We’re on the slow slog out of winter here in New Zealand. There are blossoms on fruit trees, the grass is growing faster and driving through the Waitakere Ranges, the canopy of the bush is lit up where the clematis is flowering.
Looking out over the hills to the sea from our house tonight as the sun was setting somewhere hidden in the cloud, the constellations of clematis flowering white in the dark of the trees looked like painted stars. This year is a good one for these harbingers of our Spring. I have never seen so many.
Clematis flowers have fascinated me ever since a friend told me how magical they smelled. That was three years ago and I have been on the lookout for some flowering low enough to the ground for me to get to, ever since. I drove down our road slowly, eyes peeled. Bushcrashed down from our house trying to get to some I saw from the kitchen window, but they were too high up an unclimbable rimu.
I told my son the story of my obsession with clematis flowers last week. At a friends place, he and a mate disappeared into the bush, asking me to wait, while they 'did something'. It sounded teen-dubious but I waited. And they came out with a delicate spray of four large elven-looking clematis flowers. The white is pearlescent, greentinged, each stamen tipped delicately with purple and while the smell is nice, it’s barely there, fresh and reminds me of wind-borne perfume. It’s the look of them rather than the scent that has me bewitched. And the fact that my teen was so determined to find them for me.
This photo taken on my phone doesn't do them justice, but they're in an old glass milk bottle on my desk, making me happy.