Clematis

Oh Clematis. You are so British--or rather Chinese originally. Like most British plants, they were introduced to the island in the 18th century. Clematis’ name comes from the Ancient Greek clématis, meaning “climbing flower.” They are flowering vines with woody stalks that come in a variety of colors (white, blue, purple, pink, red, to name a few of the over 300 species). Here in Chicago they grow throughout the summer.

In Greenaway they are said to mean “mental beauty.” At first this symbolism struck me as odd, but upon further reflection I think one can draw a connection between the tangled vines bedecked with star-like flowers and the complex beauty of human intellect.

These clematis are from Mary Burch's mom's gardens in Maine.  They wind their way up a tall post (topped with a birdhouse), and are really exquisite at the height of bloom.  

These clematis are from Mary Burch's mom's gardens in Maine.  They wind their way up a tall post (topped with a birdhouse), and are really exquisite at the height of bloom.  

So the next time you see some clematis, don't just admire it for its beauty, but consider the hidden depths beyond its outward appearance.  

xoxo,

Persephone

IV

Time and the bell have buried the day,
The black cloud carries the sun away.

Will the sunflower turn to us, will the clematis
Stray down, bend to us; tendril and spray
Clutch and cling?

Chill
Fingers of yew be curled
Down on us? After the kingfisher’s wing
Has answered light to light, and is silent, the light is still
At the still point of the turning world.
— T.S. Eliot, "The Four Quartets, Burnt Norton"