotten used to each other, and it no longer soars off when I walk toward it with the camera. I expect I’ll get a chance to pose it in a new photo-shoot within the next few weeks.

Thanks for looking!