Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Let me introduce you to Cleome
(Cleome hasslerana, Capparidaceae)
Also known as the Spider Flower
For a full appreciation of their beauty
Click on each image to enlarge it.

Cleome is a fast-growing, bi-annual re-seeder
So while not being a perennial
Once you introduce it to your garden
It will pop up next year (in the most unexpected places)
Because it self sows.

It has tall, sturdy stems and palm-like leaves.
If you enlarge the image above
You can see the seed pods
at the ends of the stamens.

To my eye, it is beautiful
At all the stages of bloom.
Note the long stamens
Which give a spidery appearance.

And the erect buds
With deeper hues of pink.

Do you see the curlycue loops
That I think (not sure) are the stamens
That eventually pull away
to reach out and become
the long spidery antenna
 seeking insects?

While they are said to
attract butterflies
This year they seemed to attract
Mainly bumble bees and wasps
in abundance!

The photo above and the one below were taken
Just after an afternoon shower
And if you look closely
You can see droplets of water
Still clinging to the stamens.

Cleome grow 3-4 feet (90-120 cm) in height
And spread to 18 inches (45 cm).
They like full sun to light shade.
Cleomes should be planted in the back of flower beds
However, this flowerbed has no "back"
As it stands in the middle of an area of land
And although you can never predict where they will emerge
They are always coveted, because
They arrive in late summer and are still blooming now
At the end of September.

Arriving late in the season
I do not mind their wayward habits
As I am less concerned with the design and form of the garden
By that point in the summer.
They are a delightful, showy surprise
That is always welcome.


  1. Oh, these are beautiful. I love these pictures.

  2. Cleome is beautiful...it's one we don't have in our garden and we don't often see it in the nursery. I'll keep my eye out for this one for next year when I'm making the rounds!

  3. Great write up and pictures. I enjoyed learning more on the Cleome.

  4. Flowers of such beauty hold awe and fascination, creation's hand a giver of such majestic array. And to you Bonnie a Thank You with a sigh.

  5. Oh! Cleomes! I've never planted them and always wondered what the heck they were! So pretty. And your photos do them justice. I think I might have to try them in my garden if, as you say, they replant, that will make my gardening life easier. I love those wild kind of cottage garden looks. Thank you! (And just between you and me, our secrets are safe.:p) )

  6. Super interesting flower. Never heard of it before and don't remember ever seeing one either. Nice photos showing us the wonderful spidery stamens. Beautiful array as they open up and bloom.

  7. I have one of these, but I didn't know whether it was a weed or flower. The self-seeding confirms that I wasn't the one that planted. Nice to know now - thanks.

  8. Bonnie, I have never seen that plant before - it is a fascinating flower but I am sure we do not grow it in UK. Very beautiful. I love biennials - foxgloves are like that plant them once and you have them forever and they pop up in unlikely places. What more could any gardener want?

  9. Lovely. I still have delphinium that have not bloomed. There are buds...I cross my fingers.

  10. I remember my grandmother growing Cleomes and loving them as a child...she actually called them spider plants...Maybe I should plant some...I think I haven't for fear of tarnishing my memory of them...Maybe they would be as beautiful as yours are and hers were.

  11. Beautiful flower and shots. Does it have a perfume?

  12. Hi Bonnie

    I liked the Cleome, having never seen it before, I do like the wild and wayward flowers with a touch of wantonness...as compared to the structured uprights...

    (Read into that what you will!!!)

    Happy days

  13. Beautiful flowers AND beautiful pictures! I tried to grow this once while we lived in Florida and I think the climate was just too hot for them. Now you've given me an idea since we now live up north..Thanks!!

  14. In every single stage, the Cleome is beautiful! The tubular-phase ones--as the blossoming ones-- are in beautiful shades of spring green and pink; they make me think of the heart chakra, which in turn makes me pull my shoulders back and breathe in--opening my heart! Thank you, Bonnie!

  15. Jazz:

    Sherry Lee:


    Thank you so much for visiting and enjoying the cleome!

  16. Rose Marie: Wish I could really hear your sigh.

  17. Barbara: They are pretty aren't they. You will have to look them up and see if they are suited to your planting zone.

  18. Gary: They are a great subject for a photograph. A compliment about photographs from you, Gary, is probably treasured by many and certainly by me!

  19. Weaver: Thank you. Yes, what more? I don't see why they couldn't grow in Britain - I'll have to check out what zones they thrive in and what zone you are in.

  20. Wanda: Mine don't hold such memories and I value them still.

  21. Alaine: Thank you. Yes, it's perfume is described as musky or skunk-like. But I do not notice much of a scent and certainly not an off-putting one.

  22. Oh Delwyn: You should never set me up like that!

    I always thought someone who delights in wantonness would adore structured uprights!

  23. Margaret: How wonderful that a flower can remind you of your heart chakra and thereby encourage you to open it up. Thanks for sharing that - I'm now pulling my shoulders back and making more room for my heart chakra.

  24. stunning bonnie - absolutely dainty, graceful, delicate, gorgeous. i would like some of these in the back gardens. steven

  25. I adore cleomes, though I have failed miserably to grow them (my hubby once called my attempt at growing cleomes a "bonsai cutting garden.")

    Bonnie, thanks for your comments today...much appreciated, and completely acceptable to me! I value your opinions and support more than you know.


  26. Thanks Steven: I see them at one of the chain nurseries every spring.

  27. Sallymandy: I think you should give them another try - if they grow for me they should grow for any gardner.

    Thank you for your feedback to my feedback!

  28. The Cleome is so beautiful, Bonnie! Thanks for sharing it with us. It almost looks like an alien...a mystical and beautiful alien :D I love it!

    Enjoy your beautiful Cleome!

    Big Hug!

  29. So beautiful. Thank you for these. Makes me smile.


  30. I had never ever heard of this plant and yes, please, click on each image so that you can see it in its beautiful splendour. Many thanks for the introduction. I thoroughly enjoyed its 'conversation' :-).

    Greetings from London.

  31. Just gorgeous... and what a lovely surprise late in the summer. :c)

  32. if I planted Cleome I am sure it would turn up every where I don't want it and no where, where I do want it in my garden.

    No matter how pretty it is I can imagine it turning up in the most inconvenient spots.

  33. gosh they are exotic and beautiful - very showy - almost tropical looking. what gorgeous photos! thank you

  34. ChicGeek: They are a bit mystical and other-worldly aren't they? Thanks for pointing that out.

  35. Dayne: Hey - that's the point of this. So glad it worked!

  36. Cuban - ahhh one of my favourite words: 'splendor'. Thanks for your comments.

  37. Jayne: They do last late into the season and they stand up well against storms and cool nights.

  38. Liss: They do not seem to pop up in the grass. They have shallow root systems, so are very easy to transplant or remove if they appear where you don't want them.

  39. What an amazing looking bloom. There is something spidery about them and phallic too - flowers are the reproductive organs of plants, after all. It must be such a joy to see them return every year. Nice photos!

  40. Val: That may be a reason I like them so much. We need every bit of exotic, tropical touches we can get up here in the cold, white north!

  41. I've planted cleome before but never had any luck with reseeding. they are wonderful.

  42. Great flower that you have here, great photos too!
    You have an amazing blog.


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