Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Garden is a Riot of Colour!

These days the blooming flowers in Mrs. F.G.'s garden are just at their summer peak.  It will go on for a few weeks yet, but two days later as I write this, the Daylilies are already passing their best, as the first few are finished blooming.  But it's a treat to go out there and just sit on the patio surrounded by the colour and all the buzzing insects.

One of the views from the living room, pink and yellows to orange.

The deep orange 'Saugeen Sunrise' has always been ne of my favourites, locally bred and beautiful!

The rest range from yellow to a paler orange.

And two or three that are truly red.

We do have one very pale Daylily, one I'm tempted to call white, but not quite.

And a couple that are dark purple.

Daylilies are collected, bred and named based particularly on colour and colour combinations ike this.

Some petals are longer and narrow in shape.

The 'Saugeen sunrise' is another two-toned Daylily, but if you look closely you'll see that the edges of the petals on this one are wrinkled or wavy, another feature breeders looke for.  A great deal of the breeding is done by passionate gardeners who get really interested in Daylilies as a group.  We certainly enjoy them!

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Caterpillars and a Damselfly

It's the season for Monarch caterpillars to be munching away on the Milkweed, and we have several just outside the living room window.  Then a neighbour who's one of my loyal blog readers brought me in a quite dead insect they has taken from a spider web at the church.  It turned out to be a damselfly.

A Monarch or two have been dancing through the air over the backyard garden, but never stopping for long enough for me to get a picture.  But I guess they do stop long enough to lay eggs on the Milkweed, though they feed on various different flowers.  This is a picture I borrowed from a previous year.

This is the first photo Mrs. F.G. took of a Monarch caterpillar munching its way up a leaf.

This is all I got a shot of that morning, a little head emerging from beneath the leaf and munching away.

The next day I got a couple of much better shots.  These caterpillars are getting fairly large and will soon be hanging under the leaves as a chrysalis.

A final shot, those yellow, black and white stripes always marking Monarch caterpillars.  I am still very pleased with my new camera's zoom ability.

And this is the insect a neighbour brought over, quite dead, but interesting to look at up close.

Look at the blue colour on that long narrow abdomen.

So I looked up Damselflies, which I thought it was, and confirmed my suspicion.  Damselflies are light, narrower than Dragonflies, with smaller eyes.  It fit all the pictures.

However, when I tried to narrow it down to a species, I was stumped.  There are 23 species of Damselfly in Ontario, and a lot of them feature the colour blue!  I can rule out about half if them, but that leaves me with a dozen to choose from.  So you'll have to be happy with knowing it's a Damselfly.  And thanks Ron.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Spirals in Flowers

At this time of year, with the Echinacea or Coneflowers coming into bloom, the presence of spiral patterns in flowers becomes really obvious.  Fibonacci, an Italian mathematician from Pisa first described these spirals to the western world as early as 1202.  I don't pretend to understand the mathematics, but the spiral patterns are fascinating.

How's this for a spiral at the centre of a pink coneflower?

A common garden daisy has spirals too.

Here's a yellow coneflower just emerging into full bloom.

This is a very pink coneflower with really obvious spirals.

And just to show you that it's not only flowers, this is the fiddlehead of a Christmas Fern.

And a slender Maidenhair Fern.

Now I really could impress you if I could express all those spirals in numbers and equations, but that's way beyond me, in fact it's in a different universe!  I just like the pretty patterns.  And thanks to Mrs. F.G. for suggesting this topic.

We've had quite a bit of rain the past few days, but it's really good for the garden, the lawn, the trees, and the crops!  I'm watching a thunderstorm pass to the south of us as I write this.

A quick trip to emerg yesterday, just another skin infection, a constant hazard if you're paralyzed.  But the remarkable part was that I got there, was brought in immediately, transferred myself to the examining bed, and welcomed the doctor all in 15 minutes!  I was out of there with prescriptions in hand in less than an hour and a half - oh the joys of having a small town hospital about 3 blocks away!

Friday, July 22, 2022

My Friends the Weeds Part III

Yes, one more post on my friends the weeds, very pretty as some of them are.

Chicory has to be one of my favourites, and it often lines roadside around here.  The boulevard between two parking lots downtown was absolutely blue with them - until yesterday when I was down for coffee and they had all been roughly mowed down.

Close by was this Yarrow, with 3 taller blades of grass growing up through it.

There seems to be a lot of variation in daisies.  These are what I know as Daisy Fleabane, with tiny narrow rays.

And these are normal looking daisy flowers, but very short, the kind that comes up in your lawn, known as English Daisies..

A tiny one you probably won't even notice under your feet, often at the edge of lawns, is this little yellow flower, only a quarter-inch across.  It's Black Medic.

This is the tall spike of Teasel, not quite out in flower yet.

And this is Mallow.

And just to give you an idea of my frustration, this is the delightful mixture of Buttercups and grasses just around the corner, when I was starting out to gather all these photos as well as some of grasses.

And this was the spot the next day!  We seem to suffer from a never-ending dedication to getting rid of whatever beauty we can find, replacing it with the flowers of our gardens.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

'My Friends the Weeds' Part II

I'm continuing my posts covering the many 'flowers of the field' in bloom these days.  I'll get back to more interesting topics soon.

The colours of Sweet Pea amaze me every year, they're so bright!

And the Knapweed, even though it's a troublesome invasive weed in places, actually has a very pretty flower.

This is another favourite, because it's 'heliotropic', that is the bloom opens in the morning sun and then follows the sun during the day.

And this is the seedhead, the one that looks like a giant dandelion.

This bright yellow flower is St. John's Wort.

And this, just beginning to come out in pale yellow blooms, is Common Mullein, easily 6 feet tall..

Queen Anne's Lace, one of the very common flowers of the field in late August, is just beginning to bloom.

By the way, if you're wondering how 'Birdsfoot Trefoil' got its name, this picture shows you.  As you can see, the seed pods do resemble a bird's foot!

Monday, July 18, 2022

My Friends the 'Weeds'

It's the time of summer when those flowers most of you know as 'weeds' come into bloom.  These plants, which tend to grow in 'waste' corners or 'unused' bits of land, are remarkably hardy and usually spread easily through their seeds.  So I've been out gathering pictures, somewhat foiled by the municipal crews or private landowners who come along and mow down these 'flowers of the field'. 

Never-the-less I have persevered and gathered together nearly 3 dozen pictures.  Sorry if it's a topic that doesn't interest you, but I'm doing it for my own record, so bear with me - or just return in about a week.  This will take 3 posts to cover all I have to share.

Birdsfoot trefoil is one of the earliest of this group of flowers, and the most adaptable.  Here it is hanging over the concrete curb on a busy road; it will also infest lawns.  It's grown as an important crop, part of forage mixes.

Buttercups are an early and pretty one too, sometimes in large amounts in fields.  These ones were growing just around the corner and have since been mowed down.

This is Wild Chervil, a nasty invasive plant that spreads by producing billions of seeds.  It's found widely now in Grey County, and has moved into town.  Its leaves shade out other species so it forms large patches.

This is Field Bindweed, a notorious invasive plant that grows along curbs, infests crops and even infests lawns, like the one above.  It's virtually impossible to get rid of too.  But you gotta admit it has a pretty flower.

And this one is Hedge Bindweed, an almost identical flower and leaves, but triple the size.  I've never actually seen it before last year.

Of course there are lots of thistle, none of which we like very much.

I think we all know Milkweed, the plant that Monarchs lay their eggs on, depending on it as food for their caterpillars.  These are in a corner of a front lawn where the homeowner lets them grow, and we have left a few plants in the garden, right outside our living room window.  Already a tiny caterpillar on one of them.

And finally for this post, we all recognize the splash of white provided by Oxeye Daisies.