Scottish Rock Garden Club Forum

Memorable Topics – Threads and posts that are just too good to lose => Plant Information and Portraits => Topic started by: Kristl Walek on April 25, 2008, 11:33:59 PM

Title: My Bit of Heaven - by Kristl Walek
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 25, 2008, 11:33:59 PM
10 days ago 3 feet of snow disappeared, it seemed, overnight. Suddenly it
was summer in the North, with 20C to 27C days and plants leaping out of the
soil all out of rhythm and mixed up. In a few days, temperatures are dropping
back down to near 0C with snow predicted.

I am fortunate to have a small woodland on my 8 acres, where I have good
representation of many natives, some in rather good drifts. The woods are
dry and deciduous, with sugar maple the predominant tree.

Even though Alan Grainger has already posted some of these same plants,
I want to document them as well. I will need the visual memory to
remember my small corner of paradise when I leave this place.

Tiarella_cordifolia_drift.jpg
Mossy_Roots.jpg
Caulophyllum_thalictroides.jpg
Acer_pensylvanicum_bark.jpg
Hepatica_americana.jpg
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 25, 2008, 11:53:31 PM
For the seed collector plants such as Gaultheria procumbens are a real boon---as they often retain their berries all winter, and can be collected either in spring, or from the new crop late that same year...

Epigaea_repens.jpg
Carex_platyphylla.jpg
Carex_plantaginea.jpg
Gaultheria_procumbens.jpg
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 26, 2008, 12:02:41 AM
and the Erythroniums...

Erythronium_carpet.jpg
Erythronium_americanum.jpg
Erythronium_americanum1.jpg
Erythronium_americanum2.jpg
Erythronium_americanum3.jpg
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 26, 2008, 01:19:37 AM
Asarum canadense and the lovely Dicentra cucullaria...
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 26, 2008, 01:24:30 AM
I do not mind the brief bloom of the beautiful Sanguinaria canadensis as the luscious foliage pays its way in the garden all season.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on April 26, 2008, 01:27:21 AM
Krystl,

Wonderful pictures.  The Erythronium is lovely, and the Dicentra, and the Sanguinaria... etc.  Great pics!! 8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Hagen Engelmann on April 26, 2008, 08:50:18 AM
Hi Kristl,

the first weeks in spring are a fine time. Your native plants have a big magic to me. Asarum canadense and Dicentra cucullaria are very nice to see. Did you find also pink or rose Dicentra??
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Ian Y on April 26, 2008, 09:14:51 AM
Heaven indeed Kristl what a lovely place to have in your own land - thanks for taking us there.
Your pictures show us that all plants have beauty some are just more flamboyant than others just like people. 
and as for those erythroniums :P :P :P
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Anthony Darby on April 26, 2008, 11:55:08 AM
Magical Kristl - definitely somewhere over the rainbow. 8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 26, 2008, 02:47:37 PM
Hagen,

Yes, the richness and magic of the eastern North American woodlands is hard to surpass. It is *the* botanic strength of this part of the world.

I have often heard it said that the flora of eastern North America is considered "the richest in the world next to China."

I have never found colour variants of Dicentra cucullaria- and the spots where I collect seed in the wild for my business are areas of dense and (extremely) large populations, carpeting the forest floor for as far as the eye can see. My favorite collecting spot is an early-blooming area where the entire southern slope of the woods is solid Dicentra and Erythronium- by the time the Erythronium seed collection time arrives, the spot is entirely barren of the Dicentra, which have already quickly gone dormant.

Dicentra canadensis is also in my area, but difficult to find (usually white, sometimes with a rose tinge). I believe it is not abundant throughout its range, and threatened in many areas. It seems to be weaker in growth, and perhaps cannot compete as well???

The pink Dicentra eximia is not native here, being further east and southeast in its range.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 26, 2008, 09:40:42 PM
I was quite surprised today to find Trillium erectum flowering yet T. grandiflorum not even near bloom. It is surely a mixed up spring here...

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on April 27, 2008, 10:44:10 PM
What great reds these are, Kristl  8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paddy Tobin on April 28, 2008, 01:30:18 AM
Kristi,

By coincidence, Trillium erectum has just come into flower here (south of Ireland) also. However, a peculiarity of our plant here is that it was purchased, I think, four years ago and did not make an appearance above ground until this year and now it has flowered. Peculiar!

I am a lover of the North American woodland plants. William Cullina's book on N.A. wildflowers had been a favourite read since publication. Also, I have a friend in Maryland who is very keen on woodland natives.

Paddy
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 29, 2008, 01:39:38 PM
And here is Uvularia grandiflora, the Greater Bellwort, which has braved this current dip in temperatures to show it's pretty, pretty face. One of my favorites.

The variegated clone is a plant I found in the wild years ago, which I have been intending to get into tissue culture.

Lastly is Uvularia sessiliflora, a smaller-flowered, more delicate thing, which has not yet opened here, but I thought to put it here for comparison. It is rare in the wild here.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on April 29, 2008, 02:37:00 PM
More gems, Kristl, we're having a lovely time strolling around your property with you, thanks!
 
Have you seen this thread?....http://www.srgc.org.uk/smf/index.php?topic=1714.0    you may be able to help out there  8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: ThomaS on April 30, 2008, 09:10:11 AM
Lovely pictures of a nice flora. I grow many of these same plants in a small area of my garden in central Sweden and it seems they have started to flower at about the same time as in your area. We have had a strange season with an early spring after a mild winter, bulbs starting to flower in early february, then a cold spell mid march to mid april with frosts and some snow. Now that it gets warm again everything seems set to go at the same time. Birches and other trees are getting green these last few days, cherries and early Magnolias starting to bloom.
Thomas Schultze
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 04, 2008, 02:00:54 AM
Did I almost forget to post THE QUEEN, hands down, of our eastern woodland?



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: ChrisB on May 04, 2008, 10:06:59 AM
Lovely reminder, Kristl, of things past for me.  Thank you.  Do your comments mean you have sold now?  Wish I could have bought it, such a wealth of plantings.... hope all goes well for your move.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 04, 2008, 01:57:05 PM
No, Christine, The real estate sign is still up. Not sure if I am more apprehensive of selling or not selling. But it's not a question of choice, so have left it to those forces of the universe to decide my fate. The only thing that has become clearer recently is that I will likely now move east (Nova Scotia) rather than west.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: ChrisB on May 04, 2008, 03:16:20 PM
I can well understand why your move might be east rather than west.  The price of housing in BC has shot up since they got the Winter Olympics.  I'm sure they will come down again after its all over, but probably not by as much as they've gone up.  Land is a bit cheaper out east from what I see.  I constantly check MLS to see house prices just in case we have to return there some day.  Its still a bit less expensive there than here on the whole, but with the Canadian dollar strengthening against the US dollar, that too has played a part in the price of housing I guess.  Meantime, nice you can stay where you are.  If I ever get back there I'll have to come see that fab garden of yours....  Lovely pics you posted here, was real deja vu for me....
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 04, 2008, 08:25:39 PM
Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginiana) is a tough little ephemeral, able to compete even with the worst of the running grasses in the wild. Although individual flowers are small, they are lovely massed and bloom for a relatively long time, opening only in sunlight. Seed is ephemeral.

Viola adunca, the earliest blooming of my native violas is a vigorous colonizer, especially in full sun.
It is followed soon by the yellow V. pubescens, which eventually carpets my entire summer woodland.

The seed of most eastern North American woodland Viola is ephemeral and should be moist-packed after collection.

Saxifraga virginiensis is a widespread species here, growing in all sorts of environments. The normal sized plants are shown- but I also have a very good clone (shown in just-emerging bud here), with extremely short, chubby flowering stems, very floriferous, larger flowers. Will post later.




Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 10, 2008, 01:41:12 AM
In the sunshine, my small Saxifraga virginiensis...

And in the woodland, the beautiful wood poppy, Stylophorum dipthyllum, Arisaema triphyllum, and the delicate Twisted Stalk, Streptopus roseus dangling it's tiny pink flowers under pretty foliage.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Gerdk on May 10, 2008, 06:36:07 AM
Viola adunca, the earliest blooming of my native violas is a vigorous colonizer, especially in full sun.
It is followed soon by the yellow V. pubescens, which eventually carpets my entire summer woodland.
The seed of most eastern North American woodland Viola is ephemeral and should be moist-packed after collection.

Ahh - some pretty violet pics shot in their native habitat - enjoyed them. Thank you!

Kristl,
How do you store the moist-packed seeds - in a fridge? When do you sow them?

Gerd
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 10, 2008, 02:16:54 PM
Guten Morgen, Gerd...
Moist packing the ephemeral Viola seed accomplishes a two-fold purpose: it keeps the seed from dying in storage and also rots away the undeveloped seed that is always there in any collection of this genus. So what remains is the viable, sound seed. Because I have a seed business, the seed remains, thus moist packed in vermiculite, for an entire season (a full year) until the next fresh collection.

Because most of the species I deal with require cold for germination, the moist packed seed is stored at room temperature, with instructions to my customers to provide the cold on receipt. And germination is good even after a full year of the seed being kept viable and being held from germinating in this way.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on May 11, 2008, 12:18:05 AM
I do like Saxifraga virginiensis. Is this another you offer Kristl? Would you put a notice on the Forum please, when you next have a catalogue available. I should have been in touch long ago. The first and only batch of seed I had from you, maybe 3 or 4 years ago, provided me with excellent plants of very good things, so from that single experience, I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone else.

The Sax is rather like a favourite of mine,(though some say it is not worth growing) S. manschuriensis.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 11, 2008, 02:07:58 AM
Leslie, I too grow (and love) S. manschuriensis---a FINE plant, most certainly, and prettier than my lowly S. virginiensis, although the latter is much more adaptive and easy as to site, soil and exposure.

I remember you purchased some of Janis Ruksans Fritillaria and Iris seed that I offered the year I featured him in my special yearly seed collection.

Yes, the S. virginiensis has been on my list for years (I do wild collect seed of most of the horticulturally worthwhile herbaceous and woody species in my area). I stopped doing a print catalogue 2 years ago---so there is nothing to announce. My catalogue has been web-based only since then, and this puts it in the realm of electronic space- and of never being static, as species continue to get listed day by day, as they become collected and available. It's an interesting change for me after nearly 20 years of producing a print catalogue---the concept of an on-going, ever changing list of species with no clear "beginning of new season" idea.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Gerdk on May 11, 2008, 05:57:20 AM
Guten Morgen, Gerd...
Moist packing the ephemeral Viola seed accomplishes a two-fold purpose: it keeps the seed from dying in storage and also rots away the undeveloped seed that is always there in any collection of this genus. So what remains is the viable, sound seed. Because I have a seed business, the seed remains, thus moist packed in vermiculite, for an entire season (a full year) until the next fresh collection.
Because most of the species I deal with require cold for germination, the moist packed seed is stored at room temperature, with instructions to my customers to provide the cold on receipt. And germination is good even after a full year of the seed being kept viable and being held from germinating in this way.

Hallo Kristl,
Thank you for this detailed reply. I'll try the same but sow in late autumn.
I am curious about the results.

Gerd
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: johnw on May 11, 2008, 01:42:52 PM
Kristl - I guess I missed as few posts. I know it will be difficult to leave such a splendid piece of land as you have, the attachment must be very strong indeed.

However we are pleased as punch you have decided on Nova Scotia. We will welcome you with open arms.

Aren't we lucky!

johnw
 
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 14, 2008, 12:38:18 AM
John....you are very sweet.  :-*
Recently I have actually started to feel *almost* ready to leave- I don't know what accounts for this, but I think whatever it is, it needed to happen before I go--that important thing about doors closing and opening again.

The last of the abundant native viola, V. canadensis has joined its cousins in the woodland. It will do battle with the vigorous, groundcovering Maianthemum stellatum. Actaea rubra, better in it's berry stage, than in flower, is nontheless a lovely foliage plant.

Our only native Solomon's Seal, Polygonatum pubescens dangles its pinched bells. Lastly, the widespread Caltha palustris is at the side of the ponds and the stream.

The last picture of the Caltha was taken in a wild wet-woodland setting, obviously very happy.


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Gerdk on May 14, 2008, 06:22:28 AM
Most interesting pics, Kristl. What a strange Maianthemum!
For me all Maianthemum had heart shaped leaves - always something to learn from this Forum!
Thank you.

Gerd
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lvandelft on May 14, 2008, 06:24:57 AM
Kristl, is Maianthemum stellatum the same as what I know as Smilacina stellatum?
I know of long ago, that imported Smilacina racemosa were actually this plant.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 14, 2008, 01:40:45 PM
Gerd....the species of Maianthemum native to this area (M. racemosum, M. stellatum, M. trifoliatum and M. canadense) have traditionally been in the genus Smilacena, which may account for the the fact that you are more familiar with the heart-shaped species, such as M. bifolium.

M. trifoliatum has somewhat heart-shaped foliage and the tiny M. canadense, photographed today, will probably look very familiar to you.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 14, 2008, 01:57:03 PM
Luit, Yes, as you will see in my note to Gerd, the local Maianthemums were once in the genus Smilacena. Maianthemum racemosum is of course the showiest (and largest) species and should not be easy to mix up with the vigorously spreading M. stellatum.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paddy Tobin on May 14, 2008, 02:22:45 PM
Kristi,

Does this Maianthemum stellatum spread about much in the garden? I have a small patch, say four feet X four feet but don't want it to go too much further as it would begin to encroach on more choice plants. Despite this misgiving, I find it a lovely gentle type of plant and very pleasant as an underplanting for shrubs in the shade.

Paddy
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 14, 2008, 02:39:21 PM
Paddy, Yes. That is why I posted the second picture above and keep noting "vigorously spreading".

Podophyllum peltatum, which many would not plant in their gardens because of its vigour is more than welcome here, and well-behaved compared to M. stellatum. When happy, even in tough competitive woodland condtions, it can carpet miles and miles and miles. I keep it in the far reaches of my 8 acres, where it can do battle with the other wild and wooly spreading natives.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 15, 2008, 03:15:31 AM
In the artificially-created fen, these local denizens of bog, fen and moist places have a fighting chance here on my dryish, alkaline soil. Bloom begins with the buds of Kalmia polifolia; the first Rhododendron canadense (only found in one location here in the wild);  Andromeda glaucophylla, the tiny Primula mistassinica (Ontario's only native Primula), bog bean Menyanthes trifoliata and the first of the Cyps to bloom, Cypripedium arietinum.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 15, 2008, 03:23:11 AM
Who can resist the beauty of emerging ferns....
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 15, 2008, 03:48:11 AM
And lastly for today...

Viola fimbriatula (formerly V. sagitatta var. ovata) is an uncommon beautiful tiny, tiny gem growing only in acid sand in shady woodland clearings.

Thalictrum dioicum; the Barren Strawberry, Waldsteinia fragarioides, which makes a good groundcover with strawberry-like foliage;  Cardamine diphylla; the ephemeral Claytonia virginica which flowers about 2 weeks later than C. caroliniana, with larger, showier flowers.

Trillium undulatum is the third of our 4 native species to flower- in fruit it is my favorite of the four species, but is more than challenging to grow in the garden!!!!

Panax trifolius is a tiny spring ephemeral, quickly retreating underground once seed production is finished in early summer.

Prunus pumila occurs only in it's variety susquehanae in Ontario. It is a low-growing (normally around 45cm), trailing, multi-branched shrub growing on sand dunes, gravelly beaches, alvars and rocky slopes.

Finally, the lovely and wonderfully fragrant Sweet Fern, Comptonia peregrina showing it's male catkins.  Not a fern, but a small, colonizing shrub with beautiful foliage and shiny reddish-brown and heavily lenticeled bark.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on May 15, 2008, 09:58:28 AM
This thread is a real treat, Kristl, thank you.
I have never even heard of  Comptonia peregrina.... a charming shrub... and scented, too  8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Luc Gilgemyn on May 15, 2008, 12:57:38 PM
sigh... what a wonderful place and what a wealth of plants !
Beautiful !
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Gerdk on May 15, 2008, 02:55:52 PM
Kristl,
Thank you for all your nice woodlanders and the Maianthemum comparison - M. canadense is indeed very near to our European M. bifolium.

I grow a plant from AGS seeds which were labelled Panax trifolius - collected by a Canadian member of that Society. After I saw your pic of this species some doubts came up.  I add 3 pics of my plant. Do you think this could be P. trifolius as well?
I suppose it is not. If it is not, do you have a name for the plant?
My species has a heighth of about 18 cm.

Gerd
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 15, 2008, 06:03:58 PM
Gerd, your plant is surely NOT Panax trifolius---which is a tiny thing, leaves narrow, quite glossy, with serrated edges.  My picture shows a specimen not quite "tri-folius" and the foliage is visually mixed up with some seedlings of three-leaved Trillium grandiflorum.

I will do some more thinking about your pictured plants---which initially struck me as being Panax quiquefolium (American ginseng)--the foliage seems right, as does the naked stem---does the stem divide near the top into three stalks, where the foliage is (which would be right for P. quinquefolium).

If it does not do that, I would vote for an Aralia....



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Gerdk on May 16, 2008, 07:05:17 AM
Direct hit Kristl! Thank you!

The stem divides just as you guessed. So it is Panax quinquefolium.

Gerd
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 22, 2008, 02:02:22 AM
The small Uvularia sessilifolia flowers a few weeks later than U. grandiflora. It is uncommon in my area and I have only a few specimens in my garden.

Geranium maculatum in the rain--a pretty and early species.

Maianthemum racemosum is my favorite of the native Maianthemums in this area. It is a wonderful and bold groundcover, beautiful in every season.

Corydalis aurea is a widespread annual species that romps around in the sun with Aquilegia canadensis that prefers the same spots, although both can also be found in forest clearings.

Calla palustris, one of our two native aroids (Arisaema triphyllum the other), photographed in my artificial "pseudo-bog"--it is much more beautiful in wet areas in the wild.




Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: kirsitn on May 22, 2008, 02:37:53 PM
Lovely ferns! :)

But what kind of fern is the one on the front page of your website? (The purple one in the lower right corner http://gardensnorth.com/site/)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Afloden on May 22, 2008, 10:31:09 PM
Gerd,

 The little rhizomatous bits in picture three does not look right for Panax. Also the growth points don't look right.

 Go with Kristl's second choice, Aralia, but try Aralia nudicaulis, Wild Sarsparilla.

 Aaron Floden
 Knoxville, TN
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 23, 2008, 04:30:09 PM
Yes, Gerd, I have looked very carefully at the pictures and agree with Aaron that your plant is 99.9999% Aralia nudicaulis.

Panax quinquefolius has a thick, underground (not surface) rhizome...and the growing point at the surface of the soil emerges curled-over and only straightens up once it advances.

Also, the leaf should be palmate with all leaflets coming from the same growing point on the petiole.

I will try to photograph my Ginseng plant and post it later.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 23, 2008, 04:35:04 PM
Kristin,

The fern is the fertile frond of Matteucia struthiopteris---which in late season has a dark metallic brown color, which in certain lights actually looks like this.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 24, 2008, 01:34:23 AM
Allium tricoccum, the wild leek with beautifully contrasting early flower buds.

The well-known and widespread Tiarella cordifolia.

And Trillium cernuum, the last of my four native Trillium to bloom.
From above all one sees is the large leaf.
The small flowers dangle underneath, and one needs to crouch/lie down to see them.
The least showy of all the native Trillium here in flower, but nevertheless, a pretty little thing.
And unlike T. undulatum, growable in gardens.

Lastly, Sambucus pubens the first of the Elders to bloom here.


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 24, 2008, 01:47:47 AM
These few pictures were not taken on my own property, but in the wild very close to home.
It was another long seed collecting day (more Dicentra cucullaria and Claytonia caroliniana), and a seed-readiness determination day (checking the Erythronium americanum pods and Hepatica/Claytonia virginica seed).

I also needed to photograph this pretty spot which I call "Caulophyllum Hill" so I could remember it because in another year it will disappear to the housing developers as so many other pretty spots have. This particular site is almost sea to sea Caulophyllum thalictroides.

I absolutely ADORE this species for it's gorgeous clean, fresh, thalictrum-like foliage all season. This would be one of my first choices to plant as a large scale groundcover under trees/large shrubs.

Always found in rich woods--one can see Trillium grandiflorum still flowering amidst the almost solid mass of the Caulophyllum.

Unfortunately it is challenging to germinate---requiring a gibberelin (unknown, not GA-3) thought to be found in woodland soil/leaf mould where it grows.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 28, 2008, 12:24:53 AM
Some of the native orchids have finally begun in the garden....

First the tiniest and rarest of the local Cyps...Cypripedium arietinum.

Cypripedium acaule.

And of course "everypersons Cyp" Cypripedium parviflorum.

The pretty Galearis spectabilis is utterly happy in ordinary garden conditions.

Arethusa bulbosa bud and flower, growing in the pseudo-fen.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Carlo on May 28, 2008, 12:45:06 AM
Thanks for the pictures Kristl. The arietinum in particular was wonderful. I've got parviflorum and a very pale form of acaule blooming here now.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 28, 2008, 01:09:27 AM
The tiny, precious Polygala paucifolia (Gay Wings) is very hard to photograph.

A good-coloured Lonicera dioica.

Maianthemum canadense.

The fertile fronds of Osmunda regalis, O. cinnamomea and O. claytoniana--our three native Osmundas (all with green ephemeral spore).

Fertile fronds of Botrychium virginianum.

Ceanothus herbaceous, a small shrub which grows in hot, barren spots in the wild.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 28, 2008, 01:28:01 AM
Gerd, these are for you....


Panax trifolius.

Aralia nudicaulis.

Panax quinquefolius.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 28, 2008, 02:10:10 AM
This morning was Hepatica seed collection time. My favorite local spot is a particularly rich woods that is also a fine site for Trillium grandiflorum. These were mainly at the fading stage now, but hopefully you can still get an idea of the almost solid mass of flowers.

I still found this one pristine and very large-flowered plant.

The Hepatica was a sea of flower here before the Trilliums emerged, and the forest floor is a mass of seedlings at various stages.

The Erythronium americanum seedpods were also checked, having mostly drooped to the forest floor by now, but still attached by their umbilical cords. Soft and unripe inside; I figure they are still about a week away from ready.

Mitella diphylla has pretty foliage but is often dismissed by gardeners because of it's small flowers. How I wish you could visit these woods with me to see a sight that might cause you to plant a small drift of these in the garden. These pictures do not capture the beautiful ethereal effect of these plants, which simply takes your breath away, particularly when back-lit.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 28, 2008, 02:58:12 AM
And after Hepatica seed collection, an outing was made to Alfred Bog, hoping it was not too late to see the Rhododendron canadense in bloom (they had already finished in the garden). This bog is the only site in this province where this species can be found and I am fortunate that it is close by.

Brown peat-water in the all the open ditches.

A general view of the open part of the bog.

Aronia melanocarpa.

Cypripedium acaule was common in all the lowest, wettest spots; many still unopened.

Eriophorum vaginatum, a clumping species, is one of the best of the cotton grasses.

Gaultheria procumbens, with last years berries.

Kalmia polifolia with K. angustifolia to come later.

Maianthemum trifolium is the fourth of the native members of this genus. It only likes wet spots. It was near here where I sunk into a "bog hole"....

Nemopanthus mucronatus has beautiful coloring at this time of the year.









Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 28, 2008, 03:16:40 AM
After about a one hour hike, and a few other sink-holes, I finally spotted some violet-pink in the distance....and sure enough..

Rhododendron canadense.

Followed by Rhododendron groenlandicum (Ledum), still largely unopened.

Of the Vaccinium species in the bog, only V. corymbosum was blooming.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: art600 on May 28, 2008, 10:25:59 AM
Kristl

Thank you so much for brightening up a miserable morning with some more wonderful photos.  We had monsoon rain last night so gardening is off for today.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 28, 2008, 01:04:59 PM
Carlo, It's amazing to see the incredible colour variation of Cyp. acaule in the wild--from almost fuschia/maroonish shades to almost white/flushed pink. There is a (secret) spot that is literally a sea of C. acaule, which I hope to visit next week, and will try photograph some of the variants.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Joakim B on May 28, 2008, 01:35:38 PM
Kristl
Nice to see such nice orchids in the garden and it must be even nicer to have them.
Great to see them. Is acale and the others in different part of the garden? I thought that acuale needs a bit extreme conditions to grow (acid). Much more than the other Cypripediums.
Are the increasing for You? Have You tried scattering seeds aroud to see if You get more? (I know the seed is small so the chances are not that big but it works in the nature so with enough seeds.......?)

Kind regards
Joakim
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 28, 2008, 02:34:36 PM
Joakim,
It always *appears* so effortless, doesn't it, when pictures of wonderful plants are posted? No one really knows the history, the grief in some cases, or the effort made to keep the plants we grow (especially the challenging ones). I recall posting some pictures of large drifts of Trillium in the Trillium link--species that are not native to me here--and recalling the effort (back then) to procure the seed, grow it out, and then wait the decade or more for them to mature and actually spread into the large drifts I have today. Not that I would trade this effort for anything---it's what makes me tick!!!!

Cypripedium acaule is *very* challening here---significantly more than the much rarer Cyp. arietinum, or Arethusa bulbosa, etc...and not only because acid conditions are the exception, not the norm here. Historically, it has always been possible to keep it in the garden for 2-3 years.

Since then they have worked for longer periods in two areas:

(1) a special little nook I prepared for them between pieces of decaying pine wood filled with a mixture of what I created to approximate "acid sand". Will post picture when I get home.

(2) in an area of the garden under white pines, where I also grow the Cyp. arientinum, Polygala paucifolia, Chimaphila umbellata, etc. with no soil changes.

I keep my fingers crossed each year that they will re-appear.

I have never had any seedlings and I have never had the clumps increase (unlike C. parviflorum).





Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paddy Tobin on May 28, 2008, 07:36:53 PM
Kristi,

Another wonderful selection of your natives. The herbaceous ceanothus is a new plant to me and looks wonderful. Can you say more about it - even a few more photographs? The shrubby ceanothus are widely grown here and I detest them.

And for one of my all time detested plants - gaultheria. Those berries disgust me. I often wonder why because I grow plants which have berries also and have no particular objection to them.

Paddy
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on May 28, 2008, 07:50:31 PM
Quote
After about a one hour hike, and a few other sink-holes, I finally spotted some violet-pink in the distance....and sure enough..

Rhododendron canadense.

Followed by Rhododendron groenlandicum (Ledum), still largely unopened.

Of the Vaccinium species in the bog, only V. corymbosum was blooming.
I just LOVE this thread... the photos are mouthwatering and the selection of plants amazing... but, for me, the ericaeceaous plants are my all time favourites...... just delighted to see the  Rhododendron canadense in the wild.... it is SUCH a beautiful , dainty, thing!
Kristl, you deserve many "darlings" for this, thank you!! :-* :-*
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 28, 2008, 11:47:53 PM
Joakim,
Here is the picture I promised in between the pieces of wood..
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 28, 2008, 11:58:42 PM
Paddy,
I am so sorry to tell you you will have to detest Ceanothus herbaceous as well--because it too is shrubby, despite its species name.

It is compact (usually about 30-45cm in the garden), very tough and tolerant of poor, hot conditions. Early flowering. Glossy foliage; flowers on current year's shoots. If you hate it you can always keep a plant for tea (leaves taste similar to green tea). Will take more pictures as flowers fully open (just beginning). If you know C. americanus & hate that---then you will hate this too (almost identical).


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 29, 2008, 12:07:07 AM
Thank you, Maggi....I've become obsessive about this thread....as it is performing a huge psychological purge in my life, having to face leaving my bit of heaven. If it is coming to good aside from my needing to do it, I am thrilled.

It's a miracle to be able to show any ericaeacous plants at all---as they are only found here in a very few, isolated environments (the bogs and the fens). Now Nova Scotia will be very different in this regard.

Also I think I am soon coming up to what will be one of your favorite subjects---the Pyrolas, etc.


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: ian mcenery on May 29, 2008, 09:46:30 AM
Kristl thank you so much for sharing this with us your garden is truly amazing I do hope that you can find a way to stay

Ian
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Casalima on May 29, 2008, 09:50:49 AM
Kristl,

I haven't commented so far on this thread, but your bit of heaven is just my idea of a bit of heaven.
I hardly know what to say - so many very, very wonderful plants!! Thank you so much for showing them to us.

My bit of heaven is also waiting for life, ex, money etc situations to be resolved, so your pictures have a special meaning for me ...

um abraço  :-* :-*
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Joakim B on May 29, 2008, 04:46:19 PM
Kristl
Thanks for the information :)
Have You ever tried to pollinate them Your self? To make seedpods and then try to scatter the seeds or even have them developped in a lab into plants. I have heard that orchids have quite low pollination rate but when they get seeds it is a lot of them.

How do You get new plants when the old ones die? Do You transplant them from elsewhere (with the landowners permission) or have You got divisions or seed rased ones? Acuale can be locally abundant on some places so if one have a friend having/owning one of these places then one might be tapping in to that source.

Kind regards
Joakim
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 29, 2008, 10:58:28 PM
Joakim:
Getting full seed pods of most of the native orchids has NEVER been a problem---without my help in pollination....for a while I carried the seeds in my catalogue---but it became too onerous for the $$ and effort involved, because every grower had different techniques and wanted seed at different stages (some wanted green, under-ripe, other fully ripe, etc). I have many friends who have been "flasking" my orchid seed for some years---and have reported amazingly good rates. I do still supply a few public gardens who are trying to establish hardy orchid collections.

There are plenty of plants around, and plenty of connections who own the not uncommon 100 acre woodlots.

And.... I need to stress this---orchids are not plants that I "play at"---I take them *very* seriously---the difficult ones I try exceptionally hard to make happy---and if I don't succeed fairly quickly, I do not keep killing them. I do not have collection or possession lust for them, perhaps because I love them too much and know that I can admire them in the wild any day I choose.

In the case of Cyp. acaulis, I only have 3 plants in the entire garden---and these are the ones I have finally pleased. One can have large colonies of C. parviflorum in a good site without that much effort---





Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Joakim B on May 30, 2008, 10:52:45 AM
Kristl thanks for the information.
I was mostly thinking of Cyp. arietinum when getting seed pods. The more artificially propagated plants there are the smaller is the risk of people taking it from the wild to satisfy there passion. Not all are as well behaved as You. I do not think that it is much in the trade is it?Hopefully it will be more of them after Bill Steele had a protocol of how to propagate them in a magazine.
The advantage of just scattering seeds for the others would be that the ones that "make it" would like the place well. May not be worth the effort.

Kind regards
Joakim
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 31, 2008, 01:53:44 AM
Three of the native limestone-cliff-dwelling little fern species...these I have established in the shady nooks of my rock garden, where they seem quite happy.

The very choice Pellaea atropurpurea (Purple Cliffbrake) is rare in my area. It is barely 10cm tall, with striking purple stipes

Asplenium trichomanes grows on mossy limestone cliffs in the wild---a beautiful little fern, 8cm tall.

Cystopteris fragilis is a bit taller (15cm) but also inhabits moist limestone rock walls.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 01, 2008, 04:48:43 PM
The annual meeting of NARGS is being hosted by my local chapter (Ottawa Valley Rock Garden Society) this summer---next week in fact (June 12-15).

Some of you reading my thread may be interested in a larger view of "my neighbourhood" as I live squarely in the rural Ottawa Valley. From the OVRGS site:

http://www.ovrghs.ca/NARGS08/field%20visits.htm

The timing for the meeting was particularly chosen because it coincides with the bloom of Cypripedium reginae at the Purdon Conservation Area.

"Over time the population has declined (now around 8-10,000), but it is still the largest single colony of Showy Lady's Slipper Orchids in Canada and possibly in North America."

http://www.ovrghs.ca/NARGS08/purdon.htm

I'll be at Purdon the day of the field trip and hope to post photographs of the site.


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 04, 2008, 02:44:48 PM
Yesterday was a long, painfully arduous but wonderful day in a very different environment from the norm - wet woods on a wet day in a wet year (translated into very uncomfortable and VERY buggy)....but the woods are ACID woods, meaning different plants to be found here.

The first 2 hours walking in from the road are solid pine needle floor, followed by a particularly wet, low area (wasn't sure for a while I could get through this); eventually culminating in the open, on a beach on the Ottawa river.

I will begin with part one, to be followed by more....

Various Lycopodiums and some with last year's seed receptacles.

The vigorous Anemone canadensis beginning it's bloom.

Cornus canadensis forming solid groundcover in many areas.

The beautiful, fine-textured and aurea-colored Carex rosea.

Corallorhiza species.

And being the wet area that it is, the largest specimens of Trillium erectum I have seen here.

More to come....
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 04, 2008, 02:54:42 PM
The choice, very difficult to germinate and grow Chimaphila umbellata not quite in flower.

Pyrola asarifolia at the same stage---one of three species found in this spot.

Deschampsia flexuosa beaten down by the rain still looks wonderful.

Gymnocarpium dryopteris at its early stage of growth.

The fascinating foliage of one of the Prenanthes species.

Maianthemum canadense was one of the predominant groundcovers, covering acres and acres...

Still more to come...
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on June 04, 2008, 03:00:29 PM
Apart from the bugs, Kristl, I am having a great time!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 04, 2008, 03:01:38 PM
Aralia nudicaulis was everywhere, as was the beautiful Clintonia borealis and Trientalis borealis.

More to come this evening....
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 05, 2008, 01:27:53 AM
I hesitated for some time before heading from the normal wet area (with only 100,000 biting bugs on me at any given point) to the *really* wet area (where I knew there would be about 1 million bugs waiting for me)....but alas, the potential plants pushed me forward.

Wet openings began to appear in the woods....and then coming around a bend, my usual path looked as though it had disappeared under water. A beaver had been busy...and though I had little of anything stable to walk on except his/her nibblings I forged ahead - tiptoeing along the sides on small logs and debris...

Once back on semi solid ground, Matteucia struthiopteris were everywhere, some almost as tall as me.

Vacciniums appeared---I believe this is V. myrtilloides.

Then solid areas of the shrubby Gaylussacia baccata.




Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 05, 2008, 01:53:22 AM
When the oaks began to appear, I knew I was getting close to the opening to the Ottawa river.

Quercus rubra leaves still had some remaining color from last winter.

Finally I saw my signpost in the distance---a Quercus macrocarpa with the river behind it.
The edge of the beach is fairly solid Oaks (Q. rubra, marcrocarpa and alba).

Beneath them are large trailing plants of Prunus pumila var. susquehanae, which rarely get taller than 30-45cm colonizing the sand as they do. I was surprised to still find them in flower, as they had stopped some time ago in my garden.

I had hoped to see the rare Hudsonia tomentosa (Woolly Sand Heather) in bloom- but I was too early. This is a low, branched shrub, resembling heather. In bloom, bright yellow flowers are crowded near the branch tips. I have tried establishing this in my garden on a number of occasions, but have not been able to make it happy.

I should not have been surprised to find the water of the river also very high this year. I had hoped to see the rare Viola lanceolata, which I only know from here, which normally grows right along the edge of the water.

Also, I wanted to check out the Vaccinium macrocarpon (Cranberry), as this is my normal seed collection spot---both were entirely submerged under water. The vegetation you see in the picture is part of my Vaccinium macrocarpon site.





Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 05, 2008, 03:08:26 AM
My day was not yet over...because (as I am often apt to do), I was saving my reward for last...

And I *really* needed a reward at this point as I now had to backtrack almost to the beginning.

At the mid point of the first stretch of forest, there is an opening of solid red pine (a plantation that was purposely planted at some point). ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is growing here in the pine duff on the forest floor except hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Cypripedium acaule.

It is difficult to explain the sheer joy I experience being in a place like this. It is sacred to me and nowhere do I feel more at home than in a beautiful, wild spot. I almost always have a similar thought at these times...."life doesn't get any better than this"....

And how do I choose the pictures to show you, when I could not stop photographing them?

Generally I will say that almost 80% of the clones were richly coloured. In fact it was difficult to find a sample of a pale colour. Seed pods were still extant on many plants---with the seeds still inside tightly closed pods. I had to open the one I photographed.

Seedlings were everywhere, at all conceivable stages of growth. In fact it was difficult to walk in many areas without stepping on a baby or an adult.

The soil, as expected was sand topped with pine duff.









Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 05, 2008, 03:31:20 AM
and the last of the beauties...
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lvandelft on June 05, 2008, 08:45:35 AM
Quote
ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is growing here in the pine duff on the forest floor except hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Cypripedium acaule.
That's really an ABSOLUTE dull place Kristl.
"Almost" nothing to see.....  :o :o

Thank you for these pictures of all those beautiful forest plants!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: ruweiss on June 05, 2008, 10:29:44 PM
Wow,what a place!It is an incredible paradise for all nature lovers.
Thank you for sharing it with us!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 07, 2008, 01:23:30 AM
A few days later, back at the farm...

The beautiful Iris setosa canadensis I planted in scree next to the pond, reminiscent of the rocks near water where I first collected the seed.

Actaea pachypoda var. rubrocarpa (the red-fruited white Baneberry) in bloom. The berries ripen to a shimmering pinkish-red.

Morel mushrooms anyone? It's a great year for them here--they have popped up everywhere this week, including in the lawn. The hollow interior is a sure fire way to know you have Morcella deliciosa. I eat as many as I can handle fresh, and freeze/dry the remainder for winter.

Penstemon hirsutus has begun- one can find areas of them in the wild stretching to the horizon. And the equally ubiquitous Sisyrinchium montanum has been blooming for a while---seed is already almost ripe on some specimens.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 07, 2008, 01:37:24 AM
The woody species are in wonderful shape this year with so much available moisture and a mild winter.

Larix laricina beginning to flaunt its roses..

Viburnum trilobum heavy with bloom.

Lonicera hirsuta is the second of our native climbing honeysuckles--a beautiful species, although one has to hunt for it in the wild.

Sorbus decora is a wonderful native Hawthorn.

And I love Cornus alternifolia with elegant, tiered branches. It is also consistent in bloom, fruit display and is hardy enough for the toughest climates.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Susan on June 07, 2008, 02:18:40 AM
Fabulous, Kristl.  Keep them coming.  Loved that larch - does it also have wonderful autumn (fall)colour?

I have so enjoyed this thread and all the plants in it.

Thank you,

Susan
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 07, 2008, 03:00:24 AM
Susan,
Thank you for your kind comment.

I will try to find a picture of the fall foliage of the larch (which IS fabulous, yes)---a really warm, glowing yellow before the needles drop.

This picture does not really do it justice---think it was taken in haste very late in the season---I will endeaver to photograph them to death this fall- they deserve it!



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: ChrisB on June 07, 2008, 01:29:38 PM
What a wonderful walk, Kristl, you should write a book!  Loved the cyps, magic, like you say.  Which lake is it?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 07, 2008, 02:17:25 PM
What a wonderful walk, Kristl, you should write a book!  Loved the cyps, magic, like you say.  Which lake is it?

I actually have written the book, Christine. Well, almost. This year concentrating on pictures, and final touches. It's been 2 years, but perhaps another year or so until it is finished. It is about native species of eastern Canada. Not from the usual "Wildflowers Of..." perspective (although obviously identifying the species in their native habitat, etc), but with a focus on sexual propagation (seed, spore, etc.) which is, of course, my specialty.

It will deal with how to identify, collect, clean, store the seed; germinate the various species. I am still in the middle of of some of the difficult research. Have been working on the "green spores" of ferns this spring, and am presently absorbed by the ephemeral Ulmus (Elms), which I have been madly timing, collecting, testing, subjecting to various storage techniques.

If only my body were not riddled with arthritis to make some of the outings less painful and with a shorter recovery period. If only I did not have such a close and personal relationship with pain killers. Ultimately, if only I did not have to move. But, the "if onlies" aside, I forge ahead because I need to do it, and love every moment of it.

Cypripedium acaule is not as prevalent here as it is in Nova Scotia, for instance. But for those of us in Ontario, a spot such as that is pure wonder....and the water is not a lake, but the Ottawa River.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on June 07, 2008, 02:46:28 PM
Quote
Cypripedium acaule is not as prevalent here as it is in Nova Scotia, for instance.
Good grief! You mean there places with MORE???!!!! :o 8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 07, 2008, 03:04:58 PM
Maggi,

Ontario's claim to fame in the Cypripedium world is the C. reginae population at Purdon Conservation area that I mentioned earlier (the NARGS annual general meeting next weekend will visit it). It is about an hours drive away from where I live.

That body count presently stands at 8,000-10,000 plants in a single area  (although it has been decreasing), and is thought to be the largest in Canada (or North America). Unfortunately, I think the timing will not coincide with peak bloom season (but this weekends steaming hot temperatures might just push the plants along before next weekend).

I promise to do another post on that population later.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on June 07, 2008, 03:25:51 PM
You know, Kristl, I read about this Purdon area and the NARGS meeting and I don't think my poor brain could take in the numbers! Quite extraordinary. worrying if the population is decreasing of the C. reginae, even in a conservation area.
 Actually, I  do have two C. reginae, myself........one painted on a tiny pin /brooch and one a pin/ brooch made of leather ! ;)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 07, 2008, 04:05:43 PM
worrying if the population is decreasing of the C. reginae, even in a conservation area.

Maggi,
At last years orchid festival at Purdon I talked to the botanist closely involved with working with the populations at Purdon. He noted that the decrease in numbers is primarily due to badly needed thinning of the bush in some areas of the bog, which is significantly reducing light levels and causing too much competition for the Cyps.

Of course, the money machine that pumps dollars into everything of perceived economic value, does not see botanic causes as high on the list of priorities.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: ChrisB on June 07, 2008, 09:26:00 PM
You must let us know when it is published, Kristl!  Ah, the Ottawa river, that sandy beach looked just like a lake.  Your posts read like a book, that was why I said that.  You write so well.....
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 08, 2008, 11:38:56 PM
too hot for any serious walk-arounds today

Sarracenia purpurea is the only native Pitcher Plant this far north. It lives very happily in my pseudo-bog.

Most native Lysimachias are moisture lovers; L. thyrsiflora is a true aquatic--willow-like foliage and yellow bottlebrushes.

And the widespread Corydalis sempervirens (annual/biennial) returns like clockwork each year, and is very floriferous over a longish period of time.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 13, 2008, 12:09:17 AM
I custom collect native seed for many seedhouses, nurseries and botanic gardens...and the beginning of the intense harvesting time has begun with the early woodland ephemerals. My days are long: in the wild collecting, then cleaning, storage, and shipping.

My Ulmus thomasii seed collecting site was also the spot to see a few new species in bloom.

The glorious wood lily, Lilium philadelphicum.

Romping around at it's feet was the pretty Calystegia spithamaea (ex Convolvulus says it all!!!)

And of course the widespread native Campanula rotundifolia is everywhere. Common as it may be, I welcome it in the garden as well, letting it go where it will. There are few bellflowers that bloom for such a long time and are so pretty.


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 13, 2008, 12:54:05 AM
And while collecting spore of Cystopteris fragilis, I had a chance to revisit a few of my favorite tiny, cliff-dwelling ferns in the wild.

Asplenium trichomanes.

The fantastic walking fern, Asplenium rhizophyllum was just beginning growth, and virtually covered the surfaces of mossy limestone cliffs. It is called "walking fern" because it's long tapering leaves root at the tips and produce new plants. It walks along...and is quite happy in garden conditions.

Cystopteris fragilis is the earliest, non-ephemeral fern to ripes its spore in my area.

Carex rosea and pensylvanica are two of the best tiny woodland groundcover species. The C. rosea seed was almost ready. C. pensylvanica is very adaptive (sun or shade, dry or moist). It can form beautiful soft, wavy hummocks such as those pictured. Plants are only about 15cm tall.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 13, 2008, 01:30:24 AM
There are early ephemerals even among woody species. Seed of most of these must be sown absolutely fresh---and germinates instantly in most cases. Ulmus can be frozen to preserve viability.

Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) and Red Maple (Acer rubrum) seed have already come and gone.

A. rubrum, best known for its brilliant deep scarlet foliage in autumn, is aptly named as its flowers, petioles, twigs and seeds are all red to varying degrees.

Ulmus (Elms) are likely well known by all, particularly our native Ulmus americana, which has been virtually wiped out by Dutch Elm Disease. However, specimens still exist in the wild here, and have likely developed a certain amount of immunity by mere fact of their presence. Ulmus rubra (Slippery Elm) is less well known and more immune to the disease.

Ulmus thomasii (The Rock Elm) is the most unique of the three native species. It is difficult to come by and fairly rare across its range. Often called cork elm because of the picturesque, irregular corky wings which develop on older branches.

Another rarely seen species is Dirca palustris (Eastern Leatherwood). This is a understory shrub of rich woodlands with a subtle presence, not showy in flower or seed, but has beautiful bark and a nice architectural presence. Seed needs to be moist-packed after collection to preserve viability.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 14, 2008, 03:34:46 AM
It's a white day...

Viburnum rafinesquianum (Downy Arrow-Wood) grows in inhospitable, hot and dry alvars on shallow soil in our area. It has outstanting fall colour.

The small Arenaria stricta grows in the same kind of hot spots in the wild.

The well-known Physocarpus opulifolius is quite widespread here-this is the aurea foliage form.

And Viburnum acerifolium is a small shrub (1-2m), with maple-like foliage and beautiful reddish-purple fall colour. This is still a small seedling just coming into it's own.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on June 14, 2008, 11:16:11 PM
My form of the Physocarpus is called 'Dart's Gold' but there are several lovely forms now in brownish shades, or darkish choclate. I have a local selection called 'Shady Lady' and I know there is at least one other, in Australia. I like them very much.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 15, 2008, 09:25:51 PM
Lesley,
The aurea form has extremely high percentages (80-90%) that come true from seed)---never even had one self-sown baby here that was not golden foliaged.

The dark-maroon form has lower percentages coming true (about 40-50%---

These are, in my experience, generally the odds with aureas and atropurpureas of most plants.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 15, 2008, 10:15:53 PM
The NARGS annual meeting in the Ottawa Valley "One Valley: Five Habitats" ended this morning. Yesterday I was able to join the group on two of their habitat field trips.

The first was the Burnt Lands, the only extensive alvar ecosystem in this area.

An alvar is an open landscape on shallow soils over flat-lying limestone bedrock. Some areas look like old pavement where clumps of plants fill low spots or punch through cracks in the rock.

Where more soil has developed there are both wet and dry habitats suitable for plants but the conditions are too severe for many trees. Surrounding and interspersed among the open habitats, are areas of cedar, white spruce, balsam fir and poplar forest which support a distinct array of plants in the undergrowth, including Cypripedium parviflorum,  Cypripedium reginae and C. arietinum.

I only spent time in the open part of the alvar.

I have already posted pictures of the wood lily, Lilium philadelphicum, but here it is on the Burnt Lands Alvar. It is a challenging species to maintain in the garden.






Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 15, 2008, 10:26:08 PM
The drifts of yellow seen in the general alvar pictures are those of Packera paupercula (Senecio).

Rosa blanda only grows a few inches tall here on the alvar. Adaptive even to wet soils, it can grow up to 1m elsewhere.

There were still a few Cornus stolonifera to be found flowering in deeper soil pockets on the fringes.

Penstemon hirstutus is widespread here, as in Campanula rotundifolia.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paddy Tobin on June 15, 2008, 10:54:49 PM
Kristi,

I was delighted to see your posting of Dirca palustris which I grew from seed about 5 years ago. I put four plants out in the garden, two have died and I have failed to establish why this has happened. Two are still going though one, planted with the two which died is also looking weak.

Another, planted in a different part of the garden seems fine and a back-up still in its pot is also good.

Any comment of what growing conditions are best for it or which should be avoided would be welcome. You didn't mention the unusual feature of Dirca palustris which other readers  might not be familiar - the extreme flexibility of the branches.

Paddy
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on June 15, 2008, 11:00:23 PM
Kristl, you Packera looks frighteningly like what we have as ragwort, which has become a really bad pasture weed in New Zealand over recent years. From your pictures it even seems to colonise exactly the same way, so maybe it IS our ragwort. Animals won't graze it and I believe every seed germinates and grows. It's now infesting what we laughingly call our lawn. Very hard to get rid of.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 16, 2008, 12:15:32 AM
Purdon Conservation Area is best known for the largest Cypripedium reginae population in Canada/North America, which is currently estimated at 8,000-10,000.

We already knew that flowering was late this year, and bloom had just recently begun. There were, however plenty of other great species to be seen here.

The site was donated by the Purdon family to a local conservation commission, who now maintain the site.

It is very well set up for easy public viewing with boardwalks over the wet areas and peat paths through the woods. This was a real treat for me as my trekking in the wild is often strenuous work. The down side is that one cannot get close and personal with the plants, or photograph them well, as venturing off the paths is strictly verboten. One kept hoping for specimens to be right next to the boardwalk!!!!

Along the trail, signage points out the significant species, making the adventure very user friendly and educational.




Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 16, 2008, 12:34:55 AM
The beautiful Linnaea borealis.

Although not flowering, the very tiny and choice Gaultheria hispidula has lovely, evergreen foliage. The small white berries in fall are very onerous to collect.

I found it strange that the Pyrola asarifolia was still at the same stage of almost-bloom as the last time I photographed it in another spot 10 days ago.

Another tiny and rare plant; Mitella nuda is a rhizomatous species with lovely, small, heart to kidney-shaped foliage, often growing as a companion to Gaulteria hispidula in the wild.

The very early flowering Lonicera canadensis already had ripe twin berries.


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 16, 2008, 12:49:23 AM
Carex pendunculata.

Platanthera hyperborea not quite open yet.

Sarracenia purpurea still flowering.

And the wet-site loving Iris versicolour.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 16, 2008, 01:11:27 AM
And finally... the orchids....

It was true that few were in bloom, and it was frustrating not to have a telephoto lens for the far shots.
Luckily a few had decided they liked it right next to the boardwalk.

And lastly a funny story. Tony Reznicek (The Carex Guru) was on this particular outing with us. He mentioned that he originally become a gardener because he loved Cypripediums. How he got from Cyps to Carex must be an interesting story, thought I.

In any event, when we finally spotted the first C. reginae in flower, he audibly sighed and then said "You know; Cypripediums are really just sedges wearing a lot of makeup!!!"

I am still chuckling....


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: art600 on June 16, 2008, 01:20:48 AM
Kristl
Thanks once again for capturing both the beautiful plants and the atmosphere of the location.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 16, 2008, 01:31:37 AM
I was delighted to see your posting of Dirca palustris which I grew from seed about 5 years ago. I put four plants out in the garden, two have died and I have failed to establish why this has happened. Two are still going though one, planted with the two which died is also looking weak. Any comment of what growing conditions are best for it or which should be avoided would be welcome. You didn't mention the unusual feature of Dirca palustris which other readers  might not be familiar - the extreme flexibility of the branches.

Hi Paddy,
Ah yes...so much to say about the plants, and so little time. Aside from the "leatherwood" quality of the branches, I should also say that while the flowers are tiny (yellow) lining bare stems, it is THE earliest of any woody species to bloom in my area. That of course would only be important for northern gardeners, who are not able to flower anything in winter!!!!

It is *not* easy to establish this plant in the garden---and I have no idea why. It took a number of trys before 3 took in my own garden. In the wild it grows in rich, moisture-retentive alkaline woods; although I have seen it in botanic garden settings in fairly tough spots. And mine here is on clay, light shade.

In the wild they tend to grow taller, with an exposed trunk (reaching for light). Here is how they often grow in a garden setting---doesn't even look like the same plant as I see in the woods.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 16, 2008, 01:38:33 AM
Kristl, you Packera looks frighteningly like what we have as ragwort, which has become a really bad pasture weed in New Zealand over recent years. From your pictures it even seems to colonise exactly the same way, so maybe it IS our ragwort. Animals won't graze it and I believe every seed germinates and grows. It's now infesting what we laughingly call our lawn. Very hard to get rid of.

Lesley,
I had noted that the Packera used to be a Senecio....and Senecios are Ragworts I believe (my common name lingo is not very advanced). This is a HUGE genus (over 1,000 species)....so hard to say which one you have running loose in N.Z. Many look similar. I recall the absolutely gorgeous Senecios I saw in the Yukon!!!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on June 16, 2008, 02:45:04 AM
I'll get a picture later.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lvandelft on June 16, 2008, 06:47:40 AM
Kristl, every time again you surprise with so many interesting plants in your area.
And your little stories are the cream on the cake.
I like it when you have even an eye for small plants like Mitella.
The only Mitella I know is M. breweri, which we used to grow for many years.
Now you might see it only in bot. gardens, I think, but in a shady spot it's a
very nice little plant for gardens.
One question still: Is 'strictly verboten' the same as 'streng forbidden' ?  ;D ;D    8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 16, 2008, 09:49:34 PM
I forgot to post one picture ....at the NARGS annual meeting closing ceremonies yesterday one picture was left on the screen from the morning presentation of Brian Carson on double Trilliums.

You may recall my post in the Trillium link on this site about Brian (our local nose for Trillium doubles). This is one of the plants that he has found.

And if you are wondering why the NARGS awards presentor has a duck on her head....and the recipient is wearing a party hat; well, that is another story.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on June 16, 2008, 11:02:34 PM
A story suitable for telling in mixed company Kristl? :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 17, 2008, 12:27:17 AM
Erythronium americanum life cycle....
Dates refer to the Ottawa Valley.

Bloom: April 24

Seed pods developed underneath the foliage (Picture taken May 24)

Plant disappears altogether leaving pod attached to seed pod stalk lying on the forest floor.

Pods are normally collected when the umbilical cord is either detached, or when critters begin eating the pods (June 13)

Seed inside pods is immature looking at this point (greenish, light beige, yellowish), but is normally firm.

Left inside an open plastic bag, or on a covered tray for a while (simulating forest floor conditions), there is a rapid change in the color and the hardness of the seed. The seed is then cleaned and moist packed, or sown immediately.

This bulb was dug from a slope, and was about 5" deep.

Cleaned bulbs.





Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 17, 2008, 12:30:56 AM
A story suitable for telling in mixed company Kristl? :)

Unfortunately, Lesley, it's one of those "you had to have been there" kind of stories....

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paddy Tobin on June 17, 2008, 10:54:25 AM
Kristi,

Many thanks for your comments on Dirca palustris. Your mention of alkaline conditions might have hit the nail on the head in my case as my soil is slightly acidic, so  my growing conditions may not really suit it.

Have you tried Sassafras in the garden? I am struggling to keep seedlings going at present. Quite a few have died off on me. Any suggestions?

Paddy
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 17, 2008, 01:13:56 PM
Paddy,
I doubt whether "slightly acidic" conditions would be enough to make the Dirca so unhappy. It is not acid intolerant.

As to Sassafras albidum---sorry, but I actually don't grow it here. The USA woody plants manual  says:

Sassafras is classed as intolerant of shade at all ages. In forest stands, it usually appears as individual trees or in small groups and is usually in the dominant overstory. In the understory along the edges of heavy stands it may live, but generally does not reach merchantable size. If it becomes overtopped in mixed stands, it is one of the first species to die. Allelopathy seems to be the mechanism that allows sassafras, when it has invaded abandoned fields, to maintain itself aggressively in a relatively pure and mature forest

Sassafras can be found on virtually all soil types within its range. It grows best in open woods on moist, well-drained, sandy loam soils, but is a pioneer species on abandoned fields, along fence rows, and on dry ridges and upper slopes, especially following fire. In the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast States where sites are predominately sandy soils, mature sassafras seldom exceeds sapling size. On the Lake Michigan dunes of Indiana, it grows on pure, shifting sand. It is also found on poor gravelly soils and clay loams. Sassafras is most commonly found growing on soils of the orders Entisols, Alfisols, and Ultisols. Optimum soil pH is 6.0 to 7.0. The species is found at elevations varying from welldrained Mississippi River bottom lands and loessial bluffs to 1220 m (4,000 ft) in the southern Appalachian Mountains.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paddy Tobin on June 17, 2008, 06:40:53 PM
Many thanks, Kristi,

Hopefully, I shall have some sassafras growing in the garden in the coming years. I may even start brewing my own root beer!

Paddy
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Katherine J on June 18, 2008, 11:27:34 AM
Kristl, I spent half a day with reading this thread, and enjoyed it enormously, and learnt a lot. Thank you very much!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 20, 2008, 01:18:45 AM
Diervilla lonicera forms colonies in the wild, and is very useful for erosion on slopes . While the honeysuckle-like flowers are small, they are numerous, and bloom most of the summer. Really outstanding in the fall when the foliage turns yellow, orange and finally red.

The beautiful Adiantum pedatum is fully mature now and in full swing.

Menispermum canadense, the Canadian Moonseed has beautiful, glossy foliage. In the wild grows in woodlands and along riverbanks.

The biennial climbing fumitory, Adlumia fungosa is not well known. In the wild it grows in deciduous woodlands holding onto whatever it can for support, or scrambling down slopes. It blooms for a long period in summer and maintains by self-sowing.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 22, 2008, 03:04:19 AM
More orchids:

Pagonia ophioglossoides and Calopogon tuberosa.

And the second of my native Kalmias in bloom (K. angustifolia).
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 22, 2008, 03:16:53 AM
A few more ferns:

The Christmas Fern, Polystichum arostichoides has beautiful, leathery foliage. The spores are almost ripe.

Phegopteris connectilis with yellowish-green, soft fronds.

A great fern, Dryopteris goldiana and its cousin D. cristata.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 22, 2008, 03:22:40 AM
Some water-loving natives:

Acorus americanus.

Iris versicolor and a slightly paler clone.

The widespread Potentilla palustris.

Carex comosa, which is interesting at every phase of growth.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 22, 2008, 03:34:06 AM
And in the sunshine:

The second of our native Penstemon, P. digitalis.

Desmodium canadense is a little known, showy native.

Very rare to extinct across it's range, the tiny Helianthemum canadense.

And of course, Ascelpias tuberosa, blooming early this year. It is extremely rare in our area, existing primarily in the form of A. tuberosa var. interior.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on June 22, 2008, 07:24:46 AM
Kristl,

Just got to this topic.....  :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o

So many stunning things including the Cypripediums, ferns, Iris, and all those other wonderful gems that we never see here.  Not going to list the ones I particularly love as I'll just get depressed that I can't get them here.  ::)  Absolutely stunning just doesn't seem to do this topic justice.  THANK YOU!!!  8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on June 22, 2008, 04:37:12 PM
Paul, I understand your excitement - this is a really SUPER thread! Those Pogonia and Calopogon  are stunning.....serious "covetessness" breaking out here! 8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 22, 2008, 05:51:01 PM
...and all those other wonderful gems that we never see here.  Not going to list the ones I particularly love as I'll just get depressed that I can't get them here.  ::) 

Paul,
I just recently sent wholesale quantities of all my (allowable) fern spores to a fern grower down under---and there are at least 3 nurseries I supply in Australia and N.Z. so I imagine some of my natives will begin to show up there in the marketplace at your end at some point.

I am still entirely mystified by what is/is not allowed. Some of the allowable species I barely allow on my own property here in the north---and others, which are near impossible to germinate/keep going in the garden are verboten.

Of course the other annoyanace are species not yet in the AQIS database---for instance, I carry seed of three choice Pyrolas, yet only Pyrola secunda is listed as allowed entry (if not listed it is either prohibited, or requires assessment)---well, that will not happen in my lifetime!!!!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Magnar on June 22, 2008, 09:11:28 PM
Kristl..so great to see all yuor pics of interesting plants. Calopogon tuberosa was totally new to me. Are those pics from the wild or in yuor garden?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 22, 2008, 09:33:15 PM
Hi Magnar.... :D :D :-*

Whenever I photograph something in the wild, I will say so in the post---otherwise the plants are growing here on my land. The last series of pictures were all from the garden.

I have built a few artificial environments for the bog/fen orchids etc. and they seem to be doing amazingly well. Not as great as in the wild, of course!!!!

You would like it here this year---it's been mostly cool and wet---I still remember your last visit when not one of us could bear to even go outside to see the garden. You might be one of the few people on this forum who REALLY understands when I say how humid and hot it usually is here in the summer....

I remember thinking how happy you were going to be to leave eastern Canada and the heat and head to Alaska and then back to Norway!!!!

And here is a small memory of your first visit here:

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Magnar on June 22, 2008, 09:42:05 PM
Oh yes, Kristl, I do remember,, and I also remeber the fantastic cactus flowering you had then  :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on June 23, 2008, 12:23:26 AM
We in NZ are permitted to import seed of Pyrola asarifolia, but not other species. :'( Can you tell us down here Kristl, which nurseries have imported your seeds? It would be a help if we're trying to source plants and if we contacted them in the meantime, they'd know we were interested.

The complete list of what we may import is listed on the website of our Ministry of Africulture and Forestry, at

www1.maf.govt.nz/cgi-bin/bioindex/bioindex.pl

Note the "1" after www. I don't know of any other website with a number at that place.

When the site loads, there is a place to enter genus and species names then a search tab. If you put in both names you'll get whether that species may be imported or not but if you only put in the genus name, you'll get a complete list of all permitted species in that genus. I have several printed out and pinned on the wall over my computer; fritillaria, iris, crocus, primula. Saves time when wanting to order seed.

There are two Import Specifications listed. 1 - Seeds for Sowing and 2 - Nursery Stock. If the seed column says Basic, we can import it. If the species is not listed, we can't. For Nursery Stock, L1 (Level 1) means we can import it with specified conditions (available elsewhere on the website) and L2 means a full 12 month quarantine period, also with conditions, so to all intents and purposes, private gardeners can't import plants with the L2 designation even though they are permitted.

In New Zealand (and I suspect in Australia) whether a plant is rare or difficult is irrelevant for import purposes. In NZ, we are permitted to import WHAT IS HERE ALREADY and not permitted to import, what is NOT here, or deemed not to be here, on the grounds that anything "new" may be a potential risk, to flora, fauna, environment, commercial crops, etc. Weediness is only one criterion on which potential new plants are assessed.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 23, 2008, 12:44:12 AM
Hi Lesley---thanks for that link. I will post the nursery references---as soon as I find some time to search for the names (no longer easy, as I have stopped keeping a computerized data base of names/addresses since I stopped doing the print catalogue).
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 25, 2008, 01:29:10 AM
Some of the early native seed and spore has already been collected and cleaned and the pace of this will significantly increase from now on.

Hepatica americana/acutiloba
Dicentra canadensis & D. cucullaria
Claytonia caroliniana & C. virginica
Panax trifolius
Saxifraga virginiensis
Mitella diphylla
Erythronium americanum
Antennaria neglecta
Viola adunca, pubescens, canadensis, nephrophylla
Ulmus americana, rubra, thomasii
Dirca palustris
Asarum canadense
Sanguinaria canadensis
Lonicera canadensis
Cystopteris fragilis

Today the absolutely delicious berries of the small Amelanchier spicata were collected, along with "Soapberry" Shepherdia canadensis (also edible). The Sambucus pubens berries are quickly ripening, and I must watch them before the birds beat me to the seed. The pods of Stylophorum diphyllum are wonderful and must be watched as well, as they simply crack open and spill their beans.

Two early batches of berries of Actaea rubra have ripened --- the species and it's white form Actaea rubra var. leucocarpa.

This is the fascinating seed pod of Jeffersonia diphylla. The top third of the pod is actually "hinged" and opens along a ridge, lifting up the "hood" at the top and exposing the seed.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 25, 2008, 02:13:00 AM
I've been collecting and cleaning Asarum canadense for about one week.

In the past, I used to open each pod by hand. This was a very labour and time intensive job.

I now lay the seed out on large trays after harvest until they open on their own (usually overnight).

Then they are put into a large deep square sieve (intended for compost sifting) and gently rubbed until the seed falls through into another tray below.

Then they are washed with detergent under running water in the sink and any residual chaff is removed.

Finally they are moist-packed in large zip-lock bags in barely-moist vermiculite.

Thus stored, they can be kept at room temperature and remain viable for many months.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on June 25, 2008, 06:18:52 AM
Beautiful pictures of all these wonderful seeds. I love them all.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lvandelft on June 25, 2008, 08:07:58 AM
Super pictures and super informative Kristl!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on June 25, 2008, 11:51:14 AM
Super pictures and super informative Kristl!
I agree, Luit!
Kristl, this is most interesting and, I suspect, a complete surprise to some folks about how much effort can go into providing us with plant seed..... :o
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: ChrisB on June 25, 2008, 12:41:00 PM
And, Maggi, the love of this 'job' she has shines through all the time....
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on June 25, 2008, 01:01:58 PM
You're not wrong there Chris.  It's very obvious!!  8) 8)  Well done Kristl!!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Luc Gilgemyn on June 25, 2008, 01:28:42 PM
Respect !  ;)  ;D
Wonderfully interesting Kristl !

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 26, 2008, 01:00:30 AM
The predominant tree on my property is Acer saccharum, Sugar Maple. It is also perhaps the most important hardwood of eastern North America.

I used to have many more maples here, but the catastrophic ice storm of January, 1998, wiped out about 50 trees. It is on the hillside where most of the maples were lost that I built my woodland gardens. Despite the heavy root and moisture competition, the gardens are fine.

Theories about natural disasters would say that it is old-diseased-weak trees that get wiped out. In my case, it was the healthy youngsters that went. The oldest, largest trees were mostly untouched in the storm, except for losing branches. Some of them are easily 30m+ tall. To say I love and respect these magnificent trees is an understatement.

My children grew up with this "guardian." They talked with him and gave him their wishes to fulfill. He is fantastic in the fall and I can see his face in winter through the window of my seed office building.

And did you know there are over 700,000 fungi worldwide?
Here are just a few of mine.
The puffballs are edible---and come up all over the property. Some are 90cm across.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Katherine J on June 26, 2008, 07:40:07 AM
Acers generally make a great show in autumn, but this one is really fantastic!!!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: arisaema on June 26, 2008, 09:07:42 AM
Just stunning, and to have a whole forest of them!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 28, 2008, 02:58:30 AM
I am fairly certain that Gardens North was the first international seedhouse to use moist-packing as a "standard" method of storage for ephemeral seeds. Over the years, I have begun to see a few other businesses adopt my methods, but widespread acceptance is still sorely lacking as a general practice in the trade. There are many reasons for this. Lack of understanding of the nature of the particular seeds involved is one. But ultimately, I believe the practice is simply not considered practical and economical for most seedhouses. This is a shame.

Moist-packing works, no doubt. And it is a wonderful and worry-free way to be able to deal with short-lived seeds that will not be sown immediately.

Some of the obvious ephemerals native to my area are woodland species:
Hepatica, Claytonia, Dicentra, Erythronium, Caltha, Asarum, Sanguinaria, Stylophorum, Panax, woodland Viola, Hydrophyllum, Trillium, Triosteum, Uvularia, etc.

These I collect, clean and pack immediately in zip-lock bags containing barely-moist vermiculite (the best packing material for a number of reasons). I then either ship the seeds immediately OR am able to keep them "in a suspended state" for an indefinite period of time. To be able to do this, one needs to know the usual germination pattern of a seed, so as to keep it thus stored at the "non-germinable" temperature. In the case of the species noted above, all require cold to sprout; therefore they are kept at warm, so they will not sprout while in storage.

And this is the most fascinating part for me in my present research: I wanted to find out how long one can keep the ephemeral seed in suspension and still viable. The first phase of this work is now almost complete; and I am thrilled to have results on a number of species which indicate that almost a year of moist-packing will still keep the ephemeral seed viable.

In case I have lost you--in early March of 2008, all ephemeral seed that had been moist-packed after collection in 2007 and stored at room temperature was subjected to 3 months of cold in the fridge.

In the case of the ephemeral Claytonia virginica moist-packing after harvest happened on June 1, 2007. The seed was kept at warm until March 5, 2008, when it went into the fridge for testing. That seed was recently brought back into the warm, and the results are shown. Thus far I have similar results for Panax trifolius/quiquefolius, Dicentra cucullaria/canadensis, Caltha palustris, Erythronium americanum, Stylophorum diphyllum, Viola sp., Hydrophyllum canadense.

This holds some exciting possibilities not only for commercial seed houses, but for individual seed collectors.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 28, 2008, 03:55:59 AM
The tiny and exquisite Gaywings, Polygala paucifolia produces showy, insect-pollinated (chasmogamous) flowers, as well as closed, self-pollinated (cleistogamous) flowers at its base.

These cleistogamous flowers are automatically self-pollinated and produce an assured seed crop even when conditions are unfavorable for the pollination of the open flowers.

The seeds produced by the open (chasmogamous) flowers are often of higher quality.... but the self-produced seeds are a sure thing (the insurance policy).

It is an easy, warm germinator.

 

 
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 28, 2008, 04:15:05 AM
I have missed photographing many plants recently, but today I managed:

Asclepias exaltata, a elegant woodland species, just recently discovered in our area.

Cystopteris bulbifera is a wide-spread species, with soft, yellow-green foliage. This plant has serious insurance policies for survival: spore as well as bulblets that appear on the stem on the underside of the fronds. No other fern has bulbils.

And the very adaptive and wonderful Mitchella repens began blooming today. It is one of my favorite groundcovers, having entirely taken to my non-acid conditions. The small, furry flowers are followed by red berries late in the season, which often stay on the plant until the following year. Thus one can collect seed twice the same season, as with Gaultheria procumbens.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on June 28, 2008, 06:54:39 AM
Kristl,

The Polygala is fascinating.  Is it an herbaceous perennial?  Sort of looks like it might be that by the picture, almost a groundcover?  never come across anything other than shrubs in teh Polygala before, so I'm quite intrigued.  Very cute flowers.  8)

And I love the flowers on the Asclepias and the Michella (not heard of this last one before).  Cool!  ;)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Katherine J on June 28, 2008, 10:19:48 AM
Kristl, I love your "lessons"!  :)
A question: I can't find vermiculite here.  :'( What could I use instead? Is perlite good for this purpose?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on June 28, 2008, 01:08:19 PM
Kristl,

Out of interest, how does vermiculite go with quarantine restraints?  I would have expected, perhaps incorrectly, that Australia for example would reject anything with vermiculite in it?  They tend to dislike anything other than pure seeds, or seed in damp paper etc.  Have you successfully sent vermiculite and seed into Aus? ???
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: David Nicholson on June 28, 2008, 07:06:59 PM
I hope the Oz 'powers that be' don't read this!  http://www.cbc.ca/national/news/deadly_dust/
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: afw on June 28, 2008, 08:41:58 PM
RE: Vermiculite & Perlite.

Instructions given with these items say that they must be damped down before use.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lvandelft on June 28, 2008, 09:55:23 PM
Kristl, I love your "lessons"!  :)
A question: I can't find vermiculite here.  :'( What could I use instead? Is perlite good for this purpose?
Kathrine, vermiculite is used for covering of the internal fireplace in stoves.
I don't know if (wood)stoves are built in Hungary, but if so, you might find it in your country.
I hope this is helpful for you?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 29, 2008, 12:00:44 AM
Kathrine and Everyone,

I experimented with *many* non-soil materials for moist-packing and found nothing that works as well as vermiculite (and causes no problems). It is a mineral, in essence--a limited expansion clay---with a shrink-swell capacity, so one can moisten it almost perfectly, and it will still keep an aerated environment (presence of oxygen is important to the health of seed), even when stored. It is light weight, and easy to use.

There is also the benefit of the light colour, making it easy to see the seed that is moist packed in it.

And lastly, for me there was a great benefit finding a material that was also acceptable to ALL THE POWERS THAT BE in every country I do business in (including you folks down under). My moist-packed commercial packages always state clearly that this is "x genus and species moist packed in vermiculite to preserve viability." Not a single package has been rejected anywhere in 18 years!!!!

If you ever find it, and if you have any choice, it is best to avoid the really large-sized type; I use a medium, I have received very fine type (usually from Scandinavia), which is ok too, but I think it is not as easy to get the moisture levels correct.

It does collapse somewhat over time, but this is the only (very insignificant) drawback I have found.

I would avoid all soils, sand, soil-less mixes and peat for various reasons.

I did do a test run with perlite (a volcanic glass in essence)---but I could not manage the proper moisture very well, and it seemed very prone to drying out. It has a more open structure, which is not what you want for moist packing. You want the seed to be IN CONTACT with the moist-packing material (or else the seed is not being kept moist).

The trick with moist packing is to BARELY moisten the vermiculite. Close your eyes and touch it. Make sure it does not feel WET---or else the seed will rot. I also regularly open and inspect the contents, to make sure the moisture levels are still ok--add water if necessary---add vermiculite if too moist. The opening of the bags and re-distribution of the contents also ensures continued aeration inside the plastic bags, and seed being in contact with the moist vermiculite. The amount of vermiculite added depends entirely on the size of the seed (larger seed needs more). 
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on June 29, 2008, 02:59:40 AM
Kristl,

Out of interest, how does vermiculite go with quarantine restraints?  I would have expected, perhaps incorrectly, that Australia for example would reject anything with vermiculite in it?  They tend to dislike anything other than pure seeds, or seed in damp paper etc.  Have you successfully sent vermiculite and seed into Aus? ???

As a guide to that Paul, Vermiculite and Perlite are acceptable to MAF here as a packing material for seeds/bulbs, on the grounds that they are non-organic and so sterile. Peat for instance, sand and spaghnum are not permitted.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: fermi de Sousa on June 29, 2008, 05:59:32 AM
Paul, the vermiculite might pass Quarantine, but unfortunately the Polygala won't! It's not on ICON - yet! Someone needs to do a WRA (weed risk assessment) for it!
cheer
fermi
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on June 29, 2008, 07:01:00 AM
Fermi,

The vermiculite question was more out of interest.... I haven't actually checked out Kristl's listing as yet, because I knew it would be rather dangerous given all the wonderful plants she posts pictures of.  At least now when I do so I don't have to be worried that moist packed seed won't get through.  Was better to be safe than sorry by asking.

Shame about the Polygala.  An absolute cutie!!  ::)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Katherine J on June 30, 2008, 08:35:35 AM
Thank you very much Kristl, and Luit.
Hungary had to buy vermiculite from abroad, because here does not exist. Some agricultural webshops had in the past, but now it's over. As they say, it's rather expensive, and "very dangerous for people health". ;D Perlite is available and used. As I know it's also unhealthy to imbibe, but this does not matter. ::)  ;D
Well, I don't want to store seeds moist packed at the moment, I wanted to know, just in case... :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on July 01, 2008, 12:42:47 PM
I finally succumbed and had a look at Kristl's website.....

OMG  :o :o :o :o

Just looking at the "new" section of the retail catalogue I am blown away.  So many Clematis I want (amongst other things).  I think I'm having palpitations now!!!!  ;)  If you haven't had a look then you definitely should, although it could seriously affect those of you who are trying to convince yourselves that you aren't plant addicts (I gave up and just plain embraced it years ago.... I most definitely am!!  ;D), because you'll be in trouble once you have a wander through there.  Well worth a look.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Carlo on July 01, 2008, 03:15:35 PM
Interesting, Kristl, your recent discovery of Asclepias exaltata...I've JUST seen it for the first time in the wild--right here on the property...

Like yourself, I photographed it (I'm a fan of the genus...as well as its cousin: hoya) and will be watching for seed to develop.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 01, 2008, 03:47:41 PM
Before leaving the topic of moist-packing ephemeral seed, there is another significant benefit to the process of moist-packing----it determines the presence of sound, well-developed seed (or the opposite).

All seeds, as we know, react to the presence of moisture by doing something---usually we hope it is to germinate (assuming the correct time and temperature regimes are met).

Moisture determines whether a seed is sound. This is, after all, what seed testing is all about. If the seed is dead, has no embryo, or an inadequately developed embryo it will do two things on contacting moisture: it will rot, and/or it will get attacked by fungi. This is irrespective of its germination requirements.

Provide moisture to a seed- and it will show you its true colours.

If there is chaff in the seed, or the seed has a seed coat that requires breaking down, there might well be some fungi attack---but the fungi that attack and break down these "extraneous materials" are not pathogenic (they will not attack healthy live seed) that is in among the chaff, or inside the seed receptacle.

In the best of scenarios, a batch of seemingly well-developed seed is collected. But, trust me in this, one cannot ultimately trust the naked eye when it comes to seed, even with years of experience. One can look at the normal signs: plump seed, apparently the correct color, collected at the right time, and yet the seed can fool you. There can be immature embryos, or insect damage not visible to the naked eye, or a multitude of other issues.

Testing the seed is the only way to ultimate know what is what.

The ephemeral Anemone nemorosa was received from Finland this spring, wild collected---shipped dry, but reasonably soon after collection. As is usually the case, the batch contained both developed and a high persentage of undeveloped seed (as determined by the inadequate naked eye at my end) and there was the presence of the usual amount of extraneous material (chaff).

After a run-through with the sieves to get rid of the worst of the chaff, the batch was moist-packed---and I expected---and got--- lots of action in the bag. There was molding and fungi on a daily basis. The bag was opened and redistributed regularly, to get rid of the molding and aerate the contents. What broke down inside the bag was any remaining chaff, and then, most importantly any "bad seeds" (dead, immature, etc), leaving behind the sound seeds.

This process can take a few weeks before one can finally determine what is left in the zip lock. If the remaining seed looks healthy and is still firm to the touch after the process, it is sound and germiable. Sometimes all the seed rots, sometimes none, usually a proportion (as a certain proportion of all seed in any batch is unsound as a general rule).

The level of moulding inside the bag shown in the picture has slowed down considerably now, and one can begin to see the presence of the firm, brown seeds. I will not officially list the seed until no more "adverse activity" is happening inside the zip locks, and I have a good percentage of sound seeds inside.

I recall an experience where dry Trillium seed that was sent to me ALL rotted on moist-packing. When the sender inquired as to why I had not listed the seed, I had to tell him the truth and he took it rather personally, suggesting that the moist-packing had killed the seed, which of course could not be further from the truth. That seed was either DOA, or was inadequately developed for a multitude of reasons, usually environmental (weather, pollination), or collected at the wrong time.

In fact, I had a problem with the Hepatica seed that many of you received from me recently---the first time, in fact, in 18 years, I have had an issue with this genus. And that is the reason why it was sent out in a delayed fashion. A good percentage of the seed rotted in moist packing---and I had to wait to see what would ultimately happen. In the end I lost about 50% of the viable seed---which is a very high percentage ---but this was not a normal spring with July weather in April, and then frost around the time of flowering, I rather expected to have seed problems with the species that flowered early. The sugar maples reacted to this,  in fact, by not flowering at all.





Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 01, 2008, 04:23:24 PM
Interesting, Kristl, your recent discovery of Asclepias exaltata...I've JUST seen it for the first time in the wild--right here on the property...

Like yourself, I photographed it (I'm a fan of the genus...as well as its cousin: hoya) and will be watching for seed to develop.

I was actually trying hard not to suggest that I had anything to do with the "discovery" of this species. It was in fact, Graham Page, my seed-collecting partner and co-author of "The Book" who made the discovery. He (and Gardens North, by extension) were credited for it by David White (Flora of Lanark County), the county where it was found. He believes this is the first known occurence of it this far north (it is present in southern Ontario). It blooms well in the garden, but hardly (to ever) produces seed.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Carlo on July 01, 2008, 06:00:29 PM
It (Asclepias exaltata) doesn't look like it's going to seed here either. It is particularly interesting to me as the earliest milkweed to flower. A. syriacus is just beginning to open as exaltata closes (speciosa is not even in bud).

You mentioned Ellen Hornig at Seneca Hill (also a good friend of mine)--and she's got probably the best selection of Asclepias that I'm aware of in a commercial source. She used to list about 18 species (don't know what the current count is).
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 01, 2008, 06:17:48 PM
It (Asclepias exaltata) doesn't look like it's going to seed here either. It is particularly interesting to me as the earliest milkweed to flower. A. syriacus is just beginning to open as exaltata closes (speciosa is not even in bud).

You mentioned Ellen Hornig at Seneca Hill (also a good friend of mine)--and she's got probably the best selection of Asclepias that I'm aware of in a commercial source. She used to list about 18 species (don't know what the current count is).

Yes. Ellen is the best source for plants. She and I have discussed the (very) complex pollination issues of the genus (something that surprises many people who think of them as "weeds")---many, many, many never produce seed outside their native range.

I have tried to get my paws on A. variegata for years. Managed to beg and plead a pinch of seed here and there---but still no mature plants in the garden. I have a couple of new vigourous seedlings on the go.

A. viridis, is in my opinion, one of the showiest, least-grown of the genus.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 02, 2008, 02:57:17 AM
Epigaea repens is a beautiful sub-shrub in the Ericaceae. The foliage is leathery and evergreen with woody, prostrate stems trailing along the ground. The very fragrant clusters of white or pink flowers bloom very early in spring.

It is the provincial flower of Nova Scotia---and very rare in my area, becoming much more prevalent in northern Ontario and in eastern Canada, growing here in acid soil in sandy or rocky woods. 

I did not manage to photograph it when it was flowering - thus the picture of the bloom is not mine; but from the Canadian Museum Of Nature, to give a perspective.

Seed was recently collected---the pods are in clusters, hairy and round, with 5 segments that split open and curl back like flower petals, revealing a most fascinating spotted interior. The spots are actually the seed, embedded in a fleshy fruit, that is very delectable to wild critters. Once they split open, it is near impossible to find a full interior. Thus, they are normally collected while still closed, and allowed to open on their own in a warm spot.

The ripe colour of the seed is black---but even if it is brown when the pods open, the seed is viable.

One can read silly information about how hard it is to clean this seed (indicating laborous washing of the tiny seed to detach it from the fruit). But it is actually one of the easier seeds to deal with. The pods are simply left on a tray under lights for a few days, at which point the fruit dries up and the tiny black seeds are rubbed off between thumb and forefinger.

Seeds are easy, warm germinators, and grow along quite lustily in ordinary indoor winter sowing conditions under lights.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 02, 2008, 03:28:33 AM
It is not yet Trillium collection here----but perhaps a good time to post these pictures.

There are only 4 species native to this area---once one knows the distinct seed pods---it becomes a snap to identify the plants in the wild.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on July 02, 2008, 03:54:10 AM
Kristl,

I love the flower markings on the undulatum.... a species I haven't seen here as far as I know.  Love the other ones too of course, but the pink markings on the white flower of the undulatum are striking.  Great pics (as always) 8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on July 02, 2008, 04:13:15 AM
Kristl, you are a great educator. All these lovely pictures with pods, seeds etc teach us (especially me) a thousand times more than the wordy (and frequently boring) posts on Trillium-L. I hope you will continue for a very long time, sharing your huge knowledge and experience of the North American flora. Grateful thanks.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 05, 2008, 02:43:33 AM
Today was spent in two very distinct sites collecting seed.

The first is a unique habitat in the Ottawa Valley--and a spot where a number of rare or disjunct species are also found (Lithospermum canadense, Epigaea repens, Comptonia peregrina, Viola sagittata, Asclepias tuberosa var. interior etc).

It is an acid-sand environment- the predominant trees being Pinus resinosa, Betula sp., Populus and Quercus.

Bracken Fern and Lichens entirely carpet some areas of the forest and the soil is literally sand.
The beautifully scented and shrubby Comptonia peregrina (Sweet Fern) forms large drifts here; seed pods were formed, but not yet ready.

Epigaea repens was post-flowering and seed production, when it gets busy sending out it's beautiful, hairy fresh foliage.

And Asclepias tuberosa var. interior was in its full glory in the hot, open spots outside the forest.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 05, 2008, 02:55:19 AM
Along the edges of the woods:

The small sweet Pyrola elliptica and Helianthus divaricatus, the woodland sunflower.

Rhus aromatica is an early-flowering, small, wonderful Sumac with clean, grey-green foliage.

It's rare to find fruit on any of the Amelanchiers---as they are a favorite of birds (and human beings, but we are usually second in line for the fruit). A. spicata was also collected recently--this is a small species, 60-90cm tall growing on alvars, with incredibly sweet, wonderful fruit!

The first blooms of Spiraea latifolia and the early-forming acorns of Quercus rubra.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 05, 2008, 03:07:05 AM
One of my main goals today was to collect blueberries- and this is one of my major harvesting sites; a large opening in the trees almost entirely carpeted with Vaccinium angustifolium (sweet and blue) and V. myrtilloides (tarter and blackish).
 
Berry seed harvesting is always one of my favorite activities (one handful for the seed bag, one handful for the seed gatherer....). Although it is tedious and long work collecting those small berries for those even smaller seeds, I hardly mind being in an open, bug-free environment (for a change) and crawling around on all fours.

Here too, in this hot, dry spot are other distractions- like the glorious disjunct Lithospermum caroliniense, which began blooming in my garden weeks ago, and was still going strong here.

Aralia hispida was here and there as well.

And everywhere one saw the flashes of the tiny, pink Polygala polygama.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 05, 2008, 03:27:20 AM
The second site I travelled to was one of the many alvars in the area. In an earlier post, I noted that an alvar is an open, hot area of limestone pavements with a thin layer of soil, supporting a unique flora of plants that like it hot and dry, or survive in the rocky depressions where moisture accumulates.

Alvar areas are globally unusual and only occur in localized areas of Canada (Ontario), the United States (the mid-west) and Sweden.

One has to be careful in this particular alvar, as every few steps brings a deep hole in the limestone. Some large enough for a body to fall into (or to bury a body in  ;D. I show you a poor quality picture of one of them because it displays so clearly how thin the layer of soil is on top of the rock. 

The soil is essentially a stony rubble with a bit of organic material.

There were many plants to be found here that I have discussed earlier, such as Arenaria stricta, Penstemon hirsutus (dwarf form), Saxifraga virginiensis, Lilium philadelphicum, Calystegia spithamaea and others.

Also naturalized are the introduced European Echium (Viper's Buglos) and Potentialla recta (the yellow in the alvar view picture).

The small Polygala senega is better known in the Canadian prairies where the root is wildcrafted for the (mainly European) pharmaceutical industry and used in the treatment of respiratory problems. There is some concern that this activity is depleting wild populations there.

The well known Campanula rotundifolia carpets this alvar, and blooms almost the entire season, even in this inhospitable environment.

Astragalus canadensis was mostly post-bloom, but a few blossoms were still to be found.

The common Rhus thyphina, blooming now, is one of the most spectacular woody species for fall colour in this area.

Diervilla lonicera grows as a 10-15cm dwarf in this environment, whereas it is normally 60-90cm tall.

And the climbing red-flowered Lonicera dioica with ripe fruit.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: art600 on July 05, 2008, 01:31:40 PM
Kristl

Another wonderful series of photos
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: ChrisB on July 05, 2008, 11:16:00 PM
Yes indeed!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 06, 2008, 02:41:04 AM
The beautiful Twisted Stalk (Streptopus roseus) produces juicy red berries at maturity lining the underside of the flowering stalk.

It is most practical to collect these in zip-lock bags (berries are juicy, drippy and messy) or become so quite quickly after collection.

Ensure the bag is zipped up securely and squish the berries through the bag, until they have been broken up and the seed can be seen.

At this point I normally add water to the bag and pour the contents into an appropriate sieve (one with a small enough mesh to not allow the seeds to go through).  I continue to rub the contents gently against the sieve under running water until I am confident that most of the seed is clear of its berries.

Then the works is put into a large bowl, filled with water and, in most cases, the seed will sink and the chaff float. Skim off the chaff (I use another sieve to do this) and you are left with beautiful, clean seed.

As a last step, I *always* wash seed in berries with dish detergent (and with a weak bleach solution, if the seed has an aril). All seed contained in fruit or berries is believed to have a germination inhibitor contained IN THE FRUIT, and thus, washing the seed helps to remove the inhibitor.

In the case of Streptopus, the seed is now moist-packed. If the particular seed is intended to be dry stored, there is the additional step of placing the washed seed on trays, allowing them to dry, and then storing them in paper seed envelopes.


 




Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on July 06, 2008, 03:30:38 AM
Kristl,

I haven't seen Streptopus roseus before, but it looks lovely.  Is it a relative of Polygonatum?  Very reminiscent of those, only such a nice pink.  Very pretty.  Great to see the process.  8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 06, 2008, 02:22:55 PM
Yes, Paul, very closely related to Polygonatum. The characteristic zig-zag or kinked stalk (which you can see in the picture with the seed) is the obvious way you know you have a Streptopus.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on July 07, 2008, 12:19:36 AM
Must keep an eye out for it, or else check our quarantine database and see if I can bring in seeds.  Of course, putting an order in to you as I've said before would be a costly affair by the time I had ordered everything I wanted.  ::) ;D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 09, 2008, 02:10:59 AM
Opuntia humifusa, the Eastern Prickly Pear, is blooming right now in the garden. It is part of the second and final wave of Opuntia bloom.

It is normally free of spines, except for the top section of the pads, but is however armed with irritating glochids on the seemingly naked lower parts of the pads. Flowers are normally pure yellow, or with a red interior.

Listed as an endangered species--its only Canadian occurrence is in southwestern Ontario at Point Pelee National Park (about an 8 hour drive south for me). 

I visited the Opuntia site last August, after bloom time, and show you a few rather poor-quality photos. The plants are growing on sand spits that jut out into Lake Erie, with fairly heavy competition from shrubby vegetation (Juniperus communis, Fraxinus spp, and Rhus aromatica).

The plants obviously bloomed well, as one can see from the formed seed pods.

It always gives me pause considering why the only eastern species in this large genus does considerably poorer in my eastern garden than all the western Opuntia.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Anthony Darby on July 10, 2008, 01:40:45 PM
Kristl (there, spelled it correctly this time) I just can't get my head round the fact that you have Opuntia growing in a habitat that includes Alder and other shrubby vegetation. :o
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 12, 2008, 02:11:00 AM
The pace of my work and seed collecting has accelerated significantly and my trips to the wild do not leave as much time for pictures as in the past.

I travelled to one of my favorite "wet sites" this week to check the status of flowering and seed of aquatics and marginals as well as plants that like moist woods, near the wet sites.

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed) is a beautiful aquatic typically growing in shallow, quiet water in marshes, edges of ponds, lakes, and streams.

Asclepias incarnata was very happy along the margins of this wet area, along with Sambucus canadensis, the tiny Lobelia kalmii and Scutellaria galericulata. The Asclepias will grow quite happily in ordinary garden conditions.

At the edge of the moist woods and filling the ditches were drifts of Thalictrum pubescens, our showiest species here. It can get very tall, to 150cm, and the plumes of yellow-tipped, white blooms are quite large.

For a long time I had heard about a rare, purple variant of this species, although I had never seen anything matching that description, until 3 years ago, when I found plants of it in the wet areas near a bog--to date I have not seen it in any other location.

The use of the language "purple variant" is confusing--the unusual form still displays the white and yellow starbursts of the species in full bloom -but female plants exhibit, from an early stage of bloom, an underlying heart of pinkish-purple glowing through the white. The two-tone effect is very beautiful. As the flowers disappear, the purple remains and intensifies until seed ripening. I have informally named it "Purple Haze."

Lastly, I cannot forget the beautiful Pyrola asarifolia.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 12, 2008, 02:56:46 AM
The moist woods adjacent to the water is my favorite fern site---this particular forest is home to over 520 plant species and almost 30 species of ferns. I am always in awe here amidst all this richness of flora. Just a few pictures of these today.

Dryopteris cristata.
Botrychium virginianum---the largest species of this interesting group of plants, and its separate fertile frond.
Polystichum acrotichoides.
Adiantum pedatum.

And, unmistakeable due to its distinctive and easily observed drooping pair of lower leaflets, the elegant Phegopteris connectilis.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 12, 2008, 03:22:48 AM
A number of our native Lysimachia are now also flowering in these moist areas--

Lysimachia terrestris, with the poetic common name of "Swamp Candles" is a delicate species to 60cm with spikes of yellow and red star-like flowers. It grows in moist to wet areas.

L. ciliata has graceful, nodding yellow flowers and will do fine in the moisture retentive woodland garden.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 12, 2008, 04:00:50 AM
Some of the woody species I observed in my wanderings this week:

Rhus thyphina is still flowering in some areas, but has already developed its full dark maroon colour in other spots.

Striped Maple, Acer pensylvanicum, is one of our two small, native understory Acers and belongs to the snakebark maple group. It's highly decorative bark is shown here in both youth and maturity. Leaves are very large.

Acer spicatum (Mountain Maple) can grow shrubby, or as a small tree. The small seeds turn a beautiful shade of pink, and ripen early.

The ripe berries of Taxus canadensis were collected yesterday.

Spiraea tomentosa and Tsuga canadensis.

Rubus odoratus is a suckering but very ornamental raspberry with no prickles. The good-sized fragrant flowers bloom over a long period and it has large, maple-like leaves. The berries are too dry for my taste.




Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: art600 on July 12, 2008, 10:13:22 AM
Kristl

Thank you for finding time to post some more beautiful and unusual plants.  Now it can rain all day (and probably will) and I won't care.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Anthony Darby on July 12, 2008, 11:51:02 AM
Kristl, Asclepias incarnata looks stunning. I'm looking for some hardy species, and this fits the bill. Time to look at www.gardensnorth.com again. :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on July 12, 2008, 01:24:25 PM
Kristl,

Some stunning plants in there.  Of particular note that Thalictrum variant (absolutely WOW!!), the Asclepias incarnata, those ferns, and that lovely Rubus flower.  All beautiful, the Thalictrum and Asclepias especially, especially.  ;D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 12, 2008, 02:10:42 PM
And in another rich forest, where I had gone to check on the ripeness of Trillium grandiflorum, I was met with mushrooms in great profusion---a first in all these years. It must have been all of those right moisture conditions this year.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 12, 2008, 02:24:19 PM
The Trillium seed were about a week off (pods not yet soft, seeds firm, but not yet dark enough), and many other seeds developing well and some, pickable today.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 12, 2008, 02:34:41 PM
On the way to my last stop of the day, I stopped to photograph some of the plants romping around in full sun on the roadsides. Eastern North America is not strong on the "sunny meadow type species" but still, a small, but pretty picture is painted at some times of the year.

The very common Rudbeckia hirta, Verbena hastata in early emergence, the beautiful Desmodium canadense, which I have shown earlier in my garden, still going strong. At their feet, mats of Antennaria plantaginea, long finished flowering.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 12, 2008, 02:52:47 PM
And I've saved the best for last...and kick myself that I was unable to get a proper picture of the first.

The rare Dalibarda repens is a member of the Rosaceae and the only member of the genus.  It is a small creeping plant with small tufts of dark-green rotund to heart-shaped leaves and pretty white flowers with prominent stamens. It is beyond me to understand why this plant would produce showy STERILE flowers as well as cleistogamous flowers.

Another rarely encountered plant is this elegant member of the Pyrolacea, Chimaphila umbellata.
I will leave the pictures to say the rest.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: WimB on July 12, 2008, 06:59:15 PM
Kristl,

as always very nice pictures of amazing plants. I especially like those last two. I'm always looking forward to your new posts in this topic.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on July 13, 2008, 12:45:04 AM
Great pics Kristl.  Those berries are cool, particularly the blue of that Clintonia.  The Chimaphila umbellata looks wonderful.  Would love to have seen that in closeup in person.  Very cute, as is the Dalibarda. :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 13, 2008, 01:28:13 AM
And a few of the natives growing on my own property.

Morus rubra is native to eastern North America and endangered to non-existant anymore in Ontario, having been virtually wiped out because of hybridization with the introduced Asian, Morus alba.

In the wild it normally grows as an understory tree, but in cultivation, it does fine as a specimen in the open. The leaves can be very interesting, and also highly variable, even on the same tree.
Catkins in spring turn into utterly delicious sweet fruits, which resemble blackberries and are ripening now.

Platanthera psycodes is widespread, but not abundant in eastern Canada. Easy and floriferous in the garden.

The beautiful foliage of Rhus copallina, known as Flameleaf Sumac---and in case I forget to do it later, I will show you the "flaming" now. Fantastic!!!!

The Hydrophyllums are woodland groundcovers. Hydrophyllum canadense (with white flowers) has just finished flowering and H. virginianum (blue or white blooms) is at the seed formation phase.

Hypericum kalmianum exists in only one location in my area, on the Ottawa River, growing in rocky, sandy soil. It is a very long blooming, compact shrub with narrow, grey-green foliage and extremely hardy (-40C). I can normally expect 6 weeks of flowering.










 
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on July 13, 2008, 10:39:52 PM
Another great set of Pictures Kristl. What an amazing topic this is. 8)

Later, you'll show us the ripe fruit of the Morus please?

I've just planted small MM. albus and nigra. They can hybridize until they're blue in the face if they want, so long as I get to eat the luscious fruit. How long do Morus take to fruit?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Luc Gilgemyn on July 14, 2008, 08:27:51 AM
Kristl, this thread never ceases to amaze me !  :o
Wonderful stuff !
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Katherine J on July 14, 2008, 04:07:31 PM
How long do Morus take to fruit?

I don't know, but it grows very fast. In our garden appeard a morus seedling 3 years ago (I think it is M alba), and now it is 3 m tall.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on July 14, 2008, 09:13:48 PM
Hopefully before I fall off my perch then. :D  :P :P :P
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 14, 2008, 10:56:29 PM
Morus rubra bears fruit anywhere from 4-10 years. Optimum fruit bearing age is 30. And I believe M. alba is a lot more vigorous than M. rubra.

Here is my first batch of fruit...these are SO GOOD it's hard to save any for seed.

I have the same quandary with my Actinidias.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on July 14, 2008, 11:24:45 PM
I feel a pie coming on :D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 15, 2008, 12:25:17 AM
Cystopteris bulbifera is unique in being the only fern that produces bulbils, as well as spore.

It is a smallish (30cm) species, with delicate, yellowish-green, long and narrow fronds. I grow it on my property in various environments, but it is happiest in a moist spot next to the stream. In the wild, however, I normally find it in dryish woods, or carpeting limestone cliffs in shade.

The bulbils line the underside of the fronds and roll off just about the same time as the spore is ripe.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on July 15, 2008, 11:50:42 AM
With all this talk about Morus I finally found out at a nursery today that they were Mulberries.  Had no idea what they were, other than obviously you guys raving about the fruit.  I saw Morus alba and Morus nigra (I think that was the second one) there today.  A bit big for my little yard though.  Unfortunately even one of the weeping Mulberries would be too big.  A friend used to have a massive weeping version at one point.... they had a "door" cut into the back of the branches and the area inside was well big enough to have a small table and two chairs setting in there.  Not sure I've ever actually eaten Mulberries though.

Kristl,

That fern is quite special, although I would imagine that when happy it would be fairly enthusiastic in it's spreading?  I've seen plantlets before, but never bulbils like that on a fern.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on July 15, 2008, 09:49:51 PM
Paul, mulberries are luscious. Very sweet but with some tartness as well. Each little juicy blob has a small hair attached to it, I guess where the pollen grain travelled to the ovule. But it's not unpleasant in the mouth at all. Squash the whole fruit with the tongue and then feel the juice slither down the throat. Mmmmmmmmmmmm :P :P :P :P

The only bad thing is that birds too, love the fruit and when flying over the washing on the clothes line, are apt to drop red,   well,   droppings.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 16, 2008, 01:13:07 AM
This is how I deal with ferns:

Because I normally collect in the wild, it is most practical to stuff the fronds into large zip lock bags. It doesn't matter if they get crushed or broken.

I normally collect two zip locks stuffed full for each species. I have learned that this is enough for my needs.

When I get home, these are transferred to large paper envelopes and put on a shelf. I turn the bulk every couple days to ensure it is drying. Once dry, the spore releases inside the bags. Normally this takes from 2-7 days, depending on how moist the fronds were to begin with.

On spore cleaning day, I close the open end and give the bag a good shake to release any residual spore-or reach a hand in and grab a pile of fronds and hit them gently against the side of the bag. I am normally wearing a mask for this task--because of the clouds of spores wafting around my office. I get covered with spore from head to toe (and depending on the colour of the spore, I can become various shades of brown, yellow or white).

The actual cleaning starts with removing the fronds from the bag and then gently pouring whatever is left in the bag into the Phase 1 sieve (this will be fern pieces, chaff, and spore). The whole works. What I end up with in my bowl after this "first rough pass" is remnants from the spore sac and spore.

Then I move on to my Serious Black Sieves. The top is a very fine mesh, the bottom is finer-than-fine (almost cloth-like). They are stacked up and the works is put in.

You can see what is held behind in both the top and the bottom sieves.
Anything textured is NOT spore.
And in the bowl is the finished spore (slippery; like colored talcum powder in texture).



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 16, 2008, 01:56:03 AM
Recently in the "Flower and Foliage" thread, I talked about Lilium canadense and noted that most thinking is that it is rare or non-existant in Ontario. What I did not say is that I have never quite given up on finding it here. And what I also did not say is that I had recently enlisted a "scout" to check out a particular site for me, about an hours' drive away. The interesting timing of all this is that my friend in fact went to the site this morning and has notified me that the species IS THERE!!!!

I intend to immediately head off on Thursday morning to see the spot (and the plants in bloom).

The local Lilium philadelphicum I have already shown you.

The second native lily (at least in southern Ontario) is L. michiganense, also now blooming here in the garden.

And of course, the third and last, the exquisite L. canadense.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on July 16, 2008, 11:35:47 AM
Kristl, beautiful flowers and great information... a real delight every time!  :-*
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Luc Gilgemyn on July 16, 2008, 12:53:31 PM
I'm beginning to understand why Kristl is signing with :

"so many species... so little time"...    ::) ::) ::)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on July 16, 2008, 01:13:12 PM
Yes, Luc...."There's often a clue"  ;)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Luc Gilgemyn on July 16, 2008, 01:20:39 PM
always Maggi.... always....  8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 17, 2008, 01:21:47 AM
Of all the plants shown here today, only Eupatorium maculatum is common to my area although all the others are  Ontario natives, and a few (the Liatris and Monarda didyma) rare in the province.

Cup Plant, Silphium perfoliatum is a bold plant--in my garden they tower above me, to 12 feet. The leaves are huge and way up high, large sunflower-like blooms.

Eupatorium maculatum just coming into bud and Heliopsis helianthoides going strong on five foot stems.

Monarda didyma is only found in a few spots in the province. M. fistulosa is more common, although it only occurs in one meadow in this area.

Liatris spicata and L. aspera are confined to southern Ontario.

And Cimicifuga racemosa (which has soared to incredible heights this year) is a species at risk in the province. When I pass the area of the garden where there is a large patch of it, I can hear the bees buzzing at a distance, and the fragrance is quite incredible!!!

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 18, 2008, 02:55:12 AM
What a fantastic day!!!!!!!
Always particularly special when I get to go to a brand new wild spot and have no idea what I will find there. The anticipation always makes me lose sleep the night before; and this was no exception.

Of course, I already knew about the Lilium canadense being there, which *really* made me lose sleep.
As this species tends to grow in moist areas next to water, I had some expectations, and was not surprised. The water turned out to be a large river, with marshy areas all around, then extending into moist woodlands.

First, I will show you the marsh, which was fascinating. Sadly I had to sneak peeks at it here and there where I could fight my way through the vegetation at the margins, instead of being able to get right into it, close and personal. I would have needed my hip waders for that adventure. I could see there were interesting plants "out there," so I squished my way along the wet edges until I was able to catch views of plants.

Nymphaea odorata var. tuberosa just beginning to open its fragrant flowers.

And wild rice, Zizania aquatica, in early "rice production."







Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 18, 2008, 03:13:36 AM
Calla palustris and Sagittaria latifolia which I have shown you before were half still flowering and half in seed production.

This yellow creature eludes me. Not sure if it is even native or introduced.

And then I got very excited to see Cephalanthus occidentalis (Button Bush) everywhere in the marsh. This will grow in moist garden conditions- but gets very unhappy if it dries out (I have seen sad specimens in botanic gardens). It's a fantastic native shrub with fascinating flowers. Finding plants closer to the shore took almost another 45 minutes of beating my way through the bush.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 18, 2008, 03:39:44 AM
On more solid ground along the shore, and in the moist woods were very, very happy plants.
I can only guess it is the constant supply of moisture producing such vigorous and healthy specimens. The berries of the Actaea rubra were huge and pristine, flowering was abundant, and most plants were significantly larger than average.

Clematis virginiana winding its way up into the trees.
Lysimachia ciliata, which I have shown you before, was not at knee, but at eye level here.

Apios americana (the edible Groundnut) is normally vigorous, but here it grew over everything in kudzu-like fashion.

Impatiens capensis is a showy annual of wet places, and being a moist area, Arisaema triphyllum was abundant and busy forming pods.

I show Asclepias incarnata again, just because it is so pretty.

Maianthemum racemosum was not looking tattered here at all. It will be fantastic once the seeds color red.

Along the wet margins, Sparganium eurycarpum and Carex grayii.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 18, 2008, 04:22:05 AM
Because I was actually not far from the Quebec border, the pièce de résistance....

The plants were here. But this we already knew.
And where were they? Along the edges of the woods, but mostly further out in meadow-like conditions growing in masses of vetch and ferns and weeds of all sorts, which were at least three feet high, the flowers peeking out above.

Just look at these colours!!!!!!!!

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 18, 2008, 04:43:17 AM
And because I was so happy, I drove myself across the border to the first small town and instead of having poutine at a roadside stand, treated myself to crepes and a cappucino.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on July 18, 2008, 05:15:31 AM
What a stunning red L. canadense! Definitely worth the crepes and cappucino, maybe even champagne :) Is the unknown yellow some kind of Mimulus perhaps?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lvandelft on July 18, 2008, 06:23:34 AM
Kristl, you surprise me with every posting again!
So much learning about plants with your stories, like about the Cephalanthus.
You give us the opportunity to see plants in nature, so avoiding mistakes when
planting in the garden.
And seeing these Smilacina racemosum (sorry,that name I used too long ;D)
comparing with my group in the garden where I see here and there a small
reddish berry, amazing.

I agreed with Lesley about the yellow species, but for being sure I googled a bit.
It might be M. luteus, but when I tried M. guttatus I found the following very
interesting site:
http://www-biol.paisley.ac.uk/bioref/plantae_mimulus/Mimulus2.html (http://www-biol.paisley.ac.uk/bioref/plantae_mimulus/Mimulus2.html)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Gerdk on July 18, 2008, 06:35:38 AM
From me the same as from Lesley and Luit - most beautiful sites and very informatory - as always.
The ' yellow species ' could be  Utricularia .
Believe it or not, last week I looked for Impatiens capensis too (Did not find it). It is introduced here and lives in alluvial forests near the river Rhine.

Gerd
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Katherine J on July 18, 2008, 07:36:53 AM
Kristl, thank you very much again. This thread is like a fascinating book, waiting hardly every day for a new chapter. :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on July 18, 2008, 10:34:51 AM
Kristl, those lilies are scrumptious!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 18, 2008, 01:24:22 PM
The ' yellow species ' could be  Utricularia .

Gerd,
You are quite right!!!
And looking up the various species it could be (vulgaris, macrorhiza, inflata...), I would vote for U. vulgaris. Thank you so much.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 18, 2008, 01:33:12 PM
What a stunning red L. canadense! Definitely worth the crepes and cappucino, maybe even champagne :)

Leslie,
What I neglected to mention was the mountain of ice cream smothering that fresh-strawberry crepe...
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Hans A. on July 18, 2008, 02:02:56 PM
Kristl -thanks for sharing this stunning pics - especially the Lilium is breathtaking.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on July 21, 2008, 01:35:30 AM
Great pics as always Kristl.  Those Liliums are just glorious.  I must get myself this species again, it is just SO beautiful.

The yellow thing is definitely a Utricularia.  Can't recall species, but I grow it (or something very similar) on some of my water bowls here to keep the mossies down.  Very nice little carnivorous plant!!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: fermi de Sousa on July 21, 2008, 07:49:34 AM
The yellow thing is definitely a Utricularia.  Can't recall species, but I grow it (or something very similar) on some of my water bowls here to keep the mossies down.  Very nice little carnivorous plant!!
Really, Paul?
How transplantable is it?
cheers
fermi
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Staale on July 21, 2008, 10:19:44 PM
Oh, Kristl, what a lovely safari you let us take part in. I learn a lot (and may have to move my Lilium canadense closer to water)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on July 22, 2008, 07:06:55 AM
Fermi,

I can easily bring some down with me in September.  it doesn't have roots at all, just little green tendrils with tiny little "bladders" on them which trap mosquito larvae.  A small bit soon colonises out.  Fills the water area with a lovely clean green (i.e doesn't look like algae, but looks like a fine plant underwater) and then at certain times of year the flowers come up on stems a few inches above the water.  I find it very useful in those waterbowls etc which don't have enough open water on the top for fish, but still harbour mossies easily (i.e things like Lotus, which I plant directly into water bowls, etc). Not sure what it would do in a large pond..... I'd imagine you'd just need to pull some out periodically to keep it from eventually filling it.  I find this altogether innocuous and not a pest, at least not in the way I'm using it anyway.  Happy to bring some if you'd like it.  Any other water plants you need from me?  ;D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 23, 2008, 12:53:41 PM
My office is bulging with seed bags at the moment and there are not enough days in the week to stay on top of all else that needs collecting, cleaning, testing and listing on the web site. The wild collected species are, of course, the most labour intensive, as travel time must be added to the equation. This year that has become more difficult than usual, as it is raining most days.

As for the cleaning, the collected dry seeds can wait, and I gauge the urgency of cleaning the berries by how intact they remain inside their zip locks--cleaning them as things become urgent.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 23, 2008, 01:02:35 PM
There is no fast method to clean the Trillium grandiflorum, except pod by pod.

Once the pods have opened, I am at least able to rub the burst pods between my hands to extract them. They are then put through a large-holed sieve.

I try to ensure that the aril is cleaned off during the washing process and always do a weak bleach dip with all Trillium species to avoid the potential of molding/internal infection. Then the seed is moist-packed.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 23, 2008, 01:18:12 PM
As I have been zipping around here and there all week there has not been the time to thoroughly photograph any one site---but here are just a few of the species I saw on the run.

The exquisite and tall Lobelia cardinalis --- which I only know in abundance from one site in my area, where it grows in a boggy spot setting the landscape on fire with it's vibrant red.

The well-known Potentilla fructicosa is so much nicer to see in it's native hot and dry haunts here.

Agalinis tenuifolia is a small and pretty annual most commonly found in wet woods here.

Triosteum aurantiacum is too coarse to have in the garden, but it's seed pods are very cute---like tiny lemons that go from green to yellow to orange.

The showy Verbena hastata. These specimens were way above my head.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on July 23, 2008, 09:51:31 PM
I just love all those pictures of piles or bags of seed. Some look good enough to eat. Well, I guess some ARE good enough to eat, like the Morus for instance.

Kristl I meant to ask, and I'm sure Maggi will want to know as well, what is poutine?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paddy Tobin on July 23, 2008, 10:53:18 PM
Kristi,

By any chance have you come on Elliottia racemosa on your seed collecting forays?

I have a friend in Maryland who sends me photographs of the plants in his garden and he just sent me photographs of his Elliottia racemosa which is looking fabulously beautiful in full flower at present. Also, read up on it in Dirr and Cullina and am seriously in need of seed for my garden. Of course, his plant may set seed and these would be available to me but I just wondered if you had come on it.

Paddy
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 23, 2008, 10:59:49 PM
Kristl I meant to ask, and I'm sure Maggi will want to know as well, what is poutine?


Ah....La Poutine....the quintessential Quebec fast food.

Ready?

This is basic poutine:

French Fries, topped with fresh cheese curds (usually cheddar), covered with brown gravy.
The curds have to be very fresh, so they get soft, but don't melt.

But now the creative chefs out there have improvised on the basic recipe....

Here is a review of the "Best Poutine in Montreal"

http://www.montrealpoutine.com/reviews.html

But normally one grabs it at an outdoor concession stand, while on the road, rather than in a sit-down restaurant.










Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 23, 2008, 11:06:41 PM
By any chance have you come on Elliottia racemosa on your seed collecting forays?

Also known as Georgia (or Southern) Plume. I believe this now ONLY occurs in Georgia (USA) on the coastal plains (and is rare there). It has "threatened" status in that state. If you can get seed from your friend, I'd certainly go for it.




Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Afloden on July 24, 2008, 02:11:29 AM
Kristl,

 Is the Cimicifuga really fragrant? Like what? Those I am used to here in east Tennessee and those out in the Ozarks smell pretty awful. They have a Crataegus-like scent. Some of the other species are nicely fragrant though.

 The Carex grayii is strange. Are you sure it was Carex? It looks like Sparganium americanum. It is strange coincidence that you and I are both out in swamps this week. I'll have to get my pictures downloaded after the next two days of exploration. You probably don't have to deal with poisonous snakes though right?

  I just saw Lilium canadense for the first time in the wild last week, but these were in somewhat dry woodlands at about 800m.

 Aaron Floden
 Knoxville, TN

 
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 24, 2008, 03:35:36 AM
Is the Cimicifuga really fragrant? Like what? Those I am used to here in east Tennessee and those out in the Ozarks smell pretty awful. They have a Crataegus-like scent. Some of the other species are nicely fragrant though.

The Carex grayii is strange. Are you sure it was Carex? It looks like Sparganium americanum. It is strange coincidence that you and I are both out in swamps this week. I'll have to get my pictures downloaded after the next two days of exploration. You probably don't have to deal with poisonous snakes though right?

I just saw Lilium canadense for the first time in the wild last week, but these were in somewhat dry woodlands at about 800m.

Aaron,
I will try to describe the scent tomorrow when I walk the area again---all I recall now is strong and sweet. What you don't like the smell of Hawthorns?

The Sparganium/Carex error has now been remedied. Both were at the site, I posted Sparganium eurycarpum, instead of the Carex. Now both are there.

Interesting to hear about Lilium canadense in dry woodlands---have never seen it in that sort of a site in eastern Canada.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on July 24, 2008, 03:52:37 AM
Ah....La Poutine....the quintessential Quebec fast food.

Ready?

This is basic poutine:

French Fries, topped with fresh cheese curds (usually cheddar), covered with brown gravy.
The curds have to be very fresh, so they get soft, but don't melt.


Now I wish I hadn't asked!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: johnw on July 24, 2008, 04:26:35 AM

Now I wish I hadn't asked!
[/quote]

Break out the Simvastatin.

johnw
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paddy Tobin on July 24, 2008, 09:54:13 AM
Kristi,

Many thanks. I shall get my friend to watch for seed for me. He is extremely keen on native plants, trees and shrubs in the main, and has good contacts around the states with whom he swaps.

Poutine - a certain recipe for cholesterol! (as well as looking disgusting!)

Paddy
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on July 24, 2008, 03:35:02 PM
Re: Poutine...... Lesley may wish she hadn't asked, but I am very pleased she did.....she just beat me to it in the first place! Yummy!! 8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Joakim B on July 24, 2008, 03:48:42 PM
Even though the name sounds French the dish seems to fit the British or at least the Scottish cooking.
I think I would have skipped the gravy or at least had less of it but I would try.

Kind regards
Joakim
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: art600 on July 24, 2008, 05:17:21 PM
Maggi

Does Poutine surpass that famous Scottish dish 'Fried Mars bar' or come a close second?  Not sure my Statins could cope with either.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on July 24, 2008, 05:58:41 PM
Though our excellent local chip shop makes deepfried easter eggs at the appropriate season ( admittedly for the private order of a pair of doctors !!??!! :o) I must confess I have never eaten that, or a deepfried Mars Bars, so I am not in a great position to comment......whenever I have heaeded  down to the chip shop with a mars bars to have it fried, I have always consumed it before I get there  :-X

Knowing, however, of the joys of that fine British dish, chips and curry sauce.... I see no reason why the various types of poutine should not gain HUGE popularity throughout the UK and particulalrly in Scotland  ;D ;D  I would like to try it with fresh buffalo mozzarella instead of the cheddar curds... :-\ ;)

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 24, 2008, 07:56:06 PM
I will try to describe the scent tomorrow when I walk the area again---all I recall now is strong and sweet.  


Aaron:
We have had a smell fest--if two noses qualifies as a fest.

I maintain my earlier "sweet"--although the fragrance was not "in the air" today---(rain again!!!!)
I tend to be rather sensitive to smells, especially strong, sweet ones---after about a week of the powerful Syringa reticulata, I start taking the long way around the tree to avoid it...but this scent I find quite lovely.

But Graham says "heady, heavy, smells like pollen and overall rather unpleasant."

Do you think it's a male-female thing?


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on July 24, 2008, 09:56:39 PM

Break out the Simvastatin.

johnw

I don't know what this is but anyway, for me it would have to be slimvastatin ;D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: johnw on July 24, 2008, 10:26:09 PM

Break out the Simvastatin.

johnw

I don't know what this is but anyway, for me it would have to be slimvastatin ;D

It is used to control hypercholesterolemia. I once sat next to someone who ate Poutine and felt I should have had a tablet.

johnw
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on July 24, 2008, 11:49:23 PM
Like I put on weight when I walk past a cake shop.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on July 26, 2008, 01:33:38 AM
Lesley,

Yes, but it helps if you don't actually go in and buy!!  ;D ;)

Kristl,

Not necessarily a male-female thing, just a "different nose" thing.  I have a couple of the most wonderfully perfumed Galanthus elwesii, I can smell them a metre or two away, but my wife smells them as "green".  Of a couple of neighbours some can smell them and others can't, no relation to their gender in any way.  I'm glad I can smell them because they're beautiful.  If you've ever smelt Brown Boronia it is stunning, but apparently you either can or can't smell it.  Something in some noses just won't register the scent of it.  I can smell it from the other end of the nursery.  I walk in the door and just KNOW they've got it in, despite the fact it may be 20 or 30 metres away out the back of the building I am standing in.  I just LOVE it!!  :D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 30, 2008, 01:47:44 AM
The seed collecting has been so intense recently that I have not even allowed myself the distraction of bringing the camera on any of my outings. Over 150 species have been collected, cleaned and tested thus far.

But today did not sound as strenuous, and I've missed sharing my times in the wild with you.

The first quick stop of the day was an exposed marble outcrop to collect Asplenium platyneuron, another of the choice, small ferns, which grows here in abundance. It's a short climb to the rocky top and the ferns were perfectly ready. The fronds are long and narrow.

Ostrya virginiana, grew high on the ridge as well, with its hop-like fruit already formed.

The beautiful Dryopteris marginalis was also present, although it's spores were not yet ripe. It gets its species name from the arrangement of the spore sack along the very margins of the frond underside.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 30, 2008, 03:02:44 AM
Stop number two was a mixed deciduous/coniferous woods where the collecting goals were Prunus virginiana, Uvularia grandiflora and Trientalis borealis and to check on the status of a number of other species.

This is a woods notorious for swarms of deer fly at this time of the year, so the patches were put on the back of my hat, the long-sleeved shirt was buttoned up tight and as little skin as possible was left exposed. Then I just breathe deeply and go, knowing there is nothing else to be done, except to be efficient and get back to the vehicle as quickly as possible. (I can't work with the bug-mesh over my head...).

It's unfortunate because it's a lovely woods with diverse, interesting environments from dry to wet, acid to alkaline. And, as it turned out, I was not able to simply collect and go. But more about that later.

The Prunus virginiana, at the edge of the forest was quick and easy as the trees were loaded with long wands of fruit.

Trientalis borealis flowers translate into this small sky-blue seed ball filled with tiny seeds.

And Uvularia grandiflora pods were abundant this year. One likes to find them at the brown stage, just opening to light beige/brown hard seeds inside. However, this is near impossible, as they often split while barely to the whitish stage. So I pick those that have a white tinge, leaving the green pods. The more advanced pods will normally be further down the plant, hiding underneath the foliage, as those will have flowered first.

If you gather immature seed, it will rot when it contacts moisture.

Uvularia sessilifolia is not like this---it's pods stay intact until they are gathered, notwithstanding the advanced level of ripeness.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on July 30, 2008, 03:12:07 AM
Kristl,

So I take it that Deer Fly are pretty nasty then?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 30, 2008, 03:22:09 AM
The acid woods part of this site has the normal drifts of Cypripedium acaule, and there were some unusually large specimens here. Some Monotropa and a few Spiranthes were also to be seen.

However, as I was checking the status of a Pyrola species here, I wandered a bit off-course, as my eye caught something in the distance. I found myself in an area that I had never explored in the many years I have been coming to these woods. And there I was astounded to find the largest colony of Chimaphila umbellata I have ever seen. It literally carpeted the floor for as far as the eye could see.

And I stopped hurrying and just let the deer fly bite!!!!!!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: johnw on July 30, 2008, 03:23:30 AM
Paul - The deer flies are positively nasty. I think they take a chunk of skin with them when they bite. They are harassers and no matter which way you turn they are always directly over & behind your head.  It is only possible it seems to smack one out of ten when they finally land on the back of your head (if you know it's landed). Hair would be a wonderful deterrent.

An old gentleman once warned me never to take a hammer into the woods in deer fly season.

Kristl - Those Chimaphila shots are astounding.  Thanks so much and must get some of those deerfly sticky patches at CTC - ah the satisfaction.

johnw
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 30, 2008, 04:13:50 AM
The last stop of the day was to collect Cornus canadensis, Carex eburnea, Rhamnus alnifolia, Linnaea borealis and Cornus stolonifera.

This was in a mixed forest near where I live, a bit too close to the city of Ottawa for my taste, as it is used for human activities not necessarily in rhythm with botanic interests. Notwithstanding, there are many good plants there and with the benefit of little travel time for me. It is also the forest of the beautiful black rocks I showed in an earlier spring post. And here are a few more.

The site also has more poison ivy than any other place where I gather seed and I would not dare to wander there without boots, as it is the predominant ground cover throughout much of the woods.

Cornus canadensis is a joy in flower, at the seed stage and with neither flower or seed.

And Carex eburnea (ebony sedge) is a choice little fine-textured species, ranging as far north as Alaska. It will grow in sun or shade, alkaline or acid, deep soil or on rocks. You can see it here carpeting an area in the woods, and on top of some of the beautiful black rock. The species name refers to it's black seeds--I also post a picture of the species in my rock garden, where you can see the seeds better.







Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 30, 2008, 04:27:02 AM
The Linnaea grew in the same area as the Cornus canadensis, making this an easy collect, as much as the sticky seed of the Linnaea is ever easy to collect. Better just to cut off the seed stalks rather than drive yourself crazy (you will know what I mean if you have ever gathered these seeds).

Cornus stolonifera was a quickie; growing in openings in the woods.

Rhamnus alnifolia has continued to frustrate me for many years that I have tried to get it into my catalogue---but the birds love the berries so much it has been impossible to ever find more than a few, no matter how I alter my timing. Today was no different, although I did manage to scrounge a few hundred seeds after a good 2 hours of walking. This native Buckthorn is a relatively unknown, small, low and spreading shrub with beautiful, veined, glossy, green leaves. Flowers are insignificant, and you already know that the black berries are beloved by birds.

And a few species found in flower in these woods today: the tiny Lobelia spicata and the large Eupatorium maculatum.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on July 30, 2008, 06:38:15 PM
Oh, my word, Kristl, if I weren't already dizzy and falling over I would be now, having seen your photos of these carpets of Chimaphila umbellata ! How wonderful to see such a large colony..... deep joy!!  8) 8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: art600 on July 30, 2008, 07:04:38 PM
Welcome back Maggi  Don't go overdoing it, even though Kristl's images are always difficult to resist
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 30, 2008, 11:51:16 PM
Oh, my word, Kristl, if I weren't already dizzy and falling over I would be now, having seen your photos of these carpets of Chimaphila umbellata ! How wonderful to see such a large colony..... deep joy!!  8) 8)

Maggi,
I am not even sick, and I was dizzy and fell over when I saw this. I literally sat on the ground and just looked at it, deer fly and all; imagining it in bloom. Just so you know- well-drained, sandy acid soil, deep layer of pine duff on top. I am doing an experiment right now. Brought home adjacent soil from the woods and will sow Chimaphila and Pyrolas in it this winter.

Also meant to say that in the picture of the 4 seed pods that I posted, the left one is last years pod. They stay perfectly intact (but empty). Only the darker colour alerts you to the fact.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 02, 2008, 03:52:33 AM
Trillium undulatum seed was collected today. It's the only species of Trillium I have been unable to make happy in my alkaline garden; so I now just enjoy it in the wild.

It is, hands down, my favorite Trillium species in fruit. One almost hates to pick that beautiful berry perched on those luscious, large leaves.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on August 02, 2008, 09:00:54 AM
Kristl,

That is a corker!!  Beautiful!!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Gerdk on August 02, 2008, 09:50:52 AM
Kristl,
So extraordinary flowers and as a  bonus these fruits!
Do you know what special requirements Trillium undulatum has? Long ago a friend of mine imported this species from the US. While a lot of other Trillium species are happy here, these disappeared after their first winter. Our soil is limefree.

Gerd
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 04, 2008, 02:33:48 PM
Do you know what special requirements Trillium undulatum has? Long ago a friend of mine imported this species from the US. While a lot of other Trillium species are happy here, these disappeared after their first winter. Our soil is limefree.

Gerd,
It's quite a mystery to me why this species is so difficult to establish in the garden. The acidic sites where it grows in the wild are not unique in any way. Of course, I will show my bias and say that attempting it from seed sown in situ might give an advantage.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on August 04, 2008, 02:59:24 PM
Kristl, you are showing no bias, in spite of your profession....it is certainly true that it is easier to establish many ( most) of the tricky plants if one can have enough seed to keep trying with... eventually some are bound to decide that life is worth living.....it's why so many of us are such addicted seed -sowers, isn't it? Sometimes, tho', it can be nice to steal a few years by buying bulbs  ;)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: johnw on August 04, 2008, 04:39:08 PM
Gert / Kristl

I have dug a few T. undulatum from my forest land near Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.  Curiously the bulb is in the, sometimes very dry, deep forest duff. The roots seems to go into the hard but moist soil below. I was surprised that this duff could be 12-14" deep with the bulb almost sitting on the soil.  On Yarmouth land it is very plentiful in full sun but otherwise same conditions. Its' pal Medeola virginiana does the same. How you would translate this to a garden situation is beyond me but the Medeola is no problem...peat garden perhaps?

Repotting bulbs yesterday I was just about to pull the old dry tops off Leucojum roseum bulbs when I noticed a few flower stalks coming out this dried tube. Some flower stalks were breaking out of the tube half way up. Had I cleaned the bulbs up I would unwittingly have removed the flowers too. Also a very strange long white extension from the base of a Galanthus bulb, almost like a runner and no signs of a bulb shape. Puzzling, has anyone seen this before?.

johnw
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 05, 2008, 03:38:28 AM
Ptelea trifoliata (Hop Tree) is found in the wild only in southern Ontario, and is rare in Canada. It's a lovely small tree with beautiful foliage, good flowers and interesting seeds in the fall. The contrasting reddish branches are fantastic. The picture of the flowering specimen is from the University Of Western Ontario, as I forgot to photograph it this spring. The yellow-leafed form (seed grown) is particularly lovely, to my eye- it lights up a dark corner in the woodland garden.

Part of my meadow has turned into a sea of yellow with another southern Ontario native, Ratibida pinnata, which is more common in the prairies.

Also with a narrow distribution in this province, along the Great Lakes is Carex muskingumensis---one of my favorite sedges, which has been in the trade for many years, and is likely known to many of you. It is a wonderful garden plant, even without a wet spot.

Eupatorium perfoliatum is firmly native to this area.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on August 05, 2008, 12:50:30 PM
Kristl, never heard of  Ptelea trifoliata before! Every day this forum reminds me of how much there is to learn.... and provides the most delightful method of gaining that knowledge  :)

The Ratibida pinnata is really a cheery sight, good for the grey day, which we have here.

This summer  has been a bit short of butterflies so far, though there is one dark one swooping round the garden today ( but I can't tell what it is)... so it is nice to see your handsome fellow, posing for his portrait. :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on August 05, 2008, 09:49:31 PM
Definitely the right way to see the Ratibida, en masse like that. I remember years ago reading about Solidago in the Jalna books and thinking how glorious it must be to see it growing in quantity in the wild.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 07, 2008, 02:23:41 AM
Well, Lesley, I must make a determination to show you Solidagos en masse...
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Katherine J on August 07, 2008, 09:41:51 AM
Kristl,
how do you test the seeds? Germination-test, or what?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 08, 2008, 02:55:02 AM
Kathrine,
I would like to answer your germination question with some pictures, etc...will do that soon.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 08, 2008, 03:58:28 AM
I have shown you Polygala polygama before.

It is an amphicarpic plant....and the following says it better than I ever could...

From a review in "Current Science"....

"For every 6944 species of plants whose flowers we can see and smell there is one that also produces flowers which we cannot see nor smell because the species chooses to flower underground. These species, referred to as amphicarpic, produce flowers both above-ground and below-ground and thus seem to enjoy the best of both possible worlds – the aerial and subterranean path to reproduction. These plants are unlike the groundnut plants which bear aerial flowers but develop their fruits underground. Though the frequency of the amphicarpic plants is very small constituting only about 0.0144 per cent of the flowering plant species, it has been reported to have evolved independently several times in the course of the evolution of the flowering plants. And thus, though small in frequency, this behaviour cannot be disregarded as a chance event.

Quite obviously the underground flowers in the amphicarpic plants are completely self-pollinated and the fruits and seeds are relatively protected from vagaries of climatic fluctuations and predation. On the other hand, the aerial flowers are usually cross-pollinated bringing into the amphicarpic plant the much-desired genetic variability. Despite their exciting dual flowering behaviour, there appears to be not much work done on these species. Almost nothing is known about the evolutionary significance of these flowers. What could have driven them to flower thus? All these and more questions go abegging. As the authors mention, detailed physiological, ecological and evolutionary studies are required to fully understand and appreciate the significance of the underground flowers.

Meanwhile one thing is clear about the underground flowers – they seem to have clearly chosen their stand against the servant who remarked to his queen in one of Tagore’s poem ‘I will keep fresh the grassy path where you will walk in the morning, where your feet will be greeted with praise at every step by the flowers eager for death’. The underground flowers are certainly not among those eager to shower praise and die!"


So, here are the pretty pink aerial flowers, followed by a picture of the excavated underground flowers/fruits photographed on the same day (just barely underground and attached to the maternal plant by an umbilical cord).

This all makes for a crazy, mixed up seed collecting bag when the time comes (full of soil, cleistogamous, underground "runners" -and normal green aerial seed).

And here are the heart-shaped subterranean seed pods, usually white, unless they have come a bit closer to the surface of the soil and been exposed to light.

Both the green aerial seed and the white underground seed have one seed in each of the two chambers of the heart.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 08, 2008, 04:05:50 AM
and if there is anyone else who is as fascinated by these ideas as I am...here is the following on amphicarpic plants by Gregory Cheplick ---'Life History Evolution in Amphicarpic Plants'

"Despite substantial variation, subterranean seeds are generally heavier than aerial seeds (but fewer) and produce vigorous seedlings with high survivorship and high fitness. Adaptive advantages of subterranean seeds include retention of offspring in favorable parental microhabitats, protection of seeds from herbivory, predation, or fire, and avoidance of desiccating conditions on the soil surface ; potential disadvantages include lack of gene exchange, high energy costs, limited dispersal, and sibling competition. For the few species studied, aerial reproduction is more plastic than subterranean reproduction and more likely to be affected by environmental conditions."   
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on August 08, 2008, 07:23:15 AM
Kristl,

Absolutely fascinating.  I knew there were plants that flowered and seeded underground, but didn't realise that there were plants that flowered above and below ground at the same time.  Weird!! So is the Polgala a shrub, herbaceous plant, running ground cover type thing?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 08, 2008, 01:47:51 PM
Paul, it's a tiny, delicate, clumping, herbaceous plant.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on August 08, 2008, 02:33:44 PM
Sounds wonderful.  Unfortunately, it isn't one of the 4 Polygala species allowed into Aus through our quarantine. ::)  There's been a few treasures that you've shown us that I'd love to have got form you, but unfortunately they aren't on the permitted list.  :'(  Then again, there are others that are just fine.  You have shown us some wonderful plants throughout this thread Kristl, so many of them new and interesting.  Thanks so much.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 08, 2008, 02:43:37 PM
Almost all the native Trillium seed has now been collected, with only T. erectum remaining (collection times have been oddly out of their usual order this year, undoubtably because of the constant rain).

Trillium grandiflorum is my favorite in flower.
T. undulatum my favorite in fruit.

But for beauty of the fruit on its own, there is almost no other seed I collect that is as stunning as Trillium cernuum pods.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 08, 2008, 02:53:05 PM
A few of the other berries collected yesterday:

Aralia hispida.

The tiny, hairy white berries of the equally tiny and choice Gaultheria hispidula.

Berries of Gaylussacia baccata are hard to clean as one wants to eat them all--delicious and sweet and of good size. It's known as Huckleberry.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on August 10, 2008, 09:35:55 PM
I wonder was this the origin of the one cartoon character for whom I ever felt some affection, Huckleberry Hound. Certainly our own dog loves blackberries, eating them straight from the arching and very prickly stems and leaving the remaining fruit covered with saliva so that I really can't make use of them.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 11, 2008, 01:43:33 AM
Some Solidago for Leslie....of course, the well known S. canadensis and the weediest species. It's the "large mass Solidago" and can be found covering large acreages.....many of the other species, some ridiculously well-behaved, are not in bloom yet.

Echinocystis lobata (Cucumber Weed) is a native annual tendril climber producing upright panicles of creamy-white blooms. It will climb up anything and one can see country fences and hedges entirely covered with it's frothy flowers right now. It seems to like my conifers. After flowering, it produces very interesting large prickly seed pods, with fascinating large black seeds (will show you later). Perpetuates from seed.

Coreopsis tripteris is native to the remnant prairie areas of southern Ontario. It's a tall, tall species, not immediately obvious as a Coreopsis--but one can see the genus clearly in the flowers.

And lastly, the well-known native Helenium autumnalis. I have never seen it in other than straight yellow in the wild.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on August 11, 2008, 03:02:47 AM
The Solidagi is wonderful Kristl, thanks for this pic. A pic of it en masse perhaps to come...? :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 14, 2008, 01:07:04 AM
Lesley, the en-masse Solidago canadensis.

I'll try to do a survey of Solidago species as the season progresses. Some (unlike S. canadensis) I will have to hunt down.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on August 14, 2008, 02:28:28 AM
Thanks Kristl, that's fantastic but omygod, it does look like some of the local paddocks where ragwort has infested.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on August 14, 2008, 02:30:13 AM
Much better though, enlarged! ;D

Your package has just arrived. You have been very generous and I send my grateful thanks. More sowing to be done this weekend.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: fermi de Sousa on August 14, 2008, 03:22:10 AM
More sowing to be done this weekend.
Reminds me of a line out of "Fiddler on the Roof": and who does Mama teach to mend and SOW and fix.... ;D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on August 14, 2008, 03:46:08 AM
I've done it again, haven't I? ???
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: fermi de Sousa on August 14, 2008, 04:05:41 AM
I've done it again, haven't I? ???
No, just my sense of humus.
cheers
fermi
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on August 14, 2008, 04:43:02 AM
No I haven't. I DO mean SOW not SEW. ::)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: fermi de Sousa on August 14, 2008, 07:47:39 AM
No I haven't. I DO mean SOW not SEW. ::)
exactly
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 15, 2008, 12:35:21 AM
A new law in Ontario (proclaimed June, 2008) makes it illegal to grow or possess a number of species that are endangered in this province, although some species might be widespread in other parts of North America.

My sense of the legislation (if *really* adddressing threatened species throughout the province) is that it was written from the narrow perspective of southern Ontario (seat of provincial power).

For instance, Rhododendron canadense exists in only two locations in the province (and in one of those locations is almost non-existant). I have shown you the other location, which is Alfred Bog, close to where I live. Yet this species is not on the verboten list. Yet, most plant species that are in the northern part of their range only in southern Ontario are included (such as Liatris spicata).

But what is, or is not included on the forbidden list is hardly my problem with the legislation---but the fact that it makes it illegal to GROW any of the listed plants (in the name of conservation). The fact that I grow Ptelea trifoliata, Cercis canadensis, Gymnocarpum dioicum, and yes, even Liatris spicata here on my 8 acres means I am infringing this new law. Should I be removing them? Cutting down 25 year old trees, so that they may be conserved?

I have been told that exemptions may be made for botanical institutions, perhaps businesses....but I have heard nothing further. In my discussions with the powers that be, I used Panax quinquefolius (American Ginseng) as my specific example. It has been largely wiped out in the wild in North America due to wild crafting for the economic benefit of homeopathy. In the USA it has been "farmed" for many years to supply the market, and is readily available.

As a conscientious seed collector, I never collected endangered plants or seed from the wild.  Instead, I
worked on establishing them from seed on my own property. Some plants (such as the Ginseng) took many years of work to have a large enough population to make the endangered seed available from my own stock. Now I am not to grow the plants here, neither am I to sell the seed (if the origin of the seed is Ontario). To make this even more convoluted----I "may" be able to sell seed of the endangered species, if I purchase them from a jurisdiction where they are not endangered.

For someone who already believes that all the plant species on our fair earth are threatend (almost always because of corporate economic interests), any further restriction on what we may grow is something that deeply concerns me. Rather than pull back, or restrict, we should be growing plants like crazy---just to ensure they remain on the planet. To limit individual gardeners, rather than address the real problem (the environment and loss of habitat for plants) is of course, the usual convoluted method of government.

And I have always been a rebel.

So, today I harvested Panax quinquefolius---and a bumper year it was, with all the rain. Large, well-developed pods on healthy plants. Will I list it in my catalogue? I think I have no choice.


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 15, 2008, 01:06:54 AM
Prickly Ash (Xanthoxylum americanum) is not normally something I collect, or want to collect---but it was on my list this year from the Mustila Arboretum in Finland, for their North American collection. It is not a pleasant experience to deal with the stout, sharp thorns on the branches---yet the beautiful lemon scent of the foliage and the berries is a plus, and the seeds are quite beautiful, lining the branches.

The first Viburnum of the season has been collected: V. recognitum (a small species growing in low, moist areas) with wonderful blue seed.

Also collected were the ripe, white berries of Symphoricarpus albus (Snowberry), which grows in shady woods here.

Cornus rugosa, picked from various clones in the wild has berries in various shades of blue on beautiful pink stalks.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on August 15, 2008, 02:05:57 AM
Lovely, lovely seeds. (Almost) better than rubies and sapphires!

I think you're doing everything possible and reasonable Kristl. Your situation shows how absolutely, indefensibly stupid the bureaucracy can be - and almost always is.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on August 15, 2008, 11:06:25 AM
Oh dear, Kristl, the idiocy of government is enough to drive one crazy..... where is there any sense in these daft rulings ?  What is it about positions of power that renders any degree of common sense extinct ?


I have to admit, again, :-[ that some of the plants you show us are completely new to me and I rejoice in learning about them and in seeing, through your photos, so many of their intimate details. These seeds and fruits are a wonder, as are the super little sculptures left behind, as with the Panax stalk ....all a pleasure to behold. Thank you!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Katherine J on August 18, 2008, 08:17:09 AM
Oh dear, Kristl, the idiocy of government is enough to drive one crazy..... where is there any sense in these daft rulings ?  What is it about positions of power that renders any degree of common sense extinct ?


I have to admit, again, :-[ that some of the plants you show us are completely new to me and I rejoice in learning about them and in seeing, through your photos, so many of their intimate details. These seeds and fruits are a wonder, as are the super little sculptures left behind, as with the Panax stalk ....all a pleasure to behold. Thank you!

Very well told, I have only to second all these. :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Katherine J on August 19, 2008, 02:18:19 PM
Maggi,
shouldn't be put also this thread in the "Memorable topics"?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on August 19, 2008, 05:38:10 PM
Kata, I could not agree with you more.... and so it shall be done!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 19, 2008, 11:17:48 PM
Kathrine and Maggi....I feel honoured...
Thank you :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on August 19, 2008, 11:34:44 PM
No need for thanks, Kristl, look at the number of people who have read these pages.... currently almost six thousand !! Well deserved, my dear! :-*
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 19, 2008, 11:57:15 PM
Today was spent in four sites, one of which you have seen before.

After a very hot day followed by violent thunderstorms, temperatures dropped to a cool 20C today and sunny...a near perfect day for my temperament and for spending the day in the wild.

First, a quick stop to photograph another of our choice little ferns, Woodsia ilvensis, in situ.
It grows on acid rocks in full sun in an area not far from home. It has a wonderful, thick, hairy texture.

It's the first year I have ever been able to obtain any spores from this fern.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 20, 2008, 12:30:32 AM
This second site I have shown you before; when I was picking blueberries here. It is also the spot where Polygala polygama and Lithospermum caroliense grow.

This is an acid sand environment.

The predominant groundcover at this time of the year was the beautiful, fine-textured Carex pensylvanicum.

I was here this time to collect seed of the Lithospermum, Helianthemum canadense and Aralia hispida. The first yielded almost nil, the second was a rather tedius process of removing only the ripe pods, the last was a snap.

Here in the open in full sun and dry conditions grows the rare, tiny Cyperus houghtonii and along the edges of the woodland, an unidentified Solidago and the woodland sunflower, Helianthus divaricatus, still in bloom.


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 20, 2008, 01:01:20 AM
In the woodland area of this same site, Gaultheria procumbens was in bloom.

And I collected more berries of the delicious Gaylusaccia baccata, and early Anemone cylindrica.

My last task was to try to find the scarce shrubby Ceanothus americanus, which I have been looking for in this area for some years. C. herbaceous is abundant here, but the former I had been unable to locate. A botanist friend helped with good, specific coordinates---and voila---the plants were there---and still with unripe seed that can be collected over the next month!!!!!

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 20, 2008, 01:44:01 AM
The third stop of the day was an area along the Ottawa River, which is very rich in plant species, both in the water and on shore.

Here is one section of the water that is almost solid Pontederia cordata (including the drift you see in the far distance)!!!!

Along the shore:
Shepherdia canadensis
The beautiful developing acorns of Quercus macrocarpa
Almost ripe berries of Cornus amomum
Early coloring of Celastrus scandens (almost displaced in the wild by the Asian C. orbiuculatus).
Anaphalis margaritacea.
Drifts of Physocarpus opulifolius, with the seed receptacles at a beautiful warm salmony colour right now. 

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 20, 2008, 02:12:07 AM
This area is also one of the few local spots where colonies of ornamental grasses can be found. Most of these are common in the Canadian prairies and being warm-season grasses, they are just now coming into their own and will not be at their prime, with outstanding foliage colouring, until after first frost.

All are clumping grasses.

They are very difficult to photograph...

I was not able to photograph Andropogon gerardii, although it grows here.

Sorghastrum nutans (Indian Grass) is one of North Americas most beautiful ornamental grasses. It can grow to 150cm, is upright, clumping with almost blue foliage, maturing to yellow then burnt orange. The plumes were a golden bronze today. Spectacular!!!!

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little Blue Stem) is just at the barely-flowering stage right now. It will turn intense colours of purple, bronze, and foxy-red later.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 20, 2008, 02:40:21 AM
My last spot of the day was another alvar. I bet you think I keep showing you the same ones---after all, how many can there be???? But there have actually been no alvar-repeats (yet).

This particular alvar is actually one of my favorites, not only because the plants are interesting here, but the rock is more fascinating than in other alvars.

Firstly, the limestone pavement is much more exposed---which is wonderful on its own---but the limestone is also chock full of fossils, so wherever you walk, you walk on visible history.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 20, 2008, 02:54:28 AM
Here are just a few of the rock impressions.

I would be happy to know what some of them are....????
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 20, 2008, 03:40:54 AM
There are large areas of the limestone pavement covered with moss and in the moss there are thousands of Saxifraga virginiensis, now at their resting-rosette stage...

Mats of Arctostaphyllos uva ursi with their beautiful red berries.

A tiny, beautiful (no name for now) Solidago (10cm at best).

And the only slightly taller Solidago nemoralis, just starting to open its elegant blooms. It is only found on alvars.


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 20, 2008, 03:46:06 AM
A few more woody species:

The small heat and sun loving Viburnum rafinesquianum.
Cornus racemosum on the open alvar.
Symphoricarpus albus along the woodland margins with Cornus rugosa.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 20, 2008, 04:01:26 AM
These are the last pictures from the alvar---and of one of my favorite ornamental grasses---which only grows in this spot.

Over the years, a large corner of the alvar has grown into a colony of these beautiful plants. Once you know the distinctive pink drift, you can always recognize it in the landscape.

Sporobolis heterolepis is a tightly clumping, hummock-forming, medium sized plant that looks fantastic in the garden.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Gerdk on August 20, 2008, 07:22:53 AM
Kristl,
I am just overwhelmed by the impressions and plants you posted - what a show!

Gerd
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Luc Gilgemyn on August 20, 2008, 09:42:04 AM
Kristl,
I couldn'nt think of a better name for this thread - you're definitely showing us a bit of heaven !!!!!  8)
Thanks again for sharing it !!!  :-*
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: art600 on August 20, 2008, 10:42:56 AM
Kristl

Thank goodness for digital photography.  You continue to 'raise the bar'  The Usain Bolt of plant photography.  A gold medal hardly seems sufficient.

The fossils were amazing - thank goodness the area is not easily accessible.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paddy Tobin on August 20, 2008, 01:01:53 PM
Kristl,

Of course, the plants are beautiful and perfectly photographed but the fossils were so different that it was they which took  my interest. Fabulous place, obviously.

Paddy
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 20, 2008, 01:11:29 PM
Kristl

Thank goodness for digital photography.  You continue to 'raise the bar'  The Usain Bolt of plant photography.  A gold medal hardly seems sufficient.

The fossils were amazing - thank goodness the area is not easily accessible.

Thank you Gerd, Luc, Art and Paddy....I always think to myself, if only I had the time to do it right (with an actual tripod, energy and more time) not always juggling backpacks with seed....plus the ever worrisome camera and shaky photographers hands, running here and there, trying to fit it all into too-short days. But it is what my life has become, and my greatest wish would be to have more time "out there" instead of needing to run my business as well.

So I am always happy if just a few of the shaky images translate into a "feeling" for these places and plants that I love.

And Art, you would not believe how absolutely accessible that particular alvar actually is- right off the main road.  In fact yesterday I saw evidence of a four-wheel drive vehicle having been in there (again)-disturbed rocks lying here and there, tire tracks etc.  

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: David Nicholson on August 20, 2008, 08:55:34 PM
A brilliant set of pictures, as usual, Kristl. Thanks for taking the time to post them.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: annew on August 20, 2008, 11:03:15 PM
Heavenly!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on August 21, 2008, 01:13:50 PM
Love the fossils Kristl, amongst all your other wonderful pictures.  Great Stuff!!  8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 21, 2008, 11:00:40 PM
This will be my last post for a while-as I am soon heading off to southern Ontario to visit my daugher and then on to Michigan to see my mother. I will also be trying to find moments to be in the wild and see plants that may not be native here.

Todays trip out had to be without much picture taking, as it involved the hauling of heavy, multiple bags of Hickory seed (Carya sp.).

Carya ovata (Shagbark Hickory) has absolutely tremendous bark, which I forgot to photograph. If you don't know it, I post a picture here from Duke University showing you the distinctively shaggy bark, from which it gets its common name. It is wonderful coming upon specimens of the right maturity in the wild, exhibiting this beautiful loose-pleated bark.

Of the two Hickories in our area, this is the edible one, with decent size fruits, long used as a staple by native people.

Several species of insects influence seed production by causing aborting or premature dropping of fruits or by reducing the germinative capacity of mature nuts. In good seed years about half of the total seed crop is sound. This was the first good production year in a long time. Unfortunately, one cannot always tell which seeds have insect or other damage while the shell is on the nut, so it entails dragging home heavy, heavy loads, waiting for them to open, and then discarding the empties, or obviously infested or diseased ones. Some years I brought the volume home only to have all the fruits go into the compost.

The fruits are laid out on trays and placed in a warm spot to split and then to determine which are sound.

Carya cordiformis (Bitternut Hickory) has the smaller (inedible) fruits- although loved by squirrels, who are usually helpful in bringing them down from the trees. They were so active today, that I was literally being pelted by Hickory nuts, as they came flying down from the sky....


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 21, 2008, 11:07:15 PM
Dichanthelium latifolium (Deer-Tongue Grass) is an interesting and worthwhile grass for the woodland. Wide foliage, with a bamboo-like effect on a smallish plant (60cm). The fascinating part for me is that the first set of seeds it produces after initial flowering at the top of the plant normally produce sterile seeds--but those that come later on lower, side branches are the fertile ones that one must wait for.

This is Polypodium virginianum, a small fern often found covering large cliffs and rocks in the wild.

Lastly, Aster umbellatum which Bernard has already shown you in the "Flowers and Foliage Now" section-and his pictures are much better than mine.

This is a great aster not so much because of it's individual small white flowers, produced much earlier than most native asters--but for it's wonderful form--with large umbels of blooms on a lovely, upright plant.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 21, 2008, 11:18:59 PM
Lastly, I am wondering if there is anyone lurking here from southern Ontario who could direct me to an easily accessible spot (from Hwy. 401) to see Cornus florida or Quercus prinoides or any other woody Carolinian species. I am also wanting to see large colonies of Jeffersonia diphylla --- I know about the Salmon River site, but would like to find another spot (again easily gotten to from the 401).

Thank You.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on August 21, 2008, 11:21:39 PM
Kristl, good luck with your travels and hope you have a good time visiting your family. Take care, see you here soon, I trust!  :-* :-*
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on August 22, 2008, 12:35:46 AM
Kristl,

This topic is such a joy to read.  All these plants so many of us have never seen before, or in numbers that are almost unbelievable!  :D  The idea of large colonies of Jeffersonia diphylla is pretty impressive too, although I'd love to see large colonies of J. dubia too!!!  I have a few plants of both, grown from seed, and only flowered the latter as yet.... but what a treat.  The idea of large colonies of either would be fantastic!!  ;D

Thanks for giving us a wonderful view into a part of the world I at least am unfortunately never likely to see.  8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 22, 2008, 01:38:01 AM
thanks for giving us a wonderful view into a part of the world I at least am unfortunately never likely to see.  

And why not, Paul? All the world is just a plane trip away, you know...

Thanks, Maggi. The "mother" part of the trip will be a very difficult, emotional one as she has been very ill for too long; but my darling daughter and the plants will be the solace and the joy.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on August 22, 2008, 04:32:09 AM
Kristl,

Yes, but unfortunately they aren't free.  ;)  I must admit that Canada is very high on my list of countries I'd love to visit.  If I was given one trip I would be tossing up between it and the UK (I realise that isn't a country per se, but you know what I mean I hope).... The UK would probably win out as it would be a chance to catch up with a number of different friends, and also look into the roots of where some of my family came from..... I just love all the pics I have seen of so much real "wild" country in Canada, so lacking throughout most of the world now.  ::)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Brian Ellis on August 22, 2008, 08:15:29 AM
Quote
This will be my last post for a while-as I am soon heading off to southern Ontario to visit my daugher and then on to Michigan to see my mother

Well Kristl you, and your postings, will be sorely missed, have a good trip and we look forward to your return.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 31, 2008, 02:00:33 AM
Hello Friends,

I am back home after a marathon 1,800 km road trip in my little Toyota to
visit family and to see plants in the wild.

There is much seed work to catch up on here, but I thought I would first
share some of my adventures with you.

I apologize ahead of time for the poor quality of the pictures. Although the past week
was the first time all summer with a good amount of sun, it seems I brought my
wet weather karma with me, as it rained each time I was out with the plants,
resulting in shoot-fast-and-scurry mentality.

My time in Michigan near the Ontario border was brief, but I did have a 3
hour opportunity to head to some local woods to see what I could find.

Along the edges of these woods, tall drifts of yellow turned out to be
Verbesina alternifolia, which is rare in southern Ontario, only 30
minutes away. Phytolacca americana with ripe fruit grew in the same areas
along the woodland margins with Canada Moonseed (Menispermum canadense)
twining its way up into the trees.

Arisaema triphyllum were at various stages of ripeness in the woods---and I
found a few old specimens with very large leaves and sizeable, well-coloured
stems.

Podophyllum peltatum was mostly in a state of decay---with no more "apples"
to be found.

But Aralia racemosa was in pristine ripening berry condition.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: ranunculus on August 31, 2008, 07:12:14 AM
I too tried to submit a picture Kristl (just as a test for you), but it would not post.
Sorry Fred ... I can hear the swearing from here!

edit by maggi : Kristl has now been successful in posting her photos!  8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 01, 2008, 02:25:18 AM
It was my first time seeing all of the following species in the wild:

Campsis radicans at the edges of the woods.

And Cercis canadensis. The first picture is actually of a sea of well-established seedlings under the mother of all mother-cercis. I could barely believe my eyes when I saw the thousands of seed pods hanging from this clone-what a sight it must have been at flowering time!!!!

Maclura pomifera I have shown you once before on this forum with it's huge seed balls well formed.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 01, 2008, 02:52:09 AM
When I left Michigan I had already determined to spend the day in Windsor, the southernmost city in Ontario and to visit the Ojibway Prairie Complex (865 acres of prairie, woodland and savanna). It is a globally significant protected area containing over 4,000 species of plants and animals, including 115 provincially rare species of flora, some of which occur nowhere else in Canada.

My primary interest was to wander around in the 45 acre Tall Grass Prairie, and in fact I was the only wanderer there that day, down below plants that mostly reached way above my head. In the picture entitled "Prairie Path" you will see the narrow path made through the (wet) vegetation, just wide enough for a body.

I walked for many hours in this huge and complex eco-system--of which I only show you a very few impressions. It really was a wonderful experience (including the getting lost for a good 2 hours)!!!!

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 01, 2008, 03:07:24 AM
Andropogon gerardii (Big Blue Stem) was the most commonly seen tall grass species in Ojibway Prairie. It is a very fine, ornamental species at home in most gardens.

Pretty Cirsium discolor dotted the landscape, along with the tall Coreopsis tripteris.

Cornus drummondii was the most common small woody species in the prairie.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 01, 2008, 03:20:55 AM
Aster umbellatus, which you have seen before was here as well as some late-blooming Liatris spicata and Desmodium canadense.

4 species of Eupatorium were more or less in bloom.

Helianthus giganteus (the Tall Sunflower) was found in abundance, heads above most of the other herbaceous plants.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 01, 2008, 03:36:15 AM
Helenium autumnale and the pretty annual Gerardia purpurea grew in the moister parts of the prairie along with the tall, tall Silphium terebinthinaceum.

Vernonia missurica is not as tall as many of its kin, and flowers considerably earlier.

Silphium perfoliatum and Ratibida pinnata were nearing the end of their bloom, but Celastrus scandens was still at the unopened orange berry stage, climbing up into everything it could use to give it support.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 01, 2008, 04:07:55 AM
And just before I got lost in the prairie, I got very excited (could this have caused my disorientation afterwards???)

I came around a corner to see a large colony of what turned out to be Sassafras albidum, one of the 20 woody species I had on my wish list to see in the wild on this trip. While it is most normally grown as a single (small) tree, it can form shrubby thickets in the wild by root suckering (which is obviously what had happened here). It is a fantastic, long-lived tree, and *does* smell like root beer!!!

The green foliage, on distinct tiered branches, turns into flame colours in the fall. I wish it had been in it's seed producing year, as I would have loved to see the pea-sized, bright blue berries.

After the Sassafras, the prairie paths did funny things (or I did funny things on the paths???), and I found myself somehow out of the prairie and in the backyard of suburbia, literally walking past BBQ's and picnic benches in the rear yards of strangers. 5 small children playing in a sandbox showed me the way and I ended up walking two hours around the outside periphery of the prairie in the direction of my Toyota, or so I hoped.

But even this was not a wasted effort. Along the fringes of fenced Ojibway Prairie grew a profusion of climbing and twining native plants, enough to keep my interest on the long trek back to the beginning.

Parthenocissus quinquefolius, Vitis aestivalis, the fruit of a Smilax species (perhaps S. herbacea), Amphicarpa bracteata, Dioscorea villosa and Apios americana.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 01, 2008, 05:06:39 AM
I spent the next 2 days in southern Ontario, scouting the back roads and conservation areas in the hopes of seeing some of the remaining 19 woody species I had on my list to see. I was not disappointed.

The tropical looking Asimina triloba was high on my list---and I even saw a tree with fruit (a delicious combination of mango, pineapple and banana).

Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet Gum).

Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera).

Lindera benzoin (Spice Bush), with beautiful aromatic foliage.

Gymnocladus dioicus (Kentucky Coffee Tree).

Cornus florida.




Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on September 01, 2008, 05:39:35 AM

Sporobolis heterolepis

Such a lovely name. :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 01, 2008, 05:43:44 AM
Euonymus atropurpurea (Eastern Wahoo), which has not yet started to colour.

The rare Pumpkin Ash (Fraxinus profunda) and Fraxinus quadrangulata (Blue Ash) with distinctive square stems.
F. quadrangulata seed is much in demand right now as worry mounts about the emerald ash borer---and this species apparently has some resistance.

And of course, the Oaks: Quercus bicolor, alba, shumardii and the wonderful, tiny Q. prinoides.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 01, 2008, 06:00:33 AM
And I will end my journey with my favorite native Sumac. Unfortunately it is rare---but a beauty.

Shining Sumac (Rhus copallina) is a small species (just over 1m) with gorgeous shiny foliage that turns the most brilliant red in autumn. The fruit ripens much later than its kin.

The pictures of the late autumn colouring were taken last year when I visited this same site much later in the season. The last picture shows it's taller cousin, Rhus thyphina growing behind it on the top left.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Katherine J on September 01, 2008, 08:20:15 AM
Wonderful journey. And your diary... no words for thank your time and pics.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Luc Gilgemyn on September 01, 2008, 08:25:06 AM
You're turning us all into wilderness experts Kristl !
Thanks again for this seemingly never ending fairytail... ;)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: mark smyth on September 01, 2008, 08:31:19 AM
Kristl could you collect some Helianthus seeds for me? My two favourite books are on prairie plants of North America. After work I'll name them
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on September 01, 2008, 08:53:40 AM
The sumacs especially are superb but then, I am obsessed with autumn colour. Are the tree species anything to do with the sumac which appears as an ingredient in south east Asian cooking? If not, what is that and where does it come from?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: art600 on September 01, 2008, 09:07:16 AM
Thank you Kristl for taking the time to post such a wonderful series of shots of countryside, plants, and trees that most of us will never have the chance of seeing for ourselves. 

You always brighten up the day when you post, even if the sun is shining as it is today.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Brian Ellis on September 01, 2008, 09:43:39 AM
Well what a treat Kristl, nice to have you back from your travels, and thank you so much for sharing this with us.  As always there are some real beauties.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 01, 2008, 03:30:18 PM
Kristl could you collect some Helianthus seeds for me? My two favourite books are on prairie plants of North America. After work I'll name them

Mark,
The only native Helianthus to my (non-prairie) area is the woodland species H. divaricatus--although I grow H. grosse serratus and H. maximiliani as production plants in the garden. Let me know which species you had in mind.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 01, 2008, 03:46:54 PM
The sumacs especially are superb but then, I am obsessed with autumn colour. Are the tree species anything to do with the sumac which appears as an ingredient in south east Asian cooking? If not, what is that and where does it come from?


250+ species of Sumac---It is the middle-eastern Rhus coriaria that is the origin of the spice (readily available in Lebanese stores here in Ottawa).

http://www.taste.com.au/how+to/articles/52/sumac

The lemony flavour is of course not unique to that species---Rhus thyphina berries are used to make a lemonade type drink.

I too, am very fond of this genus and could not live without it's presence in my landscape, especially in the autumn. I look forward to sharing the colour glories when the time comes. One can already begin to see the very early signs in some of the woody species.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: johnw on September 01, 2008, 04:35:09 PM
Kristl - Great pictures. I too have been looking at trees the last few days with Barry Starling who is giving talks to the rhododendron society. I had never seen Asimina here before and was surprised to see it with fruit and the mitten tree -  Sassafras - the first I have ever seen here. Also the first big Magnolia virginiana growing here and amazingly in a cold part of Nova Scotia. It was interesting to compare Cedrela sinensis with the exotic jungle-like Gymnocladus against the sky.

Maybe you can help me with the last photo  - I am drawing a total blank.

The weather here is abysmal - we have more than 3" of rain in the last 2 days and thunder and lightening as well.  In the last five weeks I can count of one hand the number of days the sun has peaked out. Despite the weather the Trumpet Vines are out in full force - I thought they wouldn't flower in this sort of weather. A chilly, damp, wet, soggy and foggy +15c.

johnw
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: mark smyth on September 01, 2008, 04:37:07 PM
Any Helianthus provided it is not a thug. There is one grown widely here in the UK that is a very fast spreader.

My books are
Tall Grass Prairie Wildflowers
Texas Wildflowers
Wildflowers of Texas Hill Country

The latter two are very far from your end of north America
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 01, 2008, 05:05:58 PM
Maybe you can help me with the last photo  - I am drawing a total blank.

Yes, John, the last picture is the bottlebrush buckeye- Aesculus parviflora - at it's seed formation stage.
Throw those seeds into a brown paper bag after they are ripe and within a couple weeks they will have sprouted inside the bag, like magic. Of course you can skip the paper bag  :D and plant them directly (I learned that lesson after a trip many years ago where I collected them in the wild-and all were sprouted long before I ever got home with the goods.)

I often say that if I were to do it all over again, I would specialize in woody species---I think, really, trees and shrubs are my true loves.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Casalima on September 01, 2008, 05:23:08 PM
Such a wonderful thread, Kristl  :-* :-* Can I put it forward for world heritage, national monument ...??  :D

Chloë
(slowly, very slowly catching up with everything I missed over the holidays ...)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 01, 2008, 05:34:30 PM
Any Helianthus provided it is not a thug. There is one grown widely here in the UK that is a very fast spreader.

Methinks that non-spreading and Helianthus cannot be found in the same sentence  :D
but I will continue to think about it.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: johnw on September 01, 2008, 06:31:41 PM
Does anyone recognize this? The owner said it was a Thuja. The plant was about 1m high by 3-4 meters across. Startlingly white undersides.

johnw
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 03, 2008, 12:48:37 AM
I have been out in the wild almost constantly since my return, trying to catch up on all the collecting I missed while I was gone.

Today I decided to bring the camera, because the spots were so fascinating, although in the end, I wished I hadn't (more on that later).

The seed collecting goals were:
Sarracenia purpurea
Viburnum cassinoides
Andromeda glaucophylla
Betula populifolia
Aronia melanocarpa

And, as you might have guessed, these took me to boggy places (both new to this thread).

The first was a fen (a wet nutrient-rich site, with an almost constant supply of fresh water). The second was a bog (peat-based, soggy, nutrient-poor).

Approaching the fen from the street, one would never guess what lay behind the seeming ocean of cat-tails (which is all one can see from the road).

And anywhere there are cattails will surely be wet--and this year was worse than most--with the almost continuous rain all summer.

But once past the wall of Typha, the fen opens up into an extremely complex, very rich ecosystem of plants. There are hundreds of great species here---including oceans of Pogonia ophioglossoides at the right time---but for today I can only show you a few species in this very wet environment, interspersed with raised hummocks, the lower, wetter areas various grasses and sedges.

The primary woody species are Larix, Cedar, and Betula pumila.









Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 03, 2008, 01:17:34 AM
The only thing remaining of the Pogonia ophioglossoides were the seed pods but Spiranthes cernua was still in flower.

Here too was Solidago uliginosa, which is confined to fens and bogs---the only goldenrod growing here.

Rhododendron groenlandicum was found on the hummocks, with some nice seed pods developing.
The Andromeda tended to be lower down in the wet areas near the hummocks.

Aster borealis is also confined to these sites. I saw both the white and the purple forms here.

Agalinis tenuifolia is a pretty annual of wet sites and a species one does not usually associate with wet, but which grows here in abundance is Potentilla fructicosa.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 03, 2008, 01:23:04 AM
This is not my primary Sarracenia purpurea collection spot---but this was closer, and easier to access (the other spot with thousands of plants requires a 2 hour hike).

The plants grow down in the wet spots, fairly solid in spots, their flowering/seed heads peeking out of the grasses.

I believe the pictures will tell the story.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 03, 2008, 01:38:12 AM
and some of the beautiful pitchers to end my trip to the fen.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 03, 2008, 02:15:20 AM
My second site was a bog---not Alfred Bog, where the Rhododendon canadense grows---this one is much closer to home and a good thing too (more about this later).

I was not actually heading out onto the bog today, but to the peripheral woody areas leading into the bog to collect Aronia prunifolia, Betula populifolia and Viburnum cassinoides.

But just to give you an idea--this is what you see when the woody species open up to the main bog area---a sea of Larches and Eriophorum virginicum (Cotton Grass).

Ilex verticillata berries were already well-coloured too, but not quite ready for collecting.

The seed collecting behind me, I prepared to leave the bog.

And it was not really the Bidens species that I blame for what happened next, but the cursed ATV folks who think it fun to cruise around in bogs destroying plants AND THE DELICATE UNDERLYING STRUCTURE OF THE BOG and who had recently ripped up the entrance area to the bog.

The yellow of the Bidens caught my eye. I took one step forward to see it better and sunk many feet down- up to my waist (or more) in fact. One frightening moment (yes, mom always said never go to the bog alone), then quick thinking and a sturdy cat-tail clump and I had myself back out.

Second thought was for my camera- which did not sink with me, luckily. But it got badly bumped around in my frantic moment, and will not now allow me to take pictures (although it gave me this last picture of "Mud Woman" as a memory.)

Needless to say, I was happy not to have been pulled over by the police on my drive home and attempt to explain why I was driving barefoot and in my underwear  ::) Luckily I did not go in up to my neck ;D







Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on September 03, 2008, 05:03:31 AM
So pleased you didn't leave us forever Kristl. I recall a not unsimilar event of a few years ago when I too was bogged and my friends stood around and laughed, until someone realized I really needed to be hauled out.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on September 03, 2008, 02:15:00 PM
Kristl, thank you so much for returning to post the photos... I don't  know what the problem is, I'm afraid, but it is great to get the pix online.
I must apologise for stopping to giggle over the poor mudwoman.........and indeed this might well have turned into no laughing matter at all... so pleased that you managed to extricate yourself... and show s the soggy results! ;D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 03, 2008, 02:58:17 PM
Thanks, Maggi.
The REALLY good news this morning is that my camera is working again!!!!
It seems that there was water in the battery case---that having dried out overnight I was able to take pictures again this morning. Good thing, too, because the next while will be an intensive picture taking time!!!!!!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on September 03, 2008, 03:01:16 PM
That is indeed good news, Kristl.......got to keep you snapping.......so many following your every move.... well, not quite, otherwise we'd all end up in the mud! ;)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 03, 2008, 03:21:36 PM
well, not quite, otherwise we'd all end up in the mud! ;)

Well, Maggi, if I had had company in that deep, muddy hole, we could have sold tickets  ;D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Linda_Foulis on September 03, 2008, 07:21:35 PM
Kristl,
I'm sure all are glad that you and your camera are still working in spite of a mud bath.   I've been reading this thread with seed list at hand and each time I see something that really catches my eye, I go through my list to see whether or not I've already purchased it from you.  ;D  Now all I need is the time and more de-grassed areas to plant. 
I'm thoroughly enjoying watching your travels out into the country side and wish I could join you on a couple of excursions.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 03, 2008, 07:34:57 PM
Hi Linda!!!!!!!
So great to see you here---I always love it when another Canadian becomes visible in this wonderful group---and especially when it is a Canadian that I already know!!!!!

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Linda_Foulis on September 03, 2008, 08:11:51 PM
Thank you Kristl,
I actually spend a good deal of time here.... lurking.  Usually reading after a long day of digging in the dirt and few brain cells left to answer or respond to anything. 

Hopefully I'll be more of a participant this winter.   ;D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on September 04, 2008, 01:01:38 AM
Good news about the camera. They're surprisingl;y hardy, mine having been left out in the rain overnight a couple of times.

I wonder why it doesn't surprise me that of all the pics above, the one viewed by far the most time, is of the mud woman! :D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 04, 2008, 01:05:32 AM
Gentianopsis crinita is one of our most beautiful wildflowers.
Thus, it deserves a page to itself.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 04, 2008, 01:26:07 AM
Bottle Gentian, Gentiana andrewsii, is the only Gentian species in my area. G. linearis is in Ontario as well, but much further north.

There is an interesting variety of colours in the wild. Blue to purple-blue being the norm.

Solidago caesia is a wonderful and delicate woodland species.

I believe I have forgotten to post Prenanthes alba before as well as Chelone glabra which has been flowering for a while.

Seed of the fantastic Betula alleghanensis was collected today. It is the provincial tree of Quebec and a great Betula---the trunk on some specimens become a glowing gold that the eye can catch immediately in a forest of trees---and particularly wonderful standing out against the snow in winter.

Medeola virginica was also ripe and harvested---it is particularly beautiful at the seed stage





Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 04, 2008, 01:41:12 AM
Also collected today was the native Prunus nigra, to add to the very closely related P. americana that grows wild in thickets on my own property.

Aesculus glabra (Ohio Buckeye) is very rare in Ontario, growing only in one spot on Wapole Island in SW Ontario. This specimen is from my garden, with it's fruit almost ripe.

The Arisaema triphyllum must be sought a pod here and there until the tray fills up.

And Maianthemum stellatum berries are now "in the bag."
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: art600 on September 04, 2008, 10:51:52 AM
Kristl

You continue to post the most wonderful shots of your countryside.  They brighten every day.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Gerdk on September 04, 2008, 11:05:51 AM
Kristl,
Beautiful pics from plants which are always of interest for me (Long ago I worked in a tree nursery)!
Apart from the beauty of the fruits shown - who will eat all the plum cakes?   :) :) :)

Gerd
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 04, 2008, 12:59:51 PM
Apart from the beauty of the fruits shown - who will eat all the plum cakes?   :) :) :)

Thank you Art and Gerd....the edible fruits pose less of a problem now that I no longer have time to make use of them --- and P. nigra and (less so) P. americana are really only good for jam in any event. Yesterday, however,  I also collected P. munsoniana (a south-eastern USA native) from my property, and this one is SO DELICIOUS and worthwhile eating fresh that most of it will get rather rapidly rough cleaned in the old fashioned way before it goes into the sieve with soap and water.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Afloden on September 05, 2008, 04:59:00 AM
John W,

 I suggest trying Thujopsis dolobrata 'nana', once Thuja dolobrata. See, http://www.conifers.org/cu/th/thujopsis.htm (http://www.conifers.org/cu/th/thujopsis.htm), or google image it. The white stomatal bands are a feature of the species, and are not so obvious in Thuja species. I am sure there is more than this character that separates the two genera.

 Aaron Floden
 Knoxville, TN
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: johnw on September 05, 2008, 12:06:03 PM
John W,

 I suggest trying Thujopsis dolobrata 'nana', once Thuja dolobrata. See, [url]http://www.conifers.org/cu/th/thujopsis.htm[/url] ([url]http://www.conifers.org/cu/th/thujopsis.htm[/url]), or google image it. The white stomatal bands are a feature of the species, and are not so obvious in Thuja species. I am sure there is more than this character that separates the two genera.

 Aaron Floden
 Knoxville, TN


Aaron - This was definitely not Thujopsis. We grow both forms and the foliage is quite different. Too big for Nana, tips different, foliage colour is dark green whereas in Nana it is yellow green. Take a close look at the upper leaf surfaces in the background. I can send you a larger picture for better detail.  Baffled.

johnw
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 08, 2008, 02:00:36 PM
The flowering season is drawing to a close in my bit of heaven, although there is still much to show you until the snow flies. We have a few +4C nights coming up this week and the chill in the air in the morning already smells of winter.

It's high aster time here in Ontario....and two of our best are now flowering- the well-known Aster nova-angliae, which hybridizers have played with for many years displaying it's most common colour.

My favorite native aster is, however, Aster ericoides, which becomes smothered with a gazillion small daisier over tiny, intricate and heather-like foliage, it's branches often twisting and turning into fascinating shapes.

Penthorum sedoides (Ditch Stonecrop) I show you only because it is the only non-succulent member of the Crassulaceae. It inhabits wet places in the wild.

An unidentitified Aster sp...... there are so many species here...

And lastly---I have shown you the cute, cute seeds of Triosteum aurantiacum before, but I found one last plant with the seeds still intact in the leaf axils.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Jim McKenney on September 10, 2008, 12:22:20 AM

Second thought was for my camera- which did not sink with me, luckily. But it got badly bumped around in my frantic moment, and will not now allow me to take pictures (although it gave me this last picture of "Mud Woman" as a memory.)



Well, Kristl, this brought back some memories of a slightly different sort for me.

Many years ago I was caving with some friends who were experienced and enthusiastic spelunkers. At the time I had a new SLR camera - my first. Concerned about my camera getting bumped on all the rock in the cave, I wrapped it in cloth. In that condition it formed a melon sized ball.

If you have never been caving, let me explain the experience this way: try to imagine crossing, in the dark except for the meager beam of your headlamp,  a field of wet, slimy, slippery, broken concrete slabs. It's cold, it's rough, and it goes on for hours.

When we reached the turn around point in the cave, I took my camera out to take a group picture. No sooner did I have it out of my pack than I fumbled it. I was standing on the edge of a broad, flat, tilted surface whose edge seemed to be at the edge of a dark void. There is no moving quickly in a cave, and I stood there helplessly watching my new camera  go rolling down the slope, off the edge and, as far as I could tell, on to who knows what oblivion. Dejected, I listened for the thump as it hit the bottom of the pit into which it seemed to have fallen.

I thought that was the last I would ever see it. Lucky for me, one of the more experienced members of the team viewed the retrieval of my camera as just another pleasant challenge. With some apprehension, I watched him disappear over the same ominous edge of rock. It was he who had guided us in, and if he didn't make it back - with or without my camera - I probably wouldn't be here writing this.

You already know how things turned out with respect to getting out of the cave; and I got my camera back, too. You should have seen us when we finally got out into the sunlight: filthy from head to toe with cave mud. I'm not sure which is worse, cave mud or bog mud - I've had a bit of experience with both.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 10, 2008, 05:40:29 PM
As I am having computer problems and am too busy to send personal messages at the moment, a quick note that moist-packed seed of Trilliums and other woodland ephemerals have now been shipped to forum members who have requested it.

All seed was wild collected in my bit of heaven.

If there is anyone else who would like seed of Trillium grandiflorum, erectum, undulatum; Uvularia grandiflora, Dicentra cucullaria, Clintonia borealis, please contact me.

It's been a fabulous seed year for the woodland species--undoubtably because of the constant rain----all species (except for Hepatica) produced the best quality seed I have seen in years, and in incredible abundance.

Surplus ephemerals will again be donated to the SRGC seed exchange, and will include many extra species that I was not able to donate last season.

I believe that the SRGC is the first seed exchange of it's stature that has officially committed itself to  sending out ephemerals moist packed (beginning with my donations last season, I believe). As this has been one of my professional goals, I am thrilled and proud to finally see progress being made in this area. After all- we SHOULD BE THE LEADERS in these matters.

Sadly, most seed companies still lag behind what has been common knowledge for many decades and still send out dry stored seed of ephemerals.

I had for years offered ephemeral seed to NARGS---but the system could (would) not accomodate them.

CONGRATULATIONS SRGC!!!!!!!!!



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on September 10, 2008, 06:33:12 PM
Kristl, given your generosity, it is surely a pleasure for us in SRGC to embrace this excellent procedure 8)

Commiserations on your computer troubles.... we know the feeling :'(
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 11, 2008, 12:56:14 AM
I am at the early stage of my busiest seed time, which will now accelerate until I will almost have caught my tail by the end of the first week in October, when things begin to even out, with mostly woody species left to collect after that time.

My office is in total disarray, with not enough surfaces to hold all the seed bags and the dozens of ziplocks of berries and fruits at various stages of decomposition, waiting their turn to be cleaned. It smells like strange and wonderful wine each morning when I enter the office. Once I have been there for a while, I no longer notice it.

As I am doing most of the work alone this year, the seed cleaning is a particularly challenging task. The days are 18 hours long, and the weeks are 7 days. I need to schedule days for collecting in the wild as well as on the property, days for cleaning, testing and packaging seed, and a few days for orders. In another 2 months, 7 days per week will be taken up with orders and re-packaging seed and this will continue until spring, when I start the outside routine all over again. It is only when the seed package turnover from 2007 to 2008 harvest is complete can my new season begin.

I've not been able to take you out in the wild with me recently, but here is just a small look at what I have been recently collecting.






Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 11, 2008, 01:12:46 AM
This week I also collected Viburnum lantanoides (alnifolium). You may recall my posting last fall of the incredible foliage of this species---but those who missed it, I will re-post a few of these pictures from last season to give you a taste.

Must change that picture of myself soon---it's getting too chilly for bare arms.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Brian Ellis on September 11, 2008, 08:43:45 AM
Oh gosh Kristl - Autumn is arriving :-\
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 11, 2008, 03:34:49 PM
I know, Brian...and perhaps it's because I am an October baby that I so love autumn and never really mind when it comes....even if followed by 6 months of winter.

Autumns in this part of the world are fairly acknowledged to be among the best (the best???) in the world --with the amazing Indian summers and the leaf colouration---- we are so fortunate to have all those magical trees here.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: art600 on September 11, 2008, 04:16:28 PM
--with the amazing Indian summers and the leaf colouration---- we are so fortunate to have all those magical trees here.

Kristle

I and most of Britain would willingly settle for just the Indian Summer - no sign so far.

I do enjoy the Autumn colours and have a Spindleberry that goes an amazing red, and also a Cotinus that changes from purple to red.  But they do not look the same in the rain.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: David Nicholson on September 11, 2008, 07:03:57 PM

................As I am doing most of the work alone this year, the seed cleaning is a particularly challenging task. The days are 18 hours long, and the weeks are 7 days. I need to schedule days for collecting in the wild as well as on the property, days for cleaning, testing and packaging seed, and a few days for orders. In another 2 months, 7 days per week will be taken up with orders and re-packaging seed and this will continue until spring, when I start the outside routine all over again. It is only when the seed package turnover from 2007 to 2008 harvest is complete can my new season begin.


If only I lived that bit nearer Kristl I would pop round and give you some help ;D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Brian Ellis on September 11, 2008, 07:06:04 PM
Quote
amazing Indian summers and the leaf colouration

Oh for an Indian Summer!  Our Fothergilla is probably the best autumn colour we manage in the garden, but I love to see the colours in the countryside.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: David Nicholson on September 11, 2008, 07:11:33 PM
I'd settle for just a week without rain :(
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 14, 2008, 12:14:01 AM
On an absolutely glorious early autumn day in Ottawa---two forumnists met---I am always easy enough to spot---and I imagine you all recognize the Scottish gentleman next to me?

Yes, it's Mr. Christie Alpines himself--and SRGC president---
Ian spoke to our local NARGS chapter and I dropped everything that needed doing here and went to the meeting.

No one fell asleep during this lecture---and afterwards Ian treated us to a number of wonderful plants and seed before heading off to Montreal to do it all over again.  I was one of the happy recipients of Trillium chloropetalum var kuribyashii seed and a root of Sanguinaria canadensis (a form with very narrow petals)...whose name I missed.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on September 14, 2008, 12:18:02 AM
How lovely to see President Ian happily meeting you and more Canadian growers, Kristl!
We were just wondering today how Ian and Ann were getting on on their travels ......they are sorely missed here, so please don't think you can keep them!
 Probably did you good to have a day off, I reckon!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 14, 2008, 12:57:01 AM
On my way home after the meeting I passed a future housing development site which had turned into a lively meadow over the years. I could not help but stop and wander around in it for a while. There were a least 4 species of Solidago here, including the ones already at the seed stage, and many more Asters. The bumble bees were here in high numbers, but most of them sleepy or nectar-drunk or both.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 14, 2008, 04:11:11 PM
This thread began, in large part, because I felt an emotional need to document the native plants of this little stretch of earth I have called home for the past 20 years.

I wanted to create a visual memory of what I am leaving behind, now that it has become necessary to leave this place. It's been both painful and exhilirating---mirroring almost exactly the internal conflict-excitement-sadness-hopefulness of what leaving here means to me and also where my life might take me after this.

Today I sit in my seed office down the hill, while the last open house of the year takes place up the hill. The listing agreement will expire this month, so if I don't get a bite today, I am here for another winter (or longer). This, of course, presents me with problems and issues I have become very good at repressing this summer while the property has been listed for sale. I need to leave. I now (mostly) want to leave.

Thus far, those who have been interested in the property have expressed love for the house, but lack of willingness to deal with the gardens, where my life has been centered for 20 years. I have literally dug my own grave, it seems, by building such extensive gardens.

No young, energetic couples have presented themselves who might turn this place back into a nursery operation/public gardens. These are, unfortunately, the buyers who appreciate the gardens, but do not have the funds to buy it. It's an old story I have heard hundreds of times.

I have been partially successful in what I have presented to you here, and I am not finished for this season. At least 40% of the native plants were never photographed or talked about in this thread---and could fill another 20 or more pages next season. And while this is a fun and exciting prospect, I admit that my heart is beginning to rest elsewhere. I thank you for supporting so warmly this very public therapy, of sorts. This is a very fine group of kind individuals who I have come to respect dearly. Thank you for being here.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: ranunculus on September 14, 2008, 04:41:49 PM
Hi Kristl,
Surely one of the objectives of therapy is to instill in an individual an ability and an eagerness to move on, to re-focus, to recharge those fading, stuttering batteries ... if enriching the lives, the viewing experience and the combined knowledge of this wonderful group of individuals has helped in any way to facilitate this in your particular case then we are delighted you came to us for support.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 17, 2008, 10:42:17 PM
My recent absence does not mean I sold my property---in fact, I have extended the listing agreement until December, and have reduced my price. So we shall see what we shall see...

It's been a busier week than usual because temperatures have plummeted and while we have hovered near frost a few times, later this week frost *IS* coming (Friday), and thus the madness of rushing around dealing with the seed of tender plants, and bringing all the houseplants indoors has consumed all the daylight hours.

Also, I have needed to organize the fireplace wood as the house is mighty chilly at night when I am packaging seed.

The plus to the cold is that the leaf colouration will soon begin and along with it, the autumn glory.

Here is something I have forgotten to post earlier:

Podophyllum peltatum var. deamii is a very rare variant of the species with pink (not white) flowers and producing deep maroon fruits (instead of the usual yellowish-green of the species). In all other respects, the plants look the same.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 19, 2008, 12:42:35 AM
It was a perfect day for an outing!!!! Only +5C when I left early this morning, with a cold wind, but turning into a beautiful, cool, sunny autumn day- with our first frost warning this evening.

The primary goal was Symplocarpus foetidus (Eastern Skunk Cabbage)---and you know that meant back into the wet. While I was still a bit nervous about my recent "almost submersion" in the bog---I knew that hole had been caused by human intervention---I am much more comfortable with what nature creates, because I understand it better.

Last spring I took you on a tour of the skunk cabbage patch close to home, when the plants were first emerging --the site today is some distance away, but well worth the drive, because it is my "mother lode" site. The plant population runs in length for 1.5km along a small country road and deep into the woods for at least that far as well. The colony is so thick one cannot take a step without walking on a plant.

As you look down the road, the left side is cat tails (translated into "wet site"). The right side of the road, where we are going, is a natural hedge of Ilex verticillata (translated into "wet site").

And once past the Ilex, one is met with the smell of wet decay and water, water everywhere.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 19, 2008, 01:21:40 AM
There was still the (very) occasional plant (or part plant) to be seen; with huge leaves some over 60cm across. However, the foliage had mostly rotted, and what was left was the gray winter resting bud.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 19, 2008, 01:35:03 AM
Of course I was here to collect seed---but it turned out (as it so often does in my business) that the right variables just did not work this year---and the pods to be found were few and far between and may, in the the end, not yield enough to justify listing the seed.

The large, dry, hard and bumpy pod is attached to the plant by a substantial, fleshy appendage and is simply snapped off. Inside are huge, marble-sized seeds.

And next spring, the amazing spathe will again emerge, sometimes through ice and snow.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 19, 2008, 02:20:02 AM
I made myself feel better about the lack of skunk cabbage pods by collecting a pile of Ilex verticillata seed. Then headed off to my second site for berries of Mitchella repens--- one of my favourite native groundcovers, which has adapted easily to the alkaline conditions in my garden. It is beautiful in all seasons.

The berries have a face; certainly two eyes and a nose, if you look closely. I like to think it is offering a "come hither" look to the creatures that might spread it's seed---but I am sure it has more to do with the fact that the double flowers are fused together, and this has resulted in this "pinching" on the berry.

The small Goldenthread, Coptis trifolia ssp. groenlandica is another favorite---with gorgeous, glossy foliage. How wonderful to find these two in this spot, happily romping around together---another example of nature's perfect landscaping!!!!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 19, 2008, 03:15:35 AM
The remainder of my time today was spent in my ABSOLUTELY favorite way---plant scouting.
I never have enough time for this activity, which gives me the greatest pleasure!!!!!

It is used as a general term here to describe time spent:
(1) trying to locate species in the wild that are rare or uncommon. Or to find a huge population of a particular species.
(2) reconsidering my indigenous plants with an eye to their horticultural value.
(3) looking for sports in wild populations.
(4) locating northernmost sites for woody species, in particular.

I spend considerable energy each summer with the first activity---and of course fail 90% of the time. But even one success each year thrills me!!! This year I count among my successes the large Chimaphila umbellata colony I found and the patch of Lilium canadense which was thought to be non-existant in Ontario.

Today I was able to add to this list by FINALLY locating Saururus cernuus. The aquatic Lizard's tail is at it's very northern range here, which is what makes it particularly important to find. I have been searching for it for years and just about fainted when I was met with what I will show you next!!!!!!!!!

A small town ridiculously close to home. A simple main street. A bridge over a river on Main Street. And on both sides looking down from the bridge, Saururus in large colonies as far as the eye could see!!!!!!! As it grows in shallow water, it is only found in particular settings along shorelines where the water is not deep.

After discovering a way to get down to the river, I was able to see the plants close up. They had obviously flowered well, but the seed was green and may not ripen before winter. The flowering picture is "borrowed" to show you the bloom--hopefully if I am still here, I can return next year to see it myself in flower.









Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 19, 2008, 03:41:40 AM
On my drive home, I made various "aster stops"----a genus I am looking at particularly this year, trying to find more worthwhile species to list, or to find interesting clones of ones I already carry.

Aster puniceus will be one of the new species to be listed this year---it's a pretty aster; growing in mostly wet spots in the wild, but will do well in ordinary, moisture-retentive garden conditions.

I have to show you A. ericoides again, which I adore...this is a top notch plant!!!!

The pink A. novae angliae is so very difficult to find in the wild---but I did see this one today.

Aster ciliolatus is a plant of hot, dry places.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: annew on September 19, 2008, 08:41:23 AM
Fantastic, Kristl - I do look forward to your postings. :D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: johnw on September 19, 2008, 11:42:13 PM
Mystery solved, it was indeed a Thuja. By luck a few days ago we happened by an almost identical plant at Planting Fields Arboretum to the one I posted earlier for identification.

Also a fantastic Edgeworthia for such a northerly location. A dwarf Lagerstroemia called Pokomoke and of course we envied the large forms with spectacular bark the most. Good to see Franklinia at its peak.

A lot to catch up on in the Forum.

johnw
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 20, 2008, 08:47:37 PM
Tomorrow I head off on another explore---a good 3 days I hope---this one into adjacent New York state---to look primarily at woody species at the Cornell Plantations in Ithaca. This trip *will be* a real break, finally, as I have booked a cheap motel, with no need to talk to anyone (except myself... ;)) and to simply eat, sleep and look at plants all day. My kind of vacation!!!! It is barely a four hour drive--less than half of what it took me to go to southern Ontario.

Cornell has a NAPCC Acer collection and has particularly large collections of Oaks, Chesnut, Walnuts and Malus sp. The NAPCC (North American Plant Collections Consortium) is a network of botanical gardens and arboreta working to coordinate a continent-wide approach to plant germplasm preservation, and to promote high standards of plant collections management.

It's apparently also a pretty part of New York state, with gorges, waterfalls, fascinating rock formations and other wonderful natural spaces.

I hope to have much to tell you about when I return.





Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: ChrisB on September 20, 2008, 09:08:52 PM
Just back from my visit, Kristl, and it was wonderful to see so many different asters all over the place when I visited my friend in Horse Shoe Valley.  Also fun to see, sitting on her kitchen countertop, seed packets from you.  I had told her about your seeds, but didn't know she had ordered from you.  Great stuff.  She is just about to sow her arisaemas, hoping they will germinate next spring.  she is starting to have a very nice wild garden, but I didn't get chance to photograph it, I was only there briefly.  I've posted some pics of asters on the travel pages, but I've no idea what they are, they were between Horse Shoe Valley and Orillia, along concession roads.  What a treat they were!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Carlo on September 22, 2008, 01:15:11 PM
Saururus cernuus or Lizard Tail is spectacular when it blooms. I saw and photographed it earlier this year along the south branch of the Raritan river in New Jersey. The colonies get quite large and it's a wonder that so many people can kayak or canoe by without even giving it a second glance...
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 24, 2008, 12:43:42 PM
Saururus cernuus or Lizard Tail is spectacular when it blooms. I saw and photographed it earlier this year along the south branch of the Raritan river in New Jersey. The colonies get quite large and it's a wonder that so many people can kayak or canoe by without even giving it a second glance...

What is the expression, Carlo, about needing to have the eyes to see...?

I find this is a particularly apt expression when it comes to seeing and appreciating what is closest at hand---in the case of plants---our own wildflowers. I do not find it strange at all that folks can walk over or canoe around great native plants without ever seeing them or even wondering about them!!! Once on a nursery bench, or noted in an article or book, the plant becomes legitimized and brought more to the foreground. But even then, the same folks may still not see it in the wild.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 24, 2008, 12:46:30 PM
I've posted a very short pictorial of my visit to the Cornell Plantations in the "Travel/Places To See" thread---as I am trying to confine the thread here to indigenous plants of my particular area or to Ontario.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Carlo on September 24, 2008, 01:31:15 PM
Kristl, et al,

There's a well accepted term for the problem "plant blindness." A google search on it will give you the particulars--it's quite interesting...
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 26, 2008, 02:04:16 AM
Since I have recently taken you on my Symplocarpus foetidus seed collecting outing, I thought you might find a repeat of the entire "life cycle" interesting.

In very early spring, the wonderfully variable spathes emerge along with a basal rosette of leaves, which will enlarge to about 60cm by early summer.

Inside the spathe is a spadix which is covered in all directions with small perfect flowers, with sepals, no petals, and the reproductive organs. The inflorescence develops during early spring, before the leaves unfurl, at which time the small flowers bloom. They emit a carrion-like odor that attract flies.

The spathe soon withers away, while the spadix becomes enlarged into a compound fruit (the seed pod).

By autumn, the foliage has mostly died back, and what remains is a grey-coloured overwintering "shoot" and the seed pod (hopefully). These are quite large and contain marble sized seeds encased in the fleshy pod and are quite colorful once washed.

Ideally the seed should be either sown immediately or kept from drying out by being moist-packed in zip-lock bags in vermiculite. They require cold to germinate.

Emerging seedlings in mid summer the winter following sowing look just like mommy. Go figure!!!!!!









Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 26, 2008, 02:29:34 AM
A bit of autumn miscellany...

Nyssa sylvatica and Lindera benzoin berries ready to be collected, with Acer pennsylvanicum not far behind; much of it's foliage already yellow.

Parthenocissus vitacea is always the earliest to give dramatic colour, and hedgerows and farm fences are full of the fire of deep red and this good maroon right now, with the Rhus thyphina coming on strong in the wings.

Cornus alternifolia is that wonderful mix of early colour at the moment and the white Pines are dropping their old needles, with the trees a mellow mix of gray-green and yellow.

In the midst of the early autumn transformation, the very-rare-to-Ontario Asplenium scolopendrium var. americanum is looking at it's freshest at the moment, glossy, actively growing and perky. In fact, the spores are just being collected now.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: David Lyttle on October 02, 2008, 10:41:40 AM
Hi Kirstl,

I have appreciated and enjoyed your postings on this thread very much. I spent three years in Canada in Saskatchewan which has fewer species and consequently a much less interesting flora than eastern Canada so you have shown me a lot of plants I have not seen before.

In appreciation here is a plant growing in my garden that is no doubt very familiar to you.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 02, 2008, 01:36:25 PM
David,
With winter knocking at the door here, it is wonderful to see the promise of spring right here again.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 04, 2008, 10:20:25 PM
It's now cold (around freezing at night) unpredictable during the day (anywhere from +7C to +13C average) following two weeks of sun, in fact the best weather we had all year.

I am still waiting for a return to some warmth (and a proper Indian Summer).

The vegetable garden is, of course, finished for the year- the last of the squash, beans and green tomatoes were collected some time ago with seed saved for next year. The herbs have been dried or frozen for winter.

Most of the farmers fields are either empty and already plowed for next spring, or the machines are busy with the harvest each day there is sun. The only crops still noticeably standing are the huge fields of feed corn, which are often not cut down until much later. The maples in the distance behind the corn is my property.

The last time I wrote there was only the early hint of colour in the landscape. This has changed dramatically over the past week. Here is what the sides of the dirt roads leading up to my land look like right now; a wonderful tapestry.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 04, 2008, 11:48:56 PM
And this is the entrance to my house (the first driveway on the left, with the real-estate sign) where the textures get even more interesting with sugar maples, black walnut, pines, spruces, larch, willows and others intermingling.

The willows frame the largest of my three ponds, near the road. Beyond the pond, there is a large ornamental grass area.

At the other end of my land, is the road entrance to my nursery and another mixed area of woody species and ornamental grasses.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 05, 2008, 12:03:37 AM
My house on the hill is surrounding by mature sugar maples---and autumn is the best time of the year on that hill.

No matter where I stand on the large deck, no matter which window I look out of, the colour is all I see...
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Gerdk on October 05, 2008, 07:22:45 AM
Just overwhelming - especially at a wet and gray morning her!
Thank you, Kristl!

Gerd
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Brian Ellis on October 05, 2008, 09:19:43 AM
Kristl I have to agree with Gerd, the colour is wonderful, here we are drenched after heavy rain and the colours are just beginning to come.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Luc Gilgemyn on October 05, 2008, 10:02:50 AM
Wonderful shapes and colours Kristl !
Marvelous !  :D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: art600 on October 05, 2008, 01:50:13 PM
Kristl

I echo the comments above - always great to see the Autumn colours.  We are a little behind you, although some plants have changed colour.  My best colours in the garden are provided by a large spindleberry and Cotinus.

Hope the winter this year will be kinder to you - Iran needs the snow to provide more flowers for the tourists next year.  :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 08, 2008, 12:20:48 AM
As I had too much happening on the home front, I was not keen to head out into the wild today---but the seeds needing collecting could not wait. So I admit I dragged my weary and hesitant bones out early this cool, sunny morning--and headed off again.

By early afternoon I was very happy to be out on such a glorious day---made even better by the fact that I was in an area where sugar maples are the predominant tree. Everything I saw was light and colour-almost hard on the eyes in spots. I knew the colours were at their peak now, and from here on in, all that remains is for a hard storm to bring all the leaves down. So, if you can stand a few more pictures of maples, these were taken on the highway, from the car as I headed to my first spot to collect Gentianopsis crinita, Gentiana andrewsii, Tilia americana, Thuja occidentalis and Tsuga canadensis.




Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 08, 2008, 01:19:08 AM
The first batch of collecting took place on yet another alvar---with large populations of eastern Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) and Arctostaphyllos uva-ursi as the predominant groundcover.

There were wild turkeys everywhere, but too fast for me to photograph.

The cedar was at the perfect stage for collection- with the cones open, but not yet spilled.

I have shown you the beautiful Gentianopsis crinita before. There were some huge clumps here where I counted 62+ seed pods (flowers). There were a few tiny plants still flowering here and there among the arctostaphyllos.

Quercus rubra is the only native oak that gives some colour in the fall--but it's "red" is normally a brownish-maroon colour. This specimen was quite unusual in it's good red colouring.

Tsuga canadensis (Canadian Hemlock) which I came here to collect as well had no current year cones.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 08, 2008, 02:08:04 AM
I had a lead on a pretty site en route to my next collection spot where I decided to stop and have lunch.

The spot was more than pretty ---the rapids on this local river were wild and wonderful and the woods surrounding the water were pristine and full of wonderful species that I must come back and see next year.

I sat on mossy earth next to the water, ferns spreading down the cliffs in front of me to the water and blissfully ate the last of my left-over birthday cake.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 08, 2008, 02:40:16 AM
My last stop of the day was at the edge of another river, to collect one species only: Parnassia glauca.
 
This is very rare in our area, growing only along the edges of two rivers, one of those being almost entirely inaccessible. If you like this genus, you might want to try this species in the garden. I have found it very difficult to establish the better known P. palustris- but P. glauca is indeed garden friendly, as long as it is grown in soil that does not dry out, in light shade. It's a very pretty little plant, very floriferous, and with larger flowers than P. palustris.

Here it grows on the slopes of the river, facing south, with some overhead protection from woody species. It never ventures far into the woods behind it. Neither does it venture down the slope into the wetter spots.

The picture of the flowers belongs to my friend Majella Larochelle.

Along the water I also found seed of Gentiana andrewsii and Lobelia cardinalis.

And as I walked through the woods back to the highway I happily ran into Tsuga canadensis with a small number of unopened cones. This is a graceful and fine-textured native conifer. Older trees have a wonderful plated bark.





Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 08, 2008, 02:52:51 AM
I know you all know how large Canada is---but sometimes even I need a reminder. From Newfoundland in the east to Vancouver Island, BC in the west is about 7,300km.

From where I am near Ottawa, Ontario to Vancouver, BC (where I am flying tomorrow to visit my son) is
about 4,600km. I will pack one book on the woody species of western Canada---as there may be some time to collect some seed in the week I am there.

I think Indian Summer may happen in Ontario while I am gone---temperatures on the day I leave begin rising again to 20C, and at the Vancouver end (the tropics of Canada) it will be 10C when I arrive. Hmmm.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on October 08, 2008, 04:06:53 AM
More fabulous posts of Canada's trees and landscapes. Kristl I can see why trees are your "thing." I hope you'll be taking your camera on the trip west. (As if you'd forget it ;D)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 15, 2008, 06:43:14 AM
I've just returned from my Vancouver trip, and will post a short visual of my sojourn in the travel section as soon as I catch my breath.

As I arrived at my driveway in the wee hours of the morning following my flight home, I realized that much had happened in my brief absence. About half the maple leaves were on the ground --- and some trees were already entirely bare. As I suspected, I had missed a glorious Indian Summer while I was gone and temperatures are now on their way down again and soon I will be looking at naked tree limbs.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 21, 2008, 02:36:50 AM
Most of the deciduous trees are now bare. And even though snow is predicted this week, I am nowhere near finished with the seed collecting or cleaning. It's my most pressured time of the year. In the midst of the fleury of crazy activity, I paused to admire the very last native species to flower in the garden.

Seed from last autumn's bloom of Hamamelis virginiana (which takes a year to form and ripen) was collected a few weeks ago and now the yellow flowers brighten the days again.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Linda_Foulis on October 21, 2008, 06:26:58 PM
I absolutely love Hamamelis!  I've tried growing them previously but that was the year before we moved so I don't know if they ever came up.  I would like to try again, but faced with another move......  How long do the seeds stay viable Kristl, do you know?  Do you think they would last in storage until next fall to be planted out?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 21, 2008, 07:10:51 PM
No problem with viability for a year---can also freeze the seed to be sure. Seed operates in two-year cycles, so won't have it again for a while (2 years from now).

Linda, I was just obsessing about Clematis columbiana and occidentalis (verticillaris)---do they grow wild in your part of Alberta?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 23, 2008, 02:03:52 AM
It did snow last night...the earliest I can remember. One would not have known this morning, however, except for a wet, mushy feeling everywhere.

Although the maple leaves are mostly on the ground now, turning crispy and brownish, there is still colour to be seen.

Most notably, the yellows of the Larix thyphina, especially wonderful when contrasted to the dark greens of other close-by conifers. The pictures are all taken on my property, where I have about two dozen native and exotic Larches.

The gates near the entrance to my nursery are now a blaze of red and orange, as the berries of the Celastrus have finally split.

The berries of Viburnum trilobum are still intact and of the deepest red-red.

I must not forget to collect the overdue Canada Moonseed tomorrow (Menispermum canadense).

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 23, 2008, 02:19:45 AM
Cleaning large quantities of Asclepias is never easy or fast---and while my technique is still labour intensive, it is nothing compared to dealing with a large bag of well-dryed fluff to which the seeds are still attached.

I try to collect the pods when they have begun to split, but are not yet open.

Gently open the pod at the pointed end, and tightly grasp the entire fluffy mass, which will emerge in one piece with the seeds displayed.

With the other hand, milk the seeds off into a bowl and discard the fluff.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 23, 2008, 03:10:21 AM
Some of this morning's native wild seed collecting included Kalmia angustifolia, Rhododendron canadense and groenlandicum, Chamaedaphne calyculata, Clematis virginiana, Cephalanthus occidentalis, Decodon verticillata, Lobelia inflata, Lysimachia, Rudbeckia lacininiata, Potentilla fructicosa, Carpinus caroliniana, Andropogon gerardii and others.

The large bags are full of the fluff of Asters and Solidago (never, ever fun to clean). The extraneous material (leaves, twigs, sticks) must be removed. Once down to pure fluff, masks are put on and the hand rubbing begins until the tiny seed detaches from the fluff.

Tilia americana is the reverse; easy to clean, laborous to collect.

I wish you could have been with me in the wild to see the Juniperus virginiana clone that yielded this amazing crop of berries---it was entirely blue from a distance, so heavy was the crop. A rare occurence.

And the berries: Celastrus scandens, Viburnum acerifolium, Vaccinium oxycoccus.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 23, 2008, 03:50:48 AM
Sometimes I actually have company--as I did this afternoon. On these rare occasions, the work gets ignored, but the talk about plants is intense.

Graham Page (on the right); a retired Forestry man, formerly a consultant with the government of Canada, came into my life as a volunteer some 5 years ago. He has now become an indispensable part of Gardens North, as my right-hand seed collecting partner and the co-author of our "in progress" book on the native plants of eastern Canada.

David White is a local botanist and site consultant who has built a great database of the native plants of Lanark County, where he lives.

http://www.lanarkflora.com/index.html

This is in my local area, where I spend much time seed collecting. David has helped us tremendously with locating particular species in the wild and now that we are equipped with GPS, the task of finding these plants in obscure spots has become significantly easier.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: art600 on October 23, 2008, 08:37:43 AM
Kristl

As always informative, beautiful images and hope for the future.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paddy Tobin on October 23, 2008, 09:51:37 PM
Kristl,

A beautiful display of autumn colour. I was particularly happy to see the Hamamelis virginiana as I have a small plant, 4feet, which I grew from seed and am looking forward to seeing it flower soon.

Celastrus scandens must be the toughest of tough plants. I have five plants in three inch pots for the past 5 years. They have simply been thrown in a corner until I settle on a position for them and have not only survived but have thrived. I have a row of big trees which I think may play host to some of them quite shortly.

Paddy
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 24, 2008, 09:06:15 PM
There has been a lot of turmoil in my life the past 18 months, but today is a particularly sad day. I am leaving soon to fly to Michigan for the funeral of my mom. She passed away yesterday in an accident in a handicapped van; was thrown from her wheelchair and died instantly. She has been very ill for a very long time, but I never thought this is how I would lose her.

She was my mom, but also my gardening mentor; the person who always kept me close to wild places as a child and cultivated my love of nature, wildflowers and unspoiled spaces.

The very first print catalogue I produced for my seed business in 1992 had a dedication to her on the inside front cover stating that it was through her eyes and hands I came to know my preferred place in nature. 

I am spending the time before I go reading posts here, to soothe myself, and, as usual, it will be the garden that will ultimately heal me.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on October 24, 2008, 09:16:26 PM
Dear goodness, Kristl, what a terrible thing. I know your dear Mother had suffered greatly but what a tragic end to her life. Our very fondest wishes are with you at this sad, sad time. Take our best wishes with you on your last journey to your Mom and come back to us whenever you need some company.
I am so very grateful that you have your little bit of heaven to comfort you and restore your spirits at such times.
Fondest, fondest hugs....Maggi  xxx
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paddy Tobin on October 24, 2008, 09:24:19 PM
Kristl,

Regardless of the fact that the years pass, and we age, mother is still mother and the loss is always a great  and upsetting one even though we know it is one whick will come inevitably.

My sincerest sympathy on this sad occasion.

Paddy
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Michael J Campbell on October 24, 2008, 09:42:25 PM
Kristl, sad to hear about the  tragic passing of your dear mother, my sincerest sympathy on this sad occasion.

Michael
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: ChrisB on October 25, 2008, 03:32:51 PM
I am so sorry for your loss Kristl.  Such a tragedy.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: olegKon on October 25, 2008, 03:58:10 PM
I'm sorry. So very sad
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: johnw on October 25, 2008, 04:09:50 PM
Kristl -   My deepest sympathy.

johnw
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lvandelft on October 25, 2008, 07:29:31 PM
Kristl, my sincerest sympathy !
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on October 25, 2008, 10:48:27 PM
Dear Kristl, I'm so very sorry that such a dreadful thing should happen, a shocking way to end a life and for you to remember such a thing. Immerse yourself in plants and your garden again, as soon as you can and the healing will begin.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: annew on October 26, 2008, 08:54:04 AM
I'm thinking of you, Kristl.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Brian Ellis on October 26, 2008, 09:13:21 AM
May I join with the others with my deepest condolences after such a tragic accident, such a shock for your family but hopefully she was totally unaware of what happened, take heart that she will always be with you in the garden, wherever you are.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Casalima on October 26, 2008, 12:31:26 PM
Kristl, my heartfelt sympathy. Judging by how special you are, she must have been a very special woman.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: dominique on October 26, 2008, 04:50:21 PM
Kristl
No word for such a sad end but all the hearts in this forum are associated to tell you courage and we think at you. We have only one mother and only those have lost her know how difficult to survive is after, thinking of her every day, every hour and it is why they are never out because always in us with all the best they have given us during their life. All of her stay in our heart for ever. Your mother was a great lady who helped you to make what you are. All my sympathy
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: WimB on October 28, 2008, 10:48:27 AM
Kristl, my sincerest sympathy to you and your family.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 29, 2008, 12:07:49 AM
Thank you so much for all your kind and comforting words and thoughts.
I have returned from a (very, very) difficult and disturbing few days in Michigan - with 15cm of snow expected here tonight. Rather apropo to how I am feeling.

The personal difficulty surrounding my mothers death was accentuated by extensive meadia (tv and newspaper) coverage of the tragic details of her death and a law suit now seems inevitable.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Roberto Gamoletti on October 30, 2008, 07:31:50 AM
Kristl
I have read only today about your mother's tragic passing away.
My sincerest sympathy to  you.

Roberto
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Magnar on November 02, 2008, 01:41:41 PM
Kristl. I too read about this today ,and want to express my deepest sympathy to you
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 07, 2008, 11:27:03 PM
I am not sure if I have already shown you the life cycle of Asarum
canadense, with a particular emphasis on the germination pattern of the species.

The pattern is thus: a long period of warm temperatures for subsequent emergence of the radical (root) in autumn and a period of cold for the emergence of the epicotyl (shoots) in spring.

Seed is normally collected here in mid-June.
After cleaning, the seed should either be moist-packed and kept at warm, or sown immediately outdoors.
Without this long period of warm, the radicle will *not* emerge in the fall.
Furthermore, the seed will be dead if not dealt with promptly.

My picture below shows fairly massive germination of the seed that has been kept moist packed in vermiculite inside a ziplock bag since collection. This root emergence occurs in October (approximately 4 months of warm treatment). The above-ground cotyledons will emerge in spring.

A few other native species that exhibit this identical germination pattern are:
Actaea pachypoda
Allium tricoccum
Cimicifuga racemosa and rubifolia
Hepatica acutiloba
Hydrophyllum virginianum
Lilium canadense
Sanguinaria canadensis






Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 16, 2008, 04:10:40 AM
I knew it had been one of the best years in recent memory for Trillium seed this year---but I had no idea, just *how* good.

Organizing my left-over ephemeral seed for the exchanges this week, I was utterly awe-struck to discover the level of germination in the T. grandiflorum bags--hard to put a percentage on it, but my guess is that it is certainly over 75%. Sadly, of course, the T. grandiflorum will not be going to the exchanges (although T. erectum and T. undulatum will), as they have shown no similar signs of pre-winter sprouting.

Seed is immediately moist-packed after collection and cleaning (approximately mid July here).
This year, I kept batches of seed separate in individual zip lock bags (moist packed in vermiculite)

-those of well-developed seed.
-prematurely collected (slightly unripe) pods (there is some rumour that under-ripe seed germinates more readily).
-seed cleaned with or without the use of a bleach rinse (to test some theories about the link of the aril to internal infection of the seed).
-all seed was washed with dish-wash detergent in the cleaning process.

The bag I show you here was the first batch of seed collected. Well developed pods only. Without a bleach wash. Because there was a time gap between this batch and the others, I will not be able to report fully at this time on what the others will do.









Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on November 16, 2008, 03:14:30 PM
Goodness me, look at those little guys grow!  8) :o
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 22, 2008, 04:37:16 PM
Organizing my left-over ephemeral seed for the exchanges this week, I was utterly awe-struck to discover the level of germination in the T. grandiflorum bags--hard to put a percentage on it, but my guess is that it is certainly over 75%. Sadly, of course, the T. grandiflorum will not be going to the exchanges (although T. erectum and T. undulatum will), as they have shown no similar signs of pre-winter sprouting.

It was only with the arrival of my daughter's SRGC seed list recently that I realized that I had missed the window for getting my ephemeral seed to the exchange on time. Oh sigh.

Luckily, it seems I am still in time to get some added to the supplemental NARGS list---and the seed intake manager informs me that moist-packed ephemerals will, finally this year (hurray) be given the space they deserve on that list!!!!

This is to say that if anyone here would like moist-packed 2008 seed of any or all of the following natives of Ontario (wild collected seed), please send me a personal message with your shipping address. Otherwise the remainder will all go to the NARGS exchange:

Trillium erectum
T. undulatum
Sanguinaria canadensis
Uvularia grandiflora
Streptopus roseus
Dicentra cucullaria






Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 22, 2008, 11:22:46 PM
My SRGC Friends,

I wanted to clarify something publicly (as a response to the private messages I have received about my offer of seed).

Even though I own a seed business---my participation here is as a private individual (and to share with you some of what I have learned about seed). Therefore when I offer seed to the list, I am not looking for anything in return, particularly not payment (seed exchanges somewhere down the line are often welcome, although not necessary either).

I can't bear to see seed go to waste---and the ephemerals WILL get composted eventually unless they get into good hands in a timely fashion. And there is almost no greater pleasure for me than sharing the wealth.


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Linda_Foulis on November 23, 2008, 01:46:41 AM
Arghh!!!  Would love to take advantage of your generous offer, but being so in limbo, not even knowing if I'll have a garden next summer.... how frustrating!  I hope you're able to get these babies to good homes Kristl.  I can't stand to see good seed wasted either!  ;D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on December 01, 2008, 08:06:03 PM
just a quickie to say that all ephemeral seed requests were shipped today.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on December 24, 2008, 08:26:03 PM
It *is* a white Christmas this year---this is not something we can generally rely on here.

And although we have seen a few bitterly cold days (-30C with wind chill), it has been a relatively mild winter thus far, although the worst months are yet to come. Today we are hovering around 0C, with a freezing rain warning in effect.

I have never been alone at Christmas before, so none of the usual energy was put into the holiday season.

Holidays past, I often constructed wreaths of berry-bearing woody species, not dissimilar to the ones pictured here.  Like the Maine nursery who constructs these, mine were usually made of  Celastrus scandens (Bittersweet) and Ilex verticillata (Winterberry)---two of the few plants that actually hold their berries late into winter in this climate. Viburnum trilobum berries also stay (often until the following spring), entirely untouched by birds.

This year, energy was lacking for anything extravagant, so a simple arrangment of Bittersweet and Viburnum was hung next to the front door, which will stay intact for almost the entire winter. The cleaned seed of these is already packaged and waiting in the seed drawers.




Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: annew on December 24, 2008, 09:00:19 PM
Beautiful, Kristl. We'll be thinking of you this Christmas.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: ranunculus on December 24, 2008, 09:15:37 PM
So simple, but SO beautiful, Kristl ...

Peace, love and thanks to you ...
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on December 24, 2008, 11:05:55 PM
I understand your reluctance to get "festive", Kristl, since my darling Father died last Christmas Day and all I can feel is loss.

What a terrific gift you have given us all with your  Bit of Heaven.... I am sure I am not the only one who takes comfort from reading and learning from these beautiful pages.

My fondest thoughts are with you.
M
xx
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: 4moreaction on December 25, 2008, 02:22:56 PM

It was only with the arrival of my daughter's SRGC seed list recently that I realized that I had missed the window for getting my ephemeral seed to the exchange on time. Oh sigh.

Luckily, it seems I am still in time to get some added to the supplemental NARGS list---and the seed intake manager informs me that moist-packed ephemerals will, finally this year (hurray) be given the space they deserve on that list!!!!

This is to say that if anyone here would like moist-packed 2008 seed of any or all of the following natives of Ontario (wild collected seed), please send me a personal message with your shipping address. Otherwise the remainder will all go to the NARGS exchange:

Trillium erectum
T. undulatum
Sanguinaria canadensis
Uvularia grandiflora
Streptopus roseus
Dicentra cucullaria







...I have to thank You Kristel for the seed of Uvularia &  Sanguinaria... arrived safely and are expected to be sown within one week...

yours: matti
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Katherine J on December 26, 2008, 04:36:28 PM
What a terrific gift you have given us all with your  Bit of Heaven....

Very well told. Thank you again, and wish you all the best for the coming year!   :-*
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: 4moreaction on December 27, 2008, 09:00:33 AM
I knew it had been one of the best years in recent memory for Trillium seed this year---but I had no idea, just *how* good.

Organizing my left-over ephemeral seed for the exchanges this week, I was utterly awe-struck to discover the level of germination in the T. grandiflorum bags--hard to put a percentage on it, but my guess is that it is certainly over 75%. Sadly, of course, the T. grandiflorum will not be going to the exchanges (although T. erectum and T. undulatum will), as they have shown no similar signs of pre-winter sprouting.

Seed is immediately moist-packed after collection and cleaning (approximately mid July here).
This year, I kept batches of seed separate in individual zip lock bags (moist packed in vermiculite)

-those of well-developed seed.
-prematurely collected (slightly unripe) pods (there is some rumour that under-ripe seed germinates more readily).
-seed cleaned with or without the use of a bleach rinse (to test some theories about the link of the aril to internal infection of the seed).
-all seed was washed with dish-wash detergent in the cleaning process.

The bag I show you here was the first batch of seed collected. Well developed pods only. Without a bleach wash. Because there was a time gap between this batch and the others, I will not be able to report fully at this time on what the others will do.












...seeing those sprouting seeds of Trillium makes me so envyous of you guys in northern america... what a pleasure it must be for a sore eye every spring to walk amongst blooming trillium fields... =OP
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on December 27, 2008, 03:26:54 PM
Matti,
Yes, the large drifts of Trillium grandiflorum is surely one of the reasons why this part of the natural world is so special. It is that time of spring in the woods I most cherish.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: maggiepie on December 27, 2008, 04:37:31 PM
The only trilliums I have seen growing here are the Painted Trillium.
We try to get out into the woods to see them before the mozzies arrive in full force.
Have never seen drifts of them though.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: 4moreaction on December 28, 2008, 08:17:52 AM
hmm... it sounds exactly the same with trillium as with our european counter part for it here,  Anemone nemorosa... there where it grows it is so abundant...but on the other hand there are many areas where you just can't find a single one!!!... life just is not fair... =O((
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Kristl Walek on December 31, 2008, 11:25:12 PM
What a surprise to receive a large box delivered by courier just as night fell here on New Years' Eve. Inside was a framed award.

I was most proud to have been the first recipient of the Geoffrey Charlesworth Writing Prize in the spring of 2008 for an article I wrote about my work with seed for one of the NARGS bulletins in 2007.

It somehow seemed appropriately connected to what I have wanted to share in my "Bit Of Heaven" here; and as there is still so much to show and tell, a way to re-determine to continue my tome into 2009.

And from T.S. Eliot:

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: maggiepie on December 31, 2008, 11:35:02 PM
Congratulations Kristl, it's a great honour.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: art600 on December 31, 2008, 11:36:40 PM
Kristl

Richly deserved
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lvandelft on January 01, 2009, 08:48:47 AM
Kristl, having read many of your pages here on the Forum which are so 
good and easy reading, I am not surprised that NARGS gave the prize to you.
You are the one who really deserve to be honoured!
Looking forward what you will write and show us this coming year.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: David Nicholson on January 01, 2009, 09:32:29 AM
Many congratulations Kristl.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Paul T on January 01, 2009, 10:35:39 AM
Congrats, Kristl.  Well done!!  :D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Maggi Young on January 01, 2009, 11:25:44 AM
Dear Kristl, what a well deserved award .... and how charmingly commemorated. 
I do hope you fully realise just how much we appreciate your contribution to this site with your insight, wisdom and photographs.  Just fantastic to see your efforts for the NARGS bulletin given such special recogniton. I hope you are justifiably filled with warm fuzzy feelings about yourself  8)
Looking forward to a great year of heavenly contributions from you, Kristl - Happy New Year! :-*
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Brian Ellis on January 01, 2009, 12:40:05 PM
Well Done Kristl, the NARGS have good taste.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Michael J Campbell on January 01, 2009, 03:00:23 PM
Congratulations Kristl. Good work,
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Lesley Cox on January 01, 2009, 08:20:01 PM
What a great thrill Kristl to receive this new award, and how appropriate it is, that it should go to you for your marvellous writing. You have the gift of making all your plants live for each of us even if we never see the real thing. We're all delighted for you.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Katherine J on January 02, 2009, 07:23:24 PM
I can only second all the congratulations, and wish you health to continue your marvellous work!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Luc Gilgemyn on January 02, 2009, 09:19:55 PM
Absolutely delighted for you Kristl !!
So well deserved for someone who put her heart and soul into writing so knowledgeably about her passion !!
Many congratulations and do go on please !!  :D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: dominique on January 02, 2009, 09:34:38 PM
Marvellous and merited honour for you Kristl. Bravo and happy new year
Dominique
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: ian mcenery on January 03, 2009, 12:47:09 AM
Fabulous Krystl many congratulations  8) 8) 8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: ChrisB on January 05, 2009, 03:25:18 PM
What a perfect ending to a year of your thoughts, ideas and inspirations in this thread, Kristl.  Your writing skills are only eclipsed by your talent with plants and seeds.  I do hope you will continue this thread, which I have been reading ever since you started it last year.   And don't forget to post here when your book is published, we all want to buy one!!!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: mark smyth on January 05, 2009, 07:25:32 PM
I should have renewed my  NARGS subscription when it ran out.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Katherine J on January 06, 2009, 10:49:15 AM
And don't forget to post here when your book is published, we all want to buy one!!!

I agree with that!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Linda_Foulis on January 11, 2009, 01:07:39 AM
Congrats Kristl that is simply awesome! 

As for the forthcoming book, maybe you should start taking orders now, please.  Sign me up for one, please, I would be quite miffed if I missed out due to my lack of attention.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven...
Post by: Tony Willis on January 11, 2009, 02:30:46 PM
Well done Kristl, I always enjoy your posts which are full of interest. Please continue.
Title: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Maggi Young on January 24, 2009, 02:25:33 PM
Friends-  literally thousands of you have followed, buoyed with the twin pleasures of learning and entertainment from the superb photos and information provided, the tales from My Bit of Heaven given over the last while by Kristl Walek 

[attach=1]

I am so pleased to be able to announce here that Kristl is ready, willing and able to continue her posts.
I do not doubt that you will be as eager as I am to anticipate Kristl's posts, winging their way here from Canada .......
 [attach=2]

Thank you, Kristl !

[attach=3]
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on January 25, 2009, 11:21:41 PM
Last season I did not begin the tour of my Bit Of Heaven until spring had sprung; after all, what could I show you in the depths of winter in the Ottawa Valley of Ontario, Canada?

There are 3-4 months of cold and snow still ahead of me. It's been an average winter thus far
(-20 to-35C lows) although the coldest month is yet to come. At least there is some snow this year (about 60cm so far) which is not always the case.

The senses are quite taxed in winter here. Walking around my property, it is the shape and form of the woody species that the eye registers. There are few berries that hang on into deep winter in this climate, with the exception of Viburnum trilobum and Celastrus scandens. Here and there stray seed pods still linger.





Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on January 26, 2009, 12:32:47 AM
My seed building is a large structure at the rear of my acreage, a short walk from my house (although it feels much further in a blizzard). And this is where I spend most of my time during the long winters here.

Until Christmas it is a madhouse of frenzied activity with seed cleaning, testing and packaging seed during the days, and updating the website during the nights. January is the beginning of high season, which will last through April. I normally work 7 days a week, 12-18 hours per day getting orders out. I now sell in over 35 countries, with my first order from South Korea this week to be added to the list.

The shelves which were, until recently, stuffed with seed bags to be cleaned are now bare. And the seed cleaning equipment is tucked away for another year. Padded mailers and shipping boxes of various sizes take up another few bookshelves.

My packaged seed for any particular season is stored alphabetically in recycled library file cabinets. As there is not enough space in the cabinet for large quantities of each individual seed, they are packaged in roughly 25-50 packs, depending on expected popularity and then re-packaged as they run out.

The bulk dry seed from the current season are kept for a while in plastic bins close by. I will need daily access to these when I have to fill wholesale/bulk orders. In mid to late February when most of the nurseries and other institutions looking for larger quantities of seed have more or less finished ordering, all the bulk seed from the current season gets put into the freezer. Some short-lived dry-stored seed has been kept in the freezer right from collection time (Pulsatilla, Tiarella, etc).

I have two large freezers here, and they are overflowing. The larger one on the right holds all the "reserve seed"---these are primarily species going back well over 20 years. They include valuable samples from all my collection trips as well as small stock quantities of every species I have ever carried. The left freezer is normally for current season seed. All seed is frozen in paper bags inside plastic bins.











Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on January 26, 2009, 01:06:59 AM
The ephemeral (moist-packed) seed is obviously handled differently. The large, bulk quantities are inside big zip-lock bags in moist vermiculite, alphabetically stored in multiple bins. From the large bulk bags, I fill tiny ziplocks of the seed for sale and put them inside the individual black pots you see in the picture.

These are lined up on a shelf, with their respective names on the front, and put into their descriptive seed envelope when I fill the orders.

Throughout the season, I will need to keep tabs on the moisture level inside both the bulk bags and the re-packaged little zip-locks and to re-moisted them, when necessary (and it is always necessary).

I also have to ensure that nothing odd happens inside the zip-locks. The usual "odd thing" here is that species germinate in moist-packing when they are not supposed to. I've carried the native Lindera benzoin for some time now---and it has a warm-cold-warm germination pattern.

As a result, I normally moist-pack it and keep it at the initial warm period as an aid to my customers, who then only need to provide the cold. Well, who knows why it decided to germinate this year during the first warm phase. When I saw the sprouts inside the little zip-locks, I checked the bulk bags, and sure enough, there were already plants of significant size inside the bags.

I do love my on-line catalogue for moments like this---one minute Lindera was there---then it is gone.


Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on January 26, 2009, 01:51:43 AM
You may recall that one of my objects of study has been the longevity of the ephemeral "green" fern spores. Last spring/early summer fertile fronds of the native ferns having ephemeral spores were collected.

The spores of each species were divided into batches that were respectively kept:
(1) In open storage (room temperature).
(2) In the fridge
(3) In the freezer

The frozen-spore Osmunda regalis and cinnamomea were the first to be tested--sown on vermiculite in clear plastic containers on December 6th. Action was extremely fast--and in short order the ephemeral spore showed that it was still clearly alive and viable after being frozen. When I look at the green mass with a magnifier, there are little green fernlets happening!!!!!

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ian Y on January 26, 2009, 11:11:39 AM
A fascinating series of posts Kristl I love seeing other peoples methods and systems wether on a small scale or a large scale operation like you are running.
I hope you have a good heating system in your seed house as we don't want you in cold store ;)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: art600 on January 26, 2009, 11:51:22 AM
Kristl

Thanks for your posts - look forward to many more.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Katherine J on January 26, 2009, 04:47:51 PM
Yes, we are looking forward to many more.
Thank you for spending the 19th our besides your work showing us all these!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: ian mcenery on January 26, 2009, 05:44:11 PM
Thanks Kristl this is most interesting . One could say I suppose "so much to learn so little time"   ;D  8)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Staale on January 26, 2009, 06:40:22 PM
Ooh, I love theese posts, Kristl. Like you I suffer a very long winter, and apart from seed sowing, I do not know how I made it before the www made stuff like your fabolous posts happen right in my own living room!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: annew on January 26, 2009, 07:20:58 PM
Fascinating, Kristl - especially the fern experiment. I'll pass on the link to a friend who deals with Osmunda spores for the British Pteriological Society, I'm sure he will be most interested. When do you start sending seed orders out?
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on January 26, 2009, 11:59:29 PM
All seeds that I send out each year are tested first.

I am not entirely finished with this yet. And even when I think I am finished, I often get out-of-character results, so sometimes I need to re-test the seed.

For instance many seeds have a very long "after drying" requirement, before which time they will not germinate, even though they are perfectly sound. Many of the seeds in this category are easy, warm germinators. Sometimes in my rush to get something tested, I forget this---and it causes extra work, as I will need to do the test again some weeks, or months later.

I have long-ago learned that while one can tell many things by eye-balling a seed, or fiddling with it to check out the embryo, or finally doing the hammer test on large, hard woody seed to ensure there is something inside, ultimately one needs to test the seed to be certain it is sound.

I do this in petri dishes, on filter paper (cut up coffee filters can be substituted). The petri dishes are piled up and inserted into clear storage bags & twist-tied. Then they go under lights.

It does not matter what the germination requirement is for a seed (warm or cold, or other---if a seed is given moisture it will tell you everything you need to know about it's health) and that is my purpose in testing them: to determine if they are healthy and have the potential to germinate.

And because I am always so busy, the results in the petris often gets away from me--and I sometimes have very advanced plants when I open the dish.

Here are a few results from today---all warm germinators and all acceptable. In future posts I will show you some results that are problematic for a number of reasons.

Also because I am trying to be a purist in this thread and to only discuss species indigenous to my area, I will in future replace these germination pictures with all natives. For now I want to discuss the method.




Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Luc Gilgemyn on January 27, 2009, 08:24:04 AM
so many species... so much skill...   :o
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on February 01, 2009, 11:16:46 PM
Perhaps it is somehow fitting that I would receive an offer on my property, just as I had almost decided to put a stop to my misery about leaving this place I love and to take it off the market.

If my counter-offer is accepted (and I think it will be), I will be searching for another bit of heaven elsewhere in Canada very soon. Closing is end of July, which is rather perfect for organizing plants in pots for their move. And I will not miss my favorite spring season here with the woodland ephemerals.

The buyer is a Dutch, ex-Olympic speedskater who has a landscaping business in this area. This pleases me tremendously, as the 6 acres of plants left behind may actually be appreciated (and used).

This is a HUGE and bittersweet moment for me---and the culmination of many years of painful decision making. While only my heart knows all the personal reasons I had for needing to leave this place I love so much; this group knows all too well my deep attachment to this bit of dirt and the plants that have brought renewal to my life year after year.
 
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: tonyg on February 01, 2009, 11:31:21 PM
Hope there will be an "Another Bit of Heaven" thread when the time comes.
I only recently revisited this wonderful collection of musings and incredible information but am working my way back to where I left off.
We too have been trying to sell up and move on.  Ours is just a scrap of land but it is still home and precious to us for many reasons.  Having worked up some enthusiasm for moving to a new plot (and a bigger house) we have reached the point now when we understand that Home truly is where your heart is.  Perhaps we will also have a last minute offer .... but plans have been submitted for with a view to adding an extra bedroom for one of our growing girls, so time is running out. 
Good luck Kristl .... and keep us posted.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: johnw on February 02, 2009, 02:39:09 AM
Kristl - A very sad moment but I am sure with all your enthusiasm you will create a masterpiece wherever you go.  If we find you in Nova Scotia everyone here we will be pleased as punch.

johnw
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Brian Ellis on February 02, 2009, 10:54:22 AM
Kristl, I know this is very sad, but I am a great believer that when one door closes another opens, I wish you well and look forward to another Bit of Heaven appearing in due course from somewhere else, where it will have been created by you.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: ian mcenery on February 02, 2009, 11:57:18 AM
Kristyl I cannot imagine all of the different emotions that tie you to this place though a new place with different challenges will be a great opportunity to create another beautiful haven - which if it were mine it might contain fewer mistakes. They say that a gardener needs 2 lifetimes ; the first life to learn and the second to put into practice and enjoy. With your energy and enthusiam this new challenge will I am sure enable you to create an even better garden. I wish you all you wish for yourself

Thank you so much for sharing My bit of Heaven
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Lvandelft on February 02, 2009, 12:26:55 PM
Quote
This is a HUGE and bittersweet moment for me---
Kristl, I am sure this is so, but I really do hope you will find a new 'Heavenly' place to
continue your work.
Wish all the luck you deserve and a good start!

Quote
The buyer is a Dutch, ex-Olympic speedskater who has a landscaping business in this area

Do I know him??
I know of an ex-speed skater who is farming in Alberta, but he is not landscaping.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: maggiepie on February 02, 2009, 12:31:51 PM
Kristl, all the very best, I can imagine how torn you must be.
You really have created a bit of heaven, btw New Brunswick is a nice place to live  ;)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on February 03, 2009, 03:21:43 AM
If we find you in Nova Scotia everyone here we will be pleased as punch

But will you still be pleased, dear John, when I need to beg a space on your couch while I search for my new property in fair Nova Scotia? :)

It is official as of 7:00pm tonight. My counter-offer was accepted with no further counter....and so now I can begin imagining my new life near the ocean (and being able to grow Rhododendron)...

I do not intend to abandon my posts here, nothwithstanding a short interlude in July to pack my bags.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: johnw on February 03, 2009, 04:17:38 AM
If we find you in Nova Scotia everyone here we will be pleased as punch

But will you still be pleased, dear John, when I need to beg a space on your couch while I search for my new property in fair Nova Scotia? :)


But then I would have to get off the couch.  We will muster something better than that for you.

Bid the sun farewell, say hello fog.  It will be rhododendron growing till the midnight hours. ;D ;D ;D

johnw
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on February 15, 2009, 11:29:49 PM
After a brief absence to deal with property sale details, I would now like to continue where I left off with seed testing.

I intended to show you examples of seed that does not get listed after testing. I have mentioned that ultimately one cannot trust seed freshness alone, nor how beautiful the seed appears to look to the naked eye. In the end, my proof is always in the petri dish. The following are all examples of something being very wrong with the seed embryo. This can be immaturity, disease, insect infestation and even, on occasion, seed cleaning damage. There can also be pollination issues.

When a seed is bad, and exposed to moisture, it will either rot, or get attacked by fungi, or both. Sometimes it will germinate, even in high percentages, but show lack of vigour and soon collapse.

What one needs to keep in mind as well--if there is extraneous material (chaff) in with the seed, but the seed is fundamentally healthy, fungus will attack the chaff and break it down, but this will not harm healthy embryos, which will continue to germinate even in the presence of the fungus.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on February 15, 2009, 11:54:04 PM
Even though most seed growers have experience using GA-3 to stimulate germination, I am still surprised how many folks have not used it.

GA-3 is NOT a panacea for germination---it benefits particular species, or genera and should not be used across the board for everything. But when it is of benefit, it is a real time saver (taking away the need for cold in certain genera--such as Thalictrum, some Aquilegia, Myrica gale), or profoundly affecting the rate of germination in others (Lobelia cardinalis).

While I sometimes soak seed overnight in a GA-3 mixture, it can also be mixed in a spray bottle for multiple applications, or applied dry to the seed and then watered in. Once mixed up however, it only has about a 2 week shelf life. Unmixed, it can remain potent for a number of years kept cool in the fridge.

I buy powdered GA-3 (90% concentration) in large quantities, and break it down into small 100mg packages which I sell through my business. This is powerful stuff, and less is more is the philosophy.
Norm Deno first suggested the simple method of treating one batch of seed with the quantity of powder that would fit on the end of a moistened pointed toothpick. This is what I often do.

In the visual examples that follow, I am first treating Thalictrum polyganum, as part of my seed testing routine. Normally this seed would require 8-12 weeks of cold treatment. After the GA-3, it germinates in 10 days at warm. The Myrica gale is similar--and in my example is just beginning its germination after a prior weeks' treatment with GA-3.



Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on February 16, 2009, 12:20:03 AM
I have earlier this year shown you the benefits of dealing promptly with Trillium species after harvest. Even if you are not able to sow them immediately, there is a tremendous advantage to moist-packing the seed to keep it viable and in rhythm with what would happen if the seed dispersed naturally. Many species will, in fact, germinate within the first 6 months if they are dealt with in this manner. Others will not not sprout until the seed has had an initial cold treatment.

Just to remind you, I will repost a picture of moist-packed Trillium grandiflorum (collected in July, 2008). By October this is what I saw inside my zip-lock bags.

This season I have also purposely subjected moist-packed T. erectum, T. undulatum and T. cernuum to extended periods at warm just to see what might happen.

Two weeks ago, when I last checked the zip locks, T. cernuum (collected early August, 2008) had in fact begun to sprout. At this point I am guessing the germination is only about 10%, but I am keeping a close watch to see if it will continue.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: annew on February 16, 2009, 08:17:44 AM
This is really interesting information Kristl. I'm happy you will be keeping in touch with us after your move. Hope all goes well.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on February 21, 2009, 10:37:59 PM
While February has been milder than any I can ever remember (high of 0c tomorrow, low of -9c), it is still winter here and not much will change yet for a while. The compensation is that February is a very sun intensive time; a great thing for those of us who suffer from light-deprivation depression (dreary November & December are tough!!!)

Even though I love how the internet has brought people, plants, information, and purchases right to my inner sanctum; there is barely a day I don't cringe when I see the ease with which erroneous information also gets spread. Because my particular expertise is seed and germination---this is obviously the area that irks me particularly. Wait for one source to publish something on the net (correct or incorrect) and everyone follows. The information then gets linked to the various germination databases and then appears to be law.

Case in point: put my native Maianthemum stellatum into any search engine---and see if you find any contrary opinion---everyone asserts "it requires cold treatment, and may take 2 years to complete germination".

To make the point publicly here, I tested 3 different batches of the species this year (my own wild collected, a batch from a friend in Wisconsin, and one from southern Ontario). They all did the same thing--easy, warm sprouting over a period of about 3-6 weeks (normally ending with almost 100% germination).

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on February 21, 2009, 11:01:34 PM
I spent many hours today dealing with Symplocarpus foetidus seed.

The large, marble-sized seed is formed inside huge, bumpy pods, which eventually drop into the mucky swamps where they grow, rotting over time and leaving the seed behind in the cold water. It is not a seed that should be allowed to dry out after collection for this reason, so I always moist-pack it after cleaning and keep it at room temperature.

A certain percentage of these seeds always rot over time (internal infection, problematic embryos) and I need to sort through them on a regular basis to remove the "rotten apples."

Also, at this point in time (3-4 months in moist, warm conditions), there is always a good percentage (20%?) that have sprouted. This strikes me as a bit of a high proportion to be the insurance policy for the seed-but normally there is little to no further germination in the subsequent months the seed is kept warm and moist.

The general germination pattern is cold-warm (with first sprouts appearing in mid-summer following cold treatment).

I ended up with 3 large flats of seedlings, 32 to a tray (almost 100 plants) from this 20%. Some were significantly more advanced than others. I keep the babies in a tray with no holes in the bottom and always keep a few inches of water in the tray while they are growing along under the lights.











Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven........2008
Post by: cohan on February 22, 2009, 01:01:18 AM
its going to take me some time to go through these--33 pages!
as you know, we have some of these spring flowers here--Viola adunca, Maianthemum stellatum, Caltha palustris...but many others we do not....
some have already been on my wish list--Erythroniums, Asarum, Trilliums, and i am seeing some new ones--Saxifraga virginiensis, was it? a charmer..
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Maggi Young on February 22, 2009, 03:05:11 PM
Even though I love how the internet has brought people, plants, information, and purchases right to my inner sanctum; there is barely a day I don't cringe when I see the ease with which erroneous information also gets spread. Because my particular expertise is seed and germination---this is obviously the area that irks me particularly. Wait for one source to publish something on the net (correct or incorrect) and everyone follows. The information then gets linked to the various germination databases and then appears to be law.

Case in point: put my native Maianthemum stellatum into any search engine---and see if you find any contrary opinion---everyone asserts "it requires cold treatment, and may take 2 years to complete germination".

To make the point publicly here, I tested 3 different batches of the species this year (my own wild collected, a batch from a friend in Wisconsin, and one from southern Ontario). They all did the same thing--easy, warm sprouting over a period of about 3-6 weeks (normally ending with almost 100% germination).



This is just another example of how valuable your contributions here are, Kristl.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on March 02, 2009, 09:29:12 PM
Asarum canadense, like Trillium grandiflorum, sprouts late in the first collection year if the seed is kept moist packed and in warm conditions after harvest.  Germination is normally around October and, like the Trillium, germination is radicle (root) emergence only.

The first two sets of pictures show the rather massive germination inside the zip-lock in October, 2008. Nothing further than radicle emergence will happen until the seed has received cold conditioning of about 2-3 months (hypogeal germination).

The zip-lock was put into the fridge November 14th, 2008.
Taken out and left at room temperature in February, 2009.
The last two pictures show how the seedlings looked today, March 2, 2009.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Maggi Young on March 02, 2009, 09:33:29 PM
I can't believe how keen these little guys are to grow. I wish all the seed we get  was so fertile!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: maggiepie on March 02, 2009, 09:49:16 PM
The pic reminds me of my hellebore babies last year, except for the number.
They look so healthy Kristl, how big do you let them get before potting them up?
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on March 02, 2009, 10:14:46 PM
Helen,

Sadly, they will simply get composted, once my germination experiment is finished. It's just a test for my book on propagation of native species. If my property here were not overflowing with mature plants, I would be tempted. I am potting a number of exotic Asarums right now, which I will take to Nova Scotia. They have an almost identical germination pattern.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Maggi Young on March 02, 2009, 10:18:43 PM
Kristl, isn't your Buyer a landscaper? Might he not welcome the chance to get all these seedlings to grow on for some really classy planting schemes?? :D
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on March 02, 2009, 10:29:25 PM
Maggi, even if I decided to take hundreds of mature plants with me, the new owner will still be left with drifts and drifts and drifts in the garden. Even though I have largely gotten over the twinge in my stomach I used to get whenever I composted perfectly healthy seedlings, I still can't look them straight in the eye when I do it.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Maggi Young on March 02, 2009, 10:31:58 PM
Quote
I still can't look them straight in the eye when I do it
I should think not.... that would be too cruel!  :-X

Think of all that energy going into the compost though..... rocket fuel!  :D
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: maggiepie on March 02, 2009, 10:49:08 PM
I still can't look them straight in the eye when I do it.

Kristl, would it be possible to donate them to ORG/HPS for them to grow on and sell at one of their plant sales?
Hate to see such healthy little babies go into the grinder  :'( :'( :'(

You have so much on your plate I guess that was a bit unrealistic  ::)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on March 20, 2009, 09:05:45 PM
Over the past few years I've been testing my entire native seed inventory using the identical  method for each species (in moist vermiculite in zip locks), with the cold treatments provided in the fridge only.

While some inconsistencies were present (there always are), here are some of the results from today:

One cold treatment of 3 months.
Asclepias exaltata (fresh seed)- aged seed will germinate without cold. Many Asclepias species behave in this way.
Eupatorium maculatum, purpureum
Polygala senega
Viola adunca, canadensis, fimbriatula, lanceolata, nephrophylla, pubescens (moist packed from collection to cold treatment)
Mertensia virginica
Angelica atropurpurea
Amelanchier sanguinea
Ceanothus americana and ovatus
Stipa spartea
Dicentra cucullaria (Moist Packed from collection to cold treatment).
Streptopus roseus (Moist Packed .....ditto......)
Veratrum viride

Some had begun germinating while in the cold (Dicentra, Veratrum and Erythronium americanum).
The pictures of the Erythronium show how it looked coming out of the fridge, and then again one week later. Rates were very high.

A post script on the Erythronium americanum one month later---all seedlings collapsed and died off due to germinating in such warm conditions.



Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on March 20, 2009, 09:38:33 PM
And these are species that received 2 cold treatments, begun with and interspersed with periods at warm (warm-cold-warm-cold-warm).

GOOD REASON TO ALWAYS KEEP ALL SEED POTS FOR AT LEAST 2 YEARS!!!!


Gaylussacia dumosa
Pedicularis canadensis
Coptis groenlandica trifoliata
Celastrus scandens
Caltha palustris
Aralia racemosa
Comptonia peregrina
Crataegus pedicellata
Arctostaphyllos uva ursi
Cornus stolonifera
Cornus rugosa
Prunus pensylvanica
Lithospermum canadense
Sambucus nigra canadensis
Rosa virginiana
Rosa acicularis
Rhus aromatica
Juniperus virginiana & communis
Sorbus decora
Aralia nudicaulis
Trientalis borealis
Actaea pachypoda and rubra (these were stored dry; if moist packed after collection, germination is after the first cold treatment).
Staphylea trifoliata
Viburnum alnifolium (lantanoides)
Viburnum recognitum
Mitchella repens




Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on March 20, 2009, 10:38:00 PM
The Elms (Ulmus species) all have very short-lived seed, almost rivaling Salix (the Willows) in terms of short viability.

They also bloom extremely early, and are the first woody seeds to be collected in this area
(U. americana normally harvested the last week of May). U. thomasii a couple of weeks later.

Ulmus americana, rubra and the very picturesque Ulmus thomasii are all native here. Extant old specimens of the American Elm can still be found; whether they have resistance to Dutch Elm Disease, or whether it has not touched them in the areas where they grow is uncertain.

U. thomasii, rock elm--because of its extremely hard wood--is often also called cork elm because of the very picturesque, irregular thick corky wings which develop on older branches. It is rare in this area, but when found, it usually grows on dry upland sites, especially rocky ridges and limestone bluffs.

Elm seed is rarely offered in the trade partially because of the difficulty in catching the early seed drop on time and also because of the short viability issue. This year I was able to collect seed of all three species; clean them immediately and then stored them dry in the freezer to experiment with the possibility that they might remain viable if frozen. Seed has been tested at roughly 4-6 month intervals since collection---and the latest results---from today are posted in picture form below. In two months the fresh 2009 seed will be ready; so it is possible to keep these species "on ice" from season to season and I suspect this would be true across the genus.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 12, 2009, 06:52:52 PM
It's that time of the year in the Canadian north when the seasons do their most obvious battling---it's something I love, watching that fierce, lovely struggle between winter and spring.

Only a few days ago, the view from my kitchen window was still white. Today, Easter Sunday is cold, but sunny, with warmer weather coming, although the nights are still below freezing. This morning the duck couple arrived to the big pond---they are here each year as soon as the water unthaws; and when I spot them, I know that spring is here, notwithstanding what the next month and a half may still bring.

While there is not a single native species flowering yet, the Hepatica nobilis, Corydalis solida, Hellebores, Crocus, Galanthus, Draba and many Saxifrages are all in bloom, with many other non-native species coming on.

A few more germination notes to continue my ongoing post on that subject:

One cold treatment of three months:
Maianthemum canadense
Gentianopsis crinita
Eriophorum virginicum

Streptopus roseus--this had just emerged the last time I posted the results. Seedlings are now large and vigorous. Seed had been kept moist packed after harvest and then given one cold treatment.


And two cold treatments:
Ilex verticillata
Nemopanthus mucronatus
Cornus canadensis
Drosera rotundifolia
Fraxinus nigra







Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Rodger Whitlock on April 12, 2009, 11:20:45 PM
. . . GA-3 is NOT a panacea for germination . . .

Even though I love how the internet has brought people, plants, information, and purchases right to my inner sanctum; there is barely a day I don't cringe when I see the ease with which erroneous information also gets spread. . .  Wait for one source to publish something on the net (correct or incorrect) and everyone follows. The information then gets linked to the various germination databases and then appears to be law.

The easy proliferation of mis-information is nothing new, Kristl. A good 30 years ago, I had a friend who was into growing hybrid tea roses from seed. To speed up the process and get the critical first flower sooner, he used gibberellin per a recommendation in the rose growing literature, but at first had extremely poor results. (Rose breeders have learned that the first flower from a seedling is generally indicative of its commercial potential, so they exert considerable efforts to getting an early flower. The sooner they reach it, the sooner they can destroy the huge majority of seedlings which have no particular merit.)

Being of an investigative frame of mind, he started backtracking from his reference and ultimately arrived at the original publication of the recommendation. Turned out that at one stage, someone had slipped a decimal point and the recommended concentration was suddenly inflated by one or more orders of magnitude. (I don't remember at this late date if it was a ten-, hundred-, or thousand-fold error.)

Once he corrected his concentration to the originally recommended lower level, success was his, even though he germinated his seed in a coat closet under fluorescent fixtures.

The error had occurred with the first re-printing of the methodology, and no one had bothered to check back to the ur-publication of it. Why no one else had figured out that Something Was Wrong, he did not know.

All the internet has done is speed up the spread of errors!

[I'm hoping that by tying two topics together, I'm reinforcing the lesson that where gibberellins are concerned, more is most definitely NOT better. If anything, less is better!]

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 18, 2009, 11:37:01 PM
As I've become obessed with potting plants for my move, I almost missed the flowering of the first plant of Hepatica americana, the earliest native species to bloom in this area.

As this species is considered "very local and rare in Nova Scotia" I will soon have to select clones of particularly good forms to take along.

I will try to get out to my Hepatica spots in the wild this week to show you woods, near full of this wonderful plant.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Paul T on April 19, 2009, 12:31:45 AM
Beautifully delicate colour, Kristl.  The only americana I grow are apparently from white parents.... but still waiting for most of them to flower to find out whether there were any colours slipped in there in the genes.  ;D
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 19, 2009, 01:10:34 AM
The "muddy" color of my clone is a fairly widespread occurence here---it's harder to find the pure whites or pinks. Lavender is common, blue is uncommon here (although I know one site...) and I have found some beautiful deep pure pinks.

Doubles/Semi-Doubles are not rare and sometimes I have seen leaf shape variation. However, what I have rarely, to never found here after years of looking is really distinctive leaf mottling or variegation.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Paul T on April 19, 2009, 01:23:53 AM
Kristl,

Well it certainly doesn't look muddy to me.  ;D  I have to correct my earlier posting too... the Hepatica americana are from a blue parent, not a white parent.  The H. acutiloba were from the white parent.  I think your pink is lovely, and love the idea of the deep pure pinks.  Fascinating that the doubles/semi-doubles aren't rare.  I don't think I've seen double americanas mentioned before.  I hope to one day grow doubles of some sort or another.  ;D

Thanks again for all your wonderful pictures, Kristl. 8)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 19, 2009, 01:56:31 AM
Paul,
Compare the number of sepals of this typical H. americana with the one I posted earlier.

Of course "muddy" is not the correct word---what is it?

Let me try again: the primary color scheme of the species here is white underlayed with pink, lavender/bluish tones, although pure colors exist.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Paul T on April 19, 2009, 02:38:54 AM
I still like "delicate" when referring to the colour.  Muddy sounds so negative.  ;)  They're beautiful, whatever colour they are.  So in the americana the term double refers to just more petals in the single layer then, rather than the japanese double nobilis etc?
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Katherine J on April 20, 2009, 07:52:28 AM
Hepatica americana seeds from Kristl, germinating like mad.  :)
Thank you Kristl!!!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Maggi Young on April 20, 2009, 12:00:41 PM
Lots of healthy babies there, Kata ...no wonder you are pleased!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 20, 2009, 01:40:18 PM
Hepatica americana seeds from Kristl, germinating like mad.  :)
Thank you Kristl!!!

That makes me so happy. Thank you for showing them!!!!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 25, 2009, 04:18:44 AM
Since the good weather has arrived, I have had to spend most of my days
putting plants into pots for my move, instead of enjoying them in the garden
or in the wild.

But today my yearning to get out into the woods was impossible to resist---so I
dropped shovel and trowel and ran away to a few local haunts to see if
anything was poking out of the ground yet.

I would also like to take this time before I leave Ontario to concentrate on particular species that I did not show you last year.

It's lovely to be in the rich woodlands at this time of year; before the
leaves of the maples have emerged and prior to the arrival of the biting creatures.
There is plenty of light without the leafy canopy; and one crunches along on dry maple leaves wondering what lies beneath.

Wild Leek (Allium tricoccum) is one of the earliest species to emerge in the woods. Because it is considered quite a delicacy (leaves and bulbs are edible), it is rapidly decreasing in the wild and in some parts of our country (Quebec) has become illegal to collect. I sell out of this seed each year, no matter how large my initial seed stock is.

The species has quite an unusual growth pattern. The lovely, wide foliage emerges in the spring and goes entirely dormant by summer. At this point it sends up a single smooth stem holding white flowers from bare earth---which turn into shiny, round seeds in the fall.

Caulophyllum thalictroides is one of my favorite native plants. And while I love it all season long, it's spring emergence is wonderful---rich, dark purple-black.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 25, 2009, 04:56:16 AM
It was still too early for most of the spring woodland plants:

The mottled foliage of Erythronium americanum could be seen everywhere poking through the maple leaves although I did find one or two plants in bloom at the very sunny edges of the forest.

Trillium grandiflorum had mostly not yet emerged from the ground, although a few scattered plants growing high and dry in limestone boulders were out and in bud. 

One Trillium erectum with it's red bloomers showing.

And while most of the beautiful Dicentra cucullaria were just at the cute, ferny leaf stage, a small scattering of flowers could be found in the hotter, drier areas.

It is, of course, peak flowering time for Hepatica americana. Unfortunately I was not able to take the time to drive to my special Hepatica site today (hopefully I will not be too late next week to see the display).

A few scattered plants were at my local woods today, including a nice pure white.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 25, 2009, 05:26:05 AM
Sanguinaria canadensis is also at it's prime moment---and I saw plants in almost totally exposed, open areas near the sides of the road in heavy, weedy competition that had fantastically huge flowers.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Lvandelft on April 25, 2009, 06:19:45 AM
Lovely pictures Kristl!

Quote
But today my yearning to get out into the woods was impossible to resist---so I
dropped shovel and trowel and ran away to a few local haunts to see if
anything was poking out of the ground yet.
I just can feel what you mean. It's kind of a nervous heart beating which does not stop.. ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Gerdk on April 25, 2009, 06:29:22 AM
Thank you for these wonderful spring impressions. It seems your Allium tricoccum is the American counterpart of our good old Allium ursinum.

Gerd
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Paul T on April 25, 2009, 07:27:11 AM
Beautiful, Krystl.  More things I have never heard of.  ;D  Great stuff.  8)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Brian Ellis on April 25, 2009, 09:41:57 AM
Quote
Caulophyllum thalictroides is one of my favorite native plants.

Me too Kristl, what is the best method of propagation?
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 25, 2009, 03:34:57 PM
Quote
Caulophyllum thalictroides is one of my favorite native plants.

Me too Kristl, what is the best method of propagation?

Beg, borrow or steal a plant....       ;D

Seriously, Brian....next to the Pyrolaceae, this is a plant that has me totally mystified as a seedswoman. I have it going into it's 3rd cycle now of alternating cold-warm-cold, etc, and have not had a single germination. There is some research suggesting (but not conclusive) that it requires a Gibberelin (NOT GA-3) to stimulate germination.

I should have done the same testing with seed of it in pots of woodland soil (with lots of maple leafmould)---and that is what I say on my seed packages (direct sow in an area where woodland soil and deciduous leaf mould is present), as it is the only thing that makes sense to me.

The particular woods where it is prevalent (like where I photographed it), it is SERIOUSLY prevalent---and is obviously reproducing from seed, so it seems obvious it is something in the soil in combination with the normal time equations.

It is another species that is rare in Nova Scotia, existing in the form of only "a few plants in hardwoods forests" of the Annapolis Valley, so I will be potting many plants for my move.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Brian Ellis on April 25, 2009, 04:51:16 PM
Quote
Beg, borrow or steal a plant...

I already have it Kristl, but would like to spread it round a few friends and expand my holding!  Unfortunately it does not seem happy enough to bless me with seedlings :-\
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 25, 2009, 11:21:04 PM
To finish up with the Sanguinaria canadensis from yesterday---these are pictures from the main area in the woods, giving you an idea of how lovely large populations are. These were fairly thick up a west-facing slope, fairly open and sunny right now.

The predominant groundcover under the Sanguinaria is Erythronium americanum.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 26, 2009, 12:06:45 AM
Dirca palustris (Leatherwood) is more interesting than showy. It is a small understory shrub with very flexible branches (these are so pliable, they can actually be tied in knots without breaking).

The bark can also be peeled in strips and used as cordage---is as tough as leather.

It is quite rare in this area---and all my hunting over the years has only yielded two spots with a few specimens. One of these is right down the street, in the rear of a golfcourse, where there are 2 plants only.  Whenever I am skulking around in there photographing plants, I do get rather odd looks from the golfers, just feet away.

From my perspective, Dirca is notable for being the first woody species to bloom in this area. Even though the yellow flowers are tiny, when they are mostly all in bloom on bare branches, it does have an ethereal effect of sorts.

These are followed by berries, ripening rather early.

My other interest in the species is it's rather challenging seed. Being in the Thymelaeaceae (like Daphne), it presents similar issues with seed (empties, underdeveloped embryos etc). However, unlike Daphne, the seed must be collected almost instantly upon ripening, or barely ripening. It is one of the few species where near-exact seed collection timing is *crucial*. One day too late and the seed is gone. If I manage the timing, there are all sorts of secondary issues to be dealt with---the most laborious of which is hand sorting every single seed for crushability (no embryo). They are then moist packed and re-checked often for further rotting or crushing....only the seed that remains semi-hard over a period of months has a chance at germination.

The plants down the road were only thinking of opening yesterday, but in todays heat (+27C) they rushed to open.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Paul T on April 26, 2009, 12:40:03 AM
Great Sanguinarias Kristl.  All beautiful pics as always.

I have to wonder how many different things in the world as known as 'Leatherwood'.  Here, we have Eucryphias that are known as that.  8)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 29, 2009, 11:43:45 PM
I was trying to avoid most of the species I covered last year---but I stopped in such a botanically rich little stretch of woods today---drifts of yellow inticing me from the dirt road. So, I just had to hike in to take a peek.

It's strange how I have never entered these maple woods before after 20 years of living in the area; only 10 minutes from home.

These woods were composed of large hummocks, solid with mostly Erythronium americanum and Claytonia caroliniana, dotted with the maroon of Trillium erectum. The low areas were still full of standing water.




Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 30, 2009, 12:31:52 AM
Trillium erectum does not grow in large drifts in my area, as does T. grandiflorum. Where it is found here, it tends to be dotted in the landscape.
In areas of Quebec I have seen, often the opposite is true.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Katherine J on April 30, 2009, 07:07:20 AM
Trillium erectum does not grow in large drifts in my area, as does T. grandiflorum. Where it is found here, it tends to be dotted in the landscape.

It is lovely!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ragged Robin on April 30, 2009, 09:10:27 AM
Wonderful drifts in wild woodland and your close up photos have a really lovely way of showing all views of the beautiful blooms - thanks Kristi
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 30, 2009, 10:41:53 PM
Today was perhaps my last day for a while to head into the woods, but it was well worth it.

First stop was at my favorite Dicentra and Claytonia site, a limestone ridge area fairly solid with both species, working their way down the rocky slope and into the woodland below.

Dicentra cucullaria and D. canadensis were both in bloom; one can tell them apart:
1. by their flower shape
2. flower color -D. canadensis is pure white (no yellow lips)
3. D. canadensis flower stalk is normally held strictly upright, D. cucullaria is nodding
4. different seed receptacles
5. Corms
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 30, 2009, 10:55:55 PM
Dicentra cucullaria is the more common of the two native species; it is in fact rather difficult to find D. canadense--which also has a weaker habit of growth---and does not appear to be as persistent and tough as D. cucullaria.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 30, 2009, 11:32:36 PM
The Dicentras and Claytonia are both true ephemerals, entirely disappearing soon after seed production.

Claytonia caroliniana is another cormous species; the other (slightly later flowering) species is C. virginica (with larger flowers).

While the small, fleshy-leaved and glossy-flowered plants are actively growing, they can carpet entire areas and compete amazingly well even with much tougher and bigger plants.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 30, 2009, 11:50:08 PM
My pet name for this particular site is "Ephemeral Ridge" as it is home to almost all of the true ephemerals of eastern North America.

I keep showing you Erythronium americanum, which falls squarely in this camp, because I do love it dearly and am mighty relieved to know it will be abundant in my new home in Nova Scotia.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 01, 2009, 12:14:50 AM
Just down the road from ephemeral hill was another rich woodlands with examples of most of the great species from this area of North America.

Because this is an early, warm spot --- many of the species only just beginning their bloom elsewhere were well advanced here.

Notably, Trillium grandiflorum.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 01, 2009, 12:45:24 AM
Uvularia grandiflora too, which is barely out of the ground in my garden, was in full swing here.

This species is not widespread in this area; found only here and there, and rarely in large drifts.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Robert G on May 01, 2009, 01:02:32 AM
Kristl,

I love the pictures! Familiar, but always amazing to me. After a winter these plants are the things I search for in the woods...like a child looking at his/her Christmas gifts. See you soon.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Lvandelft on May 01, 2009, 06:49:59 AM
Thank you Kristl for showing these wonderful series of woodland plants.
When scrolling through, I always have the feeling I am there myself, walking
with you from one plant to the next.
It really gives so much information how and where they are growing!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Magnar on May 01, 2009, 07:16:45 AM
Thank you, Kristl, for these wonderful woodland pics. Great to follow your thread here.  :)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: maggiepie on May 01, 2009, 02:22:02 PM
Thanks Kristl, I thoroughly enjoyed the walk with you, I especially liked the Claytonia, the flowers remind me of an erodium.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Stephen Vella on May 05, 2009, 05:25:22 AM
hello Kristl,

Nice pictures as allways.

In regards to germinating Caulophyllum thalictroides you said;

"has me totally mystified as a seedswoman. I have it going into it's 3rd cycle now of alternating cold-warm-cold, etc, and have not had a single germination."

Just wanted to add that I have had success in germinating Caulophyllum very easily. I had 2 batches of seeds from the U.S, fresh and sown in pots in a mix of bark fines and sand. No need for gibberilins. A few germinated the second year. In the third year in spring I tip the pots over seeing if there was any activity as nothing was showing above ground and I found what looked very weird. There was a lot of germination activity happening and what looked like cotyledond beneth the ground (yellow in colour, no chlorophyll) with a large storage root sending tap roots down and a true leaf just unfolding. Cotyledons are never seen above ground, just their true leaves.

Looks to me I had 80% germination in their 3rd year. Tip your pots over and have a look, you may find something! :)

Cheers
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Brian Ellis on May 05, 2009, 09:38:49 AM
Thanks Stephen for that information, I will try this year and bear in mind what you have said.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 05, 2009, 01:17:24 PM
Thank you for this Stephen!!!!!!!

I am not doing my testing in pots....seeds are in vermiculite in zip lock bags, so that I can observe all activity (above and below ground); but I am now just in the second year (warm-cold-warm-cold-warm), so will continue on with this one into a third year cycle.

I had nothing at the second year.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 21, 2009, 12:28:55 AM
9 days ago I left for Nova Scotia to search for my new bit of heaven ----a
1500 km drive across the southern portion of that province in search of an area where I might like to create my last garden, have easy access to good plants in the wild for seed collecting. My non-gardening, city friend of 35 years from Montreal offered to accompany me for much-appreciated emotional support.

I had already done a fair amount of research over the past year and decided I did not want to move to the area that most attracted international buyers and tourists---Nova Scotia's south shore---the open-ocean Atlantic side of the province.

Instead, the vineyard and fruit-growing Annapolis Valley on the Bay of Fundy side was where I felt I needed to be. This is a rather remote part of the province, with good soil and sun, little to no fog (area dependent), extended springs and autumns and a significantly warmer winter climate as compared to where I am coming from in Ontario. The land is not pancake-flat Ottawa Valley terrain and there are two stretches of nice hills (affectionally named mountains), but enough to add interest to the landscape.

Here there is also a good mix of deciduous and coniferous trees, unlike the south shore which is largely conifers. I did not want to lose entirely some of the familiar woodland species I have come to love here.

Arriving at the Halifax airport one sees immediately the predominately coniferous landscape interspersed with Betula. On the drive towards the Annapolis Valley, we pass through miles of apple orchards and vineyards. Eventually the landscape becomes more varied --- deciduous trees appear and the sides of the road are lit with the bloom of Prunus virginiana and Amelanchier laevis (the Allegheny Serviceberry).

The latter is a rather showy species, with good horticultural value. The white flowers contrast beautifully with the bronzy-purple new leaves.


Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: johnw on May 21, 2009, 12:42:03 AM
Kristl - You're right as I mispoke. That would be Amelanchier canadensis along the roadsides, no "Allegheny" here as we call it the smooth serviceberry.  It's seems to be everywhere, even growing out of rock.

One to look out for is A. bartramiana - a real beaut - though not common, some around Digby & Yarmouth.

johnw
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 21, 2009, 01:05:59 AM
John,
Flora of Nova Scotia notes A. laevis is "one of our most common serviceberries" foliage was smooth and distinctly red-tinted; not the dense white-woolly of A. canadensis.

Of course there is that canadensis x laevis hybrid which has purple foliage---but usually confined to bogs.

I've seen A. bartramiana in Cape Breton---wonderful!!!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 21, 2009, 01:45:18 AM
I had decided I wanted to live as far south in the Annapolis Valley as I could get without being totally isolated and the beautiful town of Annapolis Royal became the center from which we radiated outwards in my search for a new home.

I managed to negotiate a very affordable 9 day stay at the Annapolis Royal Inn and we were, in fact, the only guests during most of that time. During the summer this is a prime tourist area and accomodations are not as easy to obtain. This patio area outside the motel is where Manuel and I spent many enjoyable hours talking, drinking coffee and obsessing about properties.

The actual town of Annapolis Royal has 525 permanent residents and is the second oldest town to have been settled in eastern North America (1605). It has a national heritage designation and has the largest concentration of heritage homes in Nova Scotia. It also has an active arts community.

Most notably, this small town was voted the "Most Liveable Small Town in the World" in 2004 in an award given by the International Awards for Liveable Communities and endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme.

The Saturday market here is a wonderful blend of music, food, artisans and plant vendors.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 21, 2009, 02:10:40 AM
It may therefore not surprise you that, in the end, on day 9, after having viewed dozens of properties, my heart was pulled back here, to settle down in this little spot in "the most livable small community in the world."
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 21, 2009, 02:36:06 AM
A quick visit to the Annapolis Royal Historic Garden was squeezed in between house viewings.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 21, 2009, 02:58:10 AM
and, of course, the Rhododendron...
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 21, 2009, 03:27:32 AM
Although I did not end up purchasing this renovated 250 year old house perched on a steep hillside with an incredible view in the very picturesque nearby community of Bear River (called the Switzerland of Nova Scotia); we spent some time exploring this fascinating area.

The homes are all spotted in the landscape here and there in the hills, with the tidal Bear River below. Narrow, winding roads lead to them as one climbs and climbs the hillsides. The woods here were species rich--and we encountered a coyote while exploring.

Lunch was had in a cafe perched on stilts in the water---Manuel could not resist the lobster club sandwich....
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 21, 2009, 03:57:46 AM
Nova Scotia is the recycling leader of Canada. Less known, however, is that it also has a unique wastewater treatment facility that is one of the first in North America.

Situated here in Bear River, the Solar Aquatics Treatment Facility looks like a greenhouse from the outside. But inside, there are tanks, pipes, and a pond.

The following information on the process is taken from the internet:

The process begins in the blending tank with bioaugmentation, where bacteria are added by way of recycling of the secondary solids from the clarifier. The water is aerated to break up the solid material and convert it to prime material for the subsequent ecosystems to feed on. Sludge is not produced as in conventional treatment systems.

The 12 solar tanks (1.5 metres high by 1.8 metres diameter) contain mini ecosystems and water is gravity fed from one to the next. Inside each tank are specially selected algae, zooplankton, phytoplankton, snails, fish and plants that feed on the organic compounds in the water. As the wastewater progresses from one tank to the next, more and more of the organic compounds are removed.

After the last tank, the wastewater flows into a 9.4 metres by 5.9 metres solar pond which is 2.9 metres deep. The pond is divided into three sections with each containing the same ecosystems as the tanks, only on a larger scale. The water is aerated to help accelerate the consumption of organic material. The effluent is then pumped into a gravity clarifier/marsh where various marsh grasses provide denitrification, nutrient uptake, phosphorous removal, and final polishing and clarification. Finally, the effluent is UV disinfected and gravity fed into the Bear River.

Outside the treatment facility, Rhododendron were blazing in the sun.


Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 21, 2009, 04:19:00 AM
Another contendor had this view of the Bay Of Fundy; and a near-by beach.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 21, 2009, 05:06:42 AM
Our real estate agent, gave us one day of free time---and Manuel knew what that meant, of course---no city activities for him to negotiate in any event. As it was drizzling, he did probably hope that this would just be a nice, simple long drive, that I might be content to admire the landscape from afar. But in his heart, I am sure he knew better.

I did, truly, try to make it sound exotic---"I think we should drive across the province and explore the south shore today, so that you will at least have seen the Atlantic on this trip. There is this great park called the Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct where we might see rare birds and seals and it is described as one of the few unspoiled areas on the open ocean of Nova Scotia."

We set off innocently enough---but I think he knew what was in store for him when I started the "stop requests" when first spotting pink blooms next to the highway and needing to investigate. This turned out to be Rhododendron canadense, mostly still in bud, but some with open blooms.

An hour later we pulled into the parking lot of the park; read the signs describing the various trails leading to the ocean, and this is when I knew he wanted to say he would prefer to wait for me in the car. I tried to conceal my anticipatory excitement over the plants I might see and convinced him that the shortest trail of 4.3 km REALLY was an easy hike and off we went.

We were both awed immediately by the lichens welcoming us into this botanic wonderland. And in the rain, this was a truly magical place.





Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 21, 2009, 06:27:43 AM
This is a rich ecosystem of plants; only a few of which I was able to photograph from the path.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 21, 2009, 06:46:07 AM
When we finally reached the Atlantic, it was too misty to see the rare birds and seals-but the continued magic of the landscape kept us there for some time.



Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Katherine J on May 21, 2009, 10:52:07 AM
Kristl, I spent two fascinating hours seeing Your journey. Thank You!!!!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Regelian on May 21, 2009, 11:42:56 AM
Kristl,

a truly amazing piece of the planet.  My one trip to Canada (Toronto to Niagara) simply astounded me at the beauty and friendly quality of the country.  Made me want to move right on in. Wishing you all the best in your search.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ragged Robin on May 22, 2009, 03:55:22 PM
Kristi,

Every photo, every word is a wonderful expression of your journey of discovery.  I wish you so many happy days in your new life and garden and look forward to seeing it grow  :)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 22, 2009, 04:15:50 PM
Thank you, everyone....the launching stage to my new life is not quite over yet....as I am now having to deal with the practical implications of house inspection reports, etc. Sigh; if only practical and money issues didn't have to interfere with life  :-\
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Paul T on May 23, 2009, 02:47:59 AM
Wonderful, Kristl.  Another view into a totally new area of the world for me.  I look forward to seeing your new house and the development of your new garden once you have purchased your new place.  So different to boring old here.  ;D
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Lvandelft on May 23, 2009, 11:44:44 AM
Kristl, living in an area where Mitchella repens is growing, cannot be so bad, doesn't it?
I hope you found a nice house and a garden, big enough to place all your plants and even some space to extend.
I enjoyed your "search" series very much :)!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 26, 2009, 02:40:04 AM
This is what I will miss most in the Ontario woodland; and last year I did not have a chance to photograph the drifts of Trillium grandiflorum that fill our maple woods here; something I will not see in Nova Scotia, where white Trillium is uncommon to rare.

Graham has gotten a new camera---a higher end Nikon with a better lens than mine--and as the time is drawing near to finishing our book he has been busy photographing the natives to accompany our words. Most of the following pictures are his.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 26, 2009, 02:58:30 AM
Trillium undulatum must be searched for, and grows one here, one there....
And one is lucky to find T. cernuum at all.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 26, 2009, 03:46:18 AM
Primula misstassinica is also very rare in Ontario---we have only found it in one wet spot on the shores of a lake quite far from home.

And Epigaea repens is a rare dysjunct here---although it is very abundant in northern Ontario.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 26, 2009, 04:50:36 AM
In the opposite, we are too far north for Phlox divaricata, and must drive south for about one hour to find this lovely woodland species growing in rich woods, fields and along streams.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 26, 2009, 05:05:19 AM
Pedicularis canadensis grows in open woods, thickets and clearings.  The foliage emerges a wine color in early spring, later turning the grey-green you see here.

While many species in this genus are parasitic on the roots of grasses and possibly other plants, P. canadensis is capable of normal growth and development even when suitable host plants are unavailable.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Brian Ellis on May 26, 2009, 09:05:11 AM
Wow, I am totally bowled over by those Trilliums in the wood Kristl, I'll have to go and have a lie down ;D
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: annew on May 26, 2009, 09:09:57 AM
The Trillium grandiflorum seem to be all single stemmed, unlike clumps that occur in cultivation. Is this so?
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Rodger Whitlock on May 26, 2009, 10:20:16 PM
Wow, I am totally bowled over by those Trilliums in the wood Kristl, I'll have to go and have a lie down ;D

I'm sure many of us have seen something similar, evidence that Mother Nature gardens with a lavish hand, making our own gardens look rather hum-drum in comparison.

In fact, Ma Nature can use the most ordinary of plants to achieve stunning effects no gardener could manage. At the University of Rochester (New York), some unbuilt land (now, alas, a parking lot) were heavily infested with dandelions and come spring, they all bloomed in unison, the field turning brilliant yellow for a day or two. A sight for sore eyes, as the saying has it.

By comparison, we gardeners - esp. we rock gardeners - tend to have dog's breakfast gardens with one each of a thousand different plants. Most of us, I suspect would do better to grow a hundred each of ten plants instead!

One might say that if a plant is worth growing, it's worth growing a lot of it.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Brian Ellis on May 26, 2009, 10:31:16 PM
Quote
One might say that if a plant is worth growing, it's worth growing a lot of it.

Indeed true Rodger, if only we had the room!  :-\
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 26, 2009, 10:33:54 PM
The Trillium grandiflorum seem to be all single stemmed, unlike clumps that occur in cultivation. Is this so?

Anne,
Graham and I talked about your question today---and agree that 99.9% of the plants we have seen growing in the woods are single-stemmed. One occasion one can see a two or three stemmed plant, but normally out of it's ordinary habitat and receiving dissimilar conditions (at the side of the road, by itself, in more light) instead of in the woods.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 26, 2009, 11:03:09 PM
Portraits of another of my favorite woodland species: Polygala paucifolia--uncommon in this area; growing in open shade in acid conditions.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 26, 2009, 11:54:20 PM
Trientalis borealis is actually a member of the Primula family.


And here is Uvularia sessilifolia, the rarer of the two species in my area.

Lastly, a mass of Maianthemum canadense.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 27, 2009, 12:12:20 AM
I showed you most of the native Cypripedium last year---except the very rare
C. arietinum.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 27, 2009, 02:18:39 AM
Cardamine are well known plants---C. diphylla being the most common woodland species here, although it is not widely seen. The rarer C. concatenata, has toothed foliage. I have never been able to collect properly developed seed of either species.

Waldsteinia fragarioides (Barren Strawberry) is an adaptive groundcover with glossy foliage resembling strawberries. The evergreen leaves turn bronzy in cold weather. Although it can grow in heavy shade (including dry shade), it can also deal with almost full sun. Many groundcovers do not produce seed at all---having adapted to more efficient means of survival. Waldsteinia does produce seed in good years, but it is such a pain to collect,  I often don't bother.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 27, 2009, 02:36:48 AM
Thug or not, I love every stage of growth of May Apple, Podophyllum peltatum.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 27, 2009, 03:15:55 AM
I'll end tonight's posts with a few alvar pictures. You might recall my mention last year of the huge masses of Saxifraga virginiensis that grow on seasonally-wet areas of this limestone alvar.

These are views of *SMALL* portions of that mass--there are thousands of plants carpeting the landscape in spring here.

And the yellow one can see in the rear of the mass of Early Saxifraga is Early Buttercup (Ranunculus fascicularis).



Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Lvandelft on May 27, 2009, 06:30:48 AM
Very interesting pictures again Kristl! Polygala paucifolia and Ranunculus fascicularis are totally new to me.
Saxifraga virginalis is now and then seen in rock gardens in Europe, but gives no idea that it is so beautiful when growing
in such drifts.
I acquired this spring a plant as Uvularia sessilifolia and now I know that it is the true one!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: annew on May 27, 2009, 09:23:48 AM

Anne,
Graham and I talked about your question today---and agree that 99.9% of the plants we have seen growing in the woods are single-stemmed. One occasion one can see a two or three stemmed plant, but normally out of it's ordinary habitat and receiving dissimilar conditions (at the side of the road, by itself, in more light) instead of in the woods.
[/quote]
Very interesting. I wonder whether they inhibit each other by some sort of root secretions, or whether the plants are very short lived?
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 30, 2009, 12:42:06 AM
After a stressful week with my Nova Scotia property purchase repeatedly dying and being revived; the deal finally closed today, with moving date of July 29th.

In between, I almost reverted to staying in Ontario; but it appears that the east coast is where I am intended to be.

The provincial flower of Ontario is Trillium grandiflorum ... and Epigaea repens for Nova Scotia.

In the time I have remaining, I will continue with the Ontario natives I did not show you last year. After July 29th; I will focus on Nova Scotia plants and habitats.



Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Brian Ellis on May 30, 2009, 09:05:44 AM
Congratulations Kristl, how on earth do you decide what plants to take with you 8)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: admin on June 01, 2009, 06:16:06 AM
Try that now. Blank page removed

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Staale on June 01, 2009, 09:40:44 AM
Congratulations, Kristl! A distressing period ahead for you with all the practialities connected to moving, I'm sure, but Nova Scotia seems like a wonderful place to be.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 01, 2009, 10:37:34 PM
I am going to do another test of sorts---it seems to me that at some point I managed to post ONE picture, but anything past one would not work. So it may be that your own cute animal tests may not be totally indicative of a fix...

This time I will try two or three...
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 01, 2009, 11:58:18 PM
It's a rare year when one sees the Striped Maple, Acer pensylvanicum hanging
heavy with flowers.

Beautiful new foliage and emerging catkins of Betula pumila.

The roses of Larix laricina.

The double bells of Lonicera canadensis turn into double fused red berries.

A floriferous clone of Sambucus pubens in the woods.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 02, 2009, 12:46:38 AM
Most of the early-blooming woody species are white-flowered and often
difficult to distinguish; certainly from a distance.

Here are most of the native Ontario Prunus species.

The closely related Prunus americana and nigra bloom at the same time on bare branches. The deep red calyx of P. nigra makes a lovely contrast to the white petals.





Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 02, 2009, 02:15:54 AM
Amelanchier species integrade and hybridize freely, often making identification difficult.

Seed is also difficult to grab; as the birds will clean away the delicious fruit in fast order.

Amelanchier laevis I showed you from my trip to Nova Scotia---is here in Ontario as well as A. sanguinea.

A. spicata (Dwarf Serviceberry) is a denizen of the hot, dry alvars here.

The range of the very hardy Shepherdia canadensis extends to the Arctic; the tiny yellow flowers are insignificant but give an overall yellowish hue to the plant as the foliage is emerging.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 02, 2009, 02:30:10 AM
A trip was made to the bog to again see Rhododendron canadense and to photograph R. groenlandicum, Andromeda and some of the Vacciniums.

V. corymbosum has lovely red and green spring foliage; wonderful with the pink and white bells.

Aronia melanocarpa in a wet area and the early flowers of the elegant Viburnum lantanoides (alnifolium).
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: arisaema on June 02, 2009, 08:12:49 AM
Congratulations with finding a new home and garden, and best of luck with the move, I hope it goes smoothly! Lovely pictures as always. Does Amelachier spicata usually stay this short? Both various A.'s and Aronia are among the more common hedging plants here, the former are also widely naturalized - and they are stunning in flower.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Paul T on June 02, 2009, 10:22:32 AM
Beautiful, as always, Kristl.  Love that Rhododendron groenlandicum, amongst other things.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Maggi Young on June 02, 2009, 12:49:16 PM
Kristl, I cannot tell you what a relief it is to have your wonderful photos back again  :D
We are learning so much about the local plants.... terrific thread!!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 02, 2009, 03:15:48 PM
Does Amelachier spicata usually stay this short?

Bjornar,
Yes, it retains the small stature in cultivation---if only I could ever manage some seed---have tried for 3 years now and short of sleeping on the alvar during ripening times, i've pretty well given up on ever getting any.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 02, 2009, 11:41:38 PM
Acer spicatum (Mountain Maple) is the second of our small, understory acer species. Like A. pensylvanicum, it has luscious, large leaves.

Bladdernut (Staphylea trifoliata) is a favorite small understory tree or shrub. It has clusters of pretty bells followed by interesting inflated seed receptacles.

The male flowers of Pinus resinosa.

Most clones of Lonicera dioica found in the wild in this area have flowers of a good red.

The Juglans cinerea (Butternut) with it's lovely, yellow-green foliage was too tall to photograph the catkins clearly. It produces delicious, edible nuts.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 03, 2009, 01:01:17 AM
The flowers of Hydrophyllum virginianum are most normally white, or bluish-white; but one spot here has a high percentage of good blues.

The Wood Geranium (Geranium maculatum) is a very early flowering woodland species with pretty, largish, violet-pink flowers. 

A mass of Clintonia borealis and the beautiful Cornus canadensis.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 03, 2009, 01:49:55 AM
The circumboreal Eriophorum vaginatum is the only clump-forming cotton-grass native to our area, forming evergreen tussocks of fine foliage. The showy cotton puffs are very decorative.

E. gracile is endangered in many areas, due to loss of wetland. It is rhizomateous, growing erectly from solitary culms, with few leaves.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 03, 2009, 02:24:05 AM
I *know* I showed you Cypripedium acaule in the wild last year....but just couldn't resist showing you another newly discovered site for it. I promise it will not be too painful.

And Arethusa bulbosa.

And Galearis spectabilis in cultivation, in Graham's garden!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 03, 2009, 02:35:13 AM
The areas adjacent to where one finds Cypripedium acaule in the wild are almost always full of only one species and that is Maianthemum canadense; growing in the same pine duff as the Cyp.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 03, 2009, 03:01:37 AM
Last year I showed you Viola adunca, V. canadensis and V. pubescens.

Viola fimbriatula (sagittata var. ovata) is an uncommon species growing only in acid sand in shady woodland clearings in our area. It is a beautiful, small and unique viola with hairy, arrow-shaped leaves and dark violet-blue flowers with a white center. The last picture shows the hairiness of the leaves quite well.

Viola rostrata is the Long-Spurred Violet growing in rich woods, on limestone.

The Northern Bog Violet, V. nephrophylla grows on wet ground, in bogs, fens or along rocky shores; usually in areas with calcareous bedrock.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Paul T on June 03, 2009, 04:14:43 AM
Kristl,

Beautiful postings as always.  I love the Violas, those wonderful orchids, and that perfect image of Cornus canadensis.  Just such a neat flower!  Shame it probably wouldn't like our heat here. ::)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Gerdk on June 03, 2009, 07:38:28 AM
Kristl,
Thank you for these pics and for describing the conditions in which these violets grow.
 
Does 'rich woods' in the case of  Viola rostrata mean fertile soils + sufficient rainfall?

Gerd
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: arisaema on June 03, 2009, 08:43:04 AM
Thanks, Kristl! It's a lovely form with that compact habit, the naturalized A. spicata easily reach 4 meters here. Viola rostrata is stunning, and one I've been on the look-out for, will you be offering it on your web page?
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ragged Robin on June 03, 2009, 11:12:54 AM
So many wonderful discoveries conveyed in your habitat vistas and plant details - it's wonderful to share them Kristi and know that you are enjoying your new '...Bit of Heaven'  :)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 03, 2009, 01:32:11 PM
Does 'rich woods' in the case of  Viola rostrata mean fertile soils + sufficient rainfall?

Gerd,
Yes. I should have said "rich, MOIST, woods"

Bjornar,
I've just looked up the Viola rostrata in the Flora Of Nova Scotia, but it is not listed. So, unless I manage to collect it prior to leaving Ontario, I don't know if I will have it on my next list.

It's a very problematic seed year for me, for both garden collected (no garden) and in the wild (this will all come down to time). And because I do not yet know where to find the species in my new home, there will be a transition time for the species I collect in Nova Scotia.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: arisaema on June 03, 2009, 02:24:51 PM
Please forget I asked, you certainly have more than enough on your mind already! Expect some seeds from here as usual, hopefully mailed off a bit sooner than last year :-[
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: ruweiss on June 04, 2009, 09:06:20 PM
Kristl,
it is so nice to have you back at the forum and showing us again your beautiful
Bit of Heaven. I can imagine how much work is waiting for you with all the new
beginning and wonder from where you take the time for taking these beautiful
pictures. All are so beautiful, my favourites are the Cypripedium.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 06, 2009, 01:51:02 PM
Please forget I asked, you certainly have more than enough on your mind already! Expect some seeds from here as usual, hopefully mailed off a bit sooner than last year :-[

Bjornar....I *will* try to lay my hands on seed of the Viola rostrata--and your seed will be appreciated this year more than most. Thank you!!!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 06, 2009, 02:07:27 PM
I can imagine how much work is waiting for you with all the new
beginning and wonder from where you take the time for taking these beautiful
pictures.

Rudi,
I cannot take credit for the recent sets of pictures---as I have only been the poster of them, not the taker. Graham Ware, who has been my seed collecting partner for the past 5 years and co-author of our book on the native plants of eastern Canada (which I still have to find time to finish), is responsible for these. As you have surmised, I have had little to no time to be out in the wild this spring (sigh). Even our seed collecting will be very limited this season.

Graham (with his better camera) is concentrating on the pictures we still need for the book while we both collect whatever seed doesn't require huge energy levels or long, intensive trips to obtain. It's the only way we have figured we can manage to continue working on the book and to keep my business running during this transition year for me. It will be really challenging once we are in different provinces.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: ruweiss on June 08, 2009, 08:41:41 PM
Kristl, please excuse my misinformation, I am nevertheless so grateful that you take your precious
time to give us such valuable informations!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 13, 2009, 01:49:17 AM
Medeola virginiana; Indian Cucumber Root, has small roots, edible raw or cooked. This delicate member of the Liliaceae has leaves in whorls and intricate flowers.

The exquisite Linnaea borealis.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 14, 2009, 12:10:54 AM
Anemone canadensis; a pretty native with thug-like tendencies needing to be kept to wild areas only.

Calystegia spithamaea also runs in cultivation---yet is strangely uncommon in the wild.

Sisyrinchium montanum (angustifolium) is a well-known sweet small species with good blue flowers inhabiting dry, hot places in the wild.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 14, 2009, 12:43:21 AM
Arenaria stricta grows in inhospitable, hot, waste places in the wild;  where it is short-lived. In the garden, it returns year after year.

The easy to cultivate Penstemon hirsutus grows primarily in it's dwarf form, pygmaeus, in this area. Hot, dry, alvars are solid with them in a variety of color forms.


 
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 14, 2009, 01:08:02 AM
The only three members of the Araceae in our area are Arisaema triphyllum, Symplocarpus foetidus and the beautiful Water-Arum; Calla palustris. The spathe is followed by bright red berries.

Lysimachia thyrsiflora is another wet-land plant, found in marshes and swamps.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 14, 2009, 02:11:55 AM
Notwithstanding Dutch Elm Disease, some stately American elms (Ulmus americana) are still to be found in the wild.

The trunks of some representative Betula papyrifera.

Gaylussacia baccata (Wild Huckleberry) grows in dry, upland woods in acid soil. The urn-shaped pinkish-red flowers are followed by really delicious, sweet berries in the fall, ripening about the same time as blueberries.

The almost-spent flowers of Black Cherry, Prunus serotina. The species name means "late" (it flowers later than most Prunus).

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 14, 2009, 03:27:14 AM
And the Viburnums....

V. lentago (Nannyberry) is an extremely hardy species ranging as far north as Hudson Bay and forming hedges along the sides of my road here. The dark green glossy foliage turns a fantastic purple-red in autumn.

V. trilobum is of course, widely known, terrific in flower and showy fruit that lasts on the plants all winter, even in the far north.

V. rafinesquianum is usually found in seemingly inhospitable dry, hot alvar sites here.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 14, 2009, 04:01:37 AM

I believe I showed you Hudsonia tomentosa last year, but without flowers.
This rare low shrub grows on sand dunes and in sandy, pine woods and clearings. I know it here from the shores of only one lake. It resembles heather, with its scale-like foliage. Bright yellow flowers near the branch tips. I have found it difficult in cultivation.

And at the same site on the sandy shore, grows Prunus pumila var. susquehanae. In this variety the branches are erect to ascending. This consistently heavy-fruiting cherry makes excellent preserves. 

Because of fluctuating water levels, many plants had been buried by sand; with only their flowering branch tips protruding out of the sand.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 14, 2009, 04:40:23 AM
I love the alternate-leaf dogwood (Cornus alternifolia), elegant in it's tiered form, flower and fruit. It is one of my favorite native species for the woodland garden.

The common native Cornus stolonifera in bloom.

And here is Quercus macrocarpa in bloom. One of the specimens at this site had very odd, etoliated, misshaped leaves.



Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Paul T on June 14, 2009, 05:41:10 AM
Kristl,

Great photos as always.  So many unusual things.  The standout for the last week for me of your pics though, is the Medeola virginiana.  It looks so much like a strange multi-flowered Trillium or something.  And almost black flowers too.  ;)  Good stuff!!  ;D

Thanks as always for showing us your pics.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: arisaema on June 14, 2009, 08:37:30 AM
I'll second Paul, great shots and the Medeola really is lovely!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 17, 2009, 02:21:27 AM
I have, sadly, never seen Hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal) in the wild. Not abundant to begin with, it has, like Panax quinquefolium (American Ginseng) been so overcollected in the wild and wiped out by habitat destruction that is it rare to endangered in most parts on its range.

Once established in the garden, it spreads gently by rhizomes forming a wonderful and dense little colony of bold-textured maple-like foliage. The flowers are small, feathery things, followed by rather showy clusters of bright red berries. It is an undemanding plant in culture, if one can manage to find one.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 24, 2009, 03:00:33 AM
These are all plants of moist to wet places:

Iris versicolor
Nuphar variegata
Lathyrus palustris
Potentilla palustris
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 24, 2009, 04:07:42 AM
Some lovely woodland mats.

The beautiful Gaultheria hispidula; not yet in flower.

As well, Mitchella repens still with last years berries, although the buds of this seasons flowers were already present.

The wood sorrel, Oxalis acetosella is quite uncommon in this area.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 24, 2009, 04:26:04 AM

A few more pictures of Hudsonia tomentosa, this time in full flower.

Rubus odoratus is most certainly the showiest of our native rubus.

Diervilla lonicera has honeysuckle-like flowers on a medium-sized shrub.

Fraxinus pennsylvanica is already in fruit; as is Fraxinus americana--the seeds coloring a wonderful intense red before they turn beige-brown at maturity.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Gerdk on June 24, 2009, 06:26:54 AM
Thank you Kristl. Enjoyed your  North American specialities very much - as always!

Gerd
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: ranunculus on June 24, 2009, 07:06:09 AM
Wonderful to see so many beautiful plants, Kristl ... many thanks once again.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 24, 2009, 10:22:53 PM
The very photogenic Sarracenia purpurea and the beautiful Kalmia angustifolia.

Vaccinium macrocarpon (the true wild cranberry) has pretty flowers resembling Dodecatheon.
Pickers of the berries keep their collecting sites close to their hearts.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 24, 2009, 10:46:02 PM
Anemone cylindrica is the least interesting of our native Anemone---with small greenish-white flowers. A. virginiana is more worthwhile.

Penstemon digitalis growing at the edge of a woodland along with Sanicula marilandica.

Oryzopsis racemosa is a worthwhile shade-loving grass with elegant, saw-edged foliage and distinctive drooping flower heads with hard black seeds.

A couple garden-shots of Cypripedium reginae, the last of our Cyps to bloom.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Eric Locke on June 24, 2009, 10:54:30 PM

Lovely photos Kristal.

Sarracenia ones in particular are superb.

Eric
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 24, 2009, 11:46:37 PM
It was Asarum canadense and Sanguinaria canadensis seed collecting week---and I could not resist posting these Sanguinaria forest pictures.

Also, I mentioned last year that there was a particular population of Sanguinaria in the wild here with exceptionally huge leaves. I hope you are able to get a proper sense of how large these plants are!!!!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 25, 2009, 12:50:20 AM
The flowers of some native climbers.

The tiny, but intricate flowers of Celastrus scandens---hard to imagine these turning into those wonderful berries!

Canada Moonseed, Menispermum canadensis.

The female flowers of Smilax herbacea which produces very colorful berries in fall.

And the river grape; Vitis riparia, whose grapes make my favorite jelly.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 25, 2009, 01:29:49 AM
Lilium philadelphicum had a terrific season this year---so I am showing you this species again.

Astragalus neglectus grows in alvar conditions.

And here is a Polygala senega looking like a fairy ring...
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 25, 2009, 02:37:03 AM
Viburnum acerifolium with maple-like foliage that colors beautifully in fall. The flowers emerge pink from dark pink buds, turning white.

Cornus rugosa.

Symphoricarpos albus, the snowberry.

And the wonderful Wild Raisin: Viburnum cassinoides.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 27, 2009, 08:47:59 PM
Today I did my bi-weekly run to the USA to mail my American seed orders. Because I live close to the border, a single phytosanitary certificate is issued by my Canadian phyto inspector for all orders in that batch, and I then drive them across to the post office on the other side, submitting my documentation and fees at the border. I have been lucky in this sense, as I have been able to keep my USA business intact (the small seed lots program is not working very efficiently yet, in my opinion). Once I am in Nova Scotia in 4 weeks time, I will have to reappraise my situation, as I will not be close to any borders (or any phyto inspectors).

But, I digress....

On driving up to the border crossing, I noticed a new red sign ---all I could make out from a distance was "Burn it where you buy it"---which of course caught my interest, as I had no idea what that meant. Once I was closer and could read the finer print, I understood.

Emerald Ash Borer (affecting Fraxinus species) has become a very real problem in eastern North America, and is now in my area of Ontario. People helping to move the insect around through firewood is one of the issues. In fact, one of the vehicles in front of me was transporting firewood and they were turned around at the border.

I started overcollecting Fraxinus seed in the past few years and sending it to the Plant Preservation Genetic Program for posterity. All the native species here (F. americana, nigra and pennsylvanica) are very susceptible. The rare native F. quadrangulata holds out some hope for having some level of immunity---and I have tried hard to find and collect seed of this in the past 2 years once the threat became known and am happy that sales of this species were brisk in my catalogue this past season.




Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Paul T on June 27, 2009, 11:20:52 PM
Kristl,

Fascinating plants as always, and so many I've never seen or heard of before.  Of Particular note are some of the Cornus, the Potentila and the Lilium, but so many other things in there as well.

Thanks so much for sharing your lovely natives. 8)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 03, 2009, 02:21:47 AM
It's Asclepias time in the wild.

The very show A. incarnata is common and invariably found in moist to wet places.

Very rare here, A. exaltata is an edge-of-woodland plant.

And of course the well-known and beautiful A. tuberosa; which no garden should be without.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 03, 2009, 03:00:32 AM
The circumpolar Moneses uniflora is a beautiful, tiny member of the Pyrolacea, rare in my area, growing in mossy, moist woods along with other equally small gems such as Gaultheria hispidula and Mitella nuda.

The small cranberry, Vaccinium oxycoccos, is a tiny, creeping plant normally found in bogs here.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 03, 2009, 03:39:46 AM
Pogonia ophioglossoides is a striking little orchid found growing in fens. It is the only member of the genus native to North America. It spreads by long, thin runners.

A slightly similar species flowering at the same time is Calopogon tuberosa.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ragged Robin on July 03, 2009, 02:08:03 PM
Lovely plants looking so pristine, Kristi,
Quote
Very rare here, A. exaltata is an edge-of-woodland plant.
I love the way this plant hangs and displays itself - where is it more usually found?

All your photos are so interesting in the detail and the photo of Calopogon tuberosa is lovely
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: illingworth on July 03, 2009, 03:12:31 PM

And of course the well-known and beautiful A. tuberosa; which no garden should be without.

Sadly, our garden is without this plant, Kristl. It survives our winter, but in my experience, and in that of a gardening friend here, it never gets to be more than a sad, scrawny little thing, so we both no longer have it.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Roma on July 03, 2009, 08:51:58 PM
Photos beautiful and informative, Kristl.  I have learned tonight the Pogonia ophioglossoides I bought last year from a well known Scottish nurseryman is in fact Calopogon tuberosa, but still well worth having. 
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 03, 2009, 09:18:11 PM
 I love the way this plant hangs and displays itself - where is it more usually found?
I agree, Robin. Asclepias exaltata is a very elegant milkweed. In Canada it only occurs in Quebec and Ontario, and is uncommon throughout. It is fairly widespread throughout the eastern USA, although I believe it is not that common anywhere. In fact the arrangement of those drooping flowers make it quite unique in the Asclepias genus.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 03, 2009, 09:29:08 PM
Photos beautiful and informative, Kristl.  I have learned tonight the Pogonia ophioglossoides I bought last year from a well known Scottish nurseryman is in fact Calopogon tuberosa, but still well worth having. 

Roma,
No, that well known Scottish nurseryman DID sell you the right plant---it is I who labelled my pictures backwards---and had you not written this, I would not have noticed. Thank you. With my move almost imminent, I am just a bit overworked and lacking sleep....

I will correct the pictures asap.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 03, 2009, 11:28:43 PM
On the shores of a particular lake here Linnaea borealis grows in large populations on limestone boulders. At it's feet, Drosera rotundifolia has begun covering the fallen trunks of trees half-lying in the water.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 04, 2009, 12:09:26 AM
And in one portion of the lake itself Brasenia schreberi has sent up it's purple flowers.

Along the wet shoreline, one can see drifts of Cephalanthus occidentalis (Button Bush), Cornus amomum (the Silky Dogwood) and Thalictrum pubescens.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 04, 2009, 01:06:15 AM
Some of our native Lysimachia (moisture-loving plants).

L. ciliata --nodding flowers; petals have pointed tips. Fringed along petioles (leaf stalks).

L. quadrifolia (quad=4):
Leaves in whorls of four.
Four Flowers on each set of whorled leaves.

L. terrestris (Swamp Candle). Very showy spike of flowers.

Ptelea trifoliata (Hop Tree) is a small tree that has it's only occurence in all of Canada in this province, where it is listed as a threatened species. It grows in open woods and thickets. The seeds were once used as a substitute for hops in beer.

Carya ovata (Shagbark Hickory) is well-known for it's beautiful bark.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 04, 2009, 01:34:03 AM
A meadow of Penstemon hirsutus, flowering with Packera paupericula, followed by the equally easy in culture, P. digitalis.

The common Rudbeckia hirta in full bloom.

And the pretty, very hardy biennial Capnoides (Corydalis) sempervirens, with a range right up into the Yukon.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 05, 2009, 10:02:06 PM
With my move in about 3 weeks now, this may be my last update on the long-range germination tests I have been doing for the upcoming book.

All these tests were done with the seeds inside zip lock bags in moist vermiculite. The cold treatment was provided in the fridge.

Here is Mitchella repens---after warm-cold-warm-cold-warm (2 cold treatments).
And Uvularia grandiflora and U. sessilifolia (one cold treatment), although seed had been moist packed after collection. Thus warm-cold-warm. Both Uvualaria have produced double radicles, and the beginning of the first shoot is evident in both.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Maggi Young on July 05, 2009, 10:30:33 PM
It is rivetting to see the amount of life in these tiny packages.

Best of luck with the move, Kristl. I feel rather helpless that we are all too far away to be of any use in helping with your move: we'll just have to send a concerted effort of Forum  Good Wishes to you for a successful transfer of you and the plant to your new home and base.  :-*
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 05, 2009, 10:42:13 PM
The Trillium germination is of course the most exciting.
Earlier this year I posted the following note with the first picture:

I have earlier this year shown you the benefits of dealing promptly with Trillium species after harvest. Even if you are not able to sow them immediately, there is a tremendous advantage to moist-packing the seed to keep it viable and in rhythm with what would happen if the seed dispersed naturally. Many species will, in fact, germinate within the first 6 months if they are dealt with in this manner and are in warm conditions. Others will not not sprout until the seed has had cold treatment.

Just to remind you, I will repost a picture of moist-packed Trillium grandiflorum (collected in July, 2008). By October this is what I saw inside my zip-lock bags.  

What one has to remember about the above is that you will *not* have radicle emergence of Trillium grandiflorum in the first (warm) stretch IF YOU LIVE IN A COLD PLACE and sow the seeds naturally outdoors. This will only work if you keep them warm indoors artificially. I am not sure what level of cold they can tolerate and still germinate the first season.

The second picture shows the germination as of today of a second batch of T. grandiflorum seed that went into the cold prior to radicle emergence. In other words, this batch did what seed would naturally do in a northern climate (warm-cold-warm). I believe this is just radicle emergence again, but it is too early to tell. I saw no evidence of top growth.

And here are Trillium undulatum and T. cernuum, both having been moist packed after collection, kept at warm for many months, and then given one cold treatment. Both appear to be proceeding to top growth as well. There was rather massive germination in these two bags.

The most difficult of the species I tested appears to have been T. erectum. This again was moist packed after collection, kept warm, then it required two cold periods. (warm-cold-warm-cold-warm). I have not yet had large germination from this batch, so further treatments may be necessary. The seedlings that *are* sprouted, appear to be initiating top growth as well.


Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 05, 2009, 11:14:56 PM
Best of luck with the move, Kristl. I feel rather helpless that we are all too far away to be of any use in helping with your move: we'll just have to send a concerted effort of Forum  Good Wishes to you for a successful transfer of you and the plant to your new home and base.  :-*

Maggi....thank you for your support. There has been nothing easy or fun about the trials of the past 3 months---it has been absolutely dreadful and not for public consumption. If only it had been so easy as to say good-bye to this place, pack up the most precious of my plants and throw out the bulk of my accumulated life here of 20 years!!!!

The first string of really big obstacles centered on the LOWEST of my original moving quotes: that being for $14,000 (YES, that is FOURTEEN THOUSAND Canadian Dollars)---and only for my household (not including the separate truck I was already renting to move the plants on my own which was another $3,000).

It is only today, I believe I have finally found a trustworthy, private mover FROM ALBERTA of all places, who will be able to do the main move of the household for significantly less, but of course I will still have to hire some strong bodies to loan up and unload---and to quickly sell more of my belongings to pay him!!!!! I have spent all of today "negotiating deals" with buyers of my belongings.

But I keep reminding myself that there IS an end to this torture; and a new beginning on the other side. I can't wait to wander around in the wilds of Nova Scotia!!!!!! This keeps me going.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Maggi Young on July 05, 2009, 11:55:14 PM
Dear Kristl, rest assured that there will be a great new beginning in Nova Scotia... and we here will be eagerly awaiting your stories of it...... don't think we will give you peace to settle in.... we'll want to share all the news as it happens. And, of course, we are completely addicted to your reports of your surroundings and your most illuminating researches, so we'll be hoping for a new beginning to those, too!!
 ;D
 
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: annew on July 06, 2009, 07:37:43 PM
I'll agree to that, Kristl. Here's wishing you a problem-free (as much as it can be) move. I look forward to hearing from your new abode.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ragged Robin on July 07, 2009, 10:15:33 PM
Best of luck with your move to Nova Scotia, Kristi, think of all the wonderful things to look forward to in your new search and discovery which we are longing to share through your 'heavenly' postings  :)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Paul T on July 10, 2009, 03:06:06 AM
Kristl,

Just catching up with the last couple of weeks of your postings here... I adore both the orchids, and that wonderful Drosera colonising the log is a beauty.  Thanks for the pics of the Trillium germination as well, always fascinating to see.

Here's hoping all goes well with the imminent move.  I wish I was closer and able to help, as it is going to be such a big job for you.  All the VERY best from the other side of the world.  ;)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Luc Gilgemyn on July 10, 2009, 09:01:40 AM
Well... there's nothing else we can do but wish you all the best with your transcontinental move Kristl !  :-*
I'm sure a lot of us would gladly be lending a helping hand if it were'nt for the distance...  :( 
Now that would make for another Forum gathering possibility wouldn't it. ! ?   
Makes a change from a Bulgarian mountain top  ;D

I hope all goes smoothly Kristl and I'll be looking forward to your musings about your pioneering work at the other end of the continent !
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Lvandelft on July 10, 2009, 11:24:36 AM
Kristl, I once had to move our whole nursery, though only 10 kms.
So I know a little about what you have to go through.
But a new place to start again, gives so much new energy too, so you will not have much time to think back.
Wish you all the best at your new place!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 23, 2009, 03:55:12 AM
Although my move is only a few days away, I wanted to share a few last pictures with you.

You might remember that I found a very large patch of Chimaphila umbellata last season, out of flower and was determined to see them in bloom prior to my departure.

And here they are!!!!

Also, a few more pictures of Drosera rotundifolia with it's elegant nodding flowerheads, colonizing a log next to a lake.

Lastly, the fuzzy flowers of Mitchella repens, with some of last season's berries still hanging on.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 23, 2009, 04:01:07 AM
A friend here found this picture very sad, but it was a liberating moment for me.

The sign represents my last 20 years here and I will not be able to put it up in my new home, which is not zoned for operating a nursery. Most importantly, I want to create new memories in Nova Scotia, which is a very important transition for my life. Thus, like the phoenix.....

The hat was Graham's, who placed it there symbolically as the end of these years working with me here....
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Lori S. on July 23, 2009, 04:40:59 AM
Oh no!  It is the end of Gardens North!   :'(
Well, all I can say, Kristl, is thank you so much for all the wonderful species you made available to grateful gardeners across Canada (and elsewhere) through your Gardens North!  It made me feel quite "adventuresome" and opened so many new horizons in gardening!  I wish you the best of everything in your new location!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 23, 2009, 04:58:51 AM
OH NO, Lori....the seed business is very much alive, and will continue in Nova Scotia. The sign I burned was my nursery sign (and that I am giving up to devote myself totally to the seed) and to (perhaps) begin to have a bit more of a life as a result. So the liberation comes in this....
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Lori S. on July 23, 2009, 05:14:02 AM
Oh, whew!   :D
I'm delighted to hear that you will be continuing with the business, and I'm sure so many others would be too!!!!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ragged Robin on July 23, 2009, 08:53:08 AM
Absolutely Lori, I join in your sentiments of Kristi still spreading the seed.  Although I haven't had the opportunity to partake in the SRGC seed exchange yet it must be so satisfying for Kristi to know that her efforts are enjoyed by so many and that her expertise is so appreciated and valued all over the world :)

Kristi, it's always sad and soul searching when the end comes to such an important phase in life but I really admire your courage and vision in starting again in a new venture and recognising that there are new horizons to aim for at any stage in life - chapeau!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Brian Ellis on July 23, 2009, 09:15:35 AM
Funnily enough you were in my thoughts last night Kristl, I reasoned that it must be about now that you were about to embark on another of life's great adventures.  All best wishes with the move, I hope it goes without a hitch and that you are soon 'back to normal' in your new home.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: maggiepie on July 23, 2009, 01:26:39 PM
Kristl, best of luck with your move, I hope the weather is kind to you and your plants.
Would love to see pics of the plants you are taking once they are all packed up, I bet it will be eye popping :)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: ruweiss on July 23, 2009, 08:49:33 PM
Dear Kristl, let me send you my very best wishes for a succesful moving with little
or better no stress and a good beginning at your new home.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Paul T on July 25, 2009, 05:10:39 AM
Kristl,

The sign burning was one of those cathartic moments in life...... out with the old and in with the new.  I hope all flows smoothly from here!  8)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 27, 2009, 02:57:48 AM
Everyone's good wishes are taken to heart: thank you for your encouragement.

This morning we picked up the 26 foot rental truck and a small group of us worked hard into the dark for the first day of loading---which must be finished by this time tomorrow and on it's way to Nova Scotia the day after.

All the shelving units from the office were used to build a framework inside the truck, so that various levels could be constructed almost right to the top of the truck. The house plants were safely tucked into a high spot at one end. The tall plants inside the aisles of the shelves as a beginning, before we started to work our way upward and across.

Brian, Graham and Eddie choosing candidates and loading; Robert (one of our own on SRGC) digging a few last-minute plants for me; and my darling daughter taking the olives off her pizza.

The woodland plants are all now safely inside the truck; tomorrow we do the succulents and bulbs---as I hope that there will be space for the tufa and the troughs....


Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Robert G on July 27, 2009, 05:08:17 PM
I helped Kristl yesterday and I must say that unless you are actually there the scope of the task cannot be realized. Kristl will be missed. I have only known here for a few years, but in that time I think it is safe to say we have become friends. She has given me so much, not just a piece of this plant and that plant. I have been a sponge absorbing the immense ammount of knowledge she offered me. The chats we had walking in her garden and sitting in here office/workshop will be missed. I would like to thank her for all she has done for me. My only regret is that I could not have helped her more with her moved, but work and family conspired against me. Now I can look forward to being your friend online as many of the forumists here are. Good luck Kristl!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 04, 2009, 07:38:44 PM
I have arrived safely in Nova Scotia after a more than eventful taking-leave of Ontario....the moving truck was over limit, the plant truck was so tighly packed that, at the eleventh hour, many many treasures had to be left behind for the new owners.

I nearly wept to realize that 95% of the troughs, much of the tufa and many of the plants would be staying behind....but, I know over time, I will miss them less than I do now.

And luckily I was the sole occupant of my little Toyota ---- as there was no room to spare....

On two hours sleep the night before departing, I needed to drive 10-12 hours the first day to keep to my goal of being in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia for my property closing on the second day. I had to drive through Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick the first day. Luckily, the weather and traffic were great; even through Montreal, which is always a traffic-nightmare.

To keep interested in the trip (translate into "staying awake) I decided to make stops at every Quebec Fromagerie en route. Quebec has a developed a fantastic fine cheese market over the past few years--mostly home made family operations.

At my last stop before the New Brunswick border; Fromagerie Le Detour, I found a number of "Finalist" cheeses from the cheese competitions, as well as the 2009 Canadian Grand Prize winner (Marquis de Temisouata), both soft, rich cheeses (my weakness). I bought a small round of both, as well as a baguette in a nearby bakery and this was my very luxurious dinner in the motel room that first night.


Once across the New Brunswick border, the pastoral countryside of Quebec gets replaced by the appearance of the conifers, and in the distance, the Appalachian mountain range. Moose signs (instead of deer signs) appear every few km.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 04, 2009, 08:28:04 PM
The crossing into Nova Scotia was a wonderful thing--along with some bagpipes at the tourist center.

Brian (rare Trillium finder) and Eddie were already waiting for me (they had driven the 16 hours straight through with the plants) after almost continuous work on Brian's part for 3 days prior packing the truck!!!! After the house closing, we had a congratulatory lunch on the patio of the Garden Cafe next to the Annapolis Royal Historic Garden under an absolutely huge Ulmus americana.

There was ultimately no simple way of getting them back to Ontario except to put them on a flight 3 days later.

Since then, I have not left my property, but once. Too busy unpacking, organizing, getting settled. Yet, it already feels like home (I did not expect this). The plants are in a "holding compound" being kept temporarily safe from the local deer--and my immediate neighbours are wonderful gardeners, full of wisdom and advice.

But on Monday I ventured down the street for the "Natal Day" parade---a huge event in Nova Scotia and got a flavour of my local community.

The local plants come next.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Maggi Young on August 04, 2009, 09:36:25 PM
Oh, Kristl...... you're there..... I just have this feeling everything is going to be fine. Look at all the clues..... the name of the official signature of the Cheese certificate.... Ian MacDonald.... surely  of Scots extraction.....the bagpipe welcome.... all those Scottish connections to welcome you across the country...... it must be the best of omens!  ;D
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ragged Robin on August 04, 2009, 11:07:49 PM
A happy arrival in your new home Kristi - congratulations on the marathon move and all good wishes for settling your plants in  :D

PS Good to see you were well prepared for the cheese feast enroute with a Swiss penknife  :P
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Brian Ellis on August 05, 2009, 09:21:46 AM
I'm glad all went well and you are safely arrived.  Nice of them to put on a parade for your arrival, they must have heard you were coming ;D
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 05, 2009, 01:49:00 PM
I'm glad all went well and you are safely arrived.  Nice of them to put on a parade for your arrival, they must have heard you were coming ;D

yes, Brian, i thought that was really not required, myself...but couldn't quite put a stop to it, once all the parade queens had been decided and all  ;D

i would have settled for some help moving furniture around instead.

and that Swiss knife never leaves my side---it has saved me in so many situations over my life. now it is opening every single box i am unpacking.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: David Nicholson on August 05, 2009, 07:56:55 PM
Hope you are soon settled in Kristl and making it feel like home again.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: cohan on August 11, 2009, 07:52:25 AM
i just got up to speed on this thread! those eastern woodland flowers and woodies are ever wonderful....

congratulations on a move successfully completed, and i wish you a speedy settling in and hopefully soon hours of joy in the wilds of your new home! sounds like a wonderful little town, certainly nothing like that around here ;)

re: lack of seed collecting time, this year, do contact me if you think you might be interested in some things from around here--i'm not sure what sort of quantities you need to be worthwhile, but there could be some interesting possibilities.... have just got a bicycle going for the first time, and finding some 'new' things even this late in the season...
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 13, 2009, 02:42:19 PM
It is now 2 weeks since I arrived in my new home and my activities have still been largerly confined to my property. Progress on all fronts is painfully slow and frustrating--but progress nevertheless, which is the important factor.

I've been organizing my work and living spaces, trimming trees for the gardens and making copious notes for how to organize my garbage to fit within the local, highly regulated recycling regulations (this will be reserved for a post all on it's own--it's really quite something!!!!!). Needless to say, there is garbage presently in my freezer awaiting it's "single black bag" every two weeks.

My first week here I allowed myself one outing to the parade.

This week it was a two hour sprint at the end of a long unpacking day. I drove the 10 minutes to the Fundy shore to Delaps Cove where I could briefly see the ocean, on the return I viewed my little town from across the water.

There is no naturally occuring limestone in Nova Scotia--in this area, I have basalt and granite. Huge granite boulders lined the wharf at Delaps Cove.




 


Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 13, 2009, 03:01:17 PM
In between the ocean and home I briefly ventured into an unknown stretch of woods just to see what might be there. I was delighted to see the forest floor fairly thick with Maianthemum, Coptis groenlandica, Pyrolas and the foliage of Cypripediums.

Along the road, brightly lit wet ditches of Epilobium, Impatients, Eupatorium, and Aster umbellatum.

Myrica pensylvanica (which I had never seen in the wild before) is everywhere here; particularly near the shore. Some plants were forming seed. I was surprised to see Acer spicatum right out in the open, near the shoreline--back in Ontario this is usually only found in the woodland understory. Large areas of the shore also supported Viburnum.

And characteristic and common on the seashore is Limonium carolinianum; dotted everywhere among grasses in this salt marsh.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Linda_Foulis on August 13, 2009, 07:16:12 PM
Kristl,
I am so glad to hear that you've arrived safe and sound and are starting to settle in.  My thoughts were with you the entire time.  If you get unpacked before me......   I'm still working on trying to get all my plants in the ground but at least I no longer have deer to deal with - have fun with that.  I have no suggestions or actually working deer deterrent advice to offer as I've found that they'll eat just about anything if hungry enough. 

It's such a shame you had to leave so much behind, but as I'm finding, it's just stuff, it can be replaced if really needed, and it's not that important in the great scheme of things.  Have fun unpacking!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Gerdk on August 13, 2009, 08:13:04 PM
Along the road, brightly lit wet ditches of Epilobium, Impatients, Eupatorium, and Aster umbellatum.

All the best for the new start - a delightful and interesting region (although no lime  ;)).
I am interested in the orange-red flowering plant which is growing with Aster umbellatum -  perhaps an Impatiens?

Gerd
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 13, 2009, 08:22:12 PM
Yes, Gerd, this is Impatiens capensis (Jewelweed), which is native throughout North America.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 13, 2009, 09:53:14 PM
This afternoon I went to visit Jill Covill, who is the owner of Bunchberry Nursery, less than 10 minutes from home. Jill is not only a fine plantswoman with a particular interest in alpines but is also knowledgeable about native species. I have been keen to find Corema conradii and she was immediately able to suggest a site, that I will drive to see tomorrow.

Jill has (among other things) a choice selection of woody species and conifers for sale. A tufa mountain was also piled up to temp the alpine gardener.

Her nursery is planted with the finely tuned eye of a designer; with careful, sensitive attention to form and colour creating a fantastic cohesive gardenscape.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 13, 2009, 09:54:51 PM
Heaths and Heathers are of course commonly known in this forum; however, this is not the case in Canada; where one struggles to grow them in many areas; if it is at all possible (I was not able to get them to survive in my area of Ontario). Now finding myself in a much warmer location, and on acid soil; means I might, in time, be able to grow some of Jill's progeny.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: cohan on August 13, 2009, 10:48:50 PM
what fun to have new ennvirons and species to discover/view, and great luck to have a neighbour like that!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Gerdk on August 14, 2009, 07:20:15 AM
Yes, Gerd, this is Impatiens capensis (Jewelweed), which is native throughout North America.

Thank you Kristl! The species looks fine. There are citations it already grows as a newcomer in my region - have to look for it near the Rhine close to Düsseldorf.

Gerd
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Arykana on August 14, 2009, 07:29:40 AM
Kristl,  your garden  really a "bit of heaven"
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ragged Robin on August 14, 2009, 08:06:47 AM
A wonderful nursery to have close by, Kristi, with some great combinations of heaths and heathers....very inspiring :)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 16, 2009, 05:02:30 PM


I had never heard of Corema conradii until last year, when I sat with the Flora Of Nova Scotia, making lists of the species unique to this part of the world.

Corema (a two species genus) is a member of the Empetraceae (the Crowberries) and quite difficult to differentiate from the closely related Empetrum nigrum and E. rubrum (which are both present in the province) when not in bloom or in fruit. It is known as "Broom Crowberry."

It is a small, evergreen shrub, forming mats up to 2m wide, with needle-like foliage and pinkish/purplish flowers in early spring. Corema has dry fruit, while the Empetrums, which flower much later, form berries.

While at risk or threatened in many parts of its Atlantic USA range, it is secure in Nova Scotia.

Yesterday morning I drove up the Valley (the roadside a steady stream of Anaphalis margaritacea)  to a stretch of "sand barrens"  just along the highway. This ended up being one of the easiest botanical explores I have done: drive an hour; look for the sand; stop and walk a few meters. Had it not been over 30C in the shade, I could have handled a more extensive explore.

The area was in fact drifts of Corema, interspersed with drifts of  Comptonia peregrina, Arctostaphyllos uva-ursi and Vaccinium angustifolium. Kalmia angustifolia was dotted here and there.

Hudsonia ericoides is here as well, but I was unable to tolerate the extreme heat of the day to continue looking for it. Rubus hispidus trailed along in the moister, shadier areas.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 16, 2009, 05:05:29 PM
and...
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: fleurbleue on August 16, 2009, 05:43:18 PM
Hello Kristl,
I have a Comptonia peregrinans in my garden. What does it need to thrive ? Here it grows very slowly  :(
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 16, 2009, 06:13:26 PM
Nicole,

Am cleaning Comptonia seed today---a beautifully fragrant reminder of why it is called "Sweet Fern".....

I know this shrub is rather rare in Europe. I also know it is difficult to establish---although one could never guess why when you see it in the wild, forming massive thickets where it is happy, spreading through rhizomes.

Everywhere I have encountered it, it is growing on well-drained, dry, acid, sandy, gravelly almost sterile soils. It is a fairly shade intolerant invader of newly opened canopies in the woods and on open disturbed sites.

In the garden, a hot, dry site, in acid sand would be ideal.

I am attaching a few more pictures.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: fleurbleue on August 16, 2009, 10:14:47 PM
Thanks for all these informations Kristl, my garden should be suitable for it and my Comptonia has already got new sprouts.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 23, 2009, 02:59:27 PM
Hurricaine Bill's arrival in Nova Scotia this weekend did not deter artists from all over the province arriving in Annapolis Royal for an annual event called "Painting the Town". Yesterday, the artists set up in various locations outdoors, created all day, with the results displayed in the Legion in the late afternoon, for a silent auction.

For some of the established artists, this event must have been charity, at best; to the delight of us bidders. David Lacey's "corner" was particularly packed as the clock ticked towards the close of the auction, bidder pencils in all hands, as the minutes were announced.

When the bidding ended at 6:00pm sharp, I was still in the midst of some last-second bidding wars and ended up going home with 3 new pieces to grace my new home (two of them David Lacey's).

And this morning I awoke to the rain and the winds of the hurricaine....mild, thus far....as I sit trying to catch up on long-overdue seed orders. I sit here wondering where the artists are working today --- as I intend to return to the gallery in the late afternoon to again peruse.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Regelian on August 23, 2009, 03:27:32 PM
Kristl,

what a great event!  Wish I could have been there, or even taken part.  For an artist, such gatherings are really fun, letting the inspirational juices ebb and flo in all directions, breaking out of the mold.  Sounds like a perfect spot for this, as well.  OK, post of shot of your new treasures! ;) ;)  I rather liked the colourfull 'marsh' scape in the third foto.  Nice use of colour, form and abstraction.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 25, 2009, 11:57:14 PM
Jamie,

I can't even hang them yet until I get my walls painted....

David Lacey's
Fish -"Big Mack"
Red Sky

Pat Lohrenz
"Seaweed"

Terry Drahos
"Red Above Yellow"
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Maggi Young on August 26, 2009, 01:30:44 PM
But Kristl.... get enough paintings and you won't need to paint the walls!  ;)

Loving your selection.... especially the fish! 8)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 26, 2009, 02:18:47 PM
Maggi, that fish is so heavy (solid oak) that the artist had to carry it to the car for me...

This one won't go on the walls.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Maggi Young on August 26, 2009, 02:25:56 PM
Oh, great..... on a mantlepiece?  Brackets over doorway?  ;D
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: ranunculus on August 26, 2009, 02:33:52 PM
It'll find it's plaice!  :D
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 26, 2009, 02:55:02 PM
I've been wanting to visit Brier Island since my arrival; because of it's natural beauty, it's reputation for whale watching and birding and, more specifically, to try to find Primula laurentiana and the tiny, relatively unknown bog-dweller, Betula michauxii. I had only seen the Primula once before in the wild, growing on wet cliffs along the St. Lawrence in the Gaspe region of Quebec.

I started off early yesterday, in dense fog, hoping that would change as the day wore on.

Brier Island is the last ferry ride along a long, narrow peninsula called "Digby Neck" which runs parallel to the south-west shore of Nova Scotia, near where I live. The town of Digby ("Scallop Capitol Of The World")  is about 30km from Annapolis Royal.

On my drive along Digby Neck to the first (of two) ferries I pulled into a dirt road advertising " ocean front lots for sale" to do a quick snoop. At the margins of the road, Aster umbellatus towered to incredible heights--some over my head-- the ubiqitous Aster divaricatus (the wood aster) intermingled.

Just a few steps inside the forest I found the woodland floor carpeted with Coptis groenlandica and Linnaea borealis (some still in flower), and Cornus canadensis in fruit.

Continuing, I drove to the first ferry and stopped behind a line of traffic already waiting in the fog.






Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 26, 2009, 03:26:48 PM
The ferry pricing system on Digby Neck works one-way.
$5.00 per ferry; free for the return.

Fog totally obliterated my view on the road to the second ferry, which brought me to Brier Island (the most westerly point of Nova Scotia).

It is a tiny island, measuring 7.5km long and 2.5km wide, with a shoreline of approximately 25km and is composed of basalt. Portions of it have been designated as a "Nature Preserve" by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

I headed immediately to the basalt cliffs along the shore.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: fleurbleue on August 26, 2009, 03:53:05 PM
Thank you very much for the journey  :) I can't hardly wait for the rest  ::)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 26, 2009, 04:26:38 PM
The cliffs near the ocean were drifts of Myrica pensylvanica and Rosa virginiana; compressed clones of both Juniperus horizontalis and communis, colonies of Spiraea alba latifolia.

At ground level, Vaccinium vitis idaea, Empetrum nigrum, Vaccinium macrocarpon begining to redden its berries.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 26, 2009, 05:05:46 PM
Potentilla tridentata was largely in fruit, but a few scattered flowers were still to be seen, as was the case with Campanula rotundifolia.

Plantago maritima (seaside plantain) covered the cliffs, and in lower wet spots, I searched for Mertensia maritima, but found instead Lathyrus maritimus.

Here too, to my delight, I found the beautiful Iris setosa canadensis, last seen on the cliffs in the Gaspe. Most plants were under 4" and from the look of the seed pods, had wonderful flowering; which I must come back to see next year. Later in the day I again saw them in unbelievable abundance on high cliffs in another location on the island.

Iris versicolor was also present in low, wet spots.

The goldenrods are a nightmare to identify, at best, and I was excited to meet a number of unknown species here (always a delight). On first blush, I thought that this abundant and small solidago was S. sempervirens (the seaside goldenrod), but the inflorescence and height were wrong, among other characteristics.

I eventually decided on S. puberula, which seemed fairly correct on most counts.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 26, 2009, 05:42:45 PM
Another new and small Solidago I met here was easier to identify: S. bicolor, also known as "Silver Rod" or "White Goldenrod". Quite a cute, tiny thing.

I also ran into the better known Euthamia (Solidago) graminifolia.

Aster novi belgii, which I did not know in the wild in Ontario was here are well; as was Rhodiola rosea which quite excited me to see on the cliffs, where I continued to search for Primula laurentiana.

This I did find EVENTUALLY, but it certainly took a "seedy eye" to find it. The tiny plants were buried in vegetation on cliffs quite trodden with whale watchers. It was only when I finally spotted a few seed receptacles still upright that I knew I was in the right spot. I even found a few tiny seedlings in between rocks. Next year for flowering!!!!

Brier Island has large populations of Rosa rugosa naturalized everywhere. One stretch of shoreline I visited was a mass of them as far as the eye could see. I was not sure if it was just my imagination, given that the hips *are* very large. However, these seemed to be the largest fruits I have ever seen, which have been described elsewhere as being "the size of cherry tomatoes".
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 26, 2009, 06:03:48 PM
My quest to find the rare Betula michauxii did not meet with success, likely because of too much cowardice on my part to venture into the bogs on my own. My experience of falling into that bog hole in Ontario last year is still too fresh in my mind. Will have to find a "bog partner" to accompany me next time I come.

You would have wondered seeing me standing by the side of the road, staring into the boggy space, doing deep breating, trying to get up my nerve; which of course failed me, in the end.

Across the space, however, I did see Myrica gale, Potentilla fruticosa, Rhododendron canadense, plenty of Sarracenia purpurea and other treasures I would have preferred to get close and personal with.

By this time, the fog had cleared entirely---turning into a beautiful, clear, coolish day when I did nothing more than eat a late lunch on the cliffs, stare into space and watch the waves break and head back to town to catch the first ferry home.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: fleurbleue on August 26, 2009, 06:09:54 PM
What a good trip for you and us  ;)
Thanks Kristl  for your pics
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: ranunculus on August 26, 2009, 06:20:13 PM
Exciting images Kristl ... many thanks.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 26, 2009, 06:22:27 PM
Thank you, Nicole and Cliff. This was a particularly pleasurable trip---a beautiful spot, fun to get to, easy physically (compared to so many difficult areas I have had to hike into in the past) and fresh plants to find (always the best part about being in a new botanical environment).

The only thing that always saddens me on these solitary trips is not to have a partner to share the adventures with---and this is what makes sharing them with the members here a very personal and important part of my own experience.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: fleurbleue on August 26, 2009, 07:03:16 PM
Looking at your pics I was dreaming sharing this walk with you  ::) It's so exciting to discover new areas and new plants  ;)
Cheers Kristl
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Luc Gilgemyn on August 26, 2009, 08:54:47 PM
Beautiful pix Kristl !!
Another very interesting area ! Makes quite a difference to what you showed us before...  ;)
Thanks a lot for taking us on your first outing !  :D
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 28, 2009, 05:02:41 PM
A non-botanical aside.

To my dismay, the cost of consumer goods is significantly higher in Nova Scotia than Ontario. And in particular, one must expend significant energy and time to procure good quality, affordable food.

While the proportion of small farms and "back-to-the-land" folks is much higher in this area of Nova Scotia than back in rural Ontario; it has taken me a month to find eggs worthy of consumption. .

"Back Home" I lived next door to an egg farm--one that had fresh eggs daily--I would buy them by the flat (2 1/2 dozen) for $5.25, and they were of outstanding quality. Great tasting, bright orange,  plump, non-collapsed yolks. You could pick them up anytime, except Sunday, and payment was on an honour system--with money put into a box. I was spoiled.

I presently have 3 dozen eggs in my fridge. 2 of them barely deserve the name "egg" and were not a bargain to begin with. The last is interesting. Had I not been desperate, I would never have considered paying $5.00 for a dozen eggs ($4.75 for the eggs, $.25 for the carton deposit).

And if you think the colour profile on your computer is deceiving, the eggs are in fact 4 colors, the normal brown, a beige-brown, yellow, AND GREEN.

I had my first 2 for breakfast this morning---and I felt like I was back in Ontario.
And the taste might have been even better than the Ontario eggs.

I also thought you would find the egg carton as amusing as I do.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: annew on August 28, 2009, 06:11:08 PM
I think I might book in there for a holiday..  :D
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: cohan on August 31, 2009, 12:42:18 AM
great spot! love the rocky landscape, and some really nice plnats--esp like the potentilla, rhodiola (seems like a really compact one?) among others..
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Linda_Foulis on September 02, 2009, 11:08:56 PM
A little ham to go with your green eggs?  And at that price, enjoy them!
How exciting to see your pictures, thank you.  Fascinating to see that end of the country.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 11, 2009, 02:56:22 AM
Today I spent the day in Liverpool (on the Mersey River) and didn't even have to leave the continent.

It was an outing planned by my newest friend, John, another plant fiend (who was also the real estate agent for the purchase of my Annapolis Royal property).

We planned to meet in Liverpool at 11:00am and although it was about a 1.5 hour drive for each of us; coming from different directions, I left at 7:30am; knowing my tendencies to stop en route looking at plants and I did not want to keep John waiting.

Hwy 8 goes across the province, from west to east, shore to shore. There had been frost in some areas the night before and the morning was cool (heat on in the car), but brilliant and clear. En route it was lovely to see the Acer rubrums blazing in boggy areas, with the sides of the road a mix of goldenroads and the lilac of Aster cordifolius.

A rest stop along the way brought me into a lovely stretch of woods, where I ended up walking for most of an hour---beginning to realize that most of wild Nova Scotia must be carpeted by Mitchella repens. Here too I found Epigaea repens, and to my utter delight, Chimaphila umbellata, which is rather uncommon in this province, as it was in Ontario---and all by simple, sheer luck.

The whorled aster, Aster acuminatus was also in bloom here under the tree canopy.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 11, 2009, 01:59:06 PM
Liverpool is one of the climactic hot spots of Nova Scotia; and one sees
plants growing here that are not likely to survive in most areas of Canada.

As I was delighted to have John organize our entire agenda; our first stop was
at Cosby's Garden Center--- the sign itself speaking volumes---it is almost
unheard of (due to our cold winters) to find a nursery that is "open all year round".

The only other place in Canada I have ever seen Gunnera hardy (and blooming) was in Vancouver, BC; but here it was thriving in the nursery area. On another very exposed mini mountain was Araucaria araucana, the monkey puzzle tree, the last thing I ever expected to see in eastern Canada. The nursery was shock-full of interesting and rare woody species.

But this nursery is unique in other ways....the owner Ivan Higgins is also a sculptor whose medium (basically a refined hypertufa mixture of concrete and vermiculite)  should appeal to all of us trough-makers here. The large pieces have a metal piping structural framework and wire mesh and hardware cloth are used to create the shapes.

His work is displayed throughout the nursery grounds, and as one rounds various corners, you are confronted with yet, another piece.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 11, 2009, 02:16:09 PM
But my favorites were a series of "athletes" installed high up on the same "mountain" as the auricaria---fantastic framed against the sky.

If  Nova Scotia ever gets chosen for the summer Olympics, his work should grace the events.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Maggi Young on September 11, 2009, 02:24:03 PM
Seems to me that Cosby's and Ivan are a real find, Kristl.... :)

I am getting a good feeling that NS is going to suit you just fine!  8)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 11, 2009, 02:44:50 PM
After a walk through this lovely (house affordable) town,  Cornus kousa in fruit on multiple front lawns, John introduced me to "perhaps his favorite restaurant in all of Nova Scotia",  just a short drive down the coast.

I was absolutely enthralled before we even entered the premises, the restaurant being perched over the ocean, with the veranda section over the rocks, which, at high tide, brings the waves just below you, as you eat.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 11, 2009, 03:03:31 PM
Having never been to the Caribbean, I was unprepared for John's next surprise---his favorite (largely unknown) white sand beach, which we had almost entirely to ourselves.

I was quite unprepared for the brilliance of that white....with some evidence of Hurricane Bill still to be seen.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 11, 2009, 03:41:04 PM
At the rear of the beach was a boggy area,  mostly Carex, Elymus and Limonium carolinianum---but I was eager to check out the Solidago I saw in the distance.

A nursery had put in a seed collection request for Solidago sempervirens (the Seaside Goldenrod); which I knew was common here, although very rare in Ontario. And indeed (like with the Chimaphila earlier in the day), I was lucky again. All the Solidago here was that particular species, growing in it's preferred habitat (although one can find it in drier locations).

It is one of the longest-blooming Solidago, with rather large, showy heads of tightly-packed flowers above thick, succulent foliage.

Walking further, we spied some woody species in fruit high above us, on the rocks. After a short climb, I saw my first Nova Scotia specimen of Viburnum cassinoides at it's beautiful pink-berry phase and beside it, the berries of Sorbus americana. Empetrum nigrum was at their feet, on the cliffs, and the Myrica pensylvanica, with it's wonderful scented and waxy fruits were beginning to colour.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 11, 2009, 04:30:11 PM
By this time, it was late afternoon with a drive ahead for each of us, and mine, in particular, down a two-lane road heavily frequented by deer (dusk being the preferred time for the run across the road).

John and I parted ways at the beach, after an absolutely delightful day---and I *should have* headed home right then--and would have beat dusk---but, as usual, plants got the better of me and I had to make one last stop.

I had heard of a wonderful spot just outside Liverpool, in Milton, Nova Scotia, called Pine Grove; a 48 acre "pocket wilderness" owned and maintained by BowaterMersey, a wood and paper company and major employer in this area.

In a woodland setting along the banks of the Mersey River, Magnolia, Rhododendron and other species (native and non-native) have been introduced into the natural setting. It is a place I *must* return to next June for flowering.

Here the Mitchella was so profuse it even covered parts of the very well-maintained pathways. Large specimens of Rhodos and Magnolias were seen among the pines.

Sections of the path were lined with voluptuous hedges of Rhododendron, Comptonia, Kalmia, Cotoneaster, etc., some still in bloom.

And in the woods, in addition to the Mitchella were Cornus canadensis, Cypripediums, Gaultheria, and many other natives.

By the time I left I had a rather nerve-wracking 2 hour drive down "deer road" in full dusk to dark with 3 close-call deer crossings --- but worth every heart-stopping moment.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Robert G on September 11, 2009, 07:21:36 PM
Kristl,

Like it or not you are doing the work of the east coast/maritime tourist board! Keep up the good work. I might have to visit that part of the country sooner than later. Take care.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 11, 2009, 08:02:19 PM

Robert,
The fall is the best time to visit the maritimes for various reasons---and most of the tourists are gone now. And you know, all friends who come for a visit will be required to bring me a load of Ontario native plants (I didn't even have space for a single Trillium grandiflorum...)   :'(
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: johnw on September 11, 2009, 11:07:13 PM
Like it or not you are doing the work of the east coast/maritime tourist board! Keep up the good work. I might have to visit that part of the country sooner than later.

Robert - Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island need all the tourism help they can get.  Tourists have been virtually non-existent for the past three years.  Up until four years ago I had to book all my hotel business stays from mid June through mid October in April in order to get rooms.  Not anymore, I can book the same day. Back in July I stayed at a large hotel in Yarmouth, NS and there were but 3 rooms booked, they had even closed their restaurant for the weekend.  "From away" license plates are few and far between, especially American ones. Fuels prices and the high Canadian dollar have taken their toll.  I doubt New Brunswick is in much better shape.  Lots of deals so get down here!

johnw
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Lvandelft on September 12, 2009, 10:49:54 AM
Kristl, you show us such a interesting area with your excellent pictures.
And so many interesting plants, like Aster acuminatus, (never heard before of this one) and what impressive pictures of the Soldago habitat.
The Solidago sempervirens I see the first time in their habitat. We tried to introduce in trade in Holland because it never shows any problems in gardens like mildew, which is a problem with most Solidago in the cutflower production. But the flowers had not the quality which they want for the trade.
It grew like mad here in our sandy soil and now I understand why.
Thanks for showing!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 12, 2009, 01:34:07 PM
Luit....fascinating information about the Solidago sempervirens. Although the species can apparently grow to 2m, I have not seen any plants approaching that height. Most here are about half that size.

I supply seed to a lot of "horticultural establishments" but the nursery who is requesting it now is the FIRST one in over 20 years that has asked for the seed (they worked on Solidago caesia last season for woodland settings). Considering that there are over 80 species in the genus---there are still relatively few species and cultivars out in the marketplace. I believe Israel has/is doing breeding work on the genus???

The Chicago Botanic Garden did trial about 22 species over a 5 year period- not sure if S. sempervirens was a species trialed.

Interesting--- I really had to think of whether I have ever seen mildew on plants of this genus in the wild, although I have seen rust.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Robert G on September 12, 2009, 02:41:26 PM
Kristl and John,

I will definitely plan a trip. Unfortunately not this year, but the idea of fall is appealling. I have long wanted to visit. Kristl, consider the Ontario native plant care package done. We will talk specifics later.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: fleurbleue on September 12, 2009, 03:40:06 PM
Thanks again Kristl sharing your trips with us and let us to discover your new flora  :)

Cheers

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Maggi Young on October 01, 2009, 08:32:45 PM
Today, 1st October, is Kristl's birthday, so I just thought I'd pop in here to wish her Many Happy Returns of the Day! If anyone deserves a lovely day with cake, it is Kristl.... hope that is what you've had to enjoy today!!  :-* :-*
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: fleurbleue on October 01, 2009, 08:36:32 PM
Happy birthday Kristl, full of nice things for you  ;)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ragged Robin on October 01, 2009, 10:33:01 PM
Happy Birthday Kristi and good wishes for everything good in your new home and garden  :D
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: tonyg on October 01, 2009, 11:19:14 PM
Happy Birthday from Norfolk!  October 1 over here was a good gardening day - hope it was the same for you.

Thanks for the seed which arrived safely :-*
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 01, 2009, 11:57:12 PM
Thank you for the birthday wishes---and you are absolutely right, Maggi, I actually did feel I really needed something special this year in particular, as I have been feeling rather lost and lonely...

There was no cake....BUT....as soon as I am able to catch my breath I have much to share here (including a very interesting, totally unexpected birthday surpise).

I have been running all over Nova Scotia since last weekend, just walked in the door for an overnight respite, a clean change of clothes and to drop off seed before I leave again in the early morning for another 2 days of it.

Will report as soon as I am able.

And my heart is warmed by the good wishes....
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Robert G on October 02, 2009, 03:27:09 AM
Happy birthday Kristl! It is still the day by my time.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ragged Robin on October 02, 2009, 08:21:22 AM
What a lovely photo of the Nova Scotia land, sea and sky, Kristi - essential elements to make you feel happy  :D

Once you have time to 'put down roots' I'm sure you will soon feel less lonely with the Forum spurring you on - I experienced the same feeling when we moved here - uprooted and lost in the mountains...but what a challenge to start all over again and feel at one with the landscape  ;D

I have no doubt your garden and locality will be essential viewing full of skill and love of your native plants  :)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 03, 2009, 01:29:48 PM
My seed collecting partner from Ontario, Graham, arrived in Nova Scotia a
week ago & we made plans for an activity-filled week in the wild together.

Dreary, rainy weather was predicted for the entire time; but we were
determined to forge ahead with our plans notwithstanding....and as it turned
out, the weather gods heard our determination, and we were only soaked to
the bone on one occasion.

I drove the 2.5 hours to Halifax to pick him up last Monday and en route
back to Annapolis Royal, we made our first stop at the sand barrens next to
the highway that I showed you earlier this year.

Our determination was to locate the Hudsonia ericoides, which I had previously not been able to find. Trying to decide where to stop and hike in, we used our intuition for a spot that "felt right" and wouldn't you know that we literally opened the car door and there was the Hudsonia, scattered in among the Corema conradii that I had gone to see in August.

Many of the plants of the Hudsonia had begun to turn a burnished autumn colour and were easy to pick out among the oceans of Corema and Arctostaphyllos.

I can't wait to return next spring to see the yellow of the Hudsonia and the purple haze of the Corema flowers.

The red and white pines were getting ready to drop their old needles and we ran into clones of Quercus rubra with oddles of fruits. I sat on site, sorting the acorns into obvious rejects (insect holes, empties, bug infestations) and did actually end up with a small batch of potentials to list in my catalogue. The native oaks are always problematic with the high level of bug-infested fruits.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 03, 2009, 02:10:07 PM
On Day 2, in the face of dark, threatening skies, we probably should have stayed home; but our urge for the wild was too great; so we decided to go somewhere close to home---a half hour drive to "Delaps Cove Wilderness Area" on the North Mountain, abutting the Fundy Shore.

The walk through the woodland to the shore, over basalt rocks,  revealed a number of species including Abies balsamea, Acer pensylvanicum, Aster acuminatus, umbellatus and macrophyllus, Betula alleghaniensis & papyrifera, Coptis trifoliata, Cornus canadensis,
naturalized Daphne mezereum, Dennstaedtia punctilobula, Empetrum nigrum, Ilex verticillata, Iris veriscolor, Juniperus communis & horizontalis, Kalmia angustifolia, Linnaea borealis, Lonicera canadensis, Maianthemum canadense, Mitchella repens, Myrica pensylvanica,
Nemopanthus?, Picea species, Polystichum acrostichoides, Rosa virginiana, Solidago graminifolius, Sorbus americana, Vaccinium angustifolium and macrocarpon and a number of Dryopteris species.

We were not able to identify the grey Carex lining the sides of the path. On reaching the shore, I was able to collect my first batch of ripe Aster umbellatus before the skies literally opened up and soaked us with such ferocity that we had to wring out our underwear on returning home. The remainder of this day was a write-off, which was spent, instead, buried in the Flora Of Nova Scotia, planning our next outing.






Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 04, 2009, 12:31:06 AM
Keji Adjunct National Park on the south shore was on the agenda for the bulk of Day 3. I had been here before in May, during house-hunting time; as the leaves of most species were just unfurling---and I was anxious to see how the site looked now. This is a species rich area but our primary interest was locating Aronia arbutifolia, Ilex glabra, Gaylussacia dumosa, Empetrum nigrum with fruit and Mertensia maritima. With the exception of the Aronia (which we never did locate in 5 days of searching, we found all the rest).

On the early-morning drive east, the sides of the road were smothered with the flowers of the variable and lovely Aster nova-belgii, which was not native in Ontario. In one stretch, we found various colour forms, from the normal lilac to pink and white.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 04, 2009, 01:19:21 AM
The 4.8km trail winds through shrubby plants and boggy areas, which eventually open up to lower groundcovers near the ocean, where harbour and gray seals are often seen on the rocks.

The predominant woody plants along the trail were Viburnum cassinoides, Ilex verticillata and Aronia melanocarpa, in strong fall colour. The showy Sorbus americana towered above the others.

It was in this area that we found the small Gaylussacia dumosa, in quantity, with sweet berries to taste, as well as the little-known and evergreen Ilex glabra (Inkberry), with it's very good foliage and symetrical growth pattern.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 04, 2009, 01:49:26 AM
We ate our lunch on this rock and then continued to explore the shore species, which showed a lot of damage from the last hurricane.

It took much walking down the beach until we were finally able to locate a few plants of Mertensia maritima, which I had been searching for for the past couple of months.

Empetrum nigrum was here too, in quantity, but it is difficult to find fruiting plants. After looking at hundreds of patches we finally found one with a few berries to photograph. Gaultheria procumbens was everywhere, in beautiful autumn colour and Potentilla tridentata covered earth and rocks.

In wet spots, Vaccinium macrocarpon was beginning to ripen its huge berries and around a corner from where it grew, the beach grasses had been beaten down by the hurricane and here stood a colony of Picea glauca, incredibly loaded with cones.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 04, 2009, 02:45:52 AM
We had decided to stay an additional day on the south shore for further botanizing, so drove the short distance south to Shelburne,  another pretty and historic oceanfront town, with a high percentage of pre-1800 homes, with plans to spend the night there.

Graham had made me a birthday present of a room in the best B&B in town and a deluxe dinner at a local restaurant.

Unbeknown to us, Hollywood was in Shelburne as well, for a remake of Moby Dick (with William Hurt, Gillian Anderson, Ethan Hawke and Donald Sutherland) being filmed on the waterfront, two blocks away from our B&B. A number of films have been shot in this town, including "The Scarlet Letter".

In fact, all the streets close to the B&B had been closed to traffic as they were filming that particular day, at dusk.

The Cooper's Inn was a wonderful 1785 structure right on the waterfront. The right red door in the pictures was my room, where I could easily go out and sit in the garden courtyard with my tea and flora. At one point I heard the (very loud) squaking of birds close by and discovered a large flock of ducks milling about across the street. Minutes later, a woman arrived from the building across the road to feed them. I later heard this was her twice daily ritual, and the birds arrived faithfully.

On my birthday morning, Graham and I were the second breakfast "appointment"  at 7:20am. This was almost as amazing, delicious and beautifully presented as dinner had been the night before, all in a gorgeous and intimate dining room. One could "order any breakfast item" from the menu, or "order all items" (a unique idea).

There had been another couple in the dining room before us, who left just prior to our meal arriving. And, just as we were starting to eat, the next set arrived, who just happened to be Donald Sutherland and his wife. I would not have noticed initially, except for his voice, which I recognized instantly.

Well, how interesting, to be eating scrambled eggs right next to them and trying not to eavesdrop on their conversation....which was, of course hard to avoid in such a small space. It turned out that they were in the "suite" on the top floor.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 04, 2009, 03:46:38 AM
On the agenda for this day (Day 4) were a number of small trips still attempting to find Aronia arbutifolia, Ilex glabra with fruit (which we did not find at Keji Adjunct), to see Smilax rotundifolia, the very rare Lophiola americana and Rhexia virginica (which we never found).

A quick stop and short hike to Clam Shell Lake, 30 minutes from Shelburne, led us straight to fruiting Ilex glabra, near the lakeshore. This area was also overgrown with the very invasive, non-native broom.

Clam Shell Lake is part of the Indian Fields provincial park preserve---and Indian Fields, another area of sand barrens, was right across the street, and our second stop of the day. There was at one time an airstrip here, used by crews for fighting forest fires. The area is covered with large patches of Gaultheria, Arctostaphyllos, Corema and Myrica pensylvanica.

We saw one amazing area of Corema with drifts of Kalmia angustifolia growing through it and Graham stopped to wonder at the remains of a Spiranthes growing here in these hot, pure sand conditions. This we figured must be S. ochroleuca, which is known to occur only on acid, sandy soils in dry, open habitats and was unknown to us in Ontario.

The Myrica berries here were close to their final, ripe grey-blue colour.










Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 04, 2009, 04:19:58 AM
Stop number 3 on this day was Ponhook Lake; a bit of a tricky expedition that led us first through an hour of squishing through worrisome wetlands along the shore, until we realized we needed a different approach to the lake, along another road. While the first road did not yield our hoped results, it did have a couple of interesting signs along the way. You will guess by the picture why the first area was rather treacherous.

The dirt road at the second approach was lined with Anaphalis at it's pre-fluff stage, and the approach to the lake was through very lovely woods. Once at the lake, we walked along the shore and came to a wet area with tall grasses, where the rare Lophiola aurea grows. Even though it was at the seed stage, the white colour of the plants and their form contrasted beautifully with the grasses.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 04, 2009, 04:46:29 AM
Walking further along the shoreline, a multitude of glaucous foliage began to appear on the rocky shore; which, once we saw our first seed head, were able to identify as Pogonia ophioglossoides. There were hundreds of plants here, which were soon followed by Drosera intermedia seed rececptacles, growing in a similar area along the water.

We had hoped to photograph the berries of Smilax rotundifolia for our book---knowing this would be challenging, as the plant rarely fruits in Nova Scotia---and sadly, we were not lucky. This is a plant with beautiful, clean, glossy foliage, but lethal thorns. It had formed a near thicket in this area, winding it's way into the trees, and over specimens of Hamamelis, which were in flower.

Returning to the car, I discovered the foliage of hundreds of violas on the dirt road. These could not be keyed out except possibly being a rarely occuring glabrous form of Viola sagitatta, which is known to occur in Nova Scotia.

On the drive back to Annapolis Royal that Thursday, we admired the colours along the side of the road---primarily red maple.

The next day, Friday, day 5, was our last outing, near Halifax, and also my last day with Graham. As it turned out, it was the highlight of my week. But this I will have to save for tomorrow.



Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: fleurbleue on October 04, 2009, 09:50:37 AM
Once again, thanks for sharing all these stunning photos and accounts with us. I can't wait for the next message  ;)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: maggiepie on October 04, 2009, 01:18:13 PM
Kristl, am really enjoying your pics and commentary.
What fun sharing brekkie with Donald Sutherland ( well sort of), he does have a wonderful and unique voice, he has long been one of my favourite actors.
It makes your wonderful birthday prezzie even more special ;D
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 04, 2009, 03:43:30 PM
When I was quickly researching the geology of the area where Graham and I spent our last day, I ran across this commentary; which comes close to how profoundly moved I felt in this landscape; how even the presence of a good friend here was too much for me most of the time. I wanted more than anything to wander by myself, to sit on the large boulders and just experience the landscape. And this is, in fact, what I ultimately did...and never wanted to leave.

There are few who have not heard of the famous Peggy's Cove Lighthouse.
Ironically, on their way to see it, most pass by one of the most beautiful,
one of the most mystical, most entrancing geological wonders in Canada, the
Peggy's Cove Preservation Area.

While Awesome is a word that is sometimes overworked, even that word does
not aptly describe the experience one has when one is alone in the presence
of these magnificent ancient boulders, scattered, as if by some giant hand,
across the thousand acres of the area.

For we soon sense that these old stones have something to tell us. Something
about the earth. Something, perhaps, about ourselves. For there are those
who think, you see, that stones have spirits. Maybe they do, maybe not. But
the feeling of unexplainable awe you get in their presence is unmistakable
....

Their story begins a long time ago ... about 10 thousand years, in fact,
when a great ice field covered this part of Canada. It was a huge icefield,
stretching for thousands of miles, and it plowed across the land like a
giant bulldozer, scraping away everything in its path, picking up boulders
that weighed thousands of tons and peeling away all traces of life in its
path.

And so for thousands of years, there were here no birds, no plants, no
sounds, save for the cracking and grinding of ice, the howling winds and the
lonely bark of the occasional sea animal that wandered close to the crashing
breakers of our frozen, rocky shore.

And then, strangely, slowly, the    great glacier began to melt, and as it
did, it left huge boulders, scattered randomly across the land, some
weighing many tons ... many held up in strange ways by the small stones upon
which they landed.

And then ... with time ... the miraculous began to happen as Mother Nature
scattered her seeds - and tiny, primitive plants began to take hold in the
cracks and crevices of the old rocks.

First, it was the crusty lichens and their relatives, the tough precursors
of life to come, stitching little paths and patterns onto the barren rock

And then, the first traces of living green appeared, as various mosses and
other small plants took hold wherever they could find a crack in the rocks
or a scant supply of necessary nutrients.

At length, and with time, various little ecosystems sprung up: unique and
beautiful little natural gardens here and there whose purpose was and is to
delight, to play their part in the unfolding drama of life, changing with
the seasons and bringing meaning and continuity into the lives of those who
pass their way.

And today ... today those rocks are still there, alluring, inviting, just as
they have been for all those thousands of years, standing sentinel over the
rocky coast and the little, private beauty spots that dot the magical land
around the little village of Peggy's Cove.

Stunning in their majesty, mysterious in their origins, the Old Stone
Sentinels of Peggy's Cove will, with their comforting presence and quiet
majesty, bid you stay awhile, and draw sustenance from the constsncy of
their ancient, mystical presence.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 04, 2009, 05:07:12 PM
Although the area where we were in very near Peggy's Cove (note the famous lighthouse in the last picture); this spot is actually named after another woman, and is Polly's Cove. The entrance was a tiny drive-off spot from the highway described as being "1.4km past the baseball diamond in Dover, large enough for 2 vehicles". And sure enough, that is just where it was, and we were the only vehicle there.

Our botanical goal here was simple: to find Empetrum rubrum (ideally with fruit to photograph). The walk-in from the road was easy; through low, shrubby growth, which quickly opened up to the boulders and the low plants, as we climbed up on the rocks and plateau.

The appressed Junipers and Empetrums were found mostly on the exposed boulders close to the ocean. As we stared and stared at the mats of Empetrum, we slowly began to see that some patches were lower, tighter, and a darker green, which ended up being the Empetrum rubrum. Eventually we found a couple of clones with berries to photograph.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 04, 2009, 05:51:28 PM
In an open, exposed, boggy area in between the large rocks more inland were pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea), tiny 4" versions of a Solidago I later saw in it's larger size, an unidentified Scripus that made wonderful structural mounds in the soggy soil between the rocks, and oceans of other plants, including miniscule representatives of Gaylussacia dumosa, with it's beautiful red, textured foliage.

Eventually I was forced to wind my way back to the little parking area, as storm clouds threatened, but was able to stop and admire one last drift of my favorite Vaccinium, loaded with ripe berries.

I found Graham still photographing Aster nova-belgii, near the Toyota at the roadside---and on my drive back to Annapolis Royal alone later that evening, knew then that this wonderful week would be forever stamped in my heart.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: fleurbleue on October 04, 2009, 06:21:23 PM
Your "textural mix" is a true painting Kristel  ;)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ragged Robin on October 04, 2009, 08:42:37 PM
Wonderful sights in your epic week - the 'boggy mix' makes a great picture!  Kristi what conditions was the Aster growing in - I am trying to establish one that's similar here?
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: annew on October 04, 2009, 08:48:53 PM
A magical place Kristl, and an inspired description too.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 04, 2009, 09:06:45 PM
what conditions was the Aster growing in - I am trying to establish one that's similar here?

The Aster novae-belgii is a beautiful common "roadside weed" here--and of course the mother of a gazillion cultivars. Nothing fussy for cultivation. Ordinary garden conditions, full sun to very light shade. It grows here in acidic soil, of course, but the plant is all over gardens everywhere, in alkaline or acid.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ragged Robin on October 04, 2009, 09:19:15 PM
Thanks, Kristi, I have one that is magnificent and another that does not look so happy  I think the simple Asters are beautiful, if 'weedy', both mine are on a steep south facing slope in full sun I did wonder if the soil was not quite right.

Your wonderful images are going round in my mind, especially Polly's cove with the rocks like beached whales, the depth of colour in that light makes everything feel so tangible in your photos, thanks for sharing such a wonderful adventure.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 04, 2009, 09:31:25 PM
I think the simple Asters are beautiful, if 'weedy', both mine are on a steep south facing slope in full sun I did wonder if the soil was not quite right.

I use the phrase "roadside weed" (as it so often appears in print) with total sarcasm, of course; as so many of those "weeds" are first-rate plants. I've noticed the tendency in North America in the past decade to give new common names to many of the native plants here that end with the word "weed." (ie. Butterfly Weed). I was just having a discussion with someone about how common names reflect interesting things about a culture. Ever notice how Asian plants often have very grand common names (Princess Tree etc), and rarely end with the "w" word.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ragged Robin on October 04, 2009, 09:47:23 PM
Living here in the Alps the wild meadows are fabulous and full of wonderful native flowers that attract an enormous range of insects, many I have never seen before, these flowers adorn our front slope until now and I still get odd looks from neighbours who think I'm letting weeds grow..... I wouldn't be without them!

Have just spent some time thinking about what you describe and it is interesting what a weed is perceived to be - had no idea that the Princess Tree was so invasive in Maryland and a threat to native species and yet is still so prized in China.....in my dictionary a weed is described as a plant that threatens cultivated species!  I suppose this is how most think of weeds as being a nuisance in a garden setting - or on a farm, somewhere cultivated anyway.  The Butterfly weed is saved from ignominy by being noninvasive!

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 13, 2009, 08:26:40 PM
Arisaema dracontium harvest....
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Stephenb on October 13, 2009, 09:25:51 PM
I've just come across your pictures of Peggy's Cove, Kristl! This was a big surprise and brought back some good memories as I was there in 1981. I had just moved to my first job in Norway and was sent to a conference in Halifax. To save money so that I could afford to see around a bit, I stayed in the campsite and planned to hire a bike. The bike shop didn't have a bike available, but after a chat suggested that I contacted some people local to the camp site who might be able to help. I think they felt pity on this young guy who could only afford a campsite. They invited me in for dinner, drove me to the conference every day and then on a free day drove me around the island first to their vegetable garden (our common interest) on the other side of the island and we ended up at Peggy's Cove and walked in the area some of your pictures are from, ending the day with a Lobster Dinner in Peggy's Cove - I even think I can see the building on Google Earth where we ate! I'd never had lobster before and haven't since either, apart from the next day when the conference dinner was also lobster (twice in two days). I rememer that we also picked Saskatoons in my friend's garden (must have been early autumn), an event that sparked a lifelong interest in unusual fruit. Thanks again for the memory - interesting so many years on to be told what plants I failed to identify that day  ;)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 14, 2009, 12:51:13 PM
Stephen,
That is a great story, and makes this beautiful area even more vivid for me now---I can't wait until next season to collect/taste the Saskatoons myself; in much greater abundance here than in Ontario---although I have heard that the berries of Amelanchier canadensis are not as tasty here as in the Canadian prairies, where there is so much more sun and heat to sweeten them.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 14, 2009, 01:08:38 PM
I have been slowly working my way through the thousands of Ontario native plant pictures that Graham left with me during his visit. While there are hundreds of really suberb shots, this Monotropa uniflora really impressed me--as one rarely sees clumps this large; I have never seen one, in fact, with this many flowers.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: ranunculus on October 14, 2009, 01:13:25 PM
Magnificent, Kristl.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ragged Robin on October 14, 2009, 01:38:49 PM
What an incredible plant, almost translucent - are the stems as fragile as they look Kristi?
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 14, 2009, 02:09:00 PM
A lot of people when first seeing the parasitic, chlorophyll-less Monotropa (Indian Pipe, Ghost Plant) think it is a fungi---and I suppose that is the best way to answer your question---the stems snap like a mushroom if broken---and the stems themselves have that same substance-less quality.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Lori S. on October 14, 2009, 03:12:14 PM
 
I can't wait until next season to collect/taste the Saskatoons myself; in much greater abundance here than in Ontario---although I have heard that the berries of Amelanchier canadensis are not as tasty here as in the Canadian prairies, where there is so much more sun and heat to sweeten them.

Kristl, the Saskatoon berries we have on the prairies are Amelanchier alnifolia, so perhaps that accounts for some of the difference in flavour?  Unfortunately, I've never tasted the berries of A. canadensis, so I have no basis for comparison. 

P. S. I sent your seeds yesterday... should be there in a few days.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 14, 2009, 03:21:00 PM
I can't wait until next season to collect/taste the Saskatoons myself; in much greater abundance here than in Ontario---although I have heard that the berries of Amelanchier canadensis are not as tasty here as in the Canadian prairies, where there is so much more sun and heat to sweeten them.

Kristl, the Saskatoon berries we have on the prairies are Amelanchier alnifolia, so perhaps that accounts for some of the difference in flavour?  Unfortunately, I've never tasted the berries of A. canadensis, so I have no basis for comparison. 

P. S. I sent your seeds yesterday... should be there in a few days.



Ah, quite right, Lori. Thanks for the correction. Locally here it is primarily A. laevis and candensis ---although I recall on a previous trip to the maritimes, collecting what I later believed to be A. fernaldii in Cape Breton---and these were amazingly sweet and delicious.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Stephenb on October 14, 2009, 04:23:29 PM
I presume that the plant in my friend's garden was one of the large-berried alnifolia cultivars such as Smoky (wish I'd asked at the time). I have another cultivar "Thiessen" in my garden.

...and yes, a fantastic picture of the Monotropa. I've found M. hypopitys a couple of times here.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: cohan on October 25, 2009, 07:18:56 PM
i'm indulging in a second cup of coffee before i get outside to enjoy the sun and get some work done!
so i thought i'd do some catching up on this always engaging thread--Happy Belated! kristl :)
i'm looking forward to seeing the rest of your week touring, saw polly's cove already--i envy you those wonderful rocky places! add the ocean, and the magic doesnt need to be imagined!
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 31, 2009, 12:16:51 PM
Much of eastern Canada has had a very wet year, and this area of Nova Scotia has been no exception. So I have had no opportunity yet to experience the long, warm, glorious falls that are normally experienced here. Frost came even earlier than in Ontario, and most days it is rainy, cloudy, cold---the kind of wet-cold that sinks into your bones. In fact I had waited for weeks for a small window of a few dryish days over +5C to finish the outside work, clean the piles of seeds in the barn (where there is no heat) and to collect some of the late-ripening species.

But when one of those dry days comes, it is often glorious- like yesterday, when I headed off early with a list of seed to find in the wild. This part of the Annapolis Valley does not have the reds in the landscape I saw on the Atlantic side some weeks ago. With Betula and Quercus predominating, the views were mostly yellow and orangey-copper, with the brilliant, glossy red of some of small Roses punctuated here and there.

En route down the Granville Road, I stopped for a visit with friends who were spending the day harvesting different sorts of riches in the wild for wreath-making. The brilliant green stems of Kerria were combined in one batch with the long branches of the alien Rosa multiflora, which is out of control in the landscape here. A good thing to do with it. My friends husband makes shoes for the theatre and the wreath making space is normally his workspace. The foot size forms hung from the ceiling next to the branches from nature.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 31, 2009, 12:32:59 PM
The seed collecting was a bittersweet experience, although I do not regret having spent the whole of the day outdoors. My primary goal had been to collect Myrica pennsylvanica and Acer spicatum. It turned out that I was mostly too late for the Acer (I should have gone on a rainy day about a month ago). And after hours of walking to try to find one batch of berries on the Myrica, I gave up---and only learned later that these are a favorite bird treat (surprising to me, with their perfumed waxy coating)---and one only has about a 2-day window in the wild for collecting the ripe seed.

I did manage to collect Solidago sempervirens, S. bicolor, Aster umbellatus and Rosa virginiana; and in a spontaneous walk into some woods off the road, discovered huge drifts of Symplorcarpus albus, ready for picking.

Consulting the Flora after my return, I discovered that the Snowberry is actually not native here---and the batch I ran into is most likely Symphoricarpus albus var. laevigatus "a more erect, western form with the leaves smooth beneath." The flora also stated that "it is difficult to separate from the typical variety".  

I also found Hamamelis virginiana in a wet area. These had mostly ejected their seeds, but there were still enough unopened for my needs.

Ilex verticillata is here in incredible abundance, and every wet area along the sides of the road were brilliant with the red berries that the birds had not yet claimed.

Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ragged Robin on November 03, 2009, 09:00:14 AM
Kristi, what great autumn scenes and colours Hamamelis leaves are some of my favourites for changing colours and the Ilex berries are astonishingly red in that backdrop.  Seeing the wreath-making in progress is fascinating - would love to see some of the results and wonder if any of the local native species are used?
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Kristl Walek on December 31, 2009, 02:16:43 PM
As another year draws to a close, the seed drawers are full, my website
updated and I draw my work around me, like a shawl, while I process orders
through the dark months.

Despite a chaotic and emotional pre-move 2009, and no further progress with my book,
I was given awards from Dave's Garden for being in the "Top Five Seed Companies" in two categories (native species and trees & shrubs) as voted by my customers.

Hopeful for a new start after many difficult years; I've survived my first 5 months in Nova Scotia. Although I still feel lost here, a stranger in a strange land; I know it is always the land, in the end, that makes me whole again.

If I can hike the hills, perch on a rock, see plants at my feet, trees towering above me, nothing else is unbearable. So this early morning, I walked the bleak, icy shores of the Fundy Bay but felt renewed.

I look forward to another year with all of you as I continue to explore the wild spaces of maritime Canada.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Maggi Young on December 31, 2009, 02:36:33 PM
Dear Kristl, I wonder if you realise just how many of us are wishing you the very best of good fortune in establishing your new life in Nova Scotia?
Your friens hip and expertise here in this Forum is greatly appreciated. As well as sharing your tremendous experience in matters seed and plant related, you bring us such wonderful photographes of the wild and beautiful lands around you to expand our knowledge and delight our eyes. And through all this we feel joined with you as you progress along a road that is uncertain and often downright frightening.....friends joined together across the miles through the simple expedient of a joy in nature!
Thank you for all you give us here..... my fond hopes to you for a grand year to come in 2010! :-*
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Lesley Cox on December 31, 2009, 08:21:36 PM
 I would like to hope for you Kristl, a wonderful year to come in 2010. Moving is always traumatic and doing so with garden and business as well as home, is trebly so, of course. What you can be sure of is great support from friends here on the Forum and I've no doubt you and people like John W will soon be firm friends if you are not already. Kindest regards from us all.


Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: annew on December 31, 2009, 11:34:10 PM
Congratulations on your awards, Kristl. Sending you warm wishes on your new start.
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: Ragged Robin on January 04, 2010, 05:51:20 PM
Many congratulations on your awards Kristi and all the best for 2010 in your new home.....so looking forward to your postings as the seasons change this year and discovering new landscapes and plant life through your adventures  :)
Title: Re: My Bit of Heaven......2009
Post by: cohan on January 14, 2010, 07:41:05 AM
congratulations on the awards--its good to get recognition for doing something above the minimum standards common in most fields!

hopefully 2010 will see you growing into your new home in many ways :)
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 02, 2010, 11:57:02 PM
I feel that my new life in Nova Scotia is really beginning now, rather than last July, when I first moved to the Annapolis Valley.
It is my first full plant season here. It is, in particular,  the first spring in my new bit of heaven.

And, with the sense of renewal in the air, no better day than Good Friday to have my first serious plant explore of the season. This was made all the more special because my new friend Jill, of Bunchberry Nursery was eager to botanize with me. Our goal was to find Symplocarpus foetidus (Skunk Cabbage), the first native plant to bloom.  Because of a recent heat wave, we feared it may have already finished flowering.

However, we could not have been luckier. The first site we stopped at along the side of the road, on a hunch that it might be the "right kind of spot" (a steep incline leading down to a boggy area) was *exactly* the spot. Peering down the slope I could already see the large spathes dotting the wet area.

Here we found ourselves in skunk cabbage heaven, in a site even larger than my "mother lode" spot back in Ontario, and not requiring a long drive. My first impression was that everything was larger about these plants---the individual spathes were huge, the clumps mostly multi-spathes, not the normal single spathed clones on Ontario. I wondered whether the much milder climate contributed to the added vigour here.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 03, 2010, 12:11:39 AM
close-ups of individual specimens.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 03, 2010, 01:00:29 AM
To the rear of the skunk cabbage area we discovered a large, open bog, full of treasures that I will be eager to return to see at flowering time. Rhododendron (Ledum) groenlandicum, Vacciniums, Empetrum nigrum, Chamaedaphne, Andromeda, Kalmia polifolia, Gaultheria and many others were to be seen here.

The highlight, however was finding unusually-coloured  Sarracenia purpurea. While the normal maroon-reds were in attendance, here there were also plants with  distinct oranges and salmon-toned foliage. Then, I almost fainted when Jill pointed out a beautiful yellow plant---which I had heard of, but never seen before in the wild.

If it turns out to be Sarracenia purpurea f. heterophylla (which can only be conclusively decided if it turns out to have a yellow flower as well, I will be doubly thrilled.

It was originally recognized as a separate species, then reduced to a variety and finally a form. I will certainly be returning to this spot in June to observe flowering---as I also have a feeling about some of the other orange/salmon foliaged plants.

Before leaving the site we saw (and smelled) a Daphne mezereum growing on the slope of the roadside (an introduced species that has taken hold in the wild here). As Jill went to inspect, a mother bird was frightened away from its ground-level nest underneath the Daphne---a most appropriate sight for Easter weekend.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 03, 2010, 01:37:28 AM
We had been having altogether too much fun, so decided to proceed to a second site for skunk cabbage. As we were on Digby Neck (a narrow peninsula in the Bay Of Fundy), we soon boarded a ferry for Long Island. All day we slipped in and out of fog. Our goal was a popular tourist destination: the site of the Balancing Rock, a columnar basalt sea stack that rests precariously on it's end.

Barely out of the parking lot, the sides of the path and boardwalk were full of Symplocarpus. Further along, Cornus canadensis appeared, still in maroon winter colour. The wonderful Coptis groenladica was abundant and greening and the very choice Gaultheria hispidula was seen in abundance. Exquisite, colorful, textural mats of small creeping plants covered spaghnum mounds everywhere.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 03, 2010, 01:40:15 AM
As we proceeded along the short (2.4km) trail towards the shore, we passed areas where the moss was in breathtaking colours---a feast for the senses. Never having seen this phenomenon before, I have now educated myself to discover that sphaghum does indeed vary in its hues and the reds, oranges, pinks are a normal phenomenon. You Scots would certainly have known this.

The 235 steps down to the coast of St. Mary's Bay are easy enough---climbing back up was just a bit trickier. The coastline here is majestic and composed of columnar basalt rock. The 9m high "Balancing Rock" has stood here, without toppling, for some 200 years, defying gravity. We noted that someone had managed to climb out to the rock and construct an Inukshuk at its base; somehow particularly appropriate as these human inspired "balanced rock" sculptures were historically created as navigational aids by the Inuit.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: TheOnionMan on April 03, 2010, 02:28:35 AM
Awesome Kristl!  Keep us posted with any new findings.  I see why you took so many photos of Symplocarpus foetidus, it such an amusing photogenic little creature isn't it!  I've never seen Gaultheria hispidula before, looks intriguing, and the "textural mass" images are delightful.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maggi Young on April 03, 2010, 11:55:53 AM
Kristl, what can I say?
This new bit of heaven is surely proving a very happy hunting ground.... and one which you are generously sharing with us; thank you  8)

I am very excited to see the ericaceous plants when you return to their bog in season..... if they grow as well as the Symplocarpus are doing, it will be worth seeing!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Lvandelft on April 03, 2010, 05:50:14 PM
Kristl, you never stop surprising us. Your series of plant pictures give a really good idea of how it looks out there.
Looking at the moss plants gives me the feeling standing there and getting wet feet  ;)
Being in a skunk cabbage heaven cannot be so bad as it sounds  ;D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Ragged Robin on April 03, 2010, 11:26:17 PM
Kristi, thank you for such a wonderful introduction to your new vision of Spring - it certainly looks heavenly and I just love the mosses and textural leaves interwoven with one another.  The excitement of all your new findings is palpable and makes the whole experience of joining you on your thread so enjoyable   :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: semp man on April 04, 2010, 01:54:33 AM
Hi Kristl, I'm new the forum, but I really enjoy your posts. The skunk cabbage here is beginning its start also. But like you say, the spaths aren't as big as the ones in your pics. The cornus canadensis is still in winter color here also. I look forward to more of your writings and adventures.
Semp Man
USDA hardiness zone 4/5
and a long time friend if you can figure it out ???
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 04, 2010, 03:13:31 AM
Well, dearest Mike Kanter, you gave yourself away with the "Semp Man".
Welcome to the best on-line botanic forum in the world!!!!
You've visited me in Ontario; now you will have to see what you think of Nova Scotia.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: bulborum on April 04, 2010, 08:05:28 AM
Hello Kristl

Is there a possibility to get some seeds or bulbs of the symplocarpus
and if you are in that area again there must grow Maianthemum trifoliata
I am interested too
to swap if you like the shape of the flower I grow the not hardy
Ambrosinia bassii see:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/taurielloanimaliorchidee/4217839574/in/set-72157622998178733/
and
http://www.flickr.com/photos/taurielloanimaliorchidee/4342860271/in/set-72157623068380680/

Roland
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 04, 2010, 02:13:44 PM
Roland, I actually have a seed company and both Symplocarpus and the Maianthemum trifoliata are normally on my list at Gardens North. I've sent you a personal message.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: WimB on April 04, 2010, 02:24:57 PM
Kristl,

beautiful pics. I had never heard about those yellow and salmon coloured Sarracenia purpurea's. They are wonderful. If you go back when they are flowering be sure to put some pics here.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 04, 2010, 02:36:52 PM
Kristl,

beautiful pics. I had never heard about those yellow and salmon coloured Sarracenia purpurea's. They are wonderful. If you go back when they are flowering be sure to put some pics here.

Yes, Wim, that was the botanic high point that day and I already have June marked on my calendar to return for flowering. In the meantime, I have heard of another site quite close to home (being destroyed) where there is a single colony of all (confimed yellow-flowering) plants, which I hope to check out soon in the hopes that some/all the plants perhaps still exist.

In the near 20 years of looking at pitcher plants in the wild in Ontario, I never saw a single variant.

By the way, the form status relates to the FLOWER colour---some normal RED-FOLIAGED plants can still produce yellow flowers, so this is why it is crucial to see the plants flowering. What I wish I knew is whether they will come true from seed, or the rough percentages. Guess I will have to do my own experiments.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: WimB on April 04, 2010, 03:22:25 PM
Yes, Wim, that was the botanic high point that day and I already have June marked on my calendar to return for flowering. In the meantime, I have heard of another site quite close to home (being destroyed) where there is a single colony of all (confimed yellow-flowering) plants, which I hope to check out soon in the hopes that some/all the plants perhaps still exist.

In the near 20 years of looking at pitcher plants in the wild in Ontario, I never saw a single variant.

It's a shame that colony of yellow-flowering plants is being destroyed. Will you be rescuing some?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 04, 2010, 03:33:22 PM
As we proceeded along the short (2.4km) trail towards the shore, we passed areas where the moss was in breathtaking colours---a feast for the senses. Never having seen this phenomenon before, I have now educated myself to discover that sphaghum does indeed vary in its hues and the reds, oranges, pinks are a normal phenomenon. You Scots would certainly have known this.

Ginny Proulx (Nova Scotia native plantswoman extraordinaire....who I will introduce you to in the very near future), and to whom I owe the location leads of many of these early plant wanderings in my new home has told me that "...the sphagnum moss color variations are likely different sphagnum species and/or the amount of sun they receive."

Tackling ferns and Sedges was challenging enough. I admit to utterly no knowledge whatsoever about mosses!!!!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 05, 2010, 05:38:16 PM
While they are not the Rockies....one can pretend.
The Annapolis Valley has two "mountains,"  unpoetically the "North" and "South" Mountains.
North=basalt
South=granite

I live close to North Mountain, which is at best, 200m tall and where I
would like to do a fair amount of plant exploring this season.

One does get some nice views of the Annapolis Royal area and the Annapolis River on the way up the mountain.
One also runs into some interesting "dumps" along the side of the road, such as this pile of crabs.

Even though this is a hill, more than a mountain, on this 25C day, with all snow long gone at the bottom, there were still vestiges of it up at the top.

On Easter Sunday Jill and I had gone on a quick explore to see if the small colony of
Sarracenia pupurea f. heterophylla was still in existance.
The site was, in fact, right next to the road (you can see the plants just on the right behind my car).
The area had obviously been much disturbed, and tons of large gravel dumped down on top of the population closest to the road. Some of these were struggling hard to find their way back to the light.

There were some red-foliaged plants here, but only a few. The majority were green or yellowish-green (not the beautiful intense yellow with red markings we had seen on the bog).  But, apparently all of the green-foliaged plants here ARE yellow-flowered.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 05, 2010, 06:28:33 PM
All along this road, on the verges of the woods was almost solid Epigaea repens. And it continued forever, it seems. The sunny borders of the trails into the woods were also Epigaea-lined. To my surprise, having marked Epigaea flowering in the May 1st slot of my calendar---there were many plants in bud already, a few just on the brink of bloom. I will have to return in the next 10 days.

And a bit further down the road, cascading down cliffs (seemingly dry cliffs, which had me wondering) was Linnaea borealis, just barely coming out of dormancy. From the remnant seed stalks, it obviously flowers well in this spot. Behind it, further up the cliffs, running clubmoss, Lycopodium clavatum, was a beautiful fresh green.

And right across the road from where we stopped for the Sarracenia there was a sign "35 acres for sale" attached to a beautiful piece of woodland with an equally wonderful stream rushing through it, where we spent some time walking and wondering what else might be here in these woods later. All one can see, of course, this early in the season, are the trees and the evergreen species (Mitchella still with last years' berries, Gaultheria, more Coptis and ever more Epigaea).


First thing this morning, out of curiosity, I called the owner of the woodlot.
He is asking $11,000 for the 35 acres.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 11, 2010, 02:49:35 PM
When I drive to the nearby town of Digby along the old, (scenic) route, rather than the Highway, which
is my usual tendency, this is my view on the right side of the road.

Yesterday the views were also full of spring promise, with the chartreuse and pale greens of newly budding trees and shrubs. In between were red maples, Acer rubrum, providing the only splash of strong colour. These can be large trees to 35m, but also often seen here as shrubs in poorly drained or disturbed sites on the road verges.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: bulborum on April 13, 2010, 04:03:07 PM
Hello Kristl
I am just back from a show in Paris
Happy because I won a first price in my class
a Disporum sp. with beautiful white flowers
the seeds arrived today with the post and
will be planted tonight
I have first to unload the truck with the plants and bulbs
thanks a lot for the seeds and if you need other var
seeds I grow just let me know

Roland
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 18, 2010, 07:29:21 PM
This morning, on a cool (+6) day, I headed back up the North Mountain to photograph Epigaea repens in bloom. This early-blooming woody member of the Ericaceae is also known as Mayflower, or Trailing Arbutus. Appropriately, it is the floral emblem of Nova Scotia. I could not imagine having chosen a more beautiful plant.

The very fragrant flowers are predominantly white flushed pink; although pure whites and some deeper pinks were also seen.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 18, 2010, 08:24:20 PM
From North Mountain I drove a short distance up the Annapolis Valley to revisit the sand barrens I introduced you to last year. My main goal at that point had been to see Corema conradii, a species that was almost entirely unknown to me until I began studying the flora of Nova Scotia, prior to moving here.

Also called "broom crowberry" this is a dioecious member of the Ericaceae (formerly classified in the Empetraceae along with the Empetrums to which it is closely related). It resembles a heath in shape and texture, with tiny dark green needled foliage whorled along delicate stems.

I knew it was not showy in flower; it's primary garden attributes being its very good foliage and structure. Nevertheless, drifts of it in flower produced a wonderful coppery haze that gave an unusual, autumn-colouring to the landscape on this mid April day.

It is easy in the garden in sandy, acid soil and full sun.

Being dioecious, the orange tones you see are produced by the male flowers, and the green that is visible are the female flowering plants.

Don't you just love seeing those guys working so hard!!!!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 18, 2010, 09:11:49 PM
Wandering around the site this early in the season also enabled me to easily find Hudsonia ericoides, which I had searched and searched for last fall here, but could not find in all the voluptuous vegetation.

This member of the Coastal Plain Flora has a very restricted range and is ranked "sensitive" in Nova Scotia, although it is at risk in the few other areas on the eastern seaboard where it is native.

I knew the other member of the genus (Hudsonia tomentosa) in Ontario, where it normally grew in sand, on the beaches along lakeshores.

Although this low-growing, mat-forming plant is still some time away from flowering, the scale-like leaves are lovely and of a beautiful gray-green; softer than H. tomentosa. The new foliage was a good fresh green.  It is known as "False Heather".

This area also has large drifts of Arctostaphyllos uva ursi, mostly pink in bud, but with some in bloom. Many still had last seasons intact berries.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 18, 2010, 09:29:43 PM
and my last post for today...close ups of the flowers of Acer rubrum which has so brightened every roadside here in the past few weeks.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: fermi de Sousa on April 21, 2010, 09:15:29 AM
Thanks so much, Kristl,
for continuing to show us the bit of heaven where you now reside!
The textural combinations of foliage are particularly amazing but those skunks are outstanding!
cheers
fermi
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on April 28, 2010, 04:57:27 AM
great to see your spring! there are some really nice sites in your area and beyond :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 01, 2010, 01:03:44 AM
I have had a good dose of cabin fever, being mostly stuck indoors during April filling seed orders during a hectic half-price seed sale. As today was the last day of the sale, I thought I deserved a short outing to reward myself. I decided to explore the back roads close to home; my primary purpose to identify the Amelanchiers that had started blooming this week. This genus is difficult, with many interspecific hybrids.

Allegheny Serviceberry (A. laevis) which lines the roadsides everywhere is my favorite. Lightly fragrant white flowers contrast beautifully with the glossy, spring-bronze foliage. This turns green in summer and then brilliant orange, red and yellows in fall.

The plant still in bud is, I believe A. x grandiflora (A. laevis x A. arborea)--and intermediate between the two--the new leaves are slightly pubescent and purplish.

And lastly, A. canadensis, which is similar to A. arborea; but the flower raceme is more compact and held more upright than arborea.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 01, 2010, 01:16:29 AM
Along the roadsides I also saw the male catkins of Comptonia peregrina, pollen cones of Picea and a suprising Viburnum alnifolium in bloom (uncommon in this area and way too early to be blooming).

I also ran into drifts of the delicious Vaccinium angustifolium; mostly still in bud, but some flowers open. This species has a rich spring foliage colouring with greens, yellow, orange and reds all present, topped by the pink buds of the flowers. The tiny chubby blooms, white with wide pink stripes are very endearing.

And venturing just slightly into some nearby woods I discovered Lonicera canadensis in bloom in the largest sea of Maianthemum canadensis I have ever seen, which I hope to return to photograph soon, once they are in bloom.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Ragged Robin on May 01, 2010, 11:19:48 AM
A wonderful wild Spring feeling from your locality Kristi, I love this time of year with everything looking so tender from pollen cones to foliage and diminutive flowers.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 11, 2010, 02:08:11 PM
During this first stretch of May, I have never quite known which direction to point my car; as a number of sites and particular species were calling to me at the same time. Yesterday I set out on a trip I had been putting off, because of the hiking distance required (about 8km). My goal was to find Primula laurentiana in bloom along the Fundy shore, and to locate Iris setosa canadensis in the same spot.

Reaching Delaps Cove requires a drive across the North Mountain, ending at a T-junction on the Fundy coastline. On my way across the mountain, I noticed that the white blooms of Amelanchier were slowly getting replaced by Prunus. As well, the red blooms of Acer rubrum in April have quickly turned into equally wonderful red seeds, which were now shining against the light green foliage. These I must remember to quickly list on my web site---the seed is ephmeral and must be sown soon after collection. It is an "instant" warm germinator.

I also stopped to get a closer look at large stands of Sambus pubens.

Soon one catches a glimpse of the ocean at the end of the road and it is not far to the entrance to Delaps Cove. By the way, the steep hill, is, indeed that.  
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 11, 2010, 02:47:43 PM
After my move here last autumn, I had walked the short (less than 2km) Bohaker Trail of Delaps Cove--but to access Charlies Trail, one has to first walk along an old road for about 3km (one way) before getting to the 1.9km loop of the second trail; making this a somewhat more difficult trip for an arthritic lady. However, the terrain is relatively straightforward and moves through a number of interesting habitats and over bridges with lovely sounds and views of water.

Logging activities persist throughout the North Mountain, and operations were also in progress here.

Along the road I found Acer pensylvanicum and Viburnum alnifolium in bloom, as well as stragglers of Lonicera canadensis.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 11, 2010, 03:23:51 PM
Eventually entering the woods at the beginning of Charlie's Trail, I was immediately confronted by eye-stretching carpets of Coptis groenlandica in bloom. This is a wonderful tiny groundcover, subtle in all respects, from the small white flowers to the the glossy, lobed foliage which looks wonderful all season. It is one of the many low, creeping species I hope to get established in my new woodland garden at home (along with Mitchella repens, Epigaea repens, Gaultheria, Cornus canadensis and others).

Growing with the Coptis were Maianthemum canadense, not quite in bloom, and Trientalis borealis. I managed to find a few open flowers of this later.

The foliage of Clintonia borealis was in evidence everywhere.

Right in the middle of the path, further along, I found a single Streptopus roseus in bloom, but never managed to locate another plant nearby.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 11, 2010, 03:55:24 PM
Urfurling as well were the fronds of Polystichum acrostichoides and other ferns and occasional examples of Gaultheria hispidula and Epigaea repens were seen. The early fresh foliage of a Prenanthes species was everywhere.

Getting closer to the shoreline, the path became increasingly wetter and muddy and Viola macloskeyi occasionally appeared. Earlier on, in the drier woods I had seen a blue viola, but am unsure of identification.

Here too Cornus canadensis appeared in greater numbers. I had seen them earlier in a non-flowering state. Here, closer to the shore, some had begun to open. The only native Thalictrum, T. pubescens, appeared in its ferny mounds.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 11, 2010, 04:25:32 PM
Eventually the trail opens up the the ocean at various points. Needless to say, I was already getting tired at this point, but the prospect of finding the Primula was a huge incentive to keep moving. Luckily the tide was out, so I was able to search for some time along the shoreline and the higher area just above the shore. And search and search and search I did and was utterly disappointed not to locate it.

The Iris setosa canadensis, at least, were found, along with Empetrum nigrum and Vaccinium macroparpon. I suppose this means I will have to add another trip to Brier Island to the agenda, where the Primula is presently flowering.

The long trek back to the car was, well.....very long.....even with a partial hitch with one of the loggers (desperate things will force desperate action), although I did receive a quick education in logging while in his truck.

Heading home I decided to drive along the shore and come across the mountain on one of the other mountain roads (there are many). Along the way, one passes small towns (and sees some wonderful old houses and views of the ocean).
One also discovers new potential spots for buying fresh products from the sea---next time I must leave my house with cash (no form of credit used here).

Along the way I also saw Amelanchier laevis still going strong here. I do love this plant and must determine to plant one on my property. Later today, another adventure as I head back to the skunk cabbage site and bog to locate Lonicera caerulea.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 13, 2010, 04:33:13 PM
Yesterday I headed back to the skunk cabbage site I showed you earlier, with the goal of finding Lonicera caerulea, which was supposed to grow on the periphery of that site and the adjacent bog. 

As I had become "bogaphobic" (term coined by my friend, Jill) (definition: fear of falling into a bog hole) since my almost-being-swallowed-up-by-the-bog adventure a few years ago in Ontario, I was somewhat reticent to go on my own, but I feared missing the flowering of the Lonicera more, so off I went.

It was wonderful to be met with the sight of a tropical paradise at the bottom of that slope as I peered hown the hill--the Symplocarpus foetidus in full, glorious leaf, filling the space with luxurious green. The sheer numbers of the large plants made it difficult to find solid footing, as one could not see the wet, empty spaces clearly, so it was a rather nerve-racking and time-consuming business making my way through the plants into the bog beyond. This was particularly the case as the spot had become significantly wetter and more overgrown since my spring outing here with Jill.

I did find the Lonicera, here and there, struggling hard to survive in the scraggy, dense vegetation of the bog.
Rhododendron canadense and Chamaedaphne calyculata were also in bloom, but both also finding it hard to compete in this environment. Ultimately I was happy to be back on solid ground on the road; but still inspired for further botanizing.








Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 13, 2010, 05:04:12 PM
And since I was halfway to Brier Island, and still needing to photograph Primula laurentiana, I decided to forge onwards and head for the first of the two ferries.

Driving up the peninsula of Digby Neck to the first ferry, I noted many further stretches of Symplocarpus, many growing right out into the road ditches.

Two quick ferries later on Brier Island, I headed promptly for Western Light, where the Primula grow. This is a popular spot for tourists in the summer to watch whales.

A two minute climb up to the lighthouse finds one on a rocky outcrop thick with low, dense grass, where Primula struggle. Had they not been flowering, it would have been challenging to find the tiny rosettes. Even in flower, most of these plants were only a couple centimeters tall in this exposed environment.

The area is thick with Iris setosa canadensis, doing better competing with the grass. It is difficult to tell from the photographs, but most of the Iris were extremely dwarfed 6-15cm at most.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 13, 2010, 05:19:02 PM
Of course, on any botanzing trip, it is the unexpected that is often the most thrilling---and I had not expected to find the Rhodiola rosea, which also lives in this spot, in full bloom. It tends to grow nearer to, or in the crevices of the large rocks, usually on the less exposed, shadier sides.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 13, 2010, 05:40:51 PM
And a second, lovely surprise. Prior to leaving, I explored a "dry bog" nearby because green foliage clumps and white blooms caught my eye from a distance.

It turned out to be more Lonicera caerulea, in fairly good numbers, in fact. These were much smaller, better in habit and full of flower. As many of you undoubtably know, this species (or variety edulus) is the breeding ancestor of the edible "Blue Honeysuckle." Breeders in the Canadian prairies, always after new hardy fruits have been working with clones earlier produced in Russia and elsewhere. I am anxious to be able to taste the fruit of the wild species, once the time arrives.

At this point in time, there was no time left for further exploration, as I had less than 2 hours to make my way back home in time to attend my first meeting of the local Field Naturalists. Tonights speaker was coincidentally, June Swift, the local expert on Brier Island, who was born and bred there.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Gail on May 13, 2010, 05:44:42 PM
Fascinating Kristl.  I've actually just bought the edible blue honeysuckle (2 clones as they have to cross-pollinate to set fruit?).  It's flowering here now and I'm looking forward to tasting the fruit....
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on May 13, 2010, 06:53:41 PM
nice set--that island looks like a wonderful spot!
would i be right in thinking the main (visible) difference between this primula and mistassinica is in the leaf shape/size?
i was going to ask if its the berries of the lonicera that are blue,  but you got there later :) i forgot this was the species behind what they are calling 'honeyberry' or 'haskap' i've read about them, but not seen any in person yet, they are on the list..lol my aunt up the road tried some, but they were wiped out by hail :( (as small plants)..
love the colour on the rhodo too--its a rare colour in the local flora here..
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Graham Catlow on May 13, 2010, 09:17:27 PM
Hi Kristl,
I'm enjoying viewing your trips into your bit of heaven.

I see what you mean about Primula laurentiana. It really does look as though it's struggling in it's natural environment. It's amazing what cultivation, care and protection does as my plants don't even appear to be the same species, they have bulked up that much and are full of flowers as you have seen.

Please keep posting when you get the chance.
Graham
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 23, 2010, 12:38:22 AM
My latest batch of botanizing took me to Halifax County, some hours from home to see Houstonia (Hedyotis) caerulea (Bluets), near the Halifax Airport. They are common in the central and eastern part of Nova Scotia, but do not seem to range into south-western Nova Scotia, where I now live. I have never seen them before in the wild, as they were not native to Ontario.

To give you a perspective of this site, it is a long narrow, heat-baked slope along the side of the road and an airport fence. The plants continue on a long ways, thicker in the disturbed, open spots, than in the grassy areas. Perhaps this is because they are more easily able to self sow there without as much competition. I had always heard that they would like underlying moisture---but there was nothing to suggest that, at least in this area.

Seeing them from a distance one has the impression of a low white carpet and while I did find some pure white plants, most are washed with pale blue; an occasional deeper blue to be found. They are pretty, tiny 4-petalled tufted plants with yellow eyes; perfect to let loose in some bare, infertile spot where they might naturalize.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 23, 2010, 01:11:26 AM
In Ontario where Rhododendron canadense was extremely rare (confined to one bog not far from where I lived), they are of course everywhere in this province. And while the plants are common denizens of boggy places, wet ditches and moist woods, they were also seen on this trip in spots that "appeared" quite inhospitable to them--waste areas, dry open, exposed sites, etc. etc. In fact a number of them grew right at the roadside on the bottom of the Houstonia slope. In the first picture you can see the pink flowers of the Rhododendron at the bottom right. The second photograph is a waste site I passed later along the road---you can make out the pink haze. And yet in another very hot, lichen-encrusted spot they were found as well.

On my journey from Halifax back home I botanized the back roads and did slosh around a bit in a real bog, the pink of the Rhododendron drawing me in. There, to my surprise, I found human company. I knew right away that the two gentlemen I encountered up to their knees in spaghnum were the "right sort" because of their butterfly nets. It turned out they were collecting specimens of moths, butter and dragon flies for a herbarium collection.

I also saw very large Sarracenia cups as well as Maianthemum trifoliatum.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 23, 2010, 01:41:31 AM
My botanizing technique is simply to cruise the least civilized roads and stop my car anywhere that looks interesting; wherever access seems possible and allowed.

I came next to just such a spot (a hopeful-looking bit of woodland, with a for-sale sign at the road, and a small pull-in area that had been cleared. The large pieces of granite at road side here were dense with Arctostaphyllos uva ursi in full bloom.

Immediately entering the woods I was confronted with large drifts of Clintonia borealis in bloom. Scattered among them, but in greater numbers than one would ever have encountered in Ontario, were Trillium undulatum.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 23, 2010, 02:23:22 AM
Here too were good quantities of Aralia nudicaulis, not quite in bloom; and scattered specimens of Streptopus roseus, which never grow in colonies in the wild. I have not yet been able to find Streptopus amplexifolius here, which is, as yet, unknown to me.

The highlight of this botanizing trip was also the last species to be seen: the white form of Cypripedium acaule; which I had also never encountered before in the wild. I am not quite sure why the white variant is relatively easy to come across in Nova Scotia; while I never saw a single specimen in Ontario. This was a rather good little colony of perhaps 30-50 plants, 95% of which were white.

In fact, the few pinks here were fairly light colored.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maggi Young on May 23, 2010, 03:57:26 PM
My word, Kristl, how exciting.... so many treasures and plants that I am particularly fond of....I am so pleased that your new bit of heaven is as interesting as the "old" one!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 23, 2010, 10:35:51 PM
The spring botany rush continues---and although I am mostly out exploring daily, there are species I have already missed which will have to go on the list again for next year. In fact, the seed of some species already needs collecting, but I have not yet found them in the wild.

Today, closer to home, I returned to the North Mountain to see where the seed of Epigaea was at (not yet ready). While near the yellow-foliaged Sarracenia purpurea, I also checked their flowering progress and discovered that someone (not me) had since my last visit arrived and dug a number of the plants that were partially buried in the gravel at the side of the road. I see it as a rescue, as the remainder of the small colony further in was left intact, and a few of these had sent up flowers (still unopened).

Nearby I wandered through some woodland and discovered my motherlode site for Aralia nudicaulis seed, when the time comes--as plants covered a very large area of the forest. Some of the flowers had begun to open.

Maianthemum canadense is the standard groundcover everywhere and nice patches of Cornus canadensis were also to be seen. It also strikes me that Cypripedium acaule will be present in a high percentage of the acid woods here, as it is a rare occurence *not* to see them. Here they were everywhere as well, although most were still at the bud stage and a high proportion had already been deheaded by deer. White flowered forms were also in evidence.

Acer spicatum (Mountain Maple) was seen in the understory and along the road edges, sending up its upright flowers over textured, light green foliage and red branchlets.

Prunus virginiana was in full bloom along the sides of the road.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 23, 2010, 11:24:04 PM
My next explore took me to a different entry point on the North Mountain, as I was searching for an area that might take me into a predominantly deciduous woodland, where I knew I would see different herbaceous species.

I was thrilled to find such a spot and doubly thrilled because it was the first time since my arrival in Nova Scotia that I felt familiar and "at home" in the forest, because it reminded me superficially of deciduous Ontario woods. Here was the familiar Clintonia borealis, in lovely drifts. I also found my first Nova Scotia Trillium erectums, past their prime, although this did not lessen my excitement. No woodland drifts of these as one sees in Ontario and Quebec; but I did not care, I was happy to meet my old friends again, dotted here and there in the forest.

Here was also my first sighting of Polygonatum pubescens in Nova Scotia. Tomorrow I hope to explore another deciduous hardwood forest in another location.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: arisaema on May 24, 2010, 09:44:38 AM
Fantastic pictures as always, and what an amazing drift of Clintonia! I have just potted up 30 healthy Streptopus roseus from your seeds, think I had nearly 100% germination :D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 25, 2010, 11:47:36 PM
Gini Proulx (the local native plant expert) and I have long tried to organize an outing together---and today we finally made it to a very pretty provincial park very close to home. Here too I had that familiar sense of being in mixed Ontario woods. Well laid-out, easy trails meandered through a relatively pristine woodland with few exotics to be seen (a rare and wonderful thing in this province).

The first thing Gini wanted to show me were the Polypodium virginianum covering large granite boulders.

Underfoot everywhere were some of my favorite groundcovers, combined in that exquisite way that only nature seems to manage in such perfection.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 26, 2010, 12:16:27 AM
Large drifts of the beautiful Clintonia borealis were here as well, flowering magnificently. Gini spotted a particular colony that was unusually large in all respects--I had never seen plants quite like this before.

Trillium undulatums were here too, scattered throughout the forest.

Medeola virginiana is somewhat uncommon in Nova Scotia, but I found a few plants here and there, just shy of flowering---a return trip must be planned in about a weeks time for the bloom.

Maianthemum racemosum, which was just budding should be fully open by that time as well.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 26, 2010, 01:01:27 AM
In 2008, when I began this "My Bit Of Heaven" thread of (then) Ontario natives, I made the comment that I believed that Nova Scotia had much larger populations of Cypripedium acaule than Ontario. I have hardly begun my explorations in this province, but I might have to revise my earlier statement. What I have discovered thus far is that one can find the species in many more locations here, but growing in a scattered manner. I have yet to find myself in an area that approximates the "as far as the eye can see" colonies that one would find in Ontario.

The spots in Ontario I saw where the huge populations existed were all identical in that the plants grew in pine duff under pure stands of red pine where nothing else was found except the occasional small colony of Maianthemum canadense. Where I ran into them in ordinary woodland settings, they grew in the same manner as they do here. 

This park certainly had a good number of plants considering it's size--- many a beautiful deep, rich pink, some almost verging on maroon.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 26, 2010, 01:32:18 AM
I am extremely fond of yellow birch, Betula alleghaniensis, which has beautiful yellow-bronze bark---in good forms the trunks can be intensely golden, shimmering in the landscape, and particularly beautiful in winter. We found this specimen which had been cut in the woods--sadly my pictures don't capture the beautiful bark colour and how it shimmered in the light there.

Walking towards the lake, looking for Hamamelis virginiana, we saw Aronia, Gaylussacia baccata (almost in bloom) and Rhododendron canadense lining the shore. Interesting that having just seen them days ago blooming in Halifax, they were long finished here and already forming seed receptacles. You can see them on the boulders right in front.

On my drive home, I had to stop and photograph the road side Lupins, just starting to bloom. These are, of course, introduced, but so widespread in this province, that they have come to be emotionally attached with images of Nova Scotia.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 29, 2010, 12:52:59 AM
Although I spent most of today botanizing again, I do not have much new to share. My recent travels are taking me further inland--into central Nova Scotia---an area of abundant lakes and sparse habitation. In the sunny two days since the roadside Lupines began blooming, they are now to be seen everywhere on the sides of all the highways---and wherever there is an waste site, they have filled in.

The larger landscape has rarer spots of bloom now, and these are largely wild apples and cultivated Prunus and Lilac escapes. I did see a few native Aronias blooming---am unsure if it is melanocarpa, arbutifolia or prunifolia.

Along the road I also ran into a large marsh full of Nuphar variegata---next time I go, I will have to take a different lens to get some closer shots.

Most of the woodlands I explored presented the same species we have seen before although one of them was so solidly Coptis groenlandica, that it almost carpeted the entire forest.  This now qualifies as my mother lode site for seed collecting. Here too Linnaea borealis occured in very good quantity and there were such an abundance of Mitchella repens berries from last season, I had to take the time to do my first collecting for this year. As I was unprepared for seed, my jacket had to suffice.

Mitchella and Gaultheria procumbens are rarely eaten by wildlife, so one has the option of collecting the seed either in spring or in late fall/early winter. I always prefer the first option.

The last time I visited Jill (Bunchberry Nursery) she showed me a very special clone of the native Pinus glauca that was originally found in the wild on the east coast of the province. The intense aurea coloration does disappear in time (I believe by summer), but what an incredible find!!!!  She is the process of introducing it in the trade.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Ragged Robin on May 29, 2010, 09:26:18 AM
Quote
Underfoot everywhere were some of my favorite groundcovers, combined in that exquisite way that only nature seems to manage in such perfection.

Your photos of your botanizing trips reveal the true nature of how plants grow and where and I love the affinity you have with what you see and share Kristi
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 30, 2010, 01:59:16 PM
I had no intention of botanizing yesterday---rather, a day to give some energy to my new garden (where I have not spent much time since my move). Early I jumped into the car to drive the hour to Briar Patch Nursery in Berwick to purchase a few woody species.

But botanizing is never far away once I get into my vehicle. Driving up the Valley, I passed the sand flats again and this time patches of bright yellow caught my eye and I knew that the Hudsonia ericoides had taken me by surprise. With a very restricted range on the eastern seaboard, it is ranked as "sensitive" in Nova Scotia and is part of the Coastal Plains Flora.

Here in the sand plain, it is hard to see when not in flower, growing as it does against thick drifts of Corema conradii and others. It stays fairly restricted to outer edges or openings; suggesting lack of ability to compete with the other, more vigorous species here.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 30, 2010, 02:37:21 PM
Arriving in Berwick, I became distracted by a market offering the first local asparagus of the year (one of my serious addictions), and noticed their beautiful portobello mushrooms (also local). Upon asking, I learned that Valley Mushroom Company was "just 5 minutes up the street" where one could buy large bags of them for $5.00.

With thoughts of a huge plate of portobellos fried in butter off I went on another explore. I was slightly late for Saturday retail sales, but met the owner in the parking lot who gave me a friendly run down on all their products (mushroom compost included as well as native mushrooms in season). But as my Matrix was already booked for woody plants, I decided to return for compost and mushrooms at a later time. Locals apparently buy the bags of compost in the late fall and produce mushrooms all winter long in their basements.

Finally on my way to the nursery, hours later than expected, I passed fields full of another exotic escapee, the ubiquitous Lychnis flos cuculii, literally painting the fields pink. In the ditches it was romping around with the native Sisyrinchium montanum.

Arriving finally at Briar Patch, I squeezed Magnolia sieboldii, Cornus kousa and Oxydendron arboreum into my tiny vehicle, rushed home and managed to plant them before the much needed rain began.


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: ranunculus on May 30, 2010, 05:01:58 PM
Amazing reports as always, Kristl ... we were in Newfoundland in early May and it was still extremely cool, damp and very windy so little was in bloom (outside of the superb Botanic Garden, of course).
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 30, 2010, 05:11:29 PM
Amazing reports as always, Kristl ... we were in Newfoundland in early May and it was still extremely cool, damp and very windy so little was in bloom (outside of the superb Botanic Garden, of course).

Cliff,
You should have popped over to Nova Scotia----it's been ridiculously warm and sunny here since early April.
Newfoundland is always safest much later in the season.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on June 03, 2010, 08:25:53 PM
more great stuff! really love the clintonias, on my list for sure.. your local markets seem really great..
the season here--though much later starting than yours,(the mountain isn't as far ahead) is getting rapidly into swing here--not sure if things are earlier, or just my impression, haven't yet compared photo dates to last year--cornus canadensis starting to bud, and maianthemum canadense about to open..
i have to struggle to divide time between botanising and trying to work on yard and garden--plus we have still had a lot of cool weather, so i'm still having to saw firewood!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maren on June 03, 2010, 08:52:47 PM
Hi Kristl,

I'm a bit late responding to your lovely entry of Cyp acaule. I envy you your proximity to them. Is it true that you have to water them with vinegar in cultivation?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: ranunculus on June 03, 2010, 09:04:39 PM
Have just potted on a clutch of over twenty seedlings of Clintonia borealis from Kristl's wonderful moist packed seed received here in December 2008. I have simply moved the entire pot of seedlings on into a larger pot to allow them to develop further.  Moist packed Streptopus roseus seedlings will be similarly potted on in the morning.  Many thanks Kristl.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 08, 2010, 01:50:15 AM
Maren....I was actually not aware of the vinegar technique.
In my last garden in Ontario, I had an area of white pines, that approximated the environment where I often found them in the wild. And here they grew happily without any interference by the gardener.

Very recently I actually stumbled upon a white pine site that was very familiar in this way---with the Cypripedium acaule becoming quite a small colony under the trees. The beautiful white form was, of course, present as well.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 08, 2010, 02:12:43 AM
After a week of mostly rain, the skies cleared enough today to make a quick run into the woods. At the first stop, I ate my first wild strawberries of the year and observed drifts of Cornus canadensis now covering the sides of the road and the woodland floor.

On the road sides was Comptonia peregrina in full growth, already forming seed receptacles.

A few more days and I would have missed Medeola virginiana; now in full bloom---a delicate plant that is very difficult to photograph.

My next stop was a site that I had heard had a population of 300 year old Tsuga canadensis--a graceful native conifer I am very fond of with its open habit and pendulous branches. In the wet woods leading to the Hemlock, I saw Oxalis acetocella, the wood sorrel, not yet in bloom.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 08, 2010, 02:44:23 AM
The highlight for today, however, was the beautiful Linnaea borealis in glorious, full bloom. This I had to hunt for in Ontario---here it fills the woods and lines the roadsides, even creeping onto the road gravel.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: galahad on June 08, 2010, 03:21:51 AM
That is a pretty little thing
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: annew on June 08, 2010, 09:13:21 AM
What a lovely sight/site.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maggi Young on June 08, 2010, 01:19:01 PM
I didn't know populations of Linnaea borealis of that size existed  :o
Utterly charming to see them.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: jomowi on June 08, 2010, 03:22:03 PM
Maggie, just ask and I will give you such a site in Deeside.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maggi Young on June 08, 2010, 03:39:59 PM
Maggie, just ask and I will give you such a site in Deeside.

 Brian, you know I need to get out more!! :-X :'(
 I just knew you and Maureen would know of any such places.... how exciting to see them in these numbers.... a very superior ground cover, don't you agree?
 Some time I must take up your offer.  :D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 08, 2010, 07:27:52 PM
just ask and I will give you such a site in Deeside.

I love beautiful plants with a circumpolar distribution ---and Linnaea is found in almost all the continents
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maggi Young on June 08, 2010, 07:37:56 PM
Yes, I think these widely distributed plants have a charm all their own, showing their capacity to thrive in many lands..... I am excited to think that such a fine population might be found nearby..... I have only ever seen little patches in the wild in Scotland.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 08, 2010, 08:41:40 PM
Today's goal was to collect Acer rubrum seed, which is ephemeral and must be quickly sown. It is not possible to moist pack it to preserve viability, as it is an immediate germinator. I also wanted to find Iris setosa without the 8km walk to the last spot I found them on the shore.

On my drive up the North Mountain, I had to look twice at the blue in the ditches, thinking at first it must be more lupins---but the wet ditch was actually full of Iris versicolor.

Along the road the Myrica pensylvanica was in (unexciting) bloom---but these will be followed by those interesting, perfumed, waxy blue berries.

Once in the forest, I walked in lush growth along water, eventually meeting many of my old friends: large drifts of Cornus canadensis, and again, those irresistable groundcover mixes that I have so come to cherish here. The Linnaea was much deeper in color here; am not sure if this was a light, moisture, or phase of bloom issue.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 08, 2010, 09:25:27 PM
Coming out on the shore is always exciting, no matter how many times I experience it. Made more thrilling by the fact that 99.9% of the time I have the places all to myself---a rare thing these days, especially in a beautiful natural setting. More typical is this story: I recall being in utter wilderness in northern Alberta only to have two campers pull in next to me, full of an extended family of German tourists.

The shoreline rocks were full of the usual Empetrum nigrum, Vaccinium macrocarpon and flat Juniperus horizontalis-but as I continued to hike, I began to spot blue in the distance, and my heart jumped. I knew I was in exactly the right kind of setting for Iris setosa, and I was not wrong. With it, bloomed Lathyrus maritimus, making a wonderful pastel show on the rocks.

On my way back to the car, I even passed a waterfall--the perfect end to a wonderful, short excursion.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on June 10, 2010, 07:22:14 AM
Coming out on the shore is always exciting, no matter how many times I experience it. Made more thrilling by the fact that 99.9% of the time I have the places all to myself---a rare thing these days, especially in a beautiful natural setting. More typical is this story: I recall being in utter wilderness in northern Alberta only to have two campers pull in next to me, full of an extended family of German tourists.

The shoreline rocks were full of the usual Empetrum nigrum, Vaccinium macrocarpon and flat Juniperus horizontalis-but as I continued to hike, I began to spot blue in the distance, and my heart jumped. I knew I was in exactly the right kind of setting for Iris setosa, and I was not wrong. With it, bloomed Lathyrus maritimus, making a wonderful pastel show on the rocks.

On my way back to the car, I even passed a waterfall--the perfect end to a wonderful, short excursion.

kristl--great to see the cornus and linnaea growing so cleanly--i have them growing over large areas like that--but they don't get such uninterrupted access to the soil here! always many other forbs amongst them, and usually grasses, saplings etc..

just today i noted seedlings on Iris setosa seed from you, and it seems very quickly they have big iris leaves already!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 15, 2010, 01:15:58 AM
Locating plants in the wild (particularly herbaceous species) often requires they be in bloom, or else one doesn't see them.

I have driven this route on Highway #1, along the Annapolis River many times, but until today had no idea that the fields along the river were full of Iris versicolor. These are mostly fenced farms, cow grazing pastures (note the blue drift to the left of the cows) or barnyards; and the Iris is found in all of them for a number of kilometers.

Returning to the Sarracenia spot on the North Mountain, the yellow-blooming form (S. purpurea f. heterophylla) was finally in bloom. Unless one remembered the spot, these could not be seen anymore from the road, as tall vegetation has now pretty well enclosed the plants. Had they been receiving more sun, they would undoubtably have been more intensely yellow, rather than greenish-yellow.

There were a few of the red species, but the population is predominantly the variant.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 15, 2010, 01:50:32 AM
The vigorous Dennstaedtia punctilobula (Hay-scented fern) forms aggressive colonies in this province; something I never saw in Ontario. One sees it here lining the sides of roads and forests, and some woods are entirely covered; so much so that one has to fight to locate other species at ground level below it; if they are able to compete at all. Sadly, it is not palatable to deer!!!!

It makes me appreciate even more the beautiful and well-behaved Christmas fern, Polystichum acrostichoides, which continues to remain one of my favorite fern species.

As I was primarily here today to check on the ripeness of Epigaea repens seed, my wandering around the woods was fairly limited; although I did run into a small colony of the tiny Moneses uniflora and further along, patches of the wood sorrel, Oxalis acetosella, some of which had begun to bloom. The plants were oddly growing in a rather isolated fashion on top of mossy rocks at ground level; which made me wonder if these areas are flooded in spring up to the high level of the rock.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: TheOnionMan on June 15, 2010, 04:04:44 AM
Kristl, I have to admit that I've been lurking on this thread, but constantly marking it as "Unread" so that I can easily return to it, without a doubt one of my favorite threads on SRGC.  There's much that I want to respond to or comment on, but I've been "saving it up for a rainy day" so to speak...(wish we'd get more rainy days... so many splendiferous days in a row :D).

Your latest entry caught my attention, where you show a native Oxalis, identified as acetosella.  I did some research on the whole Oxalis montana, O. acetosella, and Oxalis acetosella ssp. montana thing when I was trying to determine what Oxalis I was growing... I never finished updating that thread, although the person who gave me the plant recently confirmed it as Oxalis acetosella, albeit, a very showy deep pink form versus the regular form that is white or light pink and striped darker pink.  That thread can be found here:
http://www.srgc.org.uk/smf/index.php?topic=4839.0

So, since your plant is North American, then it seems it must be O. montana per current taxonomy, and not O. acetosella.
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=OXMO
http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=29090
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 17, 2010, 03:07:37 PM
I spent the past two days away from home exploring in a new area---and all the
spots I visited were either conservation lands or provincial parks.

My first visit was to Smiley's Provincial Park, between Halifax and Wolfville. Here I saw my first Nova Scotia examples of Sanguinaria canadensis, Viola pubescens, Caulophyllum thalictroides, Arisaema triphyllum and the rare Lilium canadense. Trillium cernuum was here as well, which I had never seen in the wild in the largish populations that existed here.

Unfortunately the Cypripedium reginae, which only grows in this province in a few isolated populations was only beginning to bud; and I will have to return to see it in full bloom. The plants here astounded me with their size; I cannot recall Ontario plants being this large, although there they were in boggier, wetter conditions than here. These plants were easily up to my waist.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 17, 2010, 04:44:00 PM
Right across the street from the park was a small 19 acre conservation area donated privately to Nova Scotia nature trust. The significance of the land was outlined on the nature trust web site as:

"These beautiful lands lie on the Meander River, very close to Smiley's Provincial Park. The property contains outstanding hardwood and mixed floodplain forest, and provincially uncommon plants and insects. Gypsum outcrops occur sporadically on the site. Several small brooks, some only seasonally wet, pass through the property. The property lies within the Shubenacadie Rolling Hill natural landscape, which is poorly represented in provincial system of protected areas."

I did not walk the entire 19 acres, but the understory was a mix of Trillium cernuum, Arisaema triphyllum and large drifts of ferns. I was not clear what the "provincially uncommon" plants were mentioned in on the Nature Trust site.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 17, 2010, 05:12:13 PM
The Blomidon Provincial Park website says:

Rising majestically from the shores of the Minas Basin, Blomidon Provincial Park is renowned for its spectacular views. Blomidon's 759 ha (1,875 acres) include 180 m (600 ft.) high cliffs, a variety of habitats, striking natural features, abundant wildlife -- and the world's highest tides wash its shores.

The first batch of local strawberries were available roadside, and as I munched on my second quart, I began my approach to the park, which was quite stunning, even at a distance.

Once in the park, I enjoyed more of the views and decided to do an exploratory hike up the most difficult of the 4 official trails. This leads almost straight up, along the (fenced) cliffs at first, through meadows and later into the forest. The views continued to be quite wonderful.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 17, 2010, 06:39:24 PM
Many of the open areas on my climb were brightly colored with a Ranunculus species and oceans of the invasive, introduced Hieracium aurantiacum and H. caespitosum, both of which are problematic throughout North America.

In the woods I ran into a small colony of Pyrola rotundifolia, not quite in bloom, and finally got to see reasonable colonies of Trillium erectum, at the seed stage, as well as a few Actaea rubra (first sighting in Nova Scotia) and a fair drifts of Allium tricoccum at the pre-flower stage (quite rare in this province). Claytonia caroliniana apparently exists in this park as well, but it had already gone summer dormant. Near a stream, there was a single specimen of Geum rivale.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Afloden on June 17, 2010, 07:45:30 PM
Kristl,

 Your above Uvularia looks like sessilifolium,  but I cannot see fruit anywhere, nor branches to confirm it.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 17, 2010, 07:47:05 PM
Almost next door to Blomidon is Cape Split; described as being:

"Situated in a dramatic coastal setting near Scots Bay, Kings County, the 428 hectare Cape Split provincial park reserve is the most ecologically-intact portion of the North Mountain and one of the most important undisturbed areas on the Bay of Fundy. The property includes several rare or threatened plant species, old forest, prehistoric sites, rare and semi-precious minerals and one of the most prominent coastal hiking trails in Nova Scotia."

Unfortunately, I left this hike until too late in the day---as the 16km round-trip hike to get to the open headlands at the tip of the peninsula (where there are supposed to be "rare alpine/arctic species") would have meant my hiking out near dark, so with promises to myself to return for a full day of walking here, I decided to give myself 2 hours to walk, to see what I could see.

In the spring the sides of the trail are supposed to be covered with Trillium erectum, Claytonia caroliniana and Dicentra cucullaria.

The road to Cape Split is right along the ocean, then suddenly stops at the entrance to the reserve. If signs had not been posted, I would not have had a clue I was at the beginning of the trail. This meanders through mostly coniferous woods, with plenty of natural obtacles and wetness underfoot until it eventually comes out on the headlands. I of course, never got that far.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 17, 2010, 08:33:54 PM
I did not see any evidence of Trilliums in the time I wandered, but large, beautiful patches of Oxalis montana grew here in more typical fashion than previously seen and good sized colonies of Moneses uniflora flanked the path. Osmunda was beginning to send up its cinnamon. And, never tiring of the sight of a lush patch of Cornus canadenis, here is yet another.

Food and botanizing are always close companions for me --- so, having left Cape Split in good time, I still managed to squeeze in a quick stop in Port Williams to visit a Fromagerie for feta, quark, brie and yogurt. 


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 17, 2010, 08:44:53 PM
Kristl,

 Your above Uvularia looks like sessilifolium,  but I cannot see fruit anywhere, nor branches to confirm it.

Unfortunately, Aaron, I am still searching high and low for sessilifolia here---the pods were definately U. grandiflora. Nice that the two are so distinct, making it an easy id at this stage.

Aaron, I saw this at Cape Split---did a quick "Mitella nuda"---only to realize now, looking at it, that it isn't. My mind has gone blank. What is it?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Afloden on June 18, 2010, 04:21:29 AM
 My problem with the Uvularia is that it has sessile leaves, not perfoliate like U. grandiflora. Do you have a picture of the seed pods?

 My best guess for the unknown would be Mitella nuda with stronger lobed leaves. It definitely looks Saxifragaceous. I thought Sullivantia at first, but the habitat is incorrect and it would be a disjunct occurence also.

 Aaron
 
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 18, 2010, 01:06:42 PM
Aaron,
How interesting....that *was* a huge mental blip, wasn't it???
I think one of those moments when one sees, but does not see.
And I still didn't see after you told me to look  :)

So, I *have* finally found the Uvularia sessilifolia.

Here is the picture again, with a closer view of the sessile leaves.
As well as a picture of sessilifolia seed pods.
And a picture of U. grandiflora, perfoliate leaves and seed pod (which I also saw, but did not post)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on June 18, 2010, 06:54:31 PM
Aaron, I saw this at Cape Split---did a quick "Mitella nuda"---only to realize now, looking at it, that it isn't. My mind has gone blank. What is it?

what about a non-flowering Chrysosplenium? i find the leaves very similar to Mitella at times.. i have pics, but wont post here..
edit: looking more closely at my Chrysos, it seems the leaves are rather straight out from the leafstalk rather than deeply lobed at the attachment  point like the leaves in your photo..
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Graham Catlow on June 19, 2010, 12:44:46 PM

And a picture of U. grandiflora, perfoliate leaves and seed pod (which I also saw, but did not post)

Hi Kristl,
As always a very interesting set of photos.
I am just wondering about the Uvularia grandiflora seed pod. It is somewhat different to the ones on my plant at the moment. See the photos below of the plant and seed head.
Is it that the one in your post is more mature than mine and as mine matures it will fill out and lose the obvious tri-corners. Or do I have something else that looks just like U. grandiflora.

Graham
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 19, 2010, 03:40:24 PM
Graham,
Your plant is U. grandiflora in habit, leaves, twisted flowers and seed pod. Unfortunately the picture I posted of the U. grandiflora pod was the early stage of the pod here in Nova Scotia---it does become distinctly 3 sided at the bottom. I found pictures of more developed pods.

grandiflora= fruit is 3 sided (at one end only)

sessilifolia= fruit is triangular (ridged, pointed at both ends)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Afloden on June 19, 2010, 11:41:14 PM
Graham, Kristl, and other,
 
 I am curious if you know what the flower color of your plants is Kristl? My experience is that the paler eastern North American (largely Appalachian) U. grandiflora has smaller flowers and strongly lobed capsules, while the stuff from the Ozarks and the Mississippi River Drainage are larger plants, flowers, with bright yellow tepals, and rounded capsules. I have not gotten down to any genetic level yet to see if their is something more to this, but I hope to in the future. I'll try to make it out and photograph some of my dozen or more clones in seed.

 Aaron
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 20, 2010, 03:26:20 PM
Aaron,
Sadly have not seen the plants in flower here yet---only found them in the wild at the seed stage fairly recently. I do recall the seed pods being somewhat more orbicular in Ontario, but still with a distinctive 3-sided end. I recall from previous discussions on the genus, and posting of pictures that your examples of larger plants/flowers with stronger colour were not typical of those in Ontario. I look forward to seeing what the Nova Scotia plants are like next spring.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 26, 2010, 01:10:55 AM
This morning I woke with the realization that it has been 10 days since I last visited the Cypripedium reginae in bud---so without even taking time to inhale my coffee; but instead putting it into a travel mug, I spontaneously hit the road. In just under 2 hours, I was back at Smileys Provincial Park.

I was again astounded at the size of these plants--most up to my thighs or taller. Around every bend in the moist woodland, one is confronted by colonies of them and their exquisiteness takes ones breath away.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 26, 2010, 01:24:03 AM
and more....
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 26, 2010, 02:05:33 AM
Being close to Halifax also gave me the chance to check on the seed ripeness of the Houstonia caerulea. Being over 2 hours away from a collection site is always nerve-wracking the first season one is collecting the seed without knowing its ripening habits. I guessed that I still had plenty of time; and that turned out to be the case.

Along the road I was surprised to see clumps of Thalictrum pubescens already in bloom.

On my return trip I also needed to check on the seed of another first-time species in the sand barrens; the Corema conradii---which was *very* close, but not quite ready either. Although it was probably well over 35C in this very hot, open, sandy site today, I hiked for some time looking for the very rare Helianthemum canadense, which I thought should be blooming now.

This species is much in demand in the alternative medicine market---particularly in Germany. I did supply some seed of this to growers for that market when I was still in Ontario and I am hoping that, once in production, the stresses on the numbers in the wild will decrease; particularly since it is such a tiny, delicate plant.
There are only a few thousand plants extant in this province. Like in Ontario, it grows in hot, open, acidic sandy soils and cannot tolerate much competition. Unfortunately here habitat loss and human encroachment on its space in the wild is the largest problem.  The few plants that I found were growing smack in the middle of an ATV trail, right next to the highway.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Graham Catlow on June 26, 2010, 10:26:51 AM
Kristl,
 :o  :o  :o Absolutely unbelievable Cypripediums and the setting is just beautiful. Oh how I wish I could be there.
I think we are all pleased you remembered to return in time.

Graham
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: TheOnionMan on June 26, 2010, 01:32:25 PM
Amazing Cyp pics Kristl, wonderful to see such colonies.  I was most interested to learn about Helianthemum canadense, and how it is in such demand medicinally... what is it used for?  When I was growing up, this was a common "weed" in my area, about 25 miles from my current location.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: ruweiss on June 27, 2010, 08:26:30 PM
Dear Kristl,
thank you so much for taking us virtually to these beautiful places. The Cypr. reginae
are simply gorgeous and in comparison to these big clumps my plants in the garden are
only pygmies.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 02, 2010, 03:33:06 PM
I was most interested to learn about Helianthemum canadense, and how it is in such demand medicinally... what is it used for?  When I was growing up, this was a common "weed" in my area, about 25 miles from my current location.


Looking at a 2007 Government of Nova Scotia status report---the species is Red-Listed here--according to other sources it is listed as "sensitive". In Canada I believe it only occurs in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario. It is much more widespread (and secure) in the USA.

I am not strong on the medicinal use of plants: but I do know that all parts of the small plant are used.

http://www.henriettesherbal.com/eclectic/kings/helianthemum.html
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 03, 2010, 07:36:41 PM
On July 1st, Canada Day, as most folks were celebrating, I finally headed out to collect Epigaea repens seed, fearing it would soon be gone with a stretch of very hot weather moving in. I had been putting this off--as the hours spent on all fours at ground level is becoming harder and harder as I age.

As only the occasional plant flowers, one has to search through hundreds of plants to find a few berries. Luckily the compensation is that the seed thereafter is very easy to deal with to bring it to a saleable stage.

The berries can be picked at a slightly under-ripe stage (unlike so many other seeds). Were this not the case, the collecting would become so onerous I might become too discouraged to carry it at all.

The berries are embedded in a berry (not unlike strawberries to my mind). When fully ripe, the receptable opens in four sections to expose the berry. The ideal ripe colour is black, but mature embryos will also be contained in seed that is reddish, unripe coloured. Once the berry is fully open in the wild, it is usually gone; so one is always picking closed, firm berries in their green state---not knowing how developed the seed is inside. I tend to leave them inside the plastic collecting bag until the berry opens. Then they are put on a tray to dry fully. Lastly, the seed is rubbed and put through a sieve.

They are easy, warm germinators. There is an erroneous assumption that these seeds are ephemeral/short lived: but this is not the case. In fact they are relatively long-lived stored in a dry state. 
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 03, 2010, 07:41:46 PM
While driving to the Epigaea site, I also discovered ripe Sambucus pubens berries--which had to be quickly collected, as the birds make fast work of these if one arrives too late. Unfortunately they are not edible by humans, unlike Sambucus canadensis, which had just begun flowering in the ditches.

It is unfortunate that S. pubens is not more widely grown; it is a good ornamental, with showy, very early flowers and fantastic bright red berries.

In dry, barren waste places along the road grew some of our native "weeds"---Oenothera biennis and Apocynum androsaemifolium (Spreading Dogbane).

There are also so many exotic roses loose in the wild in Nova Scotia, with much hybridizing, one never quite knows what one is looking at. Rose multiflora is a pretty, but particuarly problematic species, which has taken over large areas in the wild.

Rosa carolina is the earliest flowering of the native roses, rarely exceeding over 1m in height. Recently at the sand barrens, I saw colonies of them, dwarfed to a few inches tall, making their large flowers all the more showy.

The second batch shown was growing in a moister spot and I believe is R. virginiana.




Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 03, 2010, 08:04:18 PM
At the Epigaea site, I was very near my yellow-flowering Sarracenia spot, and decided I needed a few more photographs. This time I also saw one plant that had an interesting mixed yellow-red flower.

It is amazing how much a tiny area can change in just a few weeks. The last time I was here I had no idea I would now find Kalmia angustifolia and Vaccinium macrocarpon drifts in the very same spot.

Of the Kalmia angustifolia, it is interesting to have the Flora of Nova Scotia note:

"It is one of the more problematic weeds of blueberry fields as it tends to increase after burning, which is a routine part of cultivating these fruits"
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 03, 2010, 08:15:35 PM
Not wanting to go home until I had a new spot explored, I blindly wandered down an ATV track which looked as though it might lead to some interesting mixed woods.

In a low wet, open, sunny area I found more Sambucus pubens,  a very large colony of Thalictrum pubescens still going strong, and beneath it, colonies of Lysimachia terristris, just opening. At the edges of the woodland, beautiful large clumps of Dryopteris marginalis, with its wonderful, leathery foliage, intermingled with Diervilla lonicera. At its feet were early flowers of Mitchella repens.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 03, 2010, 08:30:50 PM
Finally wandering into the woods, I was pleased I had followed my instinct---as it ended up being a rather good, species rich site for many of the plants I will need to collect seed of later--some Clintonia borealis berries here had already turned ripe blue--quite unusual this early. Moneses uniflora was also here in some quantity.

I also found my first Nova Scotia Spotted Coral Root, Corallorhiza maculata and a large dirt mound full of Pyrola elliptica in flower, and many seedlings for future years.

On my way back to the car, a huge group of post-retirement men on ATV's zoomed down the track as if on a mission, forcing me temporarily into the same open meadow where I had been earlier to get out of the way of the vehicles. Interestingly, this necessary diversion landed me literally right on top of a stretch of Polygala polygama, growing literally under my boots where I stood. Ah....one never knows what the plant gods have in store!!!!

Tomorrow I have a challenge to return to Brier Island to find the elusive, tiny and beautiful Betula michauxii and to see Vaccinium uliginosum.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 15, 2010, 02:46:54 PM
I've been absent for a while due to temporary setback that is hard for a seedwoman to admit publicly--but burnt finger tips from handling Helleborus foetidus pods has kept me unable to work with seed or keyboard for a while.

My box of latex gloves still somewhere in a moving box, I thought to take a chance, but that lethal combination of extreme heat and juicy pods/seeds produced its results quickly. All this, despite the fact that the last time this happened, 20 years ago, was indeed quite memorable--I had rubbed my forehead and eye area due to a headache while working with the seed and ended up with an unintended, extreme chemical peel combined with the worry of permanent damage to my eyes.

My trip to Brier Island did indeed happen, prior to the Hellebore incident---but try as I might, I was not able to locate either the Vaccinium nor Betula michauxii I had hoped to find. However, no botanical outing is ever wasted and a trip to Brier always a treat.


The ferries are in high season, tourist mode now, so there is little waiting time getting to the island. You pay one way, and the return is free ($5.00 for each of two ferries/much cheaper if you have a book of tickets). The naturalized Rosa rugosas filled the roadsides on Brier, and Epilobium angustifolium along the shore.

I first headed to my Lonicera caerulea spot---and found my timing excellent for the berries. The plants were at first difficult to locate, as the area is now a mass of vegetation since my last time here in spring. Also, because the berries form on the underside of the leaves along the stem, it took a while to find the fruit. The berries were mostly round to only slightly elongated here, smallish and utterly delicious!!!!

This was my first experience with the plants and I was surprised to see how attractive they had become, with good, clean grey-green foliage.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 15, 2010, 03:22:59 PM
Adjacent to the Lonicera caerulea area is drier, more exposed headland that I had never closely explored and there I headed next; finding first a largish patch of Drosera rotundifolia in heavy competition just along the edge of the Lonicera bog, when leaving.

In the larger, exposed, drier area were low, wet spots between large boulders more typical of a wet bog, where drifts of ferns, Eriophorum. Carex sp and Sarracenia purpurea were at home in the hot, blazing sun. Some Potentilla fructicosa flowers were still to be found, here and there.

Vaccinium macrocarpon, the wild cranberry also crept everywhere in both wet and dry spots in full, glorious bloom.

The delicious low-bush blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium, had large clusters of pre-ripe pink berries.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: TheOnionMan on July 15, 2010, 03:46:54 PM
Lonicera caerulea looks to be a neat and attractive species!

Sorry to hear about your dermatitis reaction when cleaning seed, I have a friend that cleaned nearly 2000 Arisaema sikokianum seed, and had a similar terrible reaction, with terrible irritation and skin peel on her fingers.

And just for everyone's benefit, a few years ago I learned (the hard way ::)) about just how toxic the leaf and stem juices are from Poke Weed, Phytolacca americana.  The plant is well known for many medicinal, chemical, and poison characteristics, although it took a longer search to discover that the fluid from stems and leaves can produce severe dermatitis reactions far worse than poison ivy, typically characterized by large (huge in my case) blisters.  Now, I never try to pull out anything but a young seedling of Poke Weed, as invariably the juicy stem snaps off leaving the tough carrot like root, and with risk of the juice splattering onto skin, so I careful dig them out.  This year, even weeding out young days-old young seedlings (they're everywhere here, particularly under trees from bird droppings), I have had some bad rashes and blisters between my fingers from poke-weed-pulling.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 15, 2010, 03:48:22 PM
And my favorite Vaccinium, vitis-idaea, filled the area, the red berries just beginning to ripen.

In this hot, exposed spots, absolutely darling tiny tufts of Kalmia angustifolia grew everywhere, no more than a few inches high, with a beautiful ring or two of flowers each.

Most of the tiny Potentilla tridentata had already finished blooming; but a few stragglers were still found. Of course, the widespread, wonderful harebell, Campanula rotundifolia goes strong for months and covered the rocky shoreline.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 15, 2010, 04:10:12 PM
Lonicera caerulea looks to be a neat and attractive species!

Mark,
Here is another picture of the foliage---which I never expected to look as it did mature (part of the reason I had difficulty finding it again). In spring all one sees is glaucousy-appearing green tufted leaves. Many of the plants were also quite hirsute.

All of my skin reactions to plants/seed pods/seed have happened in identical environmental conditions---extremely hot and humid---Dictamnus seed collection has also sent me to hospital in past---but only once in 20 years of collecting the seed in those precise conditions.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: TheOnionMan on July 15, 2010, 04:22:08 PM

Mark,
Here is another picture of the foliage---which I never expected to look as it did mature (part of the reason I had difficulty finding it again). In spring all one sees is glaucousy-appearing green tufted leaves. Many of the plants were also quite hirsute.

All of my skin reactions to plants/seed pods/seed have happened in identical environmental conditions---extremely hot and humid---Dictamnus seed collection has also sent me to hospital in past---but only once in 20 years of collecting the seed in those precise conditions.

Kristl, I'll say it again, that is a most attractive Lonicera! 

I have heard about people who get reactions to Dictamnus, the plant is covered with sticky glands, which are intensely fragrant/aromatic.  I go rub my plant everyday :o  Really, I do... as I pass by, I gently run my hand along the stem or buds or as they are now, seed pods, to enjoy that spicy lemon scent.  I have never had a skin reaction to it, but then again, I'm not handling tons of seeds.  While visiting gardens this year, I found many people grow this, and each plant clone has its own slightly different aroma, but always delightfully aromatic in my opinion.  And, as I have done since a boy, I still go out on warm sultry early evenings near dusk, to do the ol' light-a-match-at-the-base-of-the-stem trick, to watch (and hear) the blazing flash of combustion as the flame travels up the stem (does not hurt the plant).  Such an enjoyable plant all around!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Rogan on July 16, 2010, 08:36:04 AM
My latest batch of botanizing took me to Halifax County, some hours from home to see Houstonia (Hedyotis) caerulea (Bluets), near the Halifax Airport. They are common in the central and eastern part of Nova Scotia, but do not seem to range into south-western Nova Scotia, where I now live. I have never seen them before in the wild, as they were not native to Ontario.

For years I have been wondering why this little critter from the Karroo is so familiar to me and, after reading Kristl's fascinating descriptions of her travels in Nova Scotia, it finally dawned on me - Houstonia caerulea!. My little plant flowers in a multitude of soft pastel colours in the most inhospitable part of the country - the dry, sunbaked flats near the little town of Loxton. I'm sure it must be a fleeting annual only seen during the spring months when occasional downpours encourage its seeds to germinate. I have no idea what its name is (I'm a little lazy to look it up!) but I'm sure it would make an interesting plant to grow in pots and pans.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: TheOnionMan on July 16, 2010, 03:15:41 PM

For years I have been wondering why this little critter from the Karroo is so familiar to me and, after reading Kristl's fascinating descriptions of her travels in Nova Scotia, it finally dawned on me - Houstonia caerulea!. My little plant flowers in a multitude of soft pastel colours in the most inhospitable part of the country - the dry, sunbaked flats near the little town of Loxton. I'm sure it must be a fleeting annual only seen during the spring months when occasional downpours encourage its seeds to germinate. I have no idea what its name is (I'm a little lazy to look it up!) but I'm sure it would make an interesting plant to grow in pots and pans.

Rogan, that's a beautiful little blue-flowered plant, but I'm sorry to report, it is definitely not Houstonia caerulea.  But now, I'm also curious to know what it is.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maggi Young on July 16, 2010, 03:20:31 PM
Misunderstanding here, I think.......I believe Rogan was meaning that he kept thinking his unknown plant was familiar for some reason.... then realised it was because it reminded him of Houstonia caerulea... he states he doesn't know what  the cute little plant from the Kurroo is ..... but that it is similar in some ways to the Houstonia.... :D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: TheOnionMan on July 16, 2010, 03:22:54 PM
Misunderstanding here, I think.......I believe Rogan was meaning that he kept thinking his unknown plant was familiar for some reason.... then realised it was because it reminded him of Houstonia caerulea... he states he doesn't know what  the cute little plant from the Kurroo is ..... but that it is similar in some ways to the Houstonia.... :D

I get it now.... speed reading again and missing the finer points.  I'll slow down a bit ::)  Rogan, we're still interested in knowing what your little blue-flowered beauty is.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maggi Young on July 16, 2010, 03:30:13 PM
Rogan, we're still interested in knowing what your little blue-flowered beauty is.
Yes, indeed we are.... the flower has a real look of a Junellia about it, but it cannot be that for those are only South American and woody ........ :-\
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 17, 2010, 03:18:14 PM
When cleaning Trillium grandiflorum, every once in a while the contents of the berry come out intact---
the internal seed arrangement is not seen often.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: TheOnionMan on July 17, 2010, 03:22:39 PM
Cool seed viewing!  Just look at all that Trillium seed.  These types of photos, of freshly harvested seed, are important to show.  Received some fresh Trillium seed in the mail (seed still partially in-pod), and sowed it two days ago... didn't think to photograph them, one was T. grandiflorum roseum.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 17, 2010, 03:34:55 PM
Mark....just a comment, if you (or others) are particularly interested in seed portraits or collection/cleaning/storing/germination information of native plants, my 2008 Ontario Thread of the same name "My Bit Of Heaven" particularly concentrated on these issues in some depth. I have hesitated repeating these portraits here, except when there is new information to share on the species that were native to both Ontario and Nova Scotia.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 17, 2010, 04:28:11 PM
Collected last week: Amelanchier arborea and laevis, Corema conradii, Houstonia caerulea.

And all ripe on the same day and collected two days ago:

Aralia nudicaulis --- the red-coloured juice and wonderfully delicious-smelling post-berry-squishing mush discloses flat seeds that are relatively straightforward to clean from the berry stage by mashing and washing.

Clintonia borealis---the woods here are absolutely full of the beautiful blue berries; many of which had already fallen/been taken/nibbled by wildlife. Because I was custom collecting this time for a large European seedhouse as well as native plant nurseries; the collecting took many, many hours and the cleaning will continue all weekend. These seeds are a bit more time consuming to deal with: first, all stalks and debri is removed from the berries; then dealing with the berry itself: underneath the blue exterior is another glutinous membrance encasing the seed, which must be broken and the seeds unstuck and separated. Most of the seed required for my order were stipulated to be dried. For my own sales stock, I moist pack them; as germination after one season of cold, aster this stretch at moist/warm brings easy/reliable results.

Trientalis borealis seed is a SMALL dry capsule, colored grey when fully ripe. The picture of quantity in my bowl is deceptive in terms of the size of the seed receptacle, and I post a picture of the leaf for perspective.  These are simply dried and rubbed, then sieved/blown to disclose even tinier (Heuchera sized) black seed. It is very labour intensive to collect because of its small size and simply adjusting eyes in wild spaces to see it in the first place.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 27, 2010, 10:48:22 PM
I think you will find it amusing to see a picture of the hotel I use when I am gone on overnight botanizing or seed collecting trips. This simple arrangement has made trips into the wild much easier.

I have just gotten good use from the arrangment as the past 2 days have taken me all over Nova Scotia locating (still elusive) species for my book as well as collecting seed and fern spores. This trip was entirely too intense and labour intensive for me to spend time photographing, but I do have a few visuals to share with you.

Last fall I showed you pictures of my first outing to the botanic and geologically fantastic Polly's Cove, near Halifax. These coastal barrens are rather uncommon in Nova Scotia (concentrated in the Chebucto Peninsula and Canso area). They are much more abundant in Newfoundland, and cover large areas there. Like heathland habitants in northern Europe, or tundra, they are relatively unproductive, have poorly developed organic soils and are dominated by plants in the Ericaceae. It is an environment where I particuarly feel at home.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 27, 2010, 11:13:33 PM
Late last August when I was there for the first time, I was searching for Empetrum seed, but it was too late in the season to find more than a few berries. My timing was better yesterday; but still not ideal, considering the very early spring this year. Many of the berries had already fallen and were lying underneath the plants.

In any event, Empetrum eamsii, by the show of berries, obviously had a good year---the berries are not really red, as they might appear in some of the pictures; but a pretty transluscent pink, which shows up much better contrasted against the very low foliage than the dark berries of Empetrum nigrum. The particular clone I photographed is one that I had earmarked last year as being particularly productive; as even in late September it was the only plant I found that still had a few berries. I was pleased to find it again---and my theory about it appears to hold---there was no other plant I found that had anywhere near this abundance of berries. Certainly worthy of closer (horticultural) attention.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 27, 2010, 11:46:00 PM
It was a busy two days for collecting fern spores, driving from site to site for one or the other. Polystichum acrostichoides is always the first fern collected---and this was nearly a month ago. It is fairly common in Nova Scotia and I run into it often. When the light is right---the foliage simply shimmers---almost has a metallic quality. The fertile top of the leaves are narrow, dark where the spore sacks formed; the spores which have been released by now, have left behind only the spore sacks.

A few pictures of some of the ferns I collected today. Dryopteris marginalis gets its name from the fact that the sori are arranged right along ther margins of the leaf--a good identification trick.

And the common Lady's fern: Athyrium felix-femina.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 28, 2010, 12:03:48 AM
Of the plants I was looking for, I was successful with one. Sanguisorba canadensis is mostly to be found further north in Nova Scotia, in Cape Breton. But I received a lead on one location near Cape Split, and indeed, it was still here. It is quite common in Newfoundland, where, like in Quebec, it lines the sides of highways.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: fleurbleue on July 28, 2010, 10:29:38 AM
Amazing landscape Kristl... and interesting plants ! Your "hotel" reminds me of some trips whith our young children  ::) Many years ago  ;)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Ragged Robin on July 28, 2010, 06:56:50 PM
Your mobile hotel looks so snug Kristi -  better than a tent!  Your seed collection is fascinating and I'm really interested in the fern spore collection - I'm going to try to collect some - do you sow on the surface?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: TheOnionMan on July 29, 2010, 05:49:49 AM
Kristl, I've said it before, but I'll say it again, your informative posts and detailed photographs of seed collecting, harvesting, and cleaning, is a total learning experience for me and I appreciate your meticulous efforts immensely.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 29, 2010, 02:03:30 PM
Your mobile hotel looks so snug Kristi -  better than a tent!  Your seed collection is fascinating and I'm really interested in the fern spore collection - I'm going to try to collect some - do you sow on the surface?


I do find it better than a tent---little to no setup, and none of those annoying distractions from insects or larger beasties  :)

You might want to look at an old post of mine dealing with some of the basics of spore collection/cleaning. With seed collecting, many folks tends to err on the side of "too early", with spores most tend to collect too late (when most of the spores have already been released, and what you are seeing is mostly chaff (the remnants of the spore sack). I do sprinkle the spores on the surface of my medium (mediums have varied over the years).

http://www.srgc.org.uk/smf/index.php?topic=1699.msg49957;topicseen#msg49957
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Ragged Robin on July 29, 2010, 06:42:18 PM
Thanks for the advice and link with detail on 'how to' - now to find the 2 x fine sieves :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on August 01, 2010, 02:01:44 AM
the lonicera caerulaea looks really nice! more reason to grow it--the hybrids (haskap/honeyberry) are available from specialist hardy fruit plant suppliers here in the west, but i think the species would be more fun..

i agree the coastal 'barrens' are a wonderful place... i've been dreaming of the arctic lately (summer only, please!)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maggi Young on August 01, 2010, 10:32:26 AM
I am constantly amazed and delighted by just how rich in flora these "coastal barrens" are.... a revelation and delight!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Stephenb on August 02, 2010, 09:39:00 AM
Some fantastic pictures, Kristl! Nice to see Sanguisorba canadensis in the wild - I actually took a picture of this in my garden last night although the flower details are a bit different (picture below)...or is this an impostor?

Re-Trientalis: I remember a botanist showing me the seed of this back in the 80s and he likened them to miniature world cup footballs (at least as they looked at that time) - I guess the surface of the seed is divided into segments like old footballs (difficult to see this in your picture though)...must get out in the woods and have a look (I'd forgotten about this...)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 03, 2010, 03:37:14 PM
Stephen,
I think your plant is S. tenuifolia---which is almost finished flowering in gardens in Nova Scotia.

The seed of the Trientalis is SO TINY (collecting any reasonable amount, even less than one gram) is *very* time consuming. I think I would have to find my microscope to be able to see if it has segments.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 04, 2010, 05:19:24 PM
It is extremely helpful to know a plant well (especially its seed receptacles) when later returning to collect seed. It often *appears* that it will be obvious, returning to a wild site months after flowering---but this is not necessarily the case, for various reasons, including the fact that the site will have changed dramatically from flowering to fruiting time.

For instance, I am confronted in the wild by a number of grey-foliaged woody species in the same moist location. Does anyone want to take a guess before I show you the seed receptacles? Species 4 is quite different and more obvious.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Onion on August 04, 2010, 07:11:54 PM
A try,

Picture 4 Ledum or now again rhododendron
Picture 3 Vaccinium or Myrica
Picture 2 Kalmia
Picture 1 ??
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 17, 2010, 04:14:58 PM
A try,

Picture 4 Ledum or now again rhododendron
Picture 3 Vaccinium or Myrica
Picture 2 Kalmia
Picture 1 ??

Uli,
Except for picture 4, I don't think I would have done as well as you, if I
didn't know what they were.

Picture 4 Ledum or now again rhododendron (Ledum groendlandicum)
Picture 3 Vaccinium or Myrica  (Lonicera caerulea)
Picture 2 Kalmia     (Myrica gale)
Picture 1 ??            (Rhododenron canadense)

There could easily have been 2-5 other native look-alike shrubs to add to this post.
With the seeds present; the id becomes significantly more straightforward.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 17, 2010, 04:39:19 PM
It has again been a hectic and exciting few weeks since I last posted; including a more-than-exciting close and personal encounter with a lightning strike, which did not hit me directly outdoors; but instead, in my basement, as I sat at the computer. The actual explosive strike was near my house; travelled through the ground, it seems, and along the cement foundation/floor of my basement and straight through me, from my feet up. There was damage in the house to electical circuits, plugs etc. I appear to be ok; however am being watched, as I seem to have suffered some (slight and temporary we hope) psycho-neurological damage which presently manifests itself in difficulty thinking, writing, spelling, thinking clearly. Needless to say, I have also become a bit neurotic about thunder storms (infrequent in this province)---something to add to my "bog-o-phobia"  :)

On the tail end of the lightning episode, my book co-author and friend, Graham, flew in from Ontario for a 7-day plant blitz --our goal being to locate and photograph a number of very specific species, some quite rare in the wild, one endangered globally; a few on the list of Coastal Plains species, which is one of the botanic features that makes Nova Scotia particularly unique. As I find a moment here and there, having just recently returned Graham to the airport,  I will begin to tell you the tales.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maggi Young on August 17, 2010, 04:58:02 PM
Kristl, my very best wishes to you for a full and speedy recovery form the effects of the lightning strike. An extraordinary occurrence, both frightening and dangerous.

It is our good fortune, as well as yours that you live to tell that story to us and to follow on with more tales of plant hunting dering-do.   
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Brian Ellis on August 17, 2010, 05:03:03 PM
Goodness me Kristl, how frightening, thank goodness you are alright.  I trust that these will be temporary after effects and that you will be feeling none the worse for wear very soon.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 17, 2010, 05:22:36 PM
Thank you Maggi and Brian.
Getting old is bad enough without the interference of extraordinary events  :)

Initially more of a fright than anything else. I remember my first thought being "ok. i am alive" but not being really sure what had just happened; thinking a bomb had gone off in my back yard. It was only post-event  realizing it had been lightning and then noticing I was more than the usual foggy-minded, had difficulty writing sentences, spelling, walking a straight line.

But I think being out in the wild with Graham each day of last week from dawn to dusk, hiking many  km, I am already clearer-brained, walking more or less straight. Certainly happier. Words and sentences are still problematic. I think, ultimately, whatever my condition; my need to be in the wild and close to plants is too powerful to stop my forays, until a time comes when it is no longer possible. That makes every outing even more precious.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 17, 2010, 05:26:18 PM
Graham's visit was primarily to photograph plants in situ and seed receptacles of species I had already found (Houstonia caerulea, Lonicera caerulea, Primula laurentiana, Iris setosa canadensis, Hudsonia ericoides,
Corema conradii, Sanguisorba canadensis).

Additionally we were searching for the following species:

The common Nymphoides cordata in bloom in an accessible, close-to-shore site

The following members of the Atlantic Coastal Plains Flora, ideally in bloom:

Sabatia kennedyiana (Plymouth Gentian)
Coreopsis rosea (widely known in the horticultural trade)
Rhexia virginica (Meadow Beauty)

and just for me, as I have tried to find this species for the past year:
Betula michauxii (a tiny dweller of bogs)

Not on our list, but found entirely by happy accident were
Mertensia maritima
Geum peckii (globally endangered with only two extant populations- one in  New Hampshire, the other here in Nova Scotia).

I am happy to report we were 99.9% successful, and the flowering failure on Nymphoides cordata may be remedied by the piece that Graham took  home with him to Ontario, put into a bowl with water, and which has, since  this mornings' report, begun sending up a flowering stalk.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Ragged Robin on August 17, 2010, 07:18:31 PM
Kristi, I so admire your courage and determination after such an extraordinary incident with lightening.  Wishing you well and hoping you make a full recovery. What providence that Nature is your healer.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: fermi de Sousa on August 18, 2010, 09:35:18 AM
Kristl,
we've always known you are extraordinary but now we have proof as you've been struck by lightning! :o
All the best for a quick recovery and as you say the best place to be is amongst your favourite plants!
cheers
fermi
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 19, 2010, 02:08:06 AM
One of the unique plant communities in Nova Scotia, as previously mentioned, is what is termed the "Coastal Plain Flora." These plants, mostly at their northern geographical limit, grow, not directly along the Atlantic coast, as the name might imply, but predominantly on sand or gravel shores of low nutrient, freshwater lakes and in bogs.  A few species also occur on streamsides and estuaries.

This is one of the most endangered plant groups in Canada, with some nationally endangered, threatened, at risk or of special concern plants within the group. A few are globally threatened.  And in Canada, they are found only in this province; primarily in the southwest portions of the Tusket River valley.

The gem of the group, in my opinion, and definitely garden growable is not in the "endangered" camp; in fact the Flora indicated it as "locally abundant." Yet, it was the one that caused Graham and I the most grief as we hiked to lakeshore after lakeshore (not easy, as 99.9% are privately owned). Just about to give up after 8 hours of walking; we stumbled upon it in a site already known to us, but where we had not seen it on our previous visit.

We walked along the lakeshore; again passing the colony of the endangered Lophiola aurea we had seen last year, no longer in bloom; and found the beautiful Rhexia in the area closest to the woods, rather than the shore. The plants were tiny here; about 12-15cm, with so much heavy competition. They will grow twice that size in the garden.

As we had already spent most of the daylight hours looking for this plant, we were not able to do much more exploring here; although on our way out, we did find Triadenum virginicum in flower as well, a species I had never seen before; only being familiar with T. fraseri in Ontario.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 19, 2010, 03:43:31 AM
Our search for the much less common and harder to locate Sabatia kennedyana and Coreopsis rosea was quite easy in comparison to the Rhexia, as we landed on the right cobble beach near Yarmouth first try bright and early one morning. Graham's first sighting brought a rush of excitement to us both.

The beach was literally thick with succulent non-flowering rosettes of the plant; with the intervening spaces taken up with colonies of Drosera intermedia.

Here too were many non-flowering Xyris diffiformis and Sisyrinchium atlanticum. Later I found 2 plants of another coastal plains species, Gratiola aurea.

Sabatia kennedyana (Plymouth Gentian) is indeed a member of the Gentianacea--although the simple flowers on first blush look like a common pink daisy with an intricate center. However, the plant has a delicate, beautiful, ethereal quality in the flesh that did not get captured in my photographs.

It was my first time seeing it in the wild. However I have a history with this plant and a story to tell. Some years ago it appeared in my catalogue, globally imperilled as it is; seed sent to me by an American friend who managed to naturalize it in a moist spot in his garden. His comment was that it was easy as pie. It was certainly easy from seed---and that seed offering sold out quickly and entirely. A few years pass and this spring another customer who had bought the seed and also has it thriving in his garden sent a picture (which I dearly wish I could find to show you), of a bouquet of them in a vase!!!!  And here I stood on this beach observing these endangered plants struggling against enormous odds in the wild.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 19, 2010, 04:10:23 AM
I will end this portion of my travels to wet areas by showing you a quick survey of some of the true aquatics seen. Tomorrow I will return with more.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: ranunculus on August 19, 2010, 07:05:56 AM
Wonderful topic, as always, Kristl ... the little Rhexia is enchanting!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Gerdk on August 19, 2010, 07:19:29 AM
Wonderful topic, as always, Kristl ... the little Rhexia is enchanting!

Indeed! What a selection of rare and delightful sites and plants!
Thank you, Kristl!

Gerd
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Ragged Robin on August 19, 2010, 10:26:18 AM
Great findings on this wild stretch and I love the little Sabatia - would love to see the bouquet in the vase if you find the photo  :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 19, 2010, 03:09:38 PM
Graham and I spent two whole days on Brier Island during his week here. The first day was primarily to tie up loose ends -- with photographs of seed receptacles and foliage of known species that grow here (Primula laurentiana, Iris setosa canadensis, Rhodiola rosea, Lonicera caerulea).

As with most of our days together, while Graham photographed, I explored or collected whatever seed was ready for collecting. I did find some blooming plants of an unknown Arenaria (likely A. lateriflora) on the cliffs with the Primula. Mats of Vaccinium macrocarpon and vitis-idaea with tremendous berry production were everywhere. Solidago bicolor romped around with the still going strong Campanula rotundifiolia. Platanthera psycodes, Sarracenia purpurea, Potentilla fructicosa and cotton grasses were found in the moist spots.

Our only planned "search" this morning was for a single plant of Vaccinium uliginosum (Arctic Blueberry) that was supposed to be here--this provincially rare species was only supposed to be found in one nature reserve near Halifax; which I had not yet had a chance to explore. We did indeed find the plant, which had grown to an impressive size, and although we were very late for it; 10 berries were still found. This is a beautiful, low and wide growing ornamental with gorgeous, clean foliage, lovely flowers and of course, edible fruit.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 19, 2010, 04:02:09 PM
After we had lunch on the rocks, we headed to a different area of the island, with the purpose of searching out Betula michauxii, which had eluded me thus far. Following through on vague leads about its location; we ended up wandering again for hours in what seemed to us illogical areas. But no wander in the wild is ever unproductive.

The fields on the periphery to the beach were full of magenta thistles and Anaphalis margaritacea as well as large colonies of Spireae alba latifolia  and, closer to the ocean, drifts of the escaped Rosa rugosa, also in in its white form. I had mentioned last year that these plants growing on Brier Island have unusually large flowers and hips---locally described as being as large as some small eggs. These are unlike any plants I have seen in garden conditions. Having Graham with me confirmed that I did not have an exaggerated view of this. The pinks have red hips; the white orange and I spent some time collecting large bags full of these.

In wetter areas near a large inland "pond" were Lysimachia terrestris and Scutellaria galericulata.




Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 19, 2010, 04:29:54 PM
Although we did not find the Betula this day, we did have another pleasant, unexpected find as the entire stretch of beach we walked was solidly full of Mertensia maritima---which I had only previously found a few small seedlings of last year at Keji adjunct.

Amidst the blue, there were also large quantities of the white form.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 19, 2010, 05:18:32 PM
On Graham's last full day in Nova Scotia we returned to Brier, with absolute last-chance-determination to find Betula michauxii. which we knew had to be in a bog near the ocean where the Mertensia had been. It is only to be found in a couple widely-spaced areas of the province, the one site in northern Cape Breton being apparently difficult and largely inaccessible.

After one false start through painful thorny blackberry thickets and climbing over oceans of fallen trees, we regrouped and our second blind attempt got us into the bog after a short 15 minute hike. Of course we had no idea if we were looking for one, 10, or hundreds of plants. These are tiny creatures as well, but with very distinctive and beautiful foliage. I had seen enough pictures of it that I knew I would recognize it instantly if I saw it.

In the second picture you are actually looking at one colony of them, although it is hard to see clearly---needless to say, there were hundreds and hundreds of plants; in fact difficult to walk through them in spots.
Most plants averaged around 60cm , some in more open spots slightly taller. The shiny, thick, veined, scalloped foliage and diminutive size were absolutely thrilling to see. I have heard no reports of anyone having attempted to grow it in the garden---I suspect it might be akin to B. nana in that regard.

This was a wonderful bog, with a rich array of plant species; Andromeda and Kalmia polifolias, to name but two and it was not so wet as to make me fearful of being here on my own in the future.

As I explored my eye caught a clump of entirely "innapropriate" foliage for this setting (large leaved and herbaceous). As I walked closer to inspect (expecting some exotic to have found its way in) I was pleasantly thrilled to have come upon the globally imperilled Geum peckii, which I must return to see in bloom next year. I had no idea it had such huge foliage. Flowering stems reached to about 60cm.

We again had lunch on the beach, and returned home early enough to have dinner before dark, for a change. This was, notwithstanding a 30 minute delay at the first ferry, which had some technical problem. It was not until I watched the process through my camera lens that I realized that a length of rope had gotten tangled under the ferry---and a diver had been summoned to take care of it.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 19, 2010, 06:13:41 PM
As I look back at the 13 or so sites that Graham and I hiked, and the roughly 2000km we drove in his week here, I have only highlighted a few of the major explores.

There were also many plants that were not "new" or spots I have not shown you before; however, a few images are still in my mind.

Our return trip to the Sanguisorba canadensis site was another glorious day---and the field full of Solidago canadensis, the Burnet in among them was, to my eye, a thing of beauty.

Or the colony of Apios americana we came across covering a bridge on an overpass.

As well, the wonder of all the berries on beautiful plants, ready for plucking. This week, amidst all the travelling, hiking, and oohing and ahhing, I managed to collect: Kalmia polifolia, Vaccinium corymbosum, myrtilloides, angustifolium, uliginosum, Aralia hispida, Primula laurentiana, Iris setosa, Campanula rotundifolia, Arenaria laterifolia, Viburnum alnifolium, Cornus alternifolia, Drosera intermedia, Trillium undulatum, cernuum, erectum, Nuphar variegata, Nymphaea odorata, Nemopanthus mucronatus, Gaylussacia baccata and others.


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 19, 2010, 06:23:11 PM
And of course, what utter joy to spend this week with a friend who is nearly as crazy as me about wild botanizing and who is willing to persist even in the difficult areas without hesitation because of the rewards of the find (and the journey).

The "bingo" moments were mostly captured---except for my finding the Rhexia (which picture seems to have disappeared). But I know you would know the expression.

And I will miss seeing two sets of boots in the rear of the Matrix.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: annew on August 19, 2010, 09:37:52 PM
Greatly enjoyed your expeditions, Kristl, and especially the beautiful photos of seeds.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: ashley on August 19, 2010, 10:19:58 PM
Beautiful plants and superb pictures as always Kristl.  Thank you.

Does Betula michauxii colour well in the autumn?

A few days ago in the garden I watched a young red fox systematically pull hips off Rosa rugosa bushes and eat them with gusto.  Obviously it had learned this trick already in its short life.  Your large-hipped form might be appreciated even more I suspect ;D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 20, 2010, 12:25:18 PM
Does Betula michauxii colour well in the autumn?

I have another trip to this bog marked on the calendar for late fall and we shall see what the Betula has done; as I have never seen it before this trip. As it is apparently late to flower (summer), I also want to see the tiny seed cones (did see some developing).
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Ragged Robin on August 20, 2010, 12:58:25 PM
An epic team adventure Kristi; great story and photos illustrating your discoveries :D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 26, 2010, 02:13:31 PM
The intensive seed work at this time of the year continues to take me out into the wild most days; although there is little time taken for photographs on these outings. I have been smelling autumn in the air for the past few weeks, which accentuates my need to stay on top of the collecting. The bags needing cleaning pile up and pile up at home, until, like today, I determine to stay put and work my way through some of them, lest I get buried and impossibly behind with my work.

I only have a few photographs to share today. An outing earlier this week for additional Trillium erectum seed before they were totally dormant took me to a site where I ran into a very nice hybrid pink Actaea. The Actaea pachypoda hybrids that I had encountered in the past in Ontario (picture one) were very different from this one--which obviously has a lot more Actaea rubra blood. Needless to say, the plant came home with me.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 26, 2010, 02:54:01 PM
Another day took me fern spore hunting---and although I missed my timing with two of the ferns, I thought you might like to see them in habit. Gymnocarpium dryopteris (formerly Dryopteris disjuncta) is a small, delicate fern; very pretty carpeting the forest floor. It is normally only 10-15cm tall, rising from a single stalk and divided into a three-part frond.

Phegopteris connectilis (formerly Dryopteris phegopteris), the Northern Beech Fern is easily identifiable because the two lower pinnae of a single frond point downward (and upward).

My timing for the Polypodium virginianum was better; although to the amateur spore collector it bears pointing out that close observation of the sori is required. Because this fern is evergreen, one can find various stages of sori on the fronds of any single colony. If you are unsure, the age of the leaf will be your other clue (the freshest leaves will be from this season).

Picture one is actually the old sori still remaining from last year. To most eyes, this would be interpreted as ripe sori from this year. The second picture is of near-ripe sori from current season. Last picture is sori from this season, but still not ripe.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 26, 2010, 03:21:25 PM
Yesterday, collecting Linnaea borealis seed, took me to a beautiful area, where I spent some time walking through woods, on a near perfect, cool, late summer day. This was almost solidly Tsuga canadensis, mostly bare on the forest floor, except for mushroom populations dotting the ground. Eventually as I neared water, the woods became solidly covered with moss, undulating over rocks, fallen trees and exposed tree roots.

Beautiful rock crevices were seen next to the water, and even in the water.

This place was magical and still.

I live for these moments in nature.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 26, 2010, 03:44:24 PM
Even though I was late for the Linnaea (should have been collected the week Graham was here), there were still seeds to be found. In fact, collecting them late like this was easier; as the "stickiness" of the seed had lessened with time and I did not have to cut off each individual seed stalk.

The collecting is cumbersome, nevertheless, and 3-4 hours of mostly solid harvesting yielded what will probably end up being about 1 gram of seed. Anyone who has done botanizing will know that most wild plants rarely flower and fruit at the same time. To ensure survival, there is always some staggering. And even now, with seed almost gone, some plants were still flowering, or just in bud.

And if the seed is gone in one area; analyze the growing conditions, exposure, and area where you find yourself. Going to another spot that is less exposed, moister or cooler might often mean the seed is still intact there.

The spot I chose this day ended up being a micro-hot-spot for some very good, uncommon species all growing in a relatively small area. Aside from the Linnaea, I found Chimaphila umbellata, Pyrola elliptica (or asarifolia) and Pyrola rotundifolia (which is not easy to come across).
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on August 27, 2010, 02:47:24 AM
wow, lightning! glad to hear you are already feeling better, and had a good visit with graham, which i am just about to get to...
lots of lightning here, though i have never heard of it striking quite that way..scary!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Graham Catlow on August 27, 2010, 08:23:13 PM
Yesterday, collecting Linnaea borealis seed, took me to a beautiful area, where I spent some time walking through woods, on a near perfect, cool, late summer day. This was almost solidly Tsuga canadensis, mostly bare on the forest floor, except for mushroom populations dotting the ground. Eventually as I neared water, the woods became solidly covered with moss, undulating over rocks, fallen trees and exposed tree roots.

Beautiful rock crevices were seen next to the water, and even in the water.

This place was magical and still.

I live for these moments in nature.


Yes Kristl 'Magical' is the only word for the scenes you showed.
Graham
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 28, 2010, 06:24:02 PM
This has been my first year of having left-over (still moist packed) seed of Trillium erectum and T. cernuum (from 2009 harvest), kept at room temperature in large zip locks, in moist vermiculite.

Today as I was turning over my stock by packing the fresh harvest from this season, I noticed that both species had germinated (this would be approximately one year since harvest). The germination in the T. erectum bags is quite profound---although I don't know yet, what eventual  percentages will be. T. cernuum, at this point, is is much smaller percentages. I also assume this will be root emergence only---although I will keep them both at room temperature for a while to see what happens.

So, this is an utterly fascinating (profoundly exciting for me) discovery!!!! I still have to think this through--what this potentially means in terms of propagation of these species. But I do know I would never have discovered it were it not for my belief in moist packing of ephemerals. Normally, 2 cold periods are required for both T. erectum and cernuum, in the natural course of events.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 06, 2010, 03:31:54 PM
Hurricane Earl did not make it's way up the Fundy coast, as was predicted, for a while, which would have brought it (very) close to home. Instead, pushed east by a cool front from the west, it followed the more usual course of the eastern shore.

In a province with a tiny population of under 950,000; 200,000 residents being without power post hurricane is rather significant. As of yesterday, about 40,000 still had not had electricity restored.

Even though it was a very wide hurricane,  in my area, no power was lost at all, in the end; not even a flicker of potential outage. It rained here for most of the day as Earl passed, and winds were certainly bearable. We were lucky this time.

And I was particularly lucky, as I did not have to spend the hurricane time alone, waiting to see what would happen (which is perhaps the worst thing---just waiting---not knowing).

My daughter Alisha had arrived  from Ontario 2 days prior to Earl, to spend the next few months with me- indeed a very happy event for me.

Yesterday (the day after Earl), weather was sunny and dramatically cooler, and the day brought the constant roar of motorcycles passing my house on their way to the "Wharf Rat Rally" in nearby Digby, which annually brings up to 100,000 bikers to that town for the labour day weekend, with most sleeping in tents.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2010/09/02/ns-hurricane-biker-rally.html

It was a perfect day to head out for seed collecting somewhere north to avoid the motorcycles, who were all heading south. A custom order for 1kg of Arctostaphyllos uva-ursi seed took us to a spot not far from home; where we spent a lovely, windy afternoon working our way through a small section of a large colony of plants.

What a treasured experience for me to spend this day doing what I love so much with someone I love even more. I cannot remember the last time I felt so rich.

Afterwards, we drove across the North Mountain to the Fundy shore; so she could experience the ocean and also to see how things felt there post-hurricane. As usual, we were alone on the beach, tide out, walking over rocks encrusted with barnicles, the waves significantly wilder than I had ever experienced them since my arrival.

In the evening, we popped Arctostaphyllos berries, laughing and talking---and I slept sounder than I have in some time.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maggi Young on September 06, 2010, 03:52:43 PM
Quote
My daughter Alisha had arrived  from Ontario 2 days prior to Earl, to spend the next few months with me- indeed a very happy event for me.

 Hurrah! Now isn't that just the BEST news?!! [attach=1]
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 06, 2010, 04:13:48 PM
Quote
My daughter Alisha had arrived  from Ontario 2 days prior to Earl, to spend the next few months with me- indeed a very happy event for me.

 Hurrah! Now isn't that just the BEST news?!! (Attachment Link)

You know, Maggi, as do a few other forumnists, just *how* happy this event is, for me.

I have indeed had a rather difficult first year in this fair province; to the point where I have recently seriously considered moving again (and this would only be borne of sheer desperation and counter to my goal of not making up my mind until at least 2 years had elapsed).

I often describe my life here in what could be the title of a new book "Lost in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia."

I told Alisha that she might, perhaps, help me see things here with fresh eyes---but alas, she has counter-intentions of trying to convince me to move to BC (where she intends to head next to join her brother, who is already very happy in that province).

 
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: maggiepie on September 06, 2010, 04:18:49 PM
Kristl, am glad Earl missed you and very happy for you to be having your daughter with you for the next few months.
I can understand how much that would mean to you.
My elder daughter was here from Australia for a week last month and my younger daughter will be here for a visit at the end of this month.
I can hardly wait.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maggi Young on September 06, 2010, 04:25:36 PM
Kristl.... my advice is to feed Alisha plenty of pizzas full of olives ( so she is kept busy picking them off!) and she may relax enough to become a NS supporter..... and if in the end, you do take off to BC to be with your beloved children... then rest assured we will be wishing you every success there too.

I must say I admire your courage and tenacity to stick to your original intentions to give this relocation a solid try. You're a strong woman, KW!!  And goodness knows, you have shared some fantastic lessons on the place with us already, for which we are so  grateful.  8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Ragged Robin on September 07, 2010, 06:50:37 PM
Kristi, I am so pleased for you and your daughter, with the beautiful name 'Alisha', to have a chance to spend time together....how hugely important this is and I hope you have some wonderful adventures and walks together. 
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on September 13, 2010, 06:45:19 PM
really glad to hear of your daughter's visit :) -tonic for the soul! i think of you often when i'm out on my (much smaller scale) collecting expeditions-great to think you will have beloved company!
b.c.--where in b.c.?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 14, 2010, 03:38:07 AM
My darling daughter (DD) has her heart set on Squamish, BC.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on September 14, 2010, 06:34:31 AM
My darling daughter (DD) has her heart set on Squamish, BC.

we'll be eager to know what you decide :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maggi Young on September 14, 2010, 11:41:49 AM
Holy moly! What a name for a place... I presume it has native people origins but for a Brit on first hearing, it's a tad near squeamish for my liking  ;D

But, of course, I was consumed with curiosity so here's what I learned for a quick snoop around the internet....
 the District of Squamish calls itself the|" Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada" - it seems with some justification..... so follow these links and see what you think of Alisha's choice..... ;)
 A map to see where it is:

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=Squamish,+BC&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=Squamish,+BC,+Canada&gl=uk&ei=ZU-PTM3wL4e-4ga62by9Dg&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CBoQ8gEwAA


photos to show it is a pretty place....
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/iNUCjYQagbWkw0fim_RXYw

the town site.....

http://squamish.ca/


what to do there......
http://www.tourismsquamish.com/

It's an interesting choice, for sure.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: arisaema on September 14, 2010, 12:34:05 PM
A little embarassed to say the first thing I did upon reading the name was to look up what hardiness zone it lay in ::) (It's zone 8a.)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 14, 2010, 12:55:22 PM
This was one of the first things DD pointed out to me. But mild winters means rain and summers don't always translate into sun.

I also pointed out to her that the First Nations origin of "Squamish" means "mother of wind" with reference to the strong winds that blow at the north end of Howe Sound and the fact that it is, in fact, one of the rainiest areas of Canada.

Even here in the Annapolis Valley (almost Zone 7 winters) with significantly less rain and much more sun in the summer, the level of sunshine (which I really need psychologically) is SIGNIFICANTLY less than in Ontario (or the prairies). One can grow many woodland plants and ferns out in the open here, not something I could ever have thought of doing in Ontario. But succulents and other heat-loving plants suffer because they do not have enough intensity of sun.

Mild areas of BC can be compared in weather to south Britain with the cool damp winters and temperate summers. Nova Scotia is, on the other hand, quite similar to Scotland in geography and weather.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on September 14, 2010, 06:59:17 PM
This was one of the first things DD pointed out to me. But mild winters means rain and summers don't always translate into sun.

I also pointed out to her that the First Nations origin of "Squamish" means "mother of wind" with reference to the strong winds that blow at the north end of Howe Sound and the fact that it is, in fact, one of the rainiest areas of Canada.

Even here in the Annapolis Valley (almost Zone 7 winters) with significantly less rain and much more sun in the summer, the level of sunshine (which I really need psychologically) is SIGNIFICANTLY less than in Ontario (or the prairies). One can grow many woodland plants and ferns out in the open here, not something I could ever have thought of doing in Ontario. But succulents and other heat-loving plants suffer because they do not have enough intensity of sun.

Mild areas of BC can be compared in weather to south Britain with the cool damp winters and temperate summers. Nova Scotia is, on the other hand, quite similar to Scotland in geography and weather.


as an alberta boy, that's the first thing i think of when thinking of b.c.--rain! esp the coast--the interior is much drier in many places, though even then most precip comes in winter; however, in recent years, its not clear where would be a good bet for sun in canada--much of southern manitoba had rain all summer this year, coupled with temps over 30C, and southern alberta, where some of the highest numbers of annual hours of sun are normally recorded, has been cool, cloudy and wet much of the summer...

that b.c.  coastal (low elevation) climate would be a real reversal--often a dry summer and getting drier, winter wet and green!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 20, 2010, 03:16:30 AM
I was forced to sit tight the past week with a broken toe; and considering I was stuck indoors in any event with endless rain, good use was made of the time by filling orders, writing new species entries as well as testing and packaging seed.

Beautiful autumn weather finally arrived again today and along with it, worries over all the seed in the wild needing collecting. I managed to find a sandal that could accomodate the broken toe and headed out with Alisha, in the hopes that I could instruct her about how and what to collect, as I hobbled along beside her. At the end of the day she had collected Iris setosa and versicolor, Kalmia angustifolia, Myrica gale, Viburnum cassinoides, Sarracenia purpurea (and a distinct orange coloured form), Drosera rotundifolia, Potentilla tridentata, Nemopanthus mucronatus, early samples of Vaccinium macrocarpon and Rosa virginiana.

I love early autumn as nature begins to take on its burnished gold colour, and the fields are alive with asters. We walked on headlands solid with flat Potentilla tridentata starting to be edged with winter red and some of the Gaultheria was already fully maroon. We took home early samples of cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon, to conduct an experiment, but will probably not seriously collect this for another month. The berries were large and already quite purple-red, but the seed inside still green. In this area were hundreds of bushes of the beautiful Viburnum cassinoides at its best stage of pink and blue berries.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 20, 2010, 03:23:22 AM
I have earlier shown you a number of colour variants of Sarracenia purpurea. Today while collecting seed of the species, we ran into a beautiful and distinct orange coloured colony, which we collected seed from separately. Tomorrow I must try to get to the site of the yellow flowered variant closer to home.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 20, 2010, 03:47:41 AM
And because they gave Alisha and I such great pleasure, I will close this very short show and tell with some fauna, for a change.

On our trip homeward our attention was caught by a small farmyard along the side of the road -- very specifically because of the recent haircut of the resident mother llama, which was just too cute for words.

Obviously neither her adoring baby nor her sheep companions cared.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on September 20, 2010, 06:57:53 PM
well, your daughter really did come at the right time! i can relate to the being stuck indoors due to rain thing :(
looks like our weather will finally start to turn around tomorrow....
what is the plant in the 'burnished gold' photo?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 21, 2010, 02:36:41 PM
They are ferns, Cohen, covering the lower, wetter areas of the headlands here in great numbers. Contiguous to this area are large, open bogs and even this dryer area has low spots between the boulders where boggy plants grow (Sarracenia, Drosera, and all the woody bog species).
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 21, 2010, 02:58:57 PM
Continuing on the fauna theme, it's been a relatively quiet season thus far for the deer populations in town--but yesterday these four had to be repeatedly removed from the backyard, as they were getting dangerously close to nibbling all the small woody seedlings planted. A few leaves of Cladrastis lutea and species they *really* love (Tripterygium regelii and Cornus kousa were not so lucky).

This is a small group, relatively speaking. When they arrive, it is by the dozen.....
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: annew on September 21, 2010, 07:06:29 PM
And they look so innocent... ::)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: ranunculus on September 21, 2010, 07:32:12 PM
Please don't let Anne Spiegel glimpse them ... she will shoot the screen!   ;D ;D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Julia on September 22, 2010, 12:22:13 PM
Thanks for sharing the plants from Nova Scotia.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 26, 2010, 10:08:28 PM
While broken toe, week 3, has meant some missed seed (Medeola virginiana berries were gone), there are always unexpected surprises, such as the Vaccinium macrocarpon suddenly ripe, only a week after the seed was still beige/green inside.

Another batch of off-coloured Sarracenia purpurea seed pods were still intact.

And Myrica pensylvanica was collected.
This species is rare in Ontario and is normally only seen as an occasional (planted) ornamental.
The berries were normally still intact in early winter (which is when I usually collected it). What a shock to go out in early October last year here in Nova Scotia, where the species is native and common, and not find a single berry because the birds here know it and love it.

I love the smell of the shrub and the waxy coating on the berries (most commonly used for bayberry candles) actually serve a primary function in protecting the seed from desiccation.

These Drosera intermedia have prepared for winter by forming their winter resting bud (hibernaculum). Masses of smally leaves are formed in the center of the plant to protect the apex from drying out.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 26, 2010, 10:25:05 PM
And last week I (happily) stumbled onto a small population of Dirca palustris, which was quite uncommon in Ontario, and is even rarer here. I've always liked this small shrub with its round growth habit, clean light green foliage and greenish-tan bark with white lenticels. Here all the specimens grew as small trees and lit up the understory.

It was always the very first shrub to bloom in Ontario (tiny yellow flowers lining bare branches) followed quickly by red berries (very quickly dispersed and challenging to collect). Timing of seed here may be very tricky, as the site is a good 2 hours from home.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 28, 2010, 02:00:36 PM
I have no idea why I was thinking of this today:

Nova Scotia is the second-smallest province in Canada (55,284 square kilometres.)
Canada is about 9,000,000 square kilometers.

The UK=240,000 square kilometers.

Canada= 36 times the size of the UK.

Fascinating when one sees the numbers.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on October 01, 2010, 06:30:56 PM
interesting about birds and berries--here in the countryside, there are usually no berries that make it into winter (unless you count rosehips) but for some reason this year the birds have not been grabbing all the berries as soon as or even before they ripen! there are even berries on the sorbus that have been there for weeks..weird..i don't know if birds went south (really really) early this year, or there were more berries to keep them busy,or what...
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Stephenb on October 01, 2010, 07:29:52 PM
And last week I (happily) stumbled onto a small population of Dirca palustris, which was quite uncommon in Ontario, and is even rarer here. I've always liked this small shrub with its round growth habit, clean light green foliage and greenish-tan bark with white lenticels. Here all the specimens grew as small trees and lit up the understory.

It was always the very first shrub to bloom in Ontario (tiny yellow flowers lining bare branches) followed quickly by red berries (very quickly dispersed and challenging to collect). Timing of seed here may be very tricky, as the site is a good 2 hours from home.


Thanks for showing this. Can't recall having seen it before. Got me looking up if it was used for anything and it seems to have been an important medicinal for Native Americans: http://herb.umd.umich.edu/herb/search.pl

For example:

Compound decoction of bark and roots taken to induce pregnancy.
Compound infusion taken for dark circles and puffiness around the eyes.
Decoction of branches applied as poultice to swellings on the leg or limbs.
Infusion of bark and wood used as an emetic to remove yellow from the stomach.
 :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 21, 2010, 06:32:25 PM
dear friends.....

It appears that I have reached a rather crucial juncture in my life....that point when one must look at ones life options in a rather more profound and philosophical way than usual.

I am contemplating some serious changes to my life (moreso than simply moving to yet another part of Canada) and here is where I would like your help so that I can begin to get some perspective.

Do any of you (no matter country) own a holiday apartment/house that is available for rent for part of the year OR rent out rooms/cottages on your own property OR can refer to me a good lead regarding same???? Ideally I would like to be in a warmish location during the winter. Ideally, I am not looking at North America.

If one is to start out on another great life adventure, it feels safer to do it initially with folks one knows and can trust.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: fermi de Sousa on October 22, 2010, 02:40:59 AM
Hi Kristl,
How warmish? We get to about 40oC during our summer which is your winter! Would you consider coming this far for some contemplation time? Or are you thinking somewhere closer to home?
cheers
fermi
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 22, 2010, 03:59:58 PM
To ensure I have not given the wrong public message.....
I am not leaving Nova Scotia tomorrow and becoming an international plant gypsy,
although this long-standing dream of mine has now re-entered my consciousness as a good and doable option for the next phase of my life, and is one I am now seriously researching. I can't go anywhere until I solve some health issues and finish my book. I would also like to explore the flora of Newfoundland, while I am still on the east coast of Canada.

I may lose my nerve; I may be stuck here for years trying to re-sell my house--but that gives me more time to ensure I am on the right track, and to continue to explore the flora here. The fact that I am able to envision another dream on my horizon gives me great pleasure. And Michael, I think Ireland may just be the place to start my journey when the time comes.


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maggi Young on October 22, 2010, 04:04:20 PM
Hmmm.... but "international plant gypsy " sounds soooooo good. ;)

I can't say the winters are warm here in Aberdeen, Kristl, but the welcome is.... whenever you want!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 22, 2010, 04:10:55 PM
maggi---

i have been trying to come up with a comparable to the "travelling giraffe".....

yes, the idea that i might also finally come face to face with many of the friends i have made here on the forum is also a delicious thought...

now to figure out how the international plant gypsy might support her habit while on the road is another point to ponder.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on October 23, 2010, 07:35:02 PM
wow! big considerations for sure! good luck and lots of fun thinking/researching :)
maybe you'd be able to make an arrangement with another seed seller to sell things you collect while travelling, or have a part time base during  sales seasons.....
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: ranunculus on October 24, 2010, 08:24:29 AM
Hi Kristl,
Have you considered a lengthy international lecture tour ... many AGS and SRGC local groups (and other countries in Europe probably) would jump at the opportunity to host one of your erudite talks and would willingly offer you accommodation, sustenance, sightseeing, nursery visits and onwards transport?  The only considerations would be booking your tour far enough in advance and ensuring you have a capable assistant over here to coordinate with local group officers.  A potential visit would have groups clamoring for your services.  The East Lancashire AGS Group CERTAINLY would.  :D :D :D



 
maggi---

i have been trying to come up with a comparable to the "travelling giraffe".....

yes, the idea that i might also finally come face to face with many of the friends i have made here on the forum is also a delicious thought...

now to figure out how the international plant gypsy might support her habit while on the road is another point to ponder.


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Stephenb on October 24, 2010, 09:56:50 AM
Please include Norway on your itinerary :)  I could arrange something locally and it would be a pleasure to show you around. I'm sure there are several other local gardening clubs in Norway that would love to have you visit.  Your expenses would be covered.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 24, 2010, 07:50:25 PM
Thank you...much (positive) food for thought.

On a related question:
Have any of our members ever sold a botanically-related website and any advice?

I understand the basics of valuation, etc. And I would prefer not to use a broker for the sale.

What I need to know is whether there is a site that is particularly good for getting the information out there that the web site/business is for sale? I will obviously use the web site as a starting point.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Julia on October 25, 2010, 10:53:25 PM
Hi Kristl,
Just been checking through your pictures (which has helped withe the identification of my pic's) whilst sitting in the Hostel down at Port Morton (nr Liverpool).
I was on Brier Island yesterday but I was unlucky I could not find the Primula by the lighthouse instead I saw 4 male Harlequin Ducks in the cove beside the lighthouse which was fantastic.
Whilst on my travels around Nova Scotia for the last week I have covered about 2500 km and seen alot of the fall colours.
But was lucky enough to see Clintonia, Epigea and Cornus leaves. But today I saw Hamamelis in flower so was very happy a plant introduced to cultivation in the uk by Archibald Menzies. :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: PlantsnobIN on October 28, 2010, 04:52:40 PM
I am glad I checked in here today.  I hope your plans work out, and I think it certainly seems like you would be great at lecturing throughout the world.  I would hate to see the end of Gardens North though.  But I realize that things have changed, and everyone has to do what they feel is right for the present situation.  It has been a tramatic year for gardeners in the US with the closing of Seneca Hill & Asiatica.  I suspect many more specialty nurseries are on the verge of closing as well.  It really doesn't seem like the type of business that is easily sold, as not many people have the knowledge or determination it takes to carry on such an enterprise.  I guess I better get to your website and start an order...
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 30, 2010, 09:48:12 PM
Two days ago Alisha and I took advantage of a warm day to head out to Brier Island for the last time this season. Even though it was terrifically foggy, this added a mystical feeling to the landscape and heightened the colours of the autumn landscape. At this (non-tourist) time of the year, the ferries only run once per hour. On the first ferry we shared the ride with an ambulance---and I hoped the emergency was not too serious---because short of helicopter pick up, this is what one has to cope with when living in these really remote areas, only accessible by boat.

It's been a miserable, cold and wet fall, and the recent non-stop rain had produced serious flooding in the roads, and along the sides of the bogs. Nevertheless, we had our boots, and managed a way in to explore. The beautiful colours of the small Huckleberry, Gaylussacia dumosa, could be seen in drifts throughout the area. I was lucky to find a few remnant berries; as I had not been able to collect this earlier because of the broken toe.

Also, to my surprise, there were still hundreds of Myrica pensylvanica WITH berries, the blue colour having really intensified over the past month.


Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on October 30, 2010, 10:47:06 PM
Walking from the bog to a slightly drier area, the fall-winter colours of many other species could be observed.

Multi-coloured Potentilla tridentata, maroon Gaultheria procumbens and beautiful red Vaccinium vitis idaea.

The cranberries (which I had come to collect, a month later than usual) actually take on blue colouring, after their fully-ripe maroon, once hit by frost. The foliage is maroon as well. I had not been able to locate the small cranberry (Vaccinium ocycoccos) earlier this season, but today, I managed to find it in the same area---the foliage still fresh and green.

A garter snake surprised us, flattening itself on a large rock--I had never seen one quite this colour before.

In the wetter areas between the boulders, were distinct clumps of Scirpus caespitosus which had turned the most gorgeous coppery and gold colours. This species apparently also grows in dry, alpine areas throughout North America, making it very horticulturally accessible.

On our return home we harvested wild apples---and these, along with a mixture of the collected cranberries (not needed for seed) turned into a yummy galette today.




Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 03, 2010, 03:52:40 PM
A note about computer back-up:

If, like me, you absolutely cannot afford computer losses (huge picture files, drafts of a book you are writing. data for a web site, poetry and personal musings) do get an external hard drive (cheap these days, with plenty of space) and back up/move everything you need or treasure to the external drive.

Because a serious crash can (and usually) happens when you least expect (or can afford) it, like it did to me, very recently.

As I struggle to set up a new computer, and restore data, I keep thinking how lucky I was to have been more than a bit vigilant about my back-up activities.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Paddy Tobin on November 03, 2010, 04:27:44 PM
Another wonderful selection of plants but your cooking tops the lot.

Paddy
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 03, 2010, 04:58:06 PM
Another wonderful selection of plants but your cooking tops the lot.

Paddy, one of the many things I am researching as part of my dream to start wandering around the world in the future is that, in addition to plunking myself down for a while in a particular spot because of it's proximity to great plants, I might also have a chance to get some direct culinary experience cooking the foods of that area (local cooking classes, etc???)

And of course, then there are the nurseries, the art, music....the head starts spinning with excitement.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Paddy Tobin on November 03, 2010, 05:44:27 PM
Kristl,

Mary, here, is dropping very heavy hints about a cooking holiday in Chianti. I'm not so sure - maybe, if there are nice gardens to visit locally.

I will, of course, volunteer to taste all offerings.

Paddy
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 03, 2010, 05:53:19 PM
Kristl,

Mary, here, is dropping very heavy hints about a cooking holiday in Chianti. I'm not so sure - maybe, if there are nice gardens to visit locally.

I will, of course, volunteer to taste all offerings.

well, i second Mary's idea---and it would hardly be painful to spend time in tuscany.
if it happens, please report back, giving all (precise) details.
italy is high on my list, for the cooking (and cultural) portion of my dream.
and i must also write to Arkyana, our amazing forumnist chef in Hungary, to see if she might be willing to take on a student for a while.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on November 03, 2010, 06:31:17 PM
A note about computer back-up:

If, like me, you absolutely cannot afford computer losses (huge picture files, drafts of a book you are writing. data for a web site, poetry and personal musings) do get an external hard drive (cheap these days, with plenty of space) and back up/move everything you need or treasure to the external drive.

Because a serious crash can (and usually) happens when you least expect (or can afford) it, like it did to me, very recently.

As I struggle to set up a new computer, and restore data, I keep thinking how lucky I was to have been more than a bit vigilant about my back-up activities.

that's a drag! i recommend double back-up for really crucial stuff--those external hard drives can also suddenly die!
i'm trying to put stuff on both dvd and external hard drive, (online storage is a third option) since neither is infallible..
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 03, 2010, 06:40:00 PM
i have always been one of those lucky people who see the silver lining in (most) difficult life moments as well as in catastrophe...a perpetual, silly optimist...and if that doesn't work, i know that life changes every moment, and tomorrow i will feel different (or for sure the day after  :)...or the day after that...

i have not had time in the past year to read or contribute much on this forum---so what a treat to be stuck here with new hardware and software and plugs going every which way....every time my frustration levels hit a new high, i just get right back on the forum!!!!

another reason to be a member---it preserves sanity!!!! ;D



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 07, 2010, 07:05:58 PM
A discussion of seed collecting and cleaning that started in the "Lewisia" thread is being continued here.

Cohan, in my 2008 "My Bit Of Heaven" thread, I talked a lot about seed cleaning, and showed my various techniques and implements. I am happy to demonstrate some of these again, if necessary.

But perhaps, as a general starting point, and for those of you who never read the original (published in the NARGS bulletin a few years ago), is there some way I can post here the article I then wrote on seed collecting, cleaning, etc?

Perhaps I can just cut and paste the article---is there a limit on line space here?.....Maggi?????

I realized I could convert the article into a PDF--but now the question is how do I insert it here??
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maggi Young on November 07, 2010, 07:59:04 PM
No limit on lineage, Kristl...  and to attach a pdf ( which must be under 500 KB) simply type attach=1 in square brackets and load the pdf from your pc.... it will show as the pdf name and then can be downloaded at will.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 07, 2010, 08:07:36 PM
I can hardly believe that actually worked the first time.
Thank you Maggs.....(my affectionate nickname).
Now I should also say that this article is copyrighted,
and because some fuss was once made in NARGS about one of their published articles showing up published elsewhere, I need to clarify this.

Proudly, this was also the article for which I won the first Geoffrey Charlesworth writing award.
Because this was my actual draft copy, there may still be some typos---and of course, sadly, no pictures.


[attach=1]
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maggi Young on November 07, 2010, 08:23:52 PM
Thank you, Kristl.... I would hope NARGS will have no problem with this, which is, after all, a nice opportunity to make a little advert for them....
NARGS is the North American Rock Garden Society...it has chapters ( groups) in many places in America and Canada and their website can be found here :
http://nargs.org

You will find information about all the chapters and about joining NARGS on the website.
NARGS has a forum, modelled on our type, here : http://nargs.org/smf/

 They have a Journal, the editorship of which has just been taken over ( his first issue just published) by the former SRGC Journal Editor (and Saxifraga expert !) the ebullient Englishman, Malcolm McGregor.  
For all that North America is a huge land mass, this is not a huge society,  including its overseas members..... keen no doubt to take part in their annual Seed Exchange  :)..... I think it has around 2600 members.
I commend it to you!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on November 07, 2010, 09:41:47 PM
I can hardly believe that actually worked the first time.
Thank you Maggs.....(my affectionate nickname).
Now I should also say that this article is copyrighted,
and because some fuss was once made in NARGS about one of their published articles showing up published elsewhere, I need to clarify this.

Proudly, this was also the article for which I won the first Geoffrey Charlesworth writing award.
Because this was my actual draft copy, there may still be some typos---and of course, sadly, no pictures.


(Attachment Link)

thanks, kristl and maggi, looking forward to going over this; i'll go back and recheck the 2008 thread too, i remember discussion of some kinds of seed cleaning, not sure if i saw all of your 2008 thread or not..
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 07, 2010, 11:17:08 PM
I mentioned in a recent post that heavy rain and high winds had moved into the area the end of last week. While the winds (100km) eventually quieted down after 2 days, the rain has not stopped, and looks as though it will continue for another few days.

But when I say rain, I mean LOTS of rain---my basement has been wet for days and there are areas entirely under water. Roads and fields are flooded. i am guessing rainfall has been somewhere between 100-200mm.

Just one picture off the Weather Channel.

And I have been waiting for the Asters and other late bloomers to ripen their seed....

Luckily it has given me the needed time to get the new computer up and running---now to try to save what is possible of the old one---so that Alisha might have use of it while she is still here.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Maggi Young on November 08, 2010, 12:19:20 PM
Oh dear.... that is VERY wet, indeed.  Hope you can keep your feet dry, Kristl!

Forumist Diane Clement, in her latest Midland Diary on the AGS site, describes some of her  extensive work for the AGS seed exchange.....
http://www.alpinegardensociety.net/diaries/Midland/+November+/311/
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 08, 2010, 07:06:12 PM
I believe I have in the past shown you my seed testing regime.
All seed (notwithstanding its germination requirements) is tested in petri dishes and subjected to moisture and warmth.

If the seed is sound, it will continue to be healthy (firm and without attack by pathogens that are not related to extraneous chaff/seed coat breaking down). If it is an easy, warm germinator, one also has immediate information on percentage germination.

The seed requiring cold, or some other regime for germination will, nevertheless, still show it's health when tested in this way (more to be said about this).

With a few exceptions, most native seed sellers DO NOT test their seed, even though it is very easy to do in house.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 08, 2010, 07:18:11 PM
If I suspect a particular seed might respond to GA-3 and germinate after it has been in the petri dishes for some time, sitting pretty but not sprouting, I then add a touch of the powder to the petri dish, and back in the warmth it goes.

I *always* do this secondary GA-3 test with all species that are "wetland" plants---as there is strong evidence supporting it. Sometimes I do it with others, where I know a related species responds to it. I have known that Cornus canadensis has a GA-3 response---so this season, as I had C. suecia on my list as well, I thought to try it. It had been in the petri dishes for a good 2 months without response. After GA-3 application, almost 100% germination within 2 weeks.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on November 08, 2010, 07:43:50 PM
I believe I have in the past shown you my seed testing regime.
All seed (notwithstanding its germination requirements) is tested in petri dishes and subjected to moisture and warmth.

If the seed is sound, it will continue to be healthy (firm and without attack by pathogens that are not related to extraneous chaff/seed coat breaking down). If it is an easy, warm germinator, one also has immediate information on percentage germination.

The seed requiring cold, or some other regime for germination will, nevertheless, still show it's health when tested in this way (more to be said about this).

With a few exceptions, most native seed sellers DO NOT test their seed, even though it is very easy to do in house.

you've mentioned testing seed before, but i didn't realise it was so simple; how long do you leave non germinators before you are satisfied they are sound?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on November 08, 2010, 07:48:05 PM
Oh dear.... that is VERY wet, indeed.  Hope you can keep your feet dry, Kristl!

Forumist Diane Clement, in her latest Midland Diary on the AGS site, describes some of her  extensive work for the AGS seed exchange.....
[url]http://www.alpinegardensociety.net/diaries/Midland/+November+/311/[/url]


the dedication of people on these seed exchanges is scarcely to be believed!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 08, 2010, 08:08:57 PM
you've mentioned testing seed before, but i didn't realise it was so simple; how long do you leave non germinators before you are satisfied they are sound?

simple, yes.

what is tricky is how to interpret what you see or don't see.
easy, warms there is not as much to "interpret" except percentage germination, relative vigour of seedlings, behaviour after germination (seed can still germinate, but instantly collapse). what does that mean?
 
do they germinate, but smell funny (I am serious)...usually indication that seed is still (barely) viable.
 
or easy warms that don't germinate (if seed is good, this is usually, though not always, an indication that it is a seed requiring after drying.) after a while you begin to know which species behave like this; Drabas, for instance. I don't even bother testing them fresh because I know they will not germinate. Sitting for a few months (species dependent), they sprout like cress. ornamental grasses are notorious for this as well.

depending on quantity of seed stock---the activity itself is also *very* time consuming.
it can take the better of a few months of work just to test a large inventory.
i actually feel like i test seed all year round. i probably do.
 
i normally leave seed in the dishes for a good 2 months (sometimes longer, species dependent).

when i have the results, Cohan, i will post pictures of all the species you sent me this year,
with my interpretation. i think this kind of show and tell is the most educative.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on November 09, 2010, 07:42:12 AM

i normally leave seed in the dishes for a good 2 months (sometimes longer, species dependent).

when i have the results, Cohan, i will post pictures of all the species you sent me this year,
with my interpretation. i think this kind of show and tell is the most educative.

in that case, would you wait that full 2 months before listing the seed?

that will be interesting to see, for sure!
as a customer, it is reassuring buying seed from you--if it fails, at least i know for sure its my technique that needs work... i wonder how many seed vendors take these sorts of measures?

back to weather--you are not in the flood zone, are you? nova scotia was on the news tonight for the extraordinary rainfall..
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 09, 2010, 01:23:34 PM
Yes, Cohan, the western part of Nova Scotia (where I am) received the bulk of the rain--after almost a week of it we are finally to see something different the end of this week.

A good proportion of the seed will show results (definitive negative or positive) in a much shorter time than this; or else I would never have anything to list. But I do have a number of species right now that have been "on the go" for a few months. And sadly, sometimes even all the conscientiousness in the world doesn't save the day. I had problems with some moist packed Magnolia macrophylla last season (Trillium grandiflorum the year before this)---but the problems didn't show up until about 3-4 months, after it had already been listed and many gone out.

Sometimes when friends send me seed, they don't understand why they don't see it listed eventually---usually this is because I am not happy with the testing. As of today, I have a box with about 60-100 species that are still in the petri dishes and another 20+ in moist packing that I am "watching". The moist packed seed is going through the same process as the seed in the petri dishes: eventually the seed shows its health: I always hope it will show it sooner, rather than later.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 09, 2010, 02:05:18 PM
These are some of the moist-packed seed I am still waiting to make a determination on, for various reasons, before they are listed.

I am waiting on some of the Paeonia seed, as I try to decide whether they will germinate before I sell them, or whether I can safely start moist-packing them. These are the tough decisions: I have always wanted to moist pack all Paeonia, but know from experience that some species, when very fresh, will germinate rather promptly. If germination happens in 2-4 months; then I have, in effect lost them, as I cannot safely ship them germinated in the dead of winter. Some species I know will take much longer, so these are the ones I am choosing to do an initial experiment with.

The Magnolia and Japanese Maples have just been cleaned and are awaiting the elimination of the duds in moist packing, leaving behind the good seed.

The Anemonopsis is good, but is still here because it is still ripening and being collected.

The first batch of Torreya nucifera nuts dried out slightly, so I want to ensure they are sound.

The Aconitum scaposum hupehanum was received from a friend; but the seed looks like Potentilla, not Aconitum seed to me. Until I am able to reach him to discuss this, they sit.

Reading this post, my friend just contacted me to verify that this species does, indeed, have very unusual seed, and an unusual habit of opening its pods on dry days, instantly spilling "the beans" and making collection difficult. A very useful identification tool to know that this species has such highly unusual seeds.


And the Trillium tschonoskii sits while I decide whether to sow it all or sell it.






Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 09, 2010, 02:13:16 PM
And then, of course are the ephemeral species I can only keep for limited periods of time, as germination will, eventually occur sometime the first season of collection. When it happens, they are pulled from my catalogue, and again collected fresh the following year, to repeat the process all over again.

Examples of this are Trillium grandiflorum, Hepatica acutiloba, Asarum canadense, Daphne mezereum. .

Most of these will germinate in the fall following collection, if kept moist packed and at warm after harvest. I have not yet had the chance to store them cold to see if this can hold off germination.

If I sense the germination time approaching, I will often try to sow them quickly at my end, to avoid the waste, or sometimes I just stare at the germinated bags with weariness. So many germinations....so little time.....


Other ephemerals, such as Trillium erectum, undulatum, cernuum  that will not germinate without 2 cold treatments, I am able to continue carrying throughout this season, moist packed. I have sent most of these, and other moist packed ephemerals to the SRGC seed exchange this year, so perhaps some of you will be interested in them.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 09, 2010, 02:28:54 PM
And invariably are the new species that I have no direct experience with which I have to second guess and as a first response, I "think through the seed" (genus, family for mental clues), observe the seed after cleaning (in this case the seed went instantly from plump to flat as a pancake), which most fruited species DO NOT DO.

Then I search for germination data. As you all know, I almost never trust the anecdotal information that floats around the net (some of which is incorrect, or outdated).

Cydonia oblonga was listed as requiring 120 days of cold treatment, and a very few sources indicated that the seed should not dry out.

So, I reached a decision to moist pack it and within 7 days about 10% of the seed had germinated in the zip locks. I immediately pulled it from the catalogue, wrote my customers who had already ordered it, advising them to try a short period of warm before the cold, and I thought to myself as I always do in moments like this (after hours of work collecting and cleaning the seed) "live and learn". BUT I also knew that this did not necessarily mean "game over" and I have continued to watch this bag carefully. Since the initial germinations, only a (very few) further have germinated. So today I think this may have been the genetic response of species survival, where a certain percentage of seed behaves "out of character". And if there are no further germinations within the next few weeks, I will re-list the seed.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on November 09, 2010, 06:40:57 PM
And then, of course are the ephemeral species I can only keep for limited periods of time, as germination will, eventually occur sometime the first season of collection. When it happens, they are pulled from my catalogue, and again collected fresh the following year, to repeat the process all over again.

Examples of this are Trillium grandiflorum, Hepatica acutiloba, Asarum canadense, Daphne mezereum. .

Most of these will germinate in the fall following collection, if kept moist packed and at warm after harvest. I have not yet had the chance to store them cold to see if this can hold off germination.

If I sense the germination time approaching, I will often try to sow them quickly at my end, to avoid the waste, or sometimes I just stare at the germinated bags with weariness. So many germinations....so little time.....


Other ephemerals, such as Trillium erectum, undulatum, cernuum  that will not germinate without 2 cold treatments, I am able to continue carrying throughout this season, moist packed. I have sent most of these, and other moist packed ephemerals to the SRGC seed exchange this year, so perhaps some of you will be interested in them.


lots of good information, thanks! with those species that germinate moist packed in the fall, if you sow them, are they then put out for winter? or?....
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: ashley on November 09, 2010, 09:11:08 PM
... Japanese Maples have just been cleaned and are awaiting the elimination of the duds in moist packing, leaving behind the good seed.

Would you expand a bit on this please Kristl? 
How do you distinguish viable Acer seed?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 10, 2010, 05:04:23 PM
I'll try, Ashley.
Acer is, in general, one of the more difficult genera and I am sure I have only begun to scratch the surface with the species I have experienced directly.

But the topic ties together some of the unanswered points I made earlier.

The genus has wildly varied germination habits, species that have ephemeral seed (rubra); some that produce seeds that are largely (but deceivingly) empty (griseum and maximowiczianum for example)---these are "parthenocarpic" --- producing seed that "appears" full and well formed, but is usually empty (sometimes called "virgin fruit"); many that are immediate germinators (lots of examples); others tolerating dry storage (many).

Then there are those best collected (just) slightly "green" and either sown immediately or kept moist-packed (many of the small Asian maples fall in this category). As the seed fully ripens and becomes dry, the (often double) seed coat hardens to a point that it is difficult for moisture to reach the embryo. In the natural course of things, a dried, fully ripe seed is certainly germiable; but will often take a full two seasons to sprout. The moist packing keeps the hard seed coat from forming, and usually one cold treatment will do it. Many of the cultivars of A. japonica, palmatum come amazingly true (or produce even superior plants) --- a real bonus of growing them from seed.

Not all seed contains an embryo (without considering species such as griseum (whose seed almost always looks plump and well developed to the naked eye--but is usually in fact, empty). With the majority of species, you can easily determine , which are empty or not. Sometimes one of the seeds (produced in pairs) will be empty, for instance, the other "full"  though not always. When I moist pack Acers, I have already rubbed most of the wings off, and sorted through the lot to remove the obvious duds. Then I do a "cut test" of "x amount" of what I consider "full" seed (literally cutting through what appears to be the chubby embryo to determine that there is, in fact, an embryo. not just empty space.)

I then let them sit in moist-packing for a while and the ones I missed (empties or problematic seed) will quickly rot---leaving me with the "germiable seed".




Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: ashley on November 12, 2010, 03:12:54 PM
... some that produce seeds that are largely (but deceivingly) empty (griseum and maximowiczianum for example) ...

As the seed fully ripens and becomes dry, the (often double) seed coat hardens to a point that it is difficult for moisture to reach the embryo. In the natural course of things, a dried, fully ripe seed is certainly germiable; but will often take a full two seasons to sprout.

... without considering species such as griseum (whose seed almost always looks plump and well developed to the naked eye--but is usually in fact, empty).


Thanks very much Kristl.  A. griseum puzzles me because seed gathered still greenish & gently dried for just a few days looks uniformly dead to me when cut open.  Nevertheless some (maybe 20%) germinates :-\

From what you say it seems I'm overlooking the embryos, which remain viable when dried but are slower to wake than freshly-sown or damp-packed seed.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: TheOnionMan on November 13, 2010, 03:31:23 PM
My Acer griseum tree always produces a huge quantity of seed, but rarely any self-sown seedlings, maybe the low viability seed is the reason. 

This year squirrels found insatiable delight in sitting in the tree and plucking the seed; they bite the hard end off to retrieve any tender kernel inside... in doing this activity they end up breaking lots of the terminal shoots, the last 6" or so too weak to support the weight of fat greedy squirrels, most annoying.  Both squirrels and chipmunks would also sit on my deck and the stairs close by, and sample seed there, leaving a mess load of chomped apart samaras on my deck.  Maybe their fondness for harvesting the seed contributes to the effect of low self-sown germination, although this is the first year I've seen such overt attacks on the seed.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Onion on November 13, 2010, 09:56:28 PM
Marc I think the low viability of A. griseum seed is the reason that we often grow only one tree. I have never seen in a garden (Private or botanical) two, three or more trees of A. griseum.
I think the viability will increase by more than one tree in the garden.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 13, 2010, 11:52:00 PM
The genus has wildly varied germination habits, species that have ephemeral seed (rubra); some that produce seeds that are largely (but deceivingly) empty (griseum and maximowiczianum for example)---these are "parthenocarpic" --- producing seed that "appears" full and well formed, but is usually empty (sometimes called "virgin fruit")  

Perhaps deceiving to use the term "viability" for A. griseum---when it normally has no seed to be "viable." Ashley---the normal percentages, in fact, of seed in most griseum lots is about 20% at best---so your average is right on the nose!!!!

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 14, 2010, 12:52:55 AM
To have a day of brilliant sunshine and 15C in mid November is a gift which must not be squandered. So Alisha and I headed off early today to eastern Nova Scotia on the Atlantic shore to collect the few last species on my list--Rhododendron canadense and groenlandicum and Ilex glabra. The latter only grows in that area of the province.

Even though it is a relatively short jaunt across the province to the Atlantic side (just over an hour), it was quite astounding to see the difference in the landscape. With all the deciduous trees defoliated, the landscape was quite bare for most of the trip, with the only colour coming from the green on conifers---and the occasional yellow Larix decidua. But as soon as we approached Liverpool, at the ocean end, a known climactic hotspot, colours again appeared on streets and in wild spaces.

On the way we also passed the perch of the famous feathered pair, Ethel and Oscar (and new offspring Skylar). These ospreys have a huge nest on top of a power pole, which has been heavily reinforced. You can read about the interesting tale here (and see pictures).

http://museum.gov.ns.ca/osprey/index.html
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 14, 2010, 01:23:54 AM
Arriving at our collection site, we were again met with a sea of mostly bare, woody branches and the occasional conifer. Kalmia angustifolia and Rhododendron groenlandicum were still to be found, green or colouring as well. All else, except a few evergreen groundcovers, such as Epigaea repens, had disappeared for winter.

But it was a perfect time of the year for locating the evergreen Ilex glabra. As I said to Alisha as we started out "just look for something green that isn't a conifer." And in fact, once we were in the right spot, all the green dotting the landscape was the Ilex. Most plants in this exposed habitat here were quite small--mostly under 60cm. The clean dark green foliage is wonderful, although the flowers are insignificant and the smallish dark berries are rather hidden in the foliage.

I have heard of a cultivar with white berries; which I think must be wonderful against the beautiful leaves. Particularly because the plant holds its berries throughout winter.

The berries were tedious to collect, but the ease of collecting the Rhododendrons made up for the time.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 14, 2010, 01:44:12 AM
In fact we had made such good time that we grabbed coffee in Liverpool, visited a local nursery and decided to drive out to a nearby beach for a stroll on pure white sands, entirely undisturbed by anyone.

I can't express adequately what having this moment in time with my daughter has meant to me. Our shadows in the sand.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 19, 2010, 02:34:52 PM
Returning to my earlier discussion of testing seed; and in particular a batch of wild collected seed that Cohan sent me from Alberta, all of which has tested to my satisfaction and will be listed this season.

And the specifics:

Potentilla palustris, Corydalis aurea, Delphinium glaucum and Castilleja miniata are all cold germinators, so I was not looking for germination in these initial tests. What I was watching for after the seed had been subjected to moisture for some time was rot, fungal attack or smell---which would indicate a problematic embryo. All the seed remained firm and healthy.

You will note that I tested the Castilleja with some remnant chaff (the darker bits). The presence of the chaff does not affect the sound seed (the lighter colored bits). These I pressed with my finger and they are firm.

By the way, the white that you see next to some of the seed is a reflection, not a sprout.

A few representative Shepherdia canadensis seeds were smashed and confirmed to contain embryos before they went into the petri dishes. I do this with all hard-coated woody species, as a threshold test.

Now on to the warm germinators, where results/rates can readily be seen in the petri dishes.

Dodecatheons have variable germination habits---with D. pulchellum being one of the easy warm species. In fact, with Dodecatheon mix-ups quite common in seed exchanges/in the trade---one can sometimes work backwards from the seed to narrow down what you have (pulchellum, alpinum and clevelandii being the easy warms; media, redolens, dentatum and conjugens being the colds).

Zigadenus elegans and Lilium philadelphicum are both easy warms, and the results here were consistent.

Parnassia too is an easy warm, but much slower to germinate as a general rule. So the meager 40% rate on the P. palustris today does not concern me. It is just beginning, and will be left and checked in another 10 days before I list it for certain.



Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on November 21, 2010, 05:12:07 AM
Returning to my earlier discussion of testing seed; and in particular a batch of wild collected seed that Condor sent me from Alberta, all of which has tested to my satisfaction and will be listed this season.


note should say 'Cohan' sent me, above ;)

very interesting to see these, thanks!
i didn't know that about the dodecatheons, and esp interesting since my two choices were pulchellum or conjugens, and the differential characters seem small and variable (efloras suggested some populations show past intergrading)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: TheOnionMan on November 21, 2010, 05:15:02 AM
Cohan, I thought perhaps you had an alter ego as a soaring Condor ;D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on November 21, 2010, 05:38:07 AM
Cohan, I thought perhaps you had an alter ego as a soaring Condor ;D

might be easier than cycling the gravel roads  ;D
actually, its an easy slip--i live near the hamlet of Condor, so depending where the seed was collected, most of those seed packets will say Condor, Alberta or if a few miles one way or another, may say Alhambra, Alberta, or Evergreen, Alberta etc ;)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on November 21, 2010, 02:52:06 PM
note should say 'Cohan' sent me

Cohan,
Ah...my apologies. and let me assure you it was nothing personal.
The slip is a small example of ongoing difficulty I am having with "mental function" since the lightning strike. Some days I cannot write at all as words are transposed into others or automatically written backwards....it takes forever to proof-read every sentence, and even then I often don't see the errors.

We usually don't air our dirty linen in public, but to a woman with a love of the written word and a book to finish; this is a very difficult struggle. Made worse by the fact that I now live in a province where finding a doctor when you live in a remote area is like winning the lottery. Without this family physician, a referral to a neurologist has been impossible.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on November 22, 2010, 01:05:32 AM
note should say 'Cohan' sent me

Cohan,
Ah...my apologies. and let me assure you it was nothing personal.
The slip is a small example of ongoing difficulty I am having with "mental function" since the lightning strike. Some days I cannot write at all as words are transposed into others or automatically written backwards....it takes forever to proof-read every sentence, and even then I often don't see the errors.

We usually don't air our dirty linen in public, but to a woman with a love of the written word and a book to finish; this is a very difficult struggle. Made worse by the fact that I now live in a province where finding a doctor when you live in a remote area is like winning the lottery. Without this family physician, a referral to a neurologist has been impossible.

i was not remotely bothered, don't even think about it! i make such slips all the time--especially online where one is trying to respond to a great many messages, mails, etc, without spending all day, and i have no better excuse than natural scatter brainedness!
sorry to hear you are having problems finding medical help, i know there is a shortage of primary care doctors in many parts of canada; around here, there seem to be many doctors who have moved here from south africa (including my mother's doctor)...
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Ragged Robin on November 22, 2010, 08:31:04 AM
Kristi, I'm so sorry to hear you are still suffering from the after effects of the lightening strike. It must be so frustrating and worrying however I want to assure you that I love reading your posts that are so full of interest, knowledge and humanity and inspiring to read.


     
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on December 18, 2010, 09:26:51 PM
anne,

i know you were hoping for a visual on germination results of the *beautiful* seed you sent me
(what i mean by this, by the way), is that not all gardeners are seed people---and you are---but this is another story).

the crataegus and orobanche i am not showing, as there is nothing to see except healthy (ungerminated) seed.

but look at your arisaema consanguineum (huge pod)---i will be potting those up for myself straight from the petri dishes. 100% germination.

and the black form of allium walichii, which i did not realize was a warm germinator. these are nearly jumping out of the petri dishes with health.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on December 18, 2010, 09:39:57 PM
although this note does not concern a native species---and i may have mentioned this at some point in the podophyllum thread.

common misconception that *all* podophyllums are short lived (and should be either sown or moist packed soon after harvest).

i have not had seed of enough species to do adequate work with them over time.
but p. hexandrum has been in my life for many years.

first picture is what happens when the seed is moist packed after harvest and kept at warm for a number of months.
this is fine, of course, if you wanted to grow it immediately.
however, for posterity, for future sowing, for seed exchanges and for sending to friends, keep the seed dry after cleaning.

i keep my left over seed in the freezer after my current seed season is over.
my 2007 stock is still in testing and i will add the results once i have them.
but here is the 2008 dry stored and frozen batch, with its monstrous roots.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on December 18, 2010, 09:58:38 PM
and here is a native species, which i was re-testing this year for my book, so that i was confident in my assertion (mentioned here previously) that maianthemum stellatum does not need cold treatment---but kept at warm for a number of months, will germinate. current test was begun in mid september, 2010.

what i also needed to test is whether germination was hypogeal---and a cold treatment would be needed in any event to initiate the first leaf after radicle emergence. this does not seem to be the case.

i was working with one year old seed, kept dry stored at room temperature.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: cohan on December 30, 2010, 01:25:37 AM
and here is a native species, which i was re-testing this year for my book, so that i was confident in my assertion (mentioned here previously) that maianthemum stellatum does not need cold treatment---but kept at warm for a number of months, will germinate. current test was begun in mid september, 2010.

what i also needed to test is whether germination was hypogeal---and a cold treatment would be needed in any event to initiate the first leaf after radicle emergence. this does not seem to be the case.

i was working with one year old seed, kept dry stored at room temperature.



this was interesting to note, since i had some M stellatum seed harvested in fall which sat in the berries till fairly recently when i cleaned them.. i was thinking after they had dried some days post cleaning that they looked rather shrivelled and i was wondering if they'd be ok...
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Kristl Walek on January 13, 2011, 05:29:25 PM
Uvularia sessilifolia, held moist packed and only at warm since harvest 2009 has begun germinating in the master vermiculite bags. Low percentage at this point, but germination has just begun.

Here is one seedling that is quite advanced--with a huge, healthy root system, and top shoot emerging.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Ulla Hansson on January 13, 2011, 07:01:36 PM
I love to see photos of germinating seeds, it makes me happy.
 Life that has started is something amazing.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2010
Post by: Hoy on January 15, 2011, 07:02:39 AM
Kristl, what do you do with the germinating seeds you test? I hope you take care of them; I would never have the heart to discard germinating seeds!
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 24, 2011, 09:07:57 PM
Perhaps you are, like me, an adventurer at heart and a keeper of lists of "places to see" usually with botanizing at the core, or certainly one of the crucial considerations.

While I have actually managed to work my way through 99% of my North American list, the Big Horns of Wyoming/Montana and Newfoundland remained.

To my delight, I leave this week for the northern peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador accompanied by my rock gardening friend, Denyse, from Quebec (long time executive member of the Quebec Rock Garden Society) and a botanist/ecologist twosome flying in from Ontario (former Newfoundlanders). Susan produced the Checklist Of The Vascular Plants of Newfoundland and Labrador & contributed many photographs to the same Digital Flora).

http://www.digitalnaturalhistory.com/flora.htm

She is also working on a book of the flora of Newfoundland & Labrador.

This highlight to my year comes at a perfect juncture: with a difficult stretch of health issues behind me, relating back to getting struck by lightning last June and an equally difficult emotional time relating to just about everything else. I finally feel ready to move forward with life again.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: David Nicholson on June 24, 2011, 09:14:22 PM

This highlight to my year comes at a perfect juncture: with a difficult stretch of health issues behind me, relating back to getting struck by lightning last June and an equally difficult emotional time relating to just about everything else. I finally feel ready again to move forward with life again.


As someone once said Kristl "life's a bitch" but we only get one shot. Keep on moving (and enjoying!) girl.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Maggi Young on June 24, 2011, 09:25:21 PM
Kristl, this sounds like the perfect trip for a "new start" after your recent difficulties.
Have a wonderful time!  :-*
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: ranunculus on June 24, 2011, 09:25:49 PM
Have a magnificent and life enhancing trip Kristl.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 24, 2011, 10:27:49 PM
It may (or may not) surprise you that the temperature at the northern tip of the province, where we will mostly be,  is +7C today (with frost tonight); compared, for example with Whitehorse, in the Yukon at +25C.

It has been a hectic week preparing to spend 14 days hiking in a rather inhospitable environment weather wise. Likely cold/cool/foggy/rainy/cloudy. I am now equipped with waterproof everything, tip to toe and plenty of layers.

Only Air Canada flies to Deer Lake, halfway up the western coast of the province. From there, we head north by car to the nearby Gros Morne National Park (designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987) for our first round of botanizing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHmsHU1zuoc&feature=related

Thereafter, after another 6-7 hours drive further north, we will arrive at our "outpost" for the remaining 2 weeks, in Raleigh, Newfoundland, on the northern tip, adjacent to Labrador. This area is a well-known iceberg-watching locale; whale capital of the world and has the world's highest concentration of moose.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vmt5X43d6A&feature=related

Here we have rented fully equipped cottages from which we will head out for our daily hikes, including time in Labrador, to find alpine species.

I have a long wishlist of botanical hopefuls for this trip; but will be happy to see any of the following: Salix jejeuna, Harrimanella hypnoides, Diapensia lapponica, Loiseleuria procumbens, Phyllodoce caerulea, Rhododendron lapponicum, Cassiope tetragona, Primula egaliksensis & stricta, Dryas drummondii and any of the Saxifraga (oppositifolia, azoides, caespitosa, paniculata laestedtii, tricuspidata).

I look forward to sharing my detailed adventure with you later in July, after I return.






Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Brian Ellis on June 25, 2011, 09:42:38 AM
It sounds an amazing trip Kristl, have a wonderful time and I hope you find many of those on your wishlist.  Look forward to hearing all about it when you return.  Take care, would love to see whales up there, but not so keen on the meese.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: fleurbleue on June 25, 2011, 02:18:51 PM
I'm glad to think of all pictures and words you will share with us... Have a very pleasant trip Kristl  ;)
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: cohan on June 28, 2011, 10:16:51 PM
Sounds like a great trip, and very nice to be able to make it with folks who know the flora well!
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 16, 2011, 02:34:30 PM
SRGC friends,
I have now returned from a very memorable sojourn through north-western Newfoundland and Labrador. It will take a while to organize myself and the 4,000 pictures. Chronological seems the easiest way to present my journey & perhaps it might also be helpful to others contemplating a trip to this part of the world.

Botanizing took place in open areas only---in the mountains, bogs, fens, oceanside. For once, I did not miss my beloved woodlands.

For the 2 week trip, there was one day of beautiful sunshine, 2-3 days of rain (only two truly miserable day3 with wind-chill highs just above freezing +3C and +5C); the remainder comfortably cool & cloudy.

The four of us arrived at Deer Lake airport (one small terminal building) in late afternoon. Parked there was a "water bomber" (used to fight forest fires) which I had not seen for years, since I was last in northern Ontario. Driving north to our B&B in Gros Morne, I had my first view of the Long Range Mountains (highest elevation 2,671 ft.) They are the northernmost section of the Appalachian chain on the eastern seaboard.

Views from both the B&B and at the restaurant for dinner were wonderful.

Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: bulborum on July 16, 2011, 03:27:37 PM
Nothing to do with the forum
but I love the water bomber picture
must be an experience for the landing on the water

Roland
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 16, 2011, 03:56:56 PM
Day 2 Heading North: Gros Morne
The Tablelands

Gros Morne is the second biggest national park in Atlantic Canada and encompasses a large area of western Nova Scotia. Gros Morne means “big mound or mountain”, a name the park acquired by early French visitors in the 1700’s. Gros meaning big and Morne is a Creole word for rounded hill.

This is a spectacular area; aptly voted the second most scenic drive in North American by a Canadian travel magazine.

From the Parks Canada Site:
The rocks of Gros Morne National Park and adjacent parts of western Newfoundland are world-renowned for the light they shed on the geological evolution of ancient mountain belts. The geology of the park illustrates the concept of plate tectonics, one of the most important ideas in modern science.

This is one of the main reasons why Gros Morne National Park has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.


The Tablelands, is a striking 600 metre-high plateau of rock, found between the towns of Trout River and Woody Point, within Gros Morne. This area looks like a strange brown landscape amidst a kaleidoscope of green. This is due to the ultramafic rock - peridotite - which makes up the Tablelands. It is thought to originate in the Earth's mantle and was forced up from the depths during a plate collision several hundred million years ago. Peridotite lacks the usual nutrients required to sustain most plant life, hence its barreness. The rock is very low in calcium, very high in magnesium, and has toxic amounts of heavy metals. Peridotite is also high in iron, which accounts for its brownish colour (rusted colour). Underneath this weathered zone, the rock is really a dark green colour.



Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 16, 2011, 04:21:37 PM
Day 2: Botanizing at Wallace Brook in Gros Morne

Although the Tablelands support little plant life; this area was a bit removed and we happily had our first go at botanizing.

We enjoyed the rocks as much as the plants.

Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 16, 2011, 05:07:13 PM
amidst the rocks, some of the plants we saw in bloom.

Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 16, 2011, 06:12:52 PM
Day 2: Drive out of Gros Morne to Cow Head, Nfld
Overnight at Shallow Bay Motel

A picturesque drive north.
All along the roads we saw the damage of the balsam wooly aphid on the fir trees.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 16, 2011, 08:24:02 PM
Day 3: From Cow Head to Burnt Cape

There are few accommodations/restaurants in northwestern Newfoundland, so one must plan the days around them. Today we have only a few hundred km of driving to our final destination at Burnt Cape, so we have time to do stopping and snooping along the way.

Our botanizing happens on a limestone barren or heath, along route, where I get an advance look at some  species that are much more common further north.

Everything here is dwarfed, due to the environmental conditions. Trees, such as spruce and Betula pumila lie flat against the ground, forming beautiful textures.
 
Cypripedium parviflorum var makesin is a tiny, tiny, choice thing, under 4 inches or smaller---one plant that Susan photographed was no taller than a Swiss army knife.

Plantanthera aquilonis (which I showed before) is a beautiful wee plant here.

Vaccinium uliginosum is also small here, with its gorgeous gray foliage contrasting so well with the other plants

Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 16, 2011, 08:44:36 PM
The larger Tanacetum huronense var. terrae-novae is a spreading (aggressive in gardens) endemic of Newfoundland.

Lonicera villosa is listed by GRIN as a variant of Lonicera caerulea (the edible blue honeysuckle).

Erigeron hyssopifolius is a pretty and floriferous, relatively large-flowered species.

Sometimes, a prostrate habit is not the best for a plant: I have seen Hedysarum alpinum in Alberta, where it grows upright and forms a very attractive plant.

The caespitose Oxytropis campestris minor was formerly known as O. terrae-novae.

The plant mats are complicated affairs---the one pictured is a mix of Dryas, Betula, Rhodiola, Thalictrum, Juniper, Erigeron, Empetrum and others.

Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Paddy Tobin on July 16, 2011, 09:50:35 PM
My goodness, Kristl,

What an amazing journey and such a beautiful country. Of course, the plants are wonderfully interesting also.

And I do realise you have not brought us to the highlights of the trip yet. This is only the appetiser it would seem.

Delighted to read you have had such a good time, many thanks for posting the photographs and I look forward to further instalments over the coming days.

Paddy
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 16, 2011, 09:53:38 PM
As we proceed north, the Long Range Mountains stop and on the only main road north there begin to appear "roadside gardens" on a regular basis.

Newfoundland is of course known as "The Rock" for obvious reasons---and except for the central and south west portion of the province, there is no soil for gardening; only rock. Here, along the highway, which was originally blasted for road construction, are pockets of soil that have been "adopted" for vegetable gardening. These are usually out in the middle of nowhere, and yet, rumour has it, the cultivators rights are absolutely respected. I neglected to photograph one of these; but found the posted picture on line.

As has probably become obvious; this province is very complex geologically. Even though our trip is taking us to predominantly limestone areas, they really only exist in parts of the Northern Peninsula. That having been said, Newfoundland has more limestone barrens that anywhere in North America.

Due to the lack of "services" along the road, we are needing to make regular stops to use natures facilities. That is, when it is possible to find somewhere to pull over (narrow shoulders on the road) or even more rarely, somewhere to pull "into". The dirt road pictured took us into a storage area for hundreds of crab cages and also a wet area where we saw Rhamnus alnifolia, Thalictrum pubescens, Geum rivale.

Almost at our goal for the day, we made a quick stop at the St. Anthony airport---a tiny affair situated at the tip of the Northern Peninsula. The airport hosts two provincial airlines that have regular flights in and out of St. Anthony. Air Labrador flies to remote communities in Labrador and northern Quebec. Inside the "terminal" building (really just one large room) we found a two posters, one listing the regulations about wildlife species at risk and a poster showing a few of the plant species at risk.

Arriving finally at Raleigh, the tiny fishing village across from Burnt Cape, we checked into our cabins for our 8-day stay. These were comfortable, fully equipped with a cafe, store and gas station across the street. Best of all, Burnt Cape, where we will do the majority of our botanizing here and which you can see in the picture, was directly across from us and a five minute drive away.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 16, 2011, 10:27:50 PM
Most serious plant people would agree that the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland is "THE" place for plants. As I have been nowhere else in the province, I cannot judge; but I was daily in awe of what I experienced on Burnt Cape.

What I also did not know prior to coming was that our botanist companion, Susan Meades, has more than a passing interest in this particular place, which I only discovered during the trip. In fact, this humble woman did not apprise us of the crucial role she played in doing not only the species survey of the Cape (gratis), but she was the person who petitioned the government to have the site declared an Ecological Reserve. Prior to that time it was a gravel pit.

Her species list is here:

http://www2.swgc.mun.ca/botany/burntspecies.asp

We barely made a dent in what we saw over the days we spent walking the cape. My survey of plants that I will next show happened over a period of a week. In between we also ventured away to other sites.

I start with some general pictures of the Cape, including the sign paying homage to Susan.

Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Maggi Young on July 16, 2011, 10:39:00 PM


What I also did not know prior to coming was that our botanist companion, Susan Meades, has more than a passing interest in this particular place, which I only discovered during the trip. In fact, this humble woman did not apprise us of the crucial role she played in doing not only the species survey of the Cape (gratis), but she was the person who petitioned the government to have the site declared an Ecological Reserve. Prior to that time it was a gravel pit.

Her species list is here:

[url]http://www2.swgc.mun.ca/botany/burntspecies.asp[/url]


I start with some general pictures of the Cape, including the sign paying homage to Susan.




 Thank heavens for people like Susan, I say!
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 16, 2011, 11:00:39 PM
The following is from a Canadian Government site:

Located near the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula and surrounded on three sides by cold waters from the Strait of Belle Isle, the peninsula of Burnt Cape has some of the most arctic conditions on the Island of Newfoundland. But it is exactly this cold climate, together with a unique landscape and calcium-rich soil, that allows northern plant species to grow here in a rich and rare variety.

The 3.6-km2 ecological reserve takes up almost all of the Burnt Cape peninsula. And though it may have the coolest conditions on the Island, the Cape is home to more than 300 plant species—about 30 of which are considered rare.

From a distance the Cape appears desolate, yet up close, particularly during the months of June and July, the tiny arctic plants provide a rainbow carpet of colour. Some of these plants are growing at their southernmost limits, others are at their northernmost. Some can be found only in a few other areas in northwest Newfoundland. Among the most significant are arctic bladderpod, alpine arnica, dwarf hawk's beard, Burnt Cape cinquefoil—the Northern Peninsula is the only place in the world where this species grows—and the threatened Fernald's braya (COSEWIC, 2000). These arctic-alpine plants are relicts of the flora that invaded when the last glaciers retreated.

The Cape's arctic conditions have also led to the formation of "frost polygons"-strange, geometric circles or lines of rocks on the surface of the ground. Caused by intense freeze/thaw cycles, they are usually found only in northern or Arctic areas of permafrost.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: annew on July 16, 2011, 11:05:47 PM
What a very special place - I'm looking forward to more reports, Kristl. Enjoy yourself!
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 17, 2011, 06:29:49 PM
I would like to start my Burnt Cape flora survey with a few pictures of a fauna sighting from the Cape. While polar bears sometimes come across from Labrador to Burnt Cape on the pack ice, this is normally in spring, before the ice has melted in the Strait of Belle Isle. At this time of the year, the more usual sightings are whales. We were quite lucky to have this humpback cavorting close enough to be captured by a camera lens.

The green you see under the surface of the water is his/her fin.

We laid on our bellies at the edge of a beautiful cliff chocked full of flora and watched.

Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: annew on July 17, 2011, 06:53:12 PM
Magic!
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 17, 2011, 07:34:19 PM
On the cliff where we lay watching the whale, happened to be two clumps of Saxifraga oppositifolia still in flower, which was mostly gone elsewhere. This made sense, considering this very exposed, northerly spot.

Some of those already-flowered mats, which were everywhere, were huge, full of (unripe) seed.

This was the same for Saxifraga caespitosa, which was finished elsewhere on the Cape.

Saxifraga azoides was only found in low, wet areas, and had not yet flowered. I did not manage to see S. paniculata or tricuspidata.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 17, 2011, 07:53:47 PM
Although I had hoped to see Dryas drummondii again (my favorite species), only D. integrifolia was found here, mostly finished blooming, or at the seed stage, although some flowering clumps were still to be found. In fact, I would venture to say that the Dryas was the most prevalent species on the Cape.

Denyse captured the beautiful clump I show.

Silene acaulis was common as well; mostly still in bloom. I saw a huge variety of colours (white to deep pink) and variation in the size of the flowers. Some of the clumps were humungous.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 17, 2011, 08:32:31 PM
I had never seen the beautiful little Galearis rotundifolia before and was quite thrilled to see small colonies of it here growing among low shrubs and trees.

And while photographing the Galearis I just happened to run into a plant I had been searching for since my arrival--Loiseleuria procumbens (now apparently Kalmia procumbens). The non-flowering mats were very hard to see amidst empetrums and other low shrubs. Sad to not have seen the flowers, I was nevertheless blessed a few days later to see mats of it hanging off cliffs near the ocean, still in flower. These pictures were difficult to take as the plants were very high above me. Some of them were literally hanging from woody stems on the eroding cliffs.

Anemone parviflora I had not met before either. It grew in the low, wetter areas and is a beautiful plant.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 17, 2011, 09:01:34 PM
Of course one cannot come north and neglect the willows. I was not able to see the rare Salix jejeuna but was happy to find the very fine Salix reticulata everywhere.

The also-prostrate S. uva ursi with its beautiful red female catkins stays under 15cm.

Salix glauca male catkins and in fruit.

S. vestida also remains small.

Everywhere on the Cape and elsewhere were old, bonsai forms of willows.

It is rare to see ornamental gardens in northern Newfoundland. However, a native handicraft store we visited had a small garden in front that had been planted with Salix arctophylla and candida--which looked wonderful. Amidst them were huge, healthy clumps of Rhodiola rosea.

The rhodiola was everywhere on the Cape as well, but except in lower, moister spots, grew as tiny, single-stemmed plants.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Maren on July 17, 2011, 09:47:56 PM
Kristl,

this is magical. I was particularly struck that you found an orchid, Galearis rotundifolia, on the Burnt Cape.

Please tell me, what is the rock? is it granite or basalt?
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 17, 2011, 10:01:42 PM
And now on to the rare, endangered and endemic plants of Burnt Cape.

Potentilla usticapensis (species name means "Burnt Cape") is a plant that only exists here. Most plants we saw were mostly past bloom, or with only a few scraggly flowers, but it seems to be a pretty thing with felted, grey foliage and light yellow blooms.

Braya fernaldii is endemic to northwest Newfoundland. Its populations are being monitored regularly. Another tiny but, in my humble opinion, a rather homely plant. It is found on the Cape as well as in a few other sites in the north. One day we met up with a couple other botanists who were surveying the plants of another area. Braya among them. You will have a perspective of the size of the plant if you follow the pointing finger.

An ugly (but rare here, non-endemic duckling) is Lesquerella arctica.

Bartsia alpina is a pretty thing--again, rare here, which was growing in the same area as the Galearis rotundifolia.

The Frog Orchid, Dactylorhiza viridis, is also rare here. The picture is of a plant just past emergence.

Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 17, 2011, 10:02:52 PM

Burnt Cape is limestone, Maren.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 17, 2011, 10:21:27 PM
Another, rare here, plant I was very eager to see was Crepis nana.
When Susan first relocated the population was a bitterly cold, cold day  (+3C) with rain; a lethal combination--but we were so eager we headed out anyway. Even the Crepis was cold, although the manner in which it catches water in its interior was lovely.

Susan & Bill were brave enough to lie down for the photography---but eventually we gave up the fight & decided to return the next day (which was a beautiful, sunny +19C) and found the plants happy and open.

Postscript: Susan has just informed me of recent nomenclature changes to Crepis nana. Crepis has now been separated into Crepis and Askellia---and our gem has become Askellia nana

Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 17, 2011, 11:02:59 PM
some miscellaneous dwellers of the Cape

Antennaria alpina
Arnica angustifolia
Cerastium alpinum drift
Epilobium angustifolium
Draba incana
Viola labradorica
Viburnum edule
Amelanchier bartramiana
Polystichum longipes
Asplenium trichomanes racemosum (viridis)
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 17, 2011, 11:19:25 PM
We know how accomodating yellow lady slippers are; easy to move, easy to adapt to most growing conditions.
But I was surprised myself to see what they could endure in northern Newfoundland.

I wanted to show you where Cypripedium parviflorum grows on Burnt Cape. This is normally in sheltered spots or slopes among shrubs or; right out on the exposed limestone but always within a green area of low creeping/prostrate (usually) woody species.

The dwarfed stature of the plants found here has actually been studied now---once the plants come out of their harsh environment; they reach normal heights.

Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 17, 2011, 11:49:57 PM
I have not forgotten the Primula...

Had there not been a botanist with me to confirm, I would indeed have been very confused about why both Primula laurentiana and mistassinica were blooming at the same time; but indeed this was true.

The all white colony of Primula mistassinica was lovely to see.

I was very excited to also find P. egaliksensis--although these were not on Burnt Cape.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: cohan on July 18, 2011, 12:23:41 AM
What a fantastic area! Much as I love forests, I am thrilled to be in places with intact flora but no trees to block the air and light! (I am glad of my surrounding forest during winter winds, though.... :P )
Bartsia and Crepis are among my favourites, but every plant there is a gem... Fantastic that you had the best possible guide to Burnt Cape!
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Gerdk on July 18, 2011, 06:50:14 AM
Kristl,
Thank you for taking us with you once again to these wonderful places!
It's great to enjoy plants and landscape in an obviously cold part of the world
from a much warmer place.

Gerd
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 18, 2011, 02:36:49 PM
I have wanted to see the minute Primula egaliksensis in the wild for a couple of decades and, it is often like this when botanizing that one runs into such a desired species quite serendipitously. One day we were botanizing near the seashore on the north-western coast and there it was in wet tidal pools on the beach.

Nearby were a few beautiful tiny specimens of Primula mistassinica.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 18, 2011, 03:10:01 PM
Although our main area of interest was Burnt Cape, there are a number of ecological preserves and protected plant places in northern Newfoundland. Over our two weeks there, we visited most of them. This is a great botanizing trip for any serious plant person, due to ease of access and close proximity of one site to the other.

Watts Point Ecological Preserve was the "baby" of Susan's husband, Bill, an ecologist, who worked on this project. These are calcareous barrens running along the north-western coast. These flat, coastal areas are good examples of the layers of vegetation from shoreline to coastal plain.

When first driving into the preserve, we were witness to a dramatic sight.  In the distance hundreds of seagulls suddenly took flight. We assumed at first it was our approaching vehicle, but then realized we had entered the kill zone of an eagle. If you look closely at the last bird picture, you can actually seed a gull in the talon of the eagle.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 18, 2011, 03:42:50 PM
Here in the mucky areas furthest back from the ocean, we saw Pedicularis flammea, Pyrolas, Tofieldia glutinosa more white Primula mistassinica and many other plants we had previously seen such as Saxifrage oppositifolia and azoides.

I have neglected to say previously that we did, indeed find another of my hopefulls on Burnt Cape---Rhododendron lapponicum--but it was here as well, long past flowering, but Denyse managed to find a specimen with one last flower petal, which dropped immediately after the picture was taken. Some plants were already forming seed.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 18, 2011, 04:17:09 PM
The slope backing the beach area was a mass of what we first thought from a distance was Cornus suecica---but on closer inspection it turned out to be Cornus x intermedia (a cross between suecica and canadensis) with reddish-purple (not black) interiors and other botanical differences.

In later locations, I did find Cornus suecica and even later in Labrador, a great site where the two species and the intermediate form (and variations of) all grew together.

And here the botanist very aptly found a specimen that demonstrates perfectly that the white bracts "petals" of Cornus are really just leaves.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 18, 2011, 05:05:26 PM
There is a joke about coming to Newfoundland, with the largest world population of moose and going home not having seen one. But this was not our experience. There were a number of roadside spottings---I also noticed that while deer almost always face the highway when at the side of the roads, moose normally are "rump out." I venture a guess that deer are usually crossing the road, while moose are feasting there and facing the area of necessary retreat.

There are no deer in Newfoundland---but the introduced moose (brought in from New Brunswick) has been very successful ---from 4 a century ago to over 150,000 today.

In fact, they have become a real problem in Gros Morne park, where they have not been allowed to be hunted obviously. Damage to the ecosystem is quite profound. This autumn is a historic event in the park: the first organized cull of moose within park limits, with the goal of 500 animals.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 18, 2011, 06:56:48 PM
While I wish I had had the opportunity to snoop around in some woodlands, I did see familiar forest plants in settings I would not have imagined them in (scrub and shrubby areas on beaches, at the base of seashore cliffs, etc). Actaea, Clintonia borealis, Maianthemums and others were found in similar habitats.

These Streptopus roseus were very happy in one of these beach settings. The day I left on this trip I had collected the ripe berries in Nova Scotia. Here they were still flowering.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 18, 2011, 08:30:14 PM
We took a day to visit L’Anse au Meadows, a national historic site, believed to have been the earliest settlement of the New World by Vikings.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Anse_aux_Meadows

I have to admit I was not particularly interested in the historic significance of this area; so instead spent my time walking the trails and natural areas around the site.

This is a beautiful area with gorgeous rock formations. I wandered on the boardwalk through a bog and saw why it was possible to create an industry from Rubus chamaemorus (Bakeapple, Cloudberry), as has been done in Finland.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: ruweiss on July 18, 2011, 08:46:38 PM
Kristl, thank you so much for showing us all these beautiful things, for me it is incredible how
these beautiful Cypripediums grow under those harsh conditions.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 18, 2011, 09:14:20 PM
On our travels we found three companies specializing in jams, spreads, jellies, sauces. pickles, teas, drinks and vinegars of native berries; one Newfoundland, one Labrador and the last, northern Quebec; areas where these plants thrive. This is not unlike northern Europe. My suitcase quickly became full of these.

Here our main choices were (North American common names; I know some of these are different in Europe)

Rubus chamaemorus (Bakeapple, Cloudberry)
Vaccinium vitis ideae (Partridgeberry, Lingonberry)
Empetrum nigrum (Crowberry)
Vaccinium edule (Squashberry)
Vaccinium angustifolium (Wild blueberry)

What happened to Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) and Gaylussacia baccata (Huckleberry)?

We visited the Dark Tickle store & saw them packaging the products. Having a quick look on-line, I notice they ship:

http://www.darktickle.com/default.aspx

And every restaurant offered their variation on the theme in terms of their dessert offerings.
I decided to photograph these.

Moose dinners, moose burgers, cod, cod tongue and other specialties were also on offer----more than anything I missed good selections of seafood (strange), and most particularly fresh fruit and vegetables (which are as rare in northern Newfoundland as the plants).

Denyse had to wait until nearly the end of our trip to finally have her lobster!!!!
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Ragged Robin on July 18, 2011, 11:15:37 PM
Kristi, you have such a wonderful way of opening up another world to explore through your photographs and words.  What a superb adventure with so many discoveries of tiny plants and fabulous wild creatures totally at home in this barren, sea-washed landscape.  It is past midnight and my mind is full of images to dream about, thank you for sharing your exceptional botanising trip.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 18, 2011, 11:49:25 PM
In retrospect, I wish we had been able to spend a week in Labrador, instead of the short one and a half days. While I loved Newfoundland, even the little I saw of Labrador stole my heart. But then, I always have this reaction when I find myself in little-populated places where nature still rules (the Yukon was heaven to me).

And to think we almost didn't go as we woke up that morning to +5C and driving rain and almost cancelled the trip. But we knew that within a few hours it could be warm and sunny---and in fact, by mid afternoon, it was. However I was so bitterly cold outside on that ferry I could barely put down my hood and smile for the picture. And, wearing 3 sets of outerwear, one over the other made moving almost impossible, aside from feeling like a stuffed teddybear!

The short (1.5 hour) ferry ride across the strait of Labrador ends, in fact,  in Quebec, but within 5 minutes you are in Labrador proper. While crossing we saw whales, dolphins and puffins. Many users of the ferry at this time of year are international visitors here for the fantastic fishing. Hunters at other seasons.

As soon as I entered the boat and saw some the signs I thought I was in northern Europe with the Finnish (I believe) on the signs. I then remembered news of a Finland-St.Petersburg cruise ship having being purchased. Small world.

We checked in at the Northern Light Inn and went for a quick early evening explore.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 19, 2011, 12:12:41 AM
This is fantastically beautiful place!!!

I was immediately taken with the very different landscape that I saw (and the different vegetation is would support). The rocks on the mountains are limestone only at the top, with sandstone below. Acidic conditions. Dark rocks. White lichen. Fantastic!!!
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 19, 2011, 12:50:45 AM
We only had one day to explore the coast of Labrador to catch the return ferry in late afternoon.
So we drove the coast highway from beginning to paved road end, stopping only briefly to look at plants.
At the end of the paved highway is the town of Red Bay.

The pretty catkins of Salix candida.
The little known, but not particularly showy Parnassia kotzebuei.
Arctostaphyllos alpina showing early fruits.

And who could have guessed we would hit the jackpot when pulled into a gravel pit road to "use the facilities" and found ourselves in an absolutely exquisite spot with glorious rocks and plants and the highlight of my entire trip---finding Diapensia lapponica in profusion. Even though not in flower, my heart was pounding almost out of my chest with excitement. I felt my trip here was complete and I could now go home. I could not be greedy and begin thinking of Phyllodoce caerulea (which is found only much further north). 

According to Susan, the Diapensia is quite common in this area!!!


Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 19, 2011, 01:16:07 AM
We had lunch at the end of the paved road, in picturesque Red Bay before heading back for the ferry.
In the picture of the road, the right paved road goes into Red Bay, the left (unpaved) road is the beginning of the Trans-Labrador Hwy which goes all the way to Goose Bay.

On the way back we stopped for a while to admire the majestic Pinware River.
We were not the only ones stopping to take it all in.

Postscript:
If you were wondering why the fisherman/woman had her head "wrapped", it is because of the bugs. This part of the world has a bad reputation for black flies and mosquitoes. While none bothered me in Newfoundland, the second we stepped off the ferry in Labrador, the assault was relentless. Even locals wear netted hats when they are outdoors.
Title: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on July 19, 2011, 01:27:05 AM
The population of Newfoundland and Labrador is 510,000, with the majority of that population living in St. John's, Newfoundland. The remainder of the province is sparsely populated and still largely unspoiled.

Labrador, in particular.

With so few special places like this remaining, I feel honoured to have been able to put my foot down in so many of them in my lifetime. I never feel more blessed to be a Canadian than at times like this when the treasures of this great big land are revealed to me through unspoiled nature. Thank you for letting me share my deeply felt adventure with you.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 26, 2011, 04:00:47 AM
It is that happy time of each year when friend/former seed partner/co-author of book Graham pays me a visit from Ontario.
The past 3 visits we have concentrated on trying to find species in the wild that were still needed (photographically or otherwise) for our long-overdue book on the native species of eastern Canada.

This year is no exception---except our list is now very short, but also includes a few species that have continued to elude us in the wild (to wit, Aronia arbutifolia, Streptopus amplexifolius, Polystichum braunii and a few others).  The last of these I managed to find, quite accidentally, prior to Graham arriving---so today (our first botanizing day here), we immediately set off to see it in the wild (and to collect spores).

With hurricane Irene on it's way later this weekend, we are juggling where to go and when; trying to work around what may come in a few days.

I am particularly fond of the Polystichums and P. braunii is no exception---this is a fantastic clumping fern, with dark-green, glossy foliage and a graceful, outward-arching, upright and symmetrical habit. The stalks are covered in distinctive golden-brown scales. When you look down into the center of the clump, the growing point from which next years' fronds will emerge are already present.

After the photography session with this particular specimen, it was deprived of its spores---and we decided we may have turned it into Polystichum braunii var. truncatum.

More later....



 
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Maggi Young on August 26, 2011, 02:12:49 PM
While it is exciting to know how well your work with Graham for the book is progressing, it is somewhat worrying to think of you out and about with the threat of "Irene" hanging over the region.
Take care!!!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 26, 2011, 10:14:45 PM
Thank you so much for your concern, Maggi.

I think part of being Canadian is taking more in stride unpredictable forces of nature or extreme weather conditions----we of course chuckle when warm-weather cities are devastated by a few inches of snow in winter. And having living in extreme cold/snow/ice storm areas, and in areas where one could not breathe in the summer with heat & humidity, I feel blessed to live now in such a ridiculously mild climate, with comfortable summers & winters. Somehow having to deal with the yearly hurricanes seems like a fair trade for a life with reasonably good weather the remainder of the year. Of course one is concerned each season about the possibility of a direct hit---but we cannot direct nature---so you do what you need to do to prepare without panic---hope for the best. Landfall in North Carolina is tomorrow I believe.

Right now, gorgeous sunshine and beautiful days (through tomorrow at least). After that will be more touch and go.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Gillie on August 28, 2011, 05:25:16 PM
Hi Kristl, S. amplexifolius is found scattered along the North Mountain - think I saw it near Port Lorne, Annapolis Co. It is much more common in ravines of the Cape Breton Highlands.. Braun's Holly, my favorite native fern, is also more common in Northern Cape Breton. Working up there two weeks ago I found P. lonchitis for the first time. As you likely know there are many rare plants that are common in Northern Cape Breton. The same day we found Triosteum aurantiacum at Meat cove. :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on August 28, 2011, 05:42:58 PM
Hello Gillie and thank you so much for your post---yes, the problem with the Streptopus, as you say, is its "scattered" habit---and I would have been most pleased to find just one of these "scattered specimens," after 2 years of searching for it, and following up every lead I have gotten (the one plant somewhere near Charlies Path at Delaps Cove etc). Very frustrating as I spend 5 out of 7 days each week hiking around in the wild, and particularly the North Mountain.  S. roseus I have run into again and again (also "scattered"), but the Flora would make you think that amplexifolius should be everywhere, which it clearly isn't.

I believe I pictured Polystichum lonchitis in my previous post on botanizing in Newfoundland---that was the first I had seen this---very exciting. I too love P. braunii----really a fabulous plant, although the very common P. acrostichoides will always remain high on the list.

Have you ever run into any of the Aspleniums in Nova Scotia?

I am planning to botanize in Cape Breton next year---would love to talk to you more if you could share your ideas of the best areas for me to concentrate my energies.

Graham and I have now spent 3 almost-solid days looking for the elusive Aronia arbutifolia (our third year of searching for it) and following all leads (including from the Nova Scotia herbareum). We see plenty of A. melanocarpa, but mostly A. prunifolia in its varied hybrid forms. This is, of course the only time of the year one could be relatively certain of identification, when the berries are fully coloured. We will return to Keji Adjunct tomorrow, one last time (our best lead so far, although we have already walked the area many times). The predicted strong hurricane winds, will make photography almost impossible, but it is our last opportunity for this year. If you have ever seen it FOR SURE, could you let me know.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Maggi Young on August 28, 2011, 05:46:22 PM
Hello Gillie, so glad you have made your first post...... some really interesting plants in your neck of the woods, eh?  8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Gillie on September 02, 2011, 01:58:36 AM
Only came across Asplenium once, in a gorge on the Grand Anse River (up stream from the Lone Sheiling) in the Cape Breton Highlands Nat. Park. I may have coordinates at work - I know we took pictures. Have you seen Hal Hinds report on the Corney Brook Gorge, also in CBHNP? He discovered many rare plants there.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Gillie on September 07, 2011, 12:18:37 AM
Hi Kristl,
Alas I have enough difficultiy telling red and black aronia apart (now the darn taxonomists are calling it Photina), I never expect to find the purple hybird. In my work, I'm happy to just identify the genus unless I have fruit. ???

Hi Maggi,
As Kristal has shown since coming to Nova Scotia it is truely a wonderful place to live. Botanically we have a nice mix of Boreal and Temperate species with some artic alpines and coastal plain species, throw in almost 2000 feet of elivation and a huge coastal influence and it makes things very interesting. :) Some day soon I hope to get to Scotland - my ancestors came from the Parish of Small Isles (Muck & Rum) 200 yrs ago and I want to go there and see the beauty of the Highlands ;D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Gillie on September 20, 2011, 11:58:21 PM
Kristl,
I saw lots of Inkberry (Ilex glabra) berries today, (in Milton, Queens Co), that were not yet ripe - berries were sitll reddish. Would the seed be viable yet or should I wait a while longer to pick it?
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: ChrisB on September 21, 2011, 01:10:52 PM
Hi Gillie
Welcome to our forum!

When you get a chance, could you maybe add location details to your profile, it helps us understand some of the posts you make.  Hope you stay, its sounds like you have a lot of knowledge like Kristl about plants from your part of the world.  We love hearing about and seeing pictures of them.....
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on September 21, 2011, 09:28:59 PM
Kristl,
I saw lots of Inkberry (Ilex glabra) berries today, (in Milton, Queens Co), that were not yet ripe - berries were sitll reddish. Would the seed be viable yet or should I wait a while longer to pick it?

Ilex glabra holds its berries almost all winter---I have seen them in February---like Viburnum trilobum; the critters seem to have little interest in it unless they get desperate.

I have collected it early in the past---but the seed all rotted in testing  (showing that it needs to be more fully ripe). Last year I collected it sometime in mid to late October, when they were fully colored black & all was well.

By the way, I have discovered that small plants move very easily---the sides of the road and elsewhere in southern Nova Scotia are solid with them, I have not seen them often further north in the province, but almost *common* south of Annapolis County.

I have seen Sean Blaney and David Mazerolle's report on the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Gillie on September 21, 2011, 09:44:14 PM
Thanks for the advice Kristl!
I have found a small population of Ilex glabra along Hwy 101 near the Pockwock Watershed but no further east. I might try cuttings.

Sean Blaney is amazing, I've been out with him a couple of times and he is extremely knowledgeable.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Gillie on September 21, 2011, 09:47:04 PM
Hi Gillie
Welcome to our forum!

When you get a chance, could you maybe add location details to your profile, it helps us understand some of the posts you make.  Hope you stay, its sounds like you have a lot of knowledge like Kristl about plants from your part of the world.  We love hearing about and seeing pictures of them.....

Hi ChrisB
I just checked my profile and it says my location is Hilden, Nova Scotia...perhaps it is not showing up? ???
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Maggi Young on September 21, 2011, 10:29:06 PM
Hi Gillie,
 I think Christine was meaning to put your location in your signature box... that way it appears in every post. The way it is now is only visible to Forumists who go to look at your profile.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Gillie on September 21, 2011, 10:58:57 PM
Thanks for the explanation Maggi!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: johnw on September 22, 2011, 01:27:36 AM
Thanks for the advice Kristl

I have found a small population of Ilex glabra along Hwy 101 near the Pockwock Watershed but no further east. I might try cuttings.
Sean Blaney is amazing, I've been out with him a couple of times and he is extremely knowledgeable.


Gillie - There are quite a few small stands of Ilex glabra in metro Halifax out to Peggy's Cove and beyond.  As it moves northwards they tend to be, as Kristl says, much smaller colonies eventually isolated plants - i.e. along the eastern shore.  As well the plants shrink in size the further north ones goes.  The best are in the south of Nova Scotia and I have seen them in Yarmouth & Shelburne Counties over 2m high.  However the most attractive ones are the compact ones.  I saw a beauty at Rarefind Nursery in New Jersey and the late owner said it was called 'Nova Scotia'!  Some of the selected forms are not terribly hardy in really bad winters here; they defoliate though frequently come back given a stretch of mild winters.

re: propagation according to the Arnold Arboretum -

"Propagation is frighteningly easy, and firm cuttings root year round when provided with 1000-parts-per-million indolebutyric acid (IBA) quick dip (five seconds), or a commercial rooting powder under either mist or poly-ethylene tent. Even without such treatments, a somewhat lower percentage of cuttings will root. The species can also be propagated by transplanting the suckering shoots that develop around the base."

You may also enjoy reading about one called 'Peggy's Cove' whose discovery I witnessed:

http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.edu/pdf/articles/1950.pdf (http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.edu/pdf/articles/1950.pdf)

Funny many plants from NS wind up in the USA and are touted as being extremely hardy.  (The Ilex glabra are pretty tough but may not due well in stinking hot summer areas.)  Case in point is Cytisus scoparius 'Nova Scotia'.  No doubt collected in southern NS where I have seen them decimated in some winters, not necessarily the coldest winters mind you but they certainly detest snowless frozen ground.  Unfortunately for farmers many if not most return strongly and seed everywhere.  They have even started popping up around the highways in metro Halifax.  

johnw - a very warm day here and still 20c at 9:30 pm.

Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Gillie on September 22, 2011, 12:56:52 PM
Hi John,
Thanks for the info on cuttings, I will definitely be trying that out. Very interesting article on 'Peggys cove' also, so nice for you to have been a part of that.

Yes, Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) is another exotic shrub that has proven quite invasive in parts of Nova Scotia. Another such species is Frangula alnus (Rhamnus frangula) which is more of a problem in finer textured soils. Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is another shrub I believe may not be on the radar yet but I think it will be a problem in the future.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: johnw on September 22, 2011, 01:29:13 PM
Gillie:

re: The Ilex glabra are pretty tough but may not due well in stinking hot summer areas.

I should have said "Nova Scotian clones of Ilex glabra are pretty tough but may not due well in stinking hot summer areas."

Very difficult to determine as you go north if the plants are genetically dwarf or just responding to colder winters by staying under the mean snowline.   You should try to find some superior plants to propagate.   They seem to need a severe haircut periodically when they get lanky in the garden.  Also make a terrific hedge.

johnw
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: ChrisB on September 22, 2011, 07:03:38 PM
Hi Gillie,

Yes, its showing up nicely now.  Thanks so much.  Lovely part of the world you are in!
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Gillie on October 16, 2011, 01:39:11 AM
Just heard- a new native shrub discovered in Nova Scotia: Maleberry Lyonia ligustrina . Kristl, you will have to track down some seeds :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on March 28, 2012, 10:56:09 PM
2011 disappeared last year soon after my July Newfoundland trip---and so did my posts.

Sometimes a new relationship, especially when combined with a new garden to work on will do that.
Add to the equation a new doggie to love and I think I was too happy to think about much else.

I should at least end here, in this 2011 slot, with telling you about Henry....and my exciting new garden, because the two are intertwined.

Henry had worked for me since my arrival in Nova Scotia (primarily with the heavy work related to landscaping my new property, constructing the greenhouse, etc) and we became friends. The relationship had a very sweet beginning this year when he brought me, in late spring, a beautiful large pot of Epigaea repens in full bloom. A week later, a truckload of Cypripedium acaule arrived. These gifts required us to drop everything and build a small woodland garden where they would be happy.

That small native woodland nook took on a life of its own and bit by bit I also learned that behind Henry's tough exterior was a lover of the forest, and the plants that grow there, which he knew intimately. And so we continued to work in this garden together, expand it bit by bit, intuitively. Almost daily Henry would arrive with the truck full of moss, logs, rocks, trunks of trees and plants and we would get to work placing the natural elements and plants where they felt right. He made it clear this was not being done for "pay", but for pleasure and so we became emotionally bound together through the experience, one I looked forward to each day. By the end of 2011, our relationship had begun in earnest, with the most wonderful of memories of the garden building to sustain us and new ones to build on.









Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on March 28, 2012, 11:41:19 PM
Very few people understand why one would want to plant a native woodland garden when the species are all around us. For me it is perhaps the most wonderful and intimate kind of gardening; to have the plants I love very close by and to give them as much as is possible, the natural setting they have in the wild.

Although it is not obvious from the construction pictures posted, but the new garden has already been planted with most of my favorite woody and herbaceous plants (Cypripidium, Trillium, Epigaea, Chimaphila, Mitchella, Clintonia, Pyrola, Oxalis acetocella, Coptis, Gaultheria hispidula and procumbens, Cornus canadensis, Maianthemums, all the great native ferns; masses of Ilex verticillata, Viburnum cassinoides, Cornus alternifolia, Aronia arbutifolia, Clethra, etc.

And I learned from having moved Epigaea unsuccessfully too many times. The best time for this is anytime after seed production (when vegetative growth begins again) through very early spring.

This morning Henry and I moved many more clumps of still frozen Epigaea into the new garden and I am confident they will settle well. The clumps planted last year are still winter-bronzy, but have multiple flower buds, which will open soon.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: johnw on March 29, 2012, 12:37:54 AM
Those mossy logs are spectacular Kristl and will make quite the statemnt in the garden!

johnw
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: cohan on March 29, 2012, 05:29:26 AM
Kristl, I'm really happy to hear of this turn in your life, and what better way to become happier and more at home in your new home?  ;D

The woodland garden is looking great even those few images so far, and you know I share your passion for native plants- in situ and up close in the garden :)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Paul T on March 29, 2012, 06:28:25 AM
Well done, Kristl (and Henry).  Congratulations on a job well done (but of course still continuing, as is the way of a garden).

Those mossy logs are brilliant.  As a foundation for a woodland type garden, they give instant age to it.  Brilliant!!

If you're really worried about it no longer being 2011, you can always make it "..... 2011/2012" instead. 8)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: annew on March 29, 2012, 12:33:43 PM
It looks great, Kristl. Well done to you and Henry!
(Any man who would bring a truckload of cypripediums is worth his weight in gold.)
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on March 29, 2012, 06:45:35 PM
Lest anyone wonder---Henry's family owns a large tract of woodland on the North Mountain, and this is the origin of the plants and other natural materials. A few tree seedlings (Fagus grandiflora, Tsuga canadensis, Amelanchier laevis, Acer spicatum, Betula alleghaniensis) also came from the side of roads and highways in the areas that are usually cleared. It was easy to obtain permission for this from the Department of Highways.

The other part of my "rear garden project" I have not talked about is the .5 acre of intact woodland at the very rear of my property, adjacent to the new woodland garden. That "little forest" is a long term project that will eventually become a natural destination and end point of the current natural landscaping.

What I found most disturbing about the little forest after purchasing the property was the entire lack of even a SINGLE native plant (either herbaceous or woody); yet the entire area was impenetrable with exotic invasive herbacous weeds. And, overhead, all the mature trees were non-native English Oaks, Pinus sylvestris, Acer platanoides, etc. This is understandable, I suppose, considering to long history of settlement of this tiny town, and the origin of most settlers.

I am sure the time I am spending determined to turn the "little forest" back into something "native" would be seen as a huge waste of energy by most people; but it gnaws at me. I obviously had to make a first decision about the trees---and obviously one does not cut down healthy mature trees, no matter their origins. But I did spend the first year (one of Henry's first "jobs" for me) clearing the area of "weed trees" (mostly poplars), and opening up the understory so that what was left could grow in a more healthy manner.

Year two and three I aggressively began eradicating the exotic herbaceous plants on the forest floor. This year I will continue that task. In between, in areas I felt where "clean enough" I began to scatter the remnants of my seed cleaning (all the chaff of native woodland species), as well as seed that remained at the end of any particular seed season. I already have large areas full of Clintonia seedlings and Allium tricoccum is firmly entrenched.

Large flats of Hepatica, Asarum canadense and Sanguinaria have begun germinating in the unheated greenhouse to be added to the equation.

Last year I also began planting the understory with typical woody species---Cornus alternifolia, Acer spicatum and pensylvanicum, etc, and at the fringes Fagus grandiflora and Amelanchier.

I will post more pictures as I keep working the area.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: ChrisB on March 29, 2012, 06:57:12 PM
What a huge task, Kristl.  But its very clear, a labour of love....
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on March 29, 2012, 09:51:47 PM
And before i make the official switch to 2012, let me bring you up to date on the progress of the (non-native) parts of the garden (mostly fronting the street).

I moved into my tiny bungalow on 3/4 acres at the end of July, 2009.
The first two pictures show the front, as it was.
The only flower bed was in front of the house, mostly full of weeds and plants I had no interest in keeping.

Phase one autumn of 2009, soil and building rough planting areas; at this stage, just to heel in all the plants I brought with me, which had been sitting in pots since spring of 2009 before being moved across the country.

Plants were roughly designated spaces and quickly planted before winter.

Simultaneously I also constructed a rock garden of whatever rocks I could find and drag home (all way too small).

In 2010 I continued on the side yards, and put up a greenhouse. This fell down immediately during a bad storm in the winter of 2010-11.

In 2011 the fallen greenhouse was re-built and I constructed a side fence to shield my back yard from the street.
The fence will be continued this year to the front, to shield me a bit more from the street and traffic.

The last pictures is the front garden as of late 2011, and where I will begin again this year.






Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Paul T on March 30, 2012, 04:24:06 AM
Brilliant, Kristl.

I can understand why you had the non-native forest as a bug bear..... it would get me too.  While I would quite probably make a mix of exotic and native if I were to own a forested block, I'd likely keep those as separate areas.  Admittedly though, my "native" would probably include the majority of stuff that wasn't local native but from other parts of the country.  It will be fascinating to see what this becomes over time.  I look forward to your pics.

And doesn't your front yard look wonderful now!!  :o
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: fermi de Sousa on March 30, 2012, 05:41:59 AM
Your place looks amazing, Kristl.
I hope if we ever get across to Eastern Canada that you'll allow us to visit!
cheers
fermi
PS as you know, I've succumbed yet again and put in another order to "Gardens North" - prompted by the notice of your April Sale! ;D
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Tim Ingram on March 30, 2012, 11:57:21 AM
What a lovely scene that last picture is - the neighbours are likely to have a fun time watching all those unfamiliar plants appearing! Very grateful for the fascinating seed I had earlier; with our warm early spring weather quite a bit is now germinating. Look forward to seeing how the garden develops.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: Kristl Walek on March 30, 2012, 12:51:31 PM
There are no other rock gardens in town, or woodland gardens, for that matter, either traditional or native. So I have no idea how the development of my landscape has been viewed except that I am surely known by the never-ending piles of rocks, soil and gravel that always seem to be somewhere in the front yard being put to some new use.

People passing on the sidewalk as I work have always commented "will look good when it's finished" which used to annoy me to no end---but then a front garden is usually seen as a simple, streamlined affair with foundation plantings; something to frame the architecture of the house. But my intention has always been to create a garden there that will make the ugly, entirely uninteresting house disappear over time.

And of course, I am a gardener and have no interest in a "finished" garden and intend to stretch out the work for as long as necessary. As it is the only sunny area on my property, there are also two more rock gardens to come, as well as a trough area. The partial fence that will be added this year will connect to the one in my side yard and provide more privacy on the non-sunny side away from the rock garden and create, I hope, a sense of a "courtyard" for the alpines.

The fence will come up along the red brick house you see in the last picture, then across towards the house, following the street/sidewalk towards the rock gardens, but will stop about 60% way of the way across (more like a partial screen), definining as well the adjacent "exotic" woodland garden that runs on the left side of the picture (the street side) and goes around the corner to the side fence. In the very corner of that woodland garden is a Magnolia sieboldii, which is hard to see in the picture. Across the path, at the corner of the house is an Oxydendron arboreum, and further along a Cornus kousa Satomi. There are also various Japanese maples in the woodland bed. Most of my Hellebores, Podophyllums, Glaucidium, Anemonopsis, etc are here as well.
Title: Re: My Bit Of Heaven....2011
Post by: ranunculus on March 31, 2012, 02:08:41 PM
Hearty congratulations on your beautiful works in progress, Kristl ... both emotional and horticultural!  :D