Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Watched Pot Finally Boils

It seems like I've been waiting all spring for my Clematis 'Josephine' to open its flowers. It was a couple of months ago that I first noticed it had several buds, that since then have just gotten fatter and fatter, but despite my constant hovering, stubbornly refused to open.

I've even been applying a camera-based variation of The Stare of Life, first given its name by Jason in his blog Garden in a City, where he defines it thus: "The Stare of Life is an intense gaze that warms the soil and hastens processes of cell division and photosynthesis." (Read more about The Stare of Life here.) I've been taking photos of the fat buds on my Clematis 'Josephine' over and over, every time thinking "Maybe tomorrow you'll be open." Should I give the constant application of the camera lens a name? Maybe The Fecund Lens? The Lens of Fecundity is too much of a mouthful, and the word "fecund" seems to apply, since flowers are a plant's sexual organs, designed for the purpose of producing progeny in the form of seeds (although 'Josephine' is in fact sterile).

On April 10:

On April 21:

Buds getting fatter

And ultimately, on May 14, the day before Garden Bloggers Bloom Day:

Surely they'll open soon

Still not open

Finally, after a long day out of the garden during our most recent heat wave, I came home to make a quick round of the garden in the fading light of the day, and found the first flower of 'Josephine' beginning to open.

In  the day's fading light, finally the first petals unfurl

More buds waiting in the wings

The next morning, open a little more, although Josephine's infamous ruff of shorter petals has yet to make its appearance

In the morning, a second flower has begun to open

And a third

A few days later, and the shorter petals start to unfurl

For some reason, I have always wanted to call this Clematis 'Empress Josephine' assuming wrongly that it is named after the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. With all those frills, doesn't it look like it should? But in fact, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden website, "This cultivar was discovered in England by Josephine Hill and introduced there in 1998 by Raymond Evison (Gurnesy Clematis Nursery) under the original cultivar name of 'Evijohill'. Plants are being marketed by nurseries under the trade name of JOSEPHINE."

Are you out there in your garden tapping your foot impatiently waiting for something to grow?