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May 12

The transitory glory of an Ontario spring

Spring ephemerals offer a magical display of wildlfowers that are with us for a few weeks, springing out of the moist leaf litter to enjoy the longer days of sunshine while the trees are bare, only to disappear when the closing canopy brings shade to the northern woodland floor.

Come summer, no trace is left of these perennials: the foliage dies back and the plant goes dormant. Because they have such a brief time to gather nutrients, removing flowers and especially leaves from these plants can kill them. Enjoy the beauty but restrain your urge to possess it. 

It’s an Ontario tradition to get out to see the Trilliums that carpet our deciduous woods in white. The magnificent Large-flowered Trillium (T. grandiflorum) – our provincial wildflower - is the most common but we also have Nodding Trillium (T. cernuum), Red Trilllium (T. erectum), Yellow Trillium (T. luteum) and Painted Trillium (T. undulatum). Seed is dispersed by ants.

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May 4

Where is the time?

Today I’m off to the Ontario Nature regional meeting in Penetanguishene (followed by a visit to Awenda Park), and tomorrow the day will be spent at Tiny Marsh provincial wildlife area, where there is a group working on a biological inventory (anyone can join, just email me if you’re interested).
Meanwhile spring has sprung and there are no longer enough hours in the day to get everything done – like updating my plant list.
So here, provisionally, is a list of the perennials that are to be added to the plant list ASAP. 
Culver’s Root, Tall Anemone, Wild Bergamot, Wild Ginger, Woodland Phlox, Canada Columbine, Maram Grass, Virginia Bluebells, Sundrops, Shooting Star, Blue Lupine, Sweet Grass, Ostrich Fern, Lance-leaved Goldenrod, Cardinal Flower, Pearly Everlasting.

Apr 26

Don't be seduced, don't be a Sallie Dookey

Just over a century ago, a gardener in Richmond, Virginia established a Japanese garden, importing plants from all over the world. Her name was Sallie Dookey. She died and her garden was left to the city.

In 1951, an entymologist noticed a new alien Asian insect, the hemlock woolly adelgid, on a Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) on a nearby property. It was thought to have come from Sallie Dookey’s garden. The Asian hemlocks and spruces that this parasite was known to feed on have resistance to the pest.

The North American hemlock does not.
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