And I do mean FLOWERY! I was digging through my photo files a couple of days ago, when I came across this shot of one of the large perennial beds at the Silver Springs Botanical Garden here in Calgary, photographed on a trip I took out there in July of last year. A sight for winter-weary eyes, that’s for sure!
Today’s flower is an interesting one (and a native, to boot!) – woolly gromwell (Lithospermum ruderale). According to Plants of Alberta (France Rover, Richard Dickinson), there are only thirty species of the Borage family growing wild in Alberta, of which this is one. In early summer, the west slopes of Nose Hill here in Calgary are dotted with these strange spiky-leaved plants, in full bloom.
What ruderal plants are common where you live? I always think of fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium, syn. Chamerion angustifolium) – in mid-summer, it is simply spectacular in roadside ditches and in mountain meadows.
Yes, it’s not a plant most people are fond of here; there’s a very good reason quite a few species are on our province’s invasive plants list. But I have a fascination with thistles – there’s all that geometry and architecture about them, especially when they’re not in full flower – so when I found this specimen in an overgrown back alley a block from my home in early July of last year, I was keen to get some photos of it. This isn’t the ubiquitous Canada thistle (Circsium arvense) – rather, I think it is Carduus nutans, nodding thistle, sometimes called musk thistle.
Of course, while I was hunkered down on the ground with my camera, busily snapping away, a city bylaw officer drove into the alley to investigate. What he thought of my antics, I’ll never know, as he (thankfully!) didn’t stop the car to talk to me…but I do know that less than a week later, that alley was sprayed very thoroughly with weed killer.
This wasn’t planned, of course – it was a case of “I’ll just stuff this plant into that currently unoccupied bit of soil” – but the colour combination of ‘Flashing Lights’ dianthus and yellow flax makes me smile. Especially as it is now the end of November, and June, when I took this photo, seems like a very distant memory….
Back in September, I came across this water-loving marsh smartweed (Polygonum amphibium var. emersum) along the recently-flooded shoreline of Beaver Mines Lake in southwestern Alberta. It’s not a plant I was previously familiar with, but I did some searching and found that it is a member of the buckwheat family and a North American native, alongside a large number of other smartweeds. According to my reading, some smartweeds are considered invasive species in certain provinces and states, but none seem to appear on the Alberta list. Do any smartweeds grow where you live?
Here’s a flashback to a gorgeous sunny morning in mid-June, and these new Supertunias from Proven Winners were really putting on a show in my garden. What do you think of the brilliant green edge on ‘Picasso in Purple’?
(You can preview the 2017 collection from Proven Winners here).
‘Autumn Joy’, indeed. As always, I am delighted by this ubiquitous Sedum (I mean Hylotelephium) – it is seriously the very last plant blooming in my garden, bravely weathering multiple heavy frosts and more than one snowfall. But this might actually be it for the year.