One Word Photo Challenge: Periwinkle

Perwinkle flowers bloom on the Vinca minor vine in early spring.

Perwinkle flowers bloom on the Vinca minor vine in early spring.

Say, “Periwinkle” out loud,

and feel the smile slide on to your lips.

Happiness bubbles up through each syllable.



Soft pastel tint of  blue,

Cool morning sky color,

German Iris, "Stairway to Heaven"

German Iris, “Stairway to Heaven”

Lavender blue,

Shade of lilacs and seashells.

May 7 2014 garden 012

Named for the tiny spring flower of the Vinca vine,

Periwinkle ,

Appears only in the big Crayola Crayon boxes.

Rosemary in bloom

Rosemary in bloom

Good for coloring spring flowers,

And hair ribbons, little girls’ dresses,

And tea time petit fours frosting.

Perennial Ajuga

Perennial Ajuga

Tastes of lavender,

Smells of honey,

Feels like cool agates found in the surf,

Sounds like the passing of a moth at dusk.

May 3 2014 afternoon garden 059

Clematis “Arabella”



Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells  for hosting the Weekly One Word Photo Challenge









For the Love of May

May 5 2014 garden 002


“And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley


May 5 2014 garden 004

“Keep your faith in all beautiful things;

in the sun when it is hidden, 

in the Spring when it is gone.”

Roy R. Gilson

May 5 2014 garden 018

“I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become,

I will always plant a large garden in the spring.

Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy

that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth?”

  Edward Giobbi


May 5 2014 garden 010

“Sweet May hath come to love us,
Flowers, trees, their blossoms don;
And through the blue heavens above us
The very clouds move on.”

Heinrich Heine



May 5 2014 garden 054

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014


Clematis Unfolding

A flower unfolds to the best of its ability

due to the conditions around it.

And so do you – you unfold to the best of your ability

Kuan Yin


Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014


April 29, 2014 turquoise 008

Look Closely at the Clematis

April 28, 2014 azaleas 004

These are the first blooms from this Clematis vine…. Ever.

Planted last summer, it grew a bit, but didn’t bloom.  Purchased bare root, probably from a bin in a “big box store,” I planted it, watched the vine develop, but never saw any flowers.

It is Clematis, “Belle of Woking.”  These beautiful double flowers are produced on old growth.

Later in the season, I hope to see it bloom again on new growth.  The new growth blooms are said to be different from this initial flush.  Having never before grown this cultivar, I’m looking forward to watching how it behaves this season.

April 28, 2014 azaleas 005

One of the first woody stems in the garden to burst into leaf this spring, I was relieved to see it still alive.

So imagine our delight to finally see its lovely blooms!

April 28, 2014 azaleas 006

And, look who is keeping guard on the unopened bud, waiting to devour any little bug who might have designs on its lovely petals!


Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

March 20 2014 spring 007



Like A Dusting of Snow: Sweet Autumn Clematis


Sweet Autumn Clematis is in full bloom now along the Colonial Parkway between Williamsburg and Jamestown, Virginia.

It’s late August in Virginia, but along the banks of the James River it looks like there has been an early snow, dusting the trees and shrubs with white frosting.  The Sweet Autumn Clematis is in its glory.

The smooth oval leaves on the Sweet Autumn Clematis vine indicate it is the Japanese Clematis

The smooth oval leaves on the Sweet Autumn Clematis vine indicate it is the Japanese Clematis terniflora, not the native species.

There are actually two different Autumn Clematis species, which look identical from a distance.  The native Clematis virginiana, also called “Virgin’s Bower”, or less romantically, “The Devil’s Darning Needles”; grows from 10’-20’, blooms from late July into September, and has leaves with toothed edges.  It grows in USDA Zones 4-8, and was widely used by Native Americans medicinally and as a hallucinogen.

004Clematis terniflora was imported to the United States from Japan.  Although the flowers of these two vines are nearly identical, Clematis terniflora has smooth, oval leaves and can grow to 30’.  The “sweet” in the common name, “Sweet Autumn Clematis” is a reference to the delicious sweet aroma of this beautiful vine.  It is hardy in zones 4-9.  Although it is naturalized mostly from Texas eastwards in the United States, and up into Quebec, Canada, it has also naturalized in much of California.  The foliage of this vine is more refined looking than the foliage of the native Clematis virginiana.

Clematis covered red cedar trees line the fence of the Gospel Spreading Church Farm along the Colonial Parkway.

Clematis covered red cedar trees line the fence of the Gospel Spreading Church Farm along the Colonial Parkway.

Both of these vines are popular with all nectar loving insects and with hummingbirds when in flower, and with seed loving birds once the seeds form.   The seed is spread far and wide by the birds, and so both of these tough, vigorous vines are now found growing in the wild across most of the Eastern United States.  Sweet Autumn Clematis is also a favorite to grow in the garden.  It comes into bloom at the end of the season when many annuals are tired and many perennials are finishing their annual display.  Some states list Sweet Autumn Clematis as an invasive species, although that is harsh treatment for such a beautiful flowering vine.014

Both species of Autumn Clematis tolerate a wide range of soils.  They can thrive whether the summer is wet or dry, although our prolific display this August must be due to the wet weather we’ve had all summer.  013

Both flower on new wood.  They can be cut back hard, to within a foot or so of the ground in early spring, and still put on enough growth for a beautiful autumn show.

These clematis vines are lovely growing on a fence, an arbor, as a groundcover, or over shrubs.  Caution should be taken when they begin to scamper over nearby trees and shrubs in the garden so they aren’t allowed to “shade out” and weaken their neighbors.  The elongated petioles of the leaves twine around any available support as the vine climbs.  Clematis terniflora will grow as much as 20’ in a single growing season after a hard pruning.006

Vines of Clematis virginiana can be grown from seed or cutting, but cuttings are preferred to propagate Clematis terniflora.  Layering is the easiest method, although cuttings with at least two pairs of leaves can be rooted in moist soil.003

Although I’ve planted Sweet Autumn Clematis in my gardens over the years, it is most exciting when it suddenly bursts into bloom in the wild.  There is a special energy and excitement when the green vine, growing on green shrubs, suddenly bursts into bloom with its snowy white blossoms.  Butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds flock to its sweetly scented nectar filled blossoms.  What a beautiful way to begin the long good bye to summer.

All photos by Woodland Gnome 2013


The view across the James River to Surry County, from the Colonial Parkway.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 734 other followers

Follow Forest Garden on
Order Classic Caladiums

This Month’s Posts

Topics of Interest