From Plant Families: A Guide for Gardeners and Botanists by Ross Bayton:
“[The Clematis] flower bud is enclosed by the sepals, which protect the inner workings of the flower. As it grows and expands, the sepals open up and become much more colorful, just like the petals within.”
From The Language of Flowers by Anne Pratt and Thomas Miller:
“Many plants, besides possessing tendrils, have a stem and leaf-stalks, which grow in a spiral slope, when the plant requires the support of another. Thus the traveler’s joy, or wild clematis, that beautiful ornament of our summer hedges, by its stems as well as tendrils, so clings to the bushes that it is impossible to sever a large portion without tearing it. The large clusters of flowers, and the numerous dark leaves, seeming to belong to the brambles among which they entwine, so closely are they interlaced by the convolutions of their stems.”
The fabulously oppressive heat and humidity that settled on large portions of the U.S. last week made outdoor activities — including photography! — possible only in short bursts, but it did give me some indoor time to work on a backlog of photos. This week is supposed to be even hotter, though much lower humidity may mean outdoor-things are more possible, especially in the mornings. Yesterday and today I heard the upcoming high temperatures referred to as a heatwave, heat blast, heat bomb, and heat dome — but I really think that if they’d just call it a “heat igloo” we’d all feel a lot cooler…. or not!
Earlier this year I posted photos of flowers from one of my clematis vines — see One Clematis, Two Clematis — but somehow I forgot about pictures I’d taken of another one: the Bernadine Clematis whose images appear below. My third clematis plant — a President Clematis (see President Clematis, from 2021) never bloomed this year: it started producing flower buds very early during a warm February, but they all got crinkled to death by a week of freezing temperatures shortly after. That’s a weird new weather pattern that This Gardener hasn’t quite figured out how to work with: early year temperatures in the 60s and 70s cause some plants (in my garden: clematis vines, hydrangeas, and ferns) to respond to the warmth by putting out delicate new growth too early, then they never quite recover from the freezing that follows.
I’ve posted photos of Bernadine here a few times; so this year I just took a double-handful of new photos, and focused on getting sharpness, color, and texture as correct and accurate as possible. This Bernadine blooms into a striking mix of blue, purple, violet, and magenta, in stripes that emanate from the center. The center structure features the deepest purple, so rich in color that it always reminds me of purple marzipan with a tiny yellow frosting cap. But I did not try to eat them, I promise; I only took their pictures.
Thanks for taking a look!