Kate's Blog

Jul 10

Favourite and not-so-favourite native plants

When it comes to native plants, I like them all! From the Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense), for which you have to get down on your hands and knees in order to appreciate its lovely three-petalled maroon flower – to the lofty Flat-topped Aster (Doellingeria umbellata) with its clusters of white-petalled flowers set off by yellow centre disks, making for a creamy effect.

But I do have favourites. And I also have reservations.

The number one example of qualified affection comes with the spiderwort. The species I have is Tradescantia ohiensis; like others in the genus, the flower has three petals and opens early in the day, closing by around noon. Ohio Spiderwort is a wonderful deep blue with six bright yellow anthers (those are the pollen-bearing parts of the stamens) and strappy blue-green leaves. When visited by a brightly coloured bee (I believe the Agapostemon virescens is the one in the photo below), the effect is deeply satisfying.
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May 24

The plant nursery is closed. Knowledge sharing continues

Welcome to my website. I regret to say that I closed the plant nursery last fall. But I continue to offer on-site consultations and other services. Services / information / plant list  I have kept the plant list, as well as other resources that have accumulated, including book reviews, books that are still for sale, lists of the native plants you are likely to find at mainstream commercial nurseries - as well as of invasives you are likely to find on offer at said nurseries, plants which are best avoided. And I will continue to write a blog. Keep in touch by subscribing (see blog update box at left).
Apr 13

My Wild Lupines aren’t really wild

I had a disappointment yesterday.

My first lupine seeds germinated – it's such an exciting moment when one sees the soil pushed aside by the curl of an emerging cotyledon (the first leaf)!

I had planned for some time to write about the importance of growing Wild Lupines, which are the host plant for three butterflies classified as extirpated in Ontario. Extirpated means that they once lived in the wild here, that they still survive somewhere else in the world, but no longer eist in the wild in this province.

The Karner Blue (Plebejus melissa samuelis) and the Frosted Elfin (Callophrys irus) rely exclusively on the Wild Lupine, it is the only plant their caterpillars are able to digest. The Wild Lupine is also the host plant for the Eastern Persius Duskywing (Erynnis persius persius), although this butterfly can use Wild or False Indigo (Baptisia australis) for food. In all three cases the last sightings were in the 1980s, in two areas in southwestern Ontario.

My seed has been collected from my own plants, the parent plant having been grown from seed labelled Lupinus perennis (Eastern, Wild or Sundial Lupine) that I purchased a few years ago from a large Ontario-based seed company.
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