Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Virgin's Bower (continued)

Virgin's Bower, Wild Clematis (Clematis virginiana)

These are the photos which were intended to accompany yesterday morning's blog entry on tidying operations last weekend. The first photo shows the Virgin's Bower which is blooming all along the fenceline at the front of the The Two Hundred Acre Wood. The second photo is a closer view of this lovely wild climbing vine which has turned my weathered old fence into a work of summer art.

Other names for this wild botanical wonder include "Devils's Darning Needles", "Traveler's Joy" and "Old Man's Beard", and the clematis is a whole pharmacy, all by itself. Early settlers packed clematis leaves into their boots to ease their blisters and packed it under their saddles to prevent saddle sores on their horses. Leaves stuffed into the crown of one's hat kept a traveler cool and protected from the effects of the sun, and an infusion (tea) made from the leaves has long been known as a remedy for headaches, congestion and gastric upsets - the same infusion used as a foot bath soothes weary feet wonderfully and is also an excellent eyewash. When added to one's bath, the infusion is a wonderful balm for sore muscles.

The count at the end of the afternoon of cleaning up was several large yellow rubbish bags of non-biodegradable detritus (or "stuff") of various kinds as well as three dozen beer bottles (unbroken) and a few dozen empty beer cans, all of which went off for recycling on Monday morning. As I lurched back to the gate late in the day on Sunday, a single Eastern Tiger Swallowtail alighted in a patch of milkwood on the other side of the fence, and out (of course) came the camera. A gorgeous one it was, and perhaps a small token of thanks from Mother Nature and the Fates for an exercise which was quite a chore in the heat and humidity.


Jennifer S. said...

lovely photos, what a pretty vine and I love the sweet butterfly

Peaceful/Paisible said...

"Devils's Darning Needles"ouahhhhhhhhhh
what a name...what could we darn with such sweet needles...make me dream...
tell you later


Anonymous said...

I've never seen wild clematis. I like that better than the flowerpot kind. And what a great big swallowtail butterfly. Thanks!