Northern Pitcher PlantPosted: July 11, 2013 Filed under: Ontario, Plant Life, Uncategorized | Tags: Bruce Peninsula National Park, Canada, dorcas bay, Dorcas Bay Fen, fen, flowers, insect eating plants, insects, Lake Huron, leaves, nature, northern pitcher plant, Ontario, pitcher plant, plants, Singing Sands, wildflowers Leave a comment
When I was on the Bruce Peninsula in June, we went to Singing Sands, part of Bruce Peninsula National Park. The Sands are on the Lake Huron side of the peninsula with an expanse of beach and waters that remain very shallow far out. Bordering the Sands are a woodland and fen where I took a short walk on a raised boardwalk and photographed some of the plants growing there.
The National Park signs say that a fen is a wetland with some drainage, often a stream. The Dorcas Bay Fen has much calcium in it, but is low in nitrogen. This makes it a good habitat for plants that get their nitrogen from insects. The pitcher plant is one of those. Insects that are attracted to their flowers may fall into their pitcher shaped leaves or they may be attracted to the coloured lips of the leaves. There, among downward pointing hairs, they are trapped, fall into collected water and drown. Their nutrients are then absorbed by the plant, both by enzymes it secretes and by bacteria breaking down the animal. Adventures of life and death at all levels in nature!
The Northern Pitcher Plant’s Latin name is Sarracenia purpurea. Its sci-fi looking flowers are around 2″ wide and the pitcher leaves can be 4 – 12″ long. The plant ranges in height from 8 – 24″. (Thanks again for these details to my copy of the Audubon Wildflower Field Guide.)
Wood LiliesPosted: July 5, 2013 Filed under: Ontario, Plant Life | Tags: Bruce Peninsula, Bruce Peninsula National Park, cyprus lake trail, flower, lily, nature, Ontario, orange, plants, wildflower, wood lily 1 Comment
When we were in Bruce Peninsula National Park, I noticed flashes of deep orange as we drove to the park office. Later, having hiked the Cyprus Lake Trail, we pulled over on the road and I got out and photographed these Wood Lilies. I have no memory of seeing them in earlier years, but I could have been distracted then. These were very beautiful flowers–with a crispness to their shape. I saw them twice going into the Park and also along the northern part of highway 6 as we travelled south from Tobermory.
My trusty Audubon Wildflower Guide tells me that their Latin name is Lilium philadelphicum. They also say the flowers are 2″ wide, but I remember them more like 3″ wide. They grow 1 to 3 feet high and bloom from June to August.
Large Yellow Lady’s SlippersPosted: July 3, 2013 Filed under: Ontario, Plant Life | Tags: audubon society field guide, Bruce Peninsula, Bruce Peninsula National Park, Canada, cyprus lake trail, flowers, Lady's Slippers, Large Yellow Lady's Slippers, nature, Ontario, orchids, plants, Tobermory, wildflowers Leave a comment
When we were on the Bruce Peninsula, the yellow lady’s slippers were in bloom. They were by the roadside, in laneways and in the National Park where they were a delight to see.
Their Latin name is Cypripedium calceolus. They’re members of the orchid family, one of a variety of orchids that the Peninsula is known for. The orchid grows to 8 to 28 inches tall with the yellow lip petal about 2 inches long. This is according to my National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers and to my own observation. Though I did not go out and about with a tape measure!
I’ve included a photo from a laneway near where we stayed and from The Cyprus Lake Trail in the National Park.
It’s Not in the Wilderness, But……Posted: June 8, 2013 Filed under: Plant Life | Tags: flower, houseplant, nature, nature photography, plants, Sansevieria, sansevieria in flower, snake plant, succulent Leave a comment
The sansevieria, snake plant, that I’ve grown indoors for years has flowered for the first time. I hadn’t known what its flowers looked like and each night took many photos as the petals opened and the intense perfume filled the air. I love the contrast of delicate flowers with bold thick succulent leaves.
Todmorden Mills on a Cool June EveningPosted: June 6, 2013 Filed under: Animal Life, Ontario, Plant Life, Toronto, Water | Tags: birds, Canada, flowers, irises, June, mood, natural world, nature, Ontario, plants, Todmorden Mills, Toronto, trees, wild phlox, wildflower preserve, woods 2 Comments
I went to Todmorden Mills in Toronto in the early evening yesterday. It was cool and sunny and my preoccupations of the day left me as I got closer to the trees, freshly mown grass, birds and flowers in this bit of preserved nature. The irony of its being so close to the Don Valley Expressway is never far from consciousness.
There’s a wildflower preserve at the site—a short trail through forest by ponds. There I saw yellow and violet irises growing by the water, plus many wild phlox. I came upon a man and his beloved dog having a walk as well as a jogger. Many robins, sparrows, red winged blackbirds and cardinals were with me.
In that short hour my mood went from preoccupied and low to extremely peaceful.
AbundancePosted: May 10, 2013 Filed under: Inspiration, Plant Life, Toronto | Tags: beauty, blossoms, Brick Works, daffodils, Evergreen Brick Works, flowers, gardens, grape hyacinths, May, nature, plants, spring, Todmorden Mills, Toronto, trees, tulips Leave a comment
We’ve had a week of sunshine and warm weather in Toronto–like a dream of love. This has given way to rain and cooler temperatures which will make the plants quite happy.
The gardens have been bursting with flowers. Magnolias, redbud trees, flowering plums, tulips, daffodils, grape hyacinths, forget me nots, periwinkles and violets have greeted me throughout the neighbourhood. Two days ago, the yellow green maple flowers began dusting the sidewalks and lawns. And at the Brick Works and Todmorden Mills, the sun and leaves of budding trees have formed canopies of light.
These have been joyful days to be alive amidst birdsong and the return of vibrant colour.
Signs of Spring at the Brick WorksPosted: April 7, 2013 Filed under: Animal Life, Ontario, Plant Life, Toronto | Tags: Brick Works, canada geese, colt's foot, Evergreen Brick Works, nature, Ontario, plants, pussy willow trees, pussy willows, red-winged blackbird, spring, Toronto, trees Leave a comment
A week ago Saturday, on a beautiful sunny day in Toronto, we decided to walk to a favourite haunt—Evergreen Brick Works. There, I saw the first colt’s foot flowers I’ve ever seen. Either I’ve been unobservant or they haven’t been that plentiful in the past. Another possibility is that I haven’t been in the right location at the right time. I also saw two large pussy willow trees which I have loved since childhood.
The call of the red winged blackbirds was a welcome sound as was the sight of two Canada geese. Though they are a plentiful bird whom many regard as nuisances, there they were by a pond, looking quite fine to me.
Since then, crocuses have been adorning early gardens and I’ve been hearing the lovely song of the robin.
What RemainsPosted: March 9, 2013 Filed under: Inspiration, Ontario, Toronto | Tags: fine art photography, nature, nature photography, Ontario, plants, Pottery Road, Ron Silvers, Toronto 2 Comments
Earlier this week, a dear friend of ours, Ron Silvers, died. A few days later I was out walking down Pottery Road, along the edge of Todmorden Mills in Toronto. There I came upon a tumble of dried plants at the side of the hill which I confess I cannot identify. (I have much to learn.) The plants reminded me of Ron with their, and his, humble beauty—and of the province of Saskatchewan where he lived during the last years of his life. At that moment by the road, I felt Ron’s presence strongly.
Ron, among the other hats that he wore, both literal and figurative, was a fine art photographer. His photos of Tibet, the Antarctic, the Yukon and the first sun of the millennium from Ellesmere Island are deeply felt, haunting images. You can see them at www.photographicexplorations.ca.
This is for Ron, who remains in our hearts and thoughts, in the grass and wind and in whatever of nature speaks to us.