Tangled up in pink (Clematis)

Clematis montana_3494

This past week I've been admiring exuberant, rosy-faced vines among the more reserved, mature trees & shrubs in our condominium's beds & borders. My daily dose (or two or three) of viewing pleasure: Clematis montana from different perspectives as it clambers, twists and tumbles over, under and around the arbors. These vigourous climbers have faithfully bloomed for the past 19 Springs -- the same number that I've lived at this address as we both put down our roots the same year.

IMG_3554

Without too much of a stretch (if you allow me a gardener's mindset), I can think of at least three other things we have in common:

1) The need for support to guide & hold us up as we explore new directions.

IMG_3546

2)  A preference for planting our feet in the cool shade and turning our faces to the sun.

IMG_3552

3) The need for regular, selective pruning to encourage new growth and prevent congestion-- especially as we get older.

IMG_3492

The differences between us, beyond the obvious ones? Well, for a start I'm not nearly as pretty in pink -- or any colour for that matter. Nor as agile. More flexibility certainly would help me with the balcony dance.* And my temperament is somewhere in-between a shrinking violet and a bold, somewhat unruly vine. (Truth is I'd really like to be a lily of the valley.)

IMG_3545

Clematis, you may not be edible but I like you very much and will make sure there is always one of you nearby, in the common garden or on my balcony. Though it's unintentional on your part, you make me pause and reflect on how I, too, can grow beyond imposed boundaries, endure stresses including neglect, bounce back from severe pruning and reach for the sky while staying grounded and connected.

Clematis montana

Do you include a climber in your garden? Please share your favourites in the comments below.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*The balcony dance is the movement of pots from side to side and back to front so I have room to position a ladder to water the hanging baskets. Involves much bending, lifting, shuffling & stretching -- not necessarily done gracefully.