Tuesday, October 27, 2015

From our summer trip to the Prairies

 One of my photos of the plant
Common Name:    Lesser Bladderwort
Scientific Name:    Utricularia minor
You may have heard of the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) and its carnivorous eating habits, but did you know that there are other plants that hunt? In fact, the bladderwort plant (Utricularia) is 100 times faster than the Venus flytrap.
The bladderwort plant lives in fresh water and is such a successful hunter that it doesn’t grow any roots. This plant catches its prey by using tiny capsules, which have doors on them that are lined with very sensitive bristles. If a small water creature touches the bristles “smooosh” goes the door and the prey is tightly sealed inside. The bladderwort then secrets acids to digests its prey and within two hours the plant is ready to reset the trap to try and catch another tasty snack.

True free-floating bladderworts are annual plants that lack roots but have flowers on erect stems above the water. The entire floating plant is only about 8 inches tall. Flowers emerge above the surface and are yellowish with 3-lobes and a spur underneath. Underwater the leaf branches or petioles are fleshy and inflated with air which allows them to float. Leaves are whorled with 4 to 10 lateral leaves which fork often giving them a very delicate capillary appearance. Bladderworts are unique in that the underwater leaves bear small oval “bladders” that trap and digest small aquatic creatures. Bladderworts are usually found in quiet shallow, acidic waters and can form dense mats.

Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called “detritus”) for many aquatic invertebrates. Bladderwort has no known direct food value to wildlife.
------------- some quotes from web pages.  I did not know what this plant was, until I looked it up 
 We had a lunch stop at a lovely little park along the Assiniboine  River where these lilies were growing. 
 A wild orchid in captivity.  I cloned the messy background to black to feature the flowers.
 Roadside wild flowers, mostly clover in this photo.
 More from our lunch stop along the Assiniboine River.
As we drove on into Manitoba the sky and atmosphere was still polluted with  smoke from the huge forest fires in Northern Saskatchewan. Last year there were floods, this year it was fires. 

In my garden the trees are dressed in their Autumn best.  The figs are on the last of their crop production.  We have had over 100 figs this year.  I have a few preserved in syrup and frozen, for safe keeping.  There is leaf raking to be done, but the front tree still has most of its gorgeous color hanging on. 

I have been reading a lot lately.  I finished the William Lyon Mckenzie King book by Allan Levine, recently.  A very good read.  I am almost finished the I am Cyrus book.  A romantized version of his life, I am sure, but a fun, easy read.  For more historic information there is Jacob Abbott's historical version.  I have acquired Ray Kurzweil's The Age of Spiritual Machines, on my ipad.  It was written in 1999 and is a futuristic look at where technology is taking us at a faster and faster pace, until homo sapiens evolve into machines, before the 21st century is out.  It seems to me that technology is progressing at a dizzying pace, so he may be right. No doubt these fantastic computers will be able to solve all of our ecological problems.  Since we won't have to eat, any longer, that should not matter, too much.  It is a fantastic read, and reads like science fiction, but if you look at the author's credentials, you may want to get a copy of his book (s) too.   

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

More glorious Autumn colors

 The spectacular Virginia creeper with the Autumn Joy sedum in the foreground
 The pin oak in the woodland.  This is the view from over the garage roof.  The Japanese cedar just behind it is turning into its bronze winter colors.
 The tree peony leaves next to the evergreen that is beneath it, holding its stems up.  These two plants seem to grow nicely together.
 A small hosta in its lovely yellow foliage; although its color is now gone.  I see that this little hosta was in bloom.  I must have missed that when we were away, traveling.
 The hosta photos below and above are of the same plant taken 10 days apart.  This hosta is now totally yellow and beginning to fade to gray. 
As I am working on processing photos from our trip east in June/July I want to show you what the sun looked like in mid day, with all the smoke that covered most of the province of Sask. when we were there.  It looks rather pretty... this is exactly how my camera saw it, there has been no photoshop adjustments.  It was not very nice to live through those forest fires.  BC had the year of the great fires, also.  We are grateful for all the hard work of the fire fighters and the support personnel.    Let's hope Canada can make a better showing at the Climate Change Conference in Paris, this year.  http://unfccc.int/meetings/paris_nov_2015/meeting/8926.php

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Flowers and Autumn color

 The mock orange mentioned in previous post.  Too bad the camera cannot record the heavenly fragrance.
 Close up of the mock orange flowers.
 This hollyhock is in the border by the fig tree.  It is a gorgeous fushcia color, set off by the blue colors of the michaelmas daisies that surround it a cloud.  The hollyhocks in the front rectangle bed have disappeared.  I must get more of these double ones!
 This is a nerine that blooms in the bed next to the old garage.  The bigger lily like flowers in this same shade of pink are finished blooming, as is the clump of lovely blue Lily of the Nile flowers that are in the same area in the flower bed.
This is the wisteria that has climbed the western red cedar.  In the spring this cedar blooms and now it is in its Autumn colors.
This is the nicely colored peony leaves in the front rectangle bed.  I see the stake for the peony needs to be set upright. 
More Autumn color to follow.

Flowers and Fruit in October

 The michaelmas daisies are in bloom all over the garden.  The bees love them, although, I did not catch any bees on this bunch of flowers.
 I zoomed in on these cyclamen blossoms to make a selective focus on the flower in the middle of the circle of blooms. 
 this is more of the cyclamens.  I know that I planted a bulb or two here in the woodland, some years ago.  But they seem to be spreading nicely.  I also see some coming up in the back woodland area and one is now in bloom.  Very pretty for ground cover in the woodland. 
 This photo is from the 5th of October.  We have had an abundant crop of figs this year.  Although we were away during most of the summer and part of September, the fig tree seemed to get enough water to produce this 65 figs and there are still lots on the tree that are ripening.  The leaves are turning yellow and falling off, but as long as we get sunshine the fruit keeps on ripening.  The squirrel has been eating a few and leaving half eaten fruit behind. 
 I found this welsh poppy from some time ago and processed it for upload to a new community on Megashot.  These lovely little poppies self seed in the woodland and now in the moss garden also.  They are not in bloom now.
The david with Irish heather and michaelmas daisies in front and smoke bush in its autumn dress in the back.

We have been having some spectacular Autumn weather.  I cut back the buddlia bush today, so that I could get a photo of the mock orange shrub (Philadelphus) that is in full bloom now with a heady fragrance.  The woodland area seems to suit this plant very well.  In looking up the plant I find that it blooms in early spring and is deciduous.  Well, I do believe mine is ever green, and it certainly is in full bloom right now.  So my mock orange might be Philadelphus mexicanus 'Double Flowering' (Evergreen Double Flowering Mock Orange), but it is not double. I found this bit of information helpful:
" This is a climbing evergreen shrub that can clamber to 15-20 feet. If used as a groundcover the shrub will reach 3-5 feet tall and spread 15 feet. Very fragrant (they smell like Tuberose!) creamy double white flowers bloom in the late spring to summer and sometimes again in the fall. Plant in sun or part shade with regular watering in a relatively well-drained soil. It is hardy to at least 22° F. We long grew the single white Philadelphus mexicanus but this double white flowering form came to us in 1993 from the grassman John Greenlee. It had been planted in his Pomona garden by the late Dennis Shaw, an amazing landscape designer who worked at Marshall Olbrich and Lester Hawkins' legendary Western Hills Nursery. We have retained the descriptive name 'Double Flowering' for this plant but note that it is likely the same as the plant that we have more recently seen being offered as Philadelphus mexicanus 'Flore Plena'. Philadelphus mexicanus grows in the wild in Central and Southern Mexico and Guatemala. Long placed in the family Saxifragaceae, the genus is now considered to be in the Hydrangeaceae. The name Philadelphus was given to the genus in 1735 by Linneas in honour of Ptolemy Philadelphusm King of Egypt from 283 to 247 BC who was a patron of literature, science and art.  This description is based on our research and the observations we have made of this plant as it grows in containers at our nursery, in our own garden and in other gardens. We also appreciate receiving feedback of any kind from those who have additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Philadelphus mexicanus 'Dbl Flowering'."
photos to follow.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Colquitz River Stewardship

 This photo is from our walk along the main stem of the Colquitz River with the Peninsula Streams society, a group being formed to help in the stewardship of the River.  Colquitz Coalition is the umbrella organization of the environmental stewards operating within the Colquitz River Watershed.  The photo shows some of the soil erosion and the tree roots holding the River bank together.
 I am slowly getting my photos from our trip East processed.  This is the salt lake near Chaplin, Sask. There are better photos from when we stopped here on our way home. 
This is a photo from the Can Am Model T Ford meet held in the Langley, B.C. area.  It was a very well organized tour.  Thank you Mark and Suzanne for your attention to all the little details.  The signs posted at corners to turn were a very nice touch.
This is a photo of Hawthorn berries.  I learned this on our Colquitz River walk on the 29th of Sept.  I often see these little bushes sprouting up in my garden.  Now that I know what they are I shall have to leave some in my little woodland area.  I am sure the birds will love them. 
We have had beautiful weather the last week.  I have spent a bit of time in the garden, but due to meetings of one kind or another have not been out very much.  I am renovating the Japanese garden area a bit more, as the spruce tree has become too large for its spot.  The Harry Lauders Walking stick is crowding it out.  When I get it all removed I may move the miniature pine tree from the little rockery into its spot.  This should allow the moss to spread, as the fallen needles of the spruce seemed to kill the moss.  We have had very little rain, and really need more.  The leaves on the pin oak, the Virginia creeper and the other shrubs and trees are beginning to turn colors.  So far we have eaten 44 figs from our tree.  The second crop is ripening now and there will be a few more ready in a day or two.  The heathers,  michaelmas daisies, cyclamens, autumn crocus and few other perrenials are in bloom now.  I must wait for it to get a bit colder before I start to do the trimming of hedges, roses, clematis  and evergreens that I did not get done earlier.