If I recall properly, there are three lakes in the province of Alberta that share the name “Chain Lakes.” This is the southern one, near Nanton. I checked into the area’s history and apparently it used to be three small, linked lakes that drained into the nearby Oldman River via Willow Creek. When the south and north dams were built in 1966, this long (over 10 km), narrow (>500 m) sliver of a lake was created.
I took this rather moody photo from our boat, on a cool evening this past August. The skies were heavy with forest fire smoke.
I wonder how much soil is under that rock? I’m guessing, not much. And I’m not showing it in this photo, but there was snow clinging to the rocks just southeast of where I was standing. In July. This common willowherb (Epilobium ciliatum), a close relative of the (ahem!) even more common fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium*, also known as rosebay willowherb), is a mountain plant with heaps of beauty AND brawn.
*In another case of Nomenclature Gone Wild, fireweed was previously known as Epilobium angustifolium. I can’t yet find an explanation as to why the genus name was changed for this plant and not for common willowherb…but I’ll keep digging.
My poor bed at the community garden is toast, thoroughly fried by the prolonged heat we’ve had this summer. Really, there’s not much left to salvage now, just a few surprisingly decent shallots and straggling zucchini (and perhaps some potatoes if I ever get time to dig around and check). Even the sunflowers decided they had enough of the sun, but before they threw in the towel, they yielded a few not-so-shabby blooms.
These are ‘Paquito’, a dwarf branching cultivar, and this was my first year growing them. (Those of you who are members of the Alberta Gardening group on Facebook will have already seen this pic, but it’s a sunflower, and therefore, it’s impossible to groan about the repeat).
What is your favourite bloom in your garden right now? (If you can’t narrow it down to just one, give me a list!). Hope your weekend is wonderful!
Well, I still haven’t finished unpacking from our move and I’ve been filling in a ton of hours for all of my vacationing co-workers on top of my regular shifts (which is why the unpacking isn’t progressing)…but some much-longed-for hiking in the mountains is finally happening this summer! My brother and my hubby and I recently did a short trek to Ptarmigan Cirque, in Kananaskis Country. My hubby and I had been up there twice before, and I am always awed by the scenery. This go-around, the water pools were dried up from the heat and the waterfall was a bit on the skinny side; we also missed the peak wildflower bloom, but the place simply cannot ever disappoint. This is an immensely rewarding short hike for families and anyone who doesn’t want to tackle a difficult trek. The challenging part is completed first thing: you’re in the Highwood Pass*, so you start out at an elevation of 2,206 metres (7,239 feet) and then climb up – very quickly, pretty much all in the first kilometre – to 2,414 metres (7,923 feet). It’s a bit hard to breathe up there, plus there’s all that exercise you’re doing…
…and then you get to see views like this. Breathtaking, indeed!
One of my favourite places in the Rockies! The diversity of plant life up there is incredible….
*Which has the distinction of being “the highest paved pass in Canada.” Meaning, there is a really good road up there, a highway that is open to traffic only six months of the year, to protect critical wildlife habitat. The rest of the time, we can snowshoe and ski on sections of it (see here and here).
Yes, this plant is about as common here as wearing socks…well, except it’s summer and a blisteringly hot one at that and everyone is currently shod in sandals and…where was I? Yeah. Wild bergamot, sometimes called horsemint. Monarda fistulosa (syn. M. menthifolia, M. bradburrana). Socks in winter. Ahem.
It looks pretty marvelous, especially when photographed in the early morning. One of my favourite Alberta wildflowers. Me and the bees. 🙂