Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Beautiful Clematis -Pikiarero

I was so delighted to come across this native clematis
flowering on a punga fence in the Maori garden at our city gardens today.
Of all the native plants I think this is my favourite
spilling down the fence like a wedding bouquet
or a bridal veil..

As children, living on a farm at Matakawau, on the Manukau Peninsula
with our own native bush to explore,
one of the special events in the year was the flowering of the clematis.
It grew with strong creeping stems up and up into the trees in the bush
until it reached the canopy and the sun
and there it would flower and trail over the tree tops like a beautiful bride.

Sometimes we would try to pick the flowers to bring home to our mother
but more often than not, by the time we'd pulled them through the trees
down to us on the ground
we had nothing but tattered remnants
and guilt would be ours for spoiling the beauty.

Our mother had a special love of the clematis flowers.
She would tell us again the story of how her family had lived in the remote back country
in The Maeroa, inland from Te Kuiti.
Their first home was a punga-tree fern and canvas tent house
with a shiny dirt floor.
She told us how her father had delivered their babies born there in the bush.
When the birth of one baby was imminent
he sent the children off to the bush to gather clematis flowers for their mother
and when they returned
there was their mother with their tiny newborn sister, Teresa.

Clematis flowers will always hold a special place in my heart.
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  1. Marilyn..this is the story as I remember Mum telling Does it sound correct to you? Mum was a great story teller and this was one we never tired of. Uncle Jack was telling my boys once about the house they lived in, in the bush in Maeroa. The dirt floor was really hard and shiny because the children used to put on old socks and slide up and down. I wish I'd listened to more of their stories!

  2. Yes Joan, this Aunty Mary told about Grandma's birth in her story. Do you have a copy of Aunty Mary's story?
    We have two native clematis plants - had three but one died - and the other two are struggling, however one is flowering and I have been taking photos that I will blog one day soon too. I love them.

  3. Thank you for your lovely comment :) We are enjoying our little princess (and our bigger one). they are growing up so fast, so we have to enjoy every minute while they are babies :)

  4. Such a wonderful family story and connection to you and these native clematis. How hard life must have been then and what joy in the small things. This is a beautiful clematis, Joan. One of my favorite vining flowers is clematis.
    We have a small white clematis called Sweet Autumn that blooms in the midwest in fall and is showing off right now in the area. Its flowers are much smaller than yours, but it, too, cascades and climbs and is so lovely. Isn't it interesting how both sides of the equator at the same time but in different seasons have cousins in bloom at the same time?

  5. Stunning photo and wonderful story attached. I also just LOVE that photo of your father in "drag" on previous post. A lovely piece of history!

  6. Lovely story(love clematis:), Joan!

    Thank-you for sharing:)


  7. What a wonderful story. The clamatis are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with me. Lovely to hear from you. I will follow your blog.
    Hug from Norway

  8. Beautiful flowers and an even more beautiful story! We too have a similar smaller clematis -- fall blooming over here in the US.

  9. That is the sweetest story ever, I love it. When I was a child we had that clematis growing over the verandah and every spring my dad took a photo of me beside to measure our respective growth.

  10. Oh, that was such a sweet story! And how gorgeous is that clematis! Beautiful photography - it is like a veil of flowers. I smiled at the attempted plucking of the flowers - what child could resist bringing such beauty home to their beloved Mom?

  11. a moving recollection of times past.

  12. Thank you friends for the lovely thoughtful comments.
    So clematis flowers in America Autumn as ours flowers here in spring.. what a wonderful world it is!