Shady Ladies

A walk up a wooded hill on a recent sunny day brought beauty — pale blue clematis, twining around the base of an aspen.

Trailing through the woods

They love shaded woods, trailing along the ground or winding gently up a tree trunk, each flower upright on a tall stalk. The four-pointed blossom is pale blue verging on mauve.

A four-pointed blossom

Clematis belongs to the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) which includes many familiar flowers, among them anemones, columbines, larkspurs, crocuses and, of course, buttercups.

Blossoms about to open

Blossoms and three-part leaves

Sun-dappled blooms

Even when clematis go to seed they are lovely, forming silvery plume-like clusters. Another walk up the hill is warranted soon.


Blue clematis   Clematis verticellaris var. columbiana

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13 thoughts on “Shady Ladies

      1. More of those moments today — just stepped out the door and a few feet into the bush where I found bishop’s cap (mitrewort), pale coralroot orchid, two species of pyrola just beginning to bud out and more. I’d only planned to spend a few moments out there. Two hours and dead battery later I finally made it back inside. Now off to cut the grass. 🙂

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  1. Love these! Even have a hybridized version (same color) climbing a gate at the ‘old’ house (which is actually newer than the ‘new’ one! – if that makes any sense?) Some of my favorites are in the buttercup family, but others are a mixed blessing as the columbines planted by a previous owner are wildly invasive. The plan at the ‘new’ house is to stick with native plants, hoping to entice the native critters you describe in your ‘nature and me’ page. 😀

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    1. Me too! It was a special treat to find them on a hectic town-day, when I escaped to a quiet piece of woodland. Columbines running amok in the garden? Wow. They seem so nice. Who knew they didn’t play well with others? 🙂

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      1. The Columbines are taking over quite a few spots. Perhaps I have just the right conditions for them (though who knows what they might be?) I did a bit of a search to see if this invasive tendency was typical and came across this interesting post (http://tinyurl.com/ybhs3qll). Mine started out that deep purple, almost black, but much like the description in this post, they are gradually switching to the white edges as described in the post. Oddly enough the ones out front are also turning PINK, while the ones in the backyard are retaining the deep purple… at least for now. Plant life is pretty amazing and fascinating.

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      2. A garden mystery! Thanks for the link, Gunta — a well-written and intriguing story. Are you going to leave some of the columbines in your garden to see what happens? I planted some store-bought lupine seeds years ago and let them self-seed. They were all one colour originally, a deep bright red. They surprised me the last few of years when a couple of pure white stalks showed up, along with some paler red, almost pink. Perhaps the bees again? No one nearby grows lupines but the bees are busy earning frequent flyer miles. 🙂

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    1. I’ve been guilty of that. Last year i discovered coral-root orchids on a neighbour’s property and was bemoaning the fact we had none on ours. Ha! Once I began looking for them I found several patches. “None so blind …” as the saying goes. 🙂

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