Where the woodland streamlets flow,
Gushing down a rocky bed,
Where the tasseled alders grow,
Lightly meeting overhead,
When the fullest August days
Give the richness that they know,
Then the wild clematis comes,
With her wealth of tangled blooms,
Reaching up and drooping low.
And her fresh leaves only shade
That which is within her bower,
Like a curtain, lightly made,
Half to hide her virgin flower;
None too close to let the wind
Find a place to breathe between,
Where the wild bee cannot miss
All the sweetness that there is,
Underneath her tent of green.
And the sunlight flickers in,
So to touch her maiden breast;
And between her twists of vine
Sings the woodbird to his nest;
And the air is wondrous sweet,
And the twilight lingers long, —
And the young birds learn to fly
In among her greenery,
And she hears their earliest song.
~Dora Read Goodale (In Berkshire with the Wild Flowers, 1879)
The only place I’ve seen wild clematis in Minnesota is at Gooseberry Falls on the North Shore, a gorgeous state park to visit any time of the year–in early June, when the Clematis blooms and the leaves have come out in all shades of green and the falls are full and gushing, later in summer when the water is down and the enterprising visitors can cross to islands in the middle of the river between the middle and lower falls, autumn for the gorgeous colors, and winter when the falls freeze in massive ice sculptures.