Continuing August 8th Ramble

So I’m rambling along and take a second look at what looks like a flowering Spruce.  Well not quite, but there’s a distinctive little white flower coming up through the branches.

Spruce Cockle

I think to myself, I’ve seen that somewhere in a flower book so I snap an extra picture or two to capture it’s  striped bulge.  Sort of cute.

Different

The name is attractive.  It’s a White Cockle.  Unfortunately no one has much good to say about this one. Noxious, invasive, and difficult-to-control, a farmer’s pest.  The story of “wild flowers of Red Deer”, I’m afraid.

I check out a thicket of bushes near the creek which contains a nice-sized patch of Saskatoon bushes.  It is interesting because this is a generous tangle of many of the plants often associated with Saskatoons.  Wild roses, Baneberries, an occasional Wolf Berry, Red-osier Dogwood, Wild Raspberries,  Chokecherries, and tall grasses.  Wading through I think of how much more cautious I would be in Ghana.  This isn’t exactly rattlesnake territory here and we don’t have much else poisonous in the way of reptiles in Alberta.

Here are some of the fruits from that tangled growth.

Red-osier Dogwood- Don't eat these

Wild Raspberries- more flavour than domestic but just enough around for "a taste"

Choke-cherries. A week ago they were still green. Still not ripe enough for picking.

Saskatoons at height of pick- I picked a couple of ice cream buckets full out of this patch.

On to the meadow, which, unlike the thicket is “disturbed land” dominated by  invaders: Dandelion, Canada Thistle, Two-grooved Milk-Vetch. The insects seemed happy.  Mosquitoes,  and small rather non-descript butterflies- white, blue, yellow rise when you brush through the grass.  This week they’ve been joined by small hoppers, and red dragonflies, not the iridescent blues that were around earlier.

The disturbed meadow

He stayed still

First of the Fall colours

On to the Bower Woods themselves. The Caragana pods are plump and full with an occasional brown one.

Coming closer to popping time

This is Aster season.

Smooth Blue Asters

But what really caught my eye were a couple of fungi as big as small dinner plates.  No interesting colours- but BIG.

Time for a new table setting

I assume toxic unless proved otherwise

And that’s sort of what was on offer.

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