Posts Tagged Wild flowers

Red Deer – Sept 16

We have had so many dreary days – one following the other in a drizzle of rain under grey skies, that I was beginning to despair of catching any Fall colour on film.  When it looked like we might have a break in the clouds this afternoon I grabbed a camera and went out.  At that, it looked like the break would be short.

Autumn bird house

Sunflower before storm

Sure enough, I wasn’t more than a mere three blocks from home when the rain started again.  I stuffed the camera in my pocket and turned back. To my surprise, by the time I had retraced my steps, the rain had blown past, the sun shone, white clouds floated in blue sky.  Needless to say, I headed out again.

I went up to Taylor Drive.  Just across it there is a meadow that I love, the remnant of a farm that still dares to exist next to the city.  The developers have plans for it but for a short time more it is still ours to enjoy.  I took these pictures walking along it’s weathered fence.

Wild things grow

Rose leaves turn red in the Autumn

A last Golden Rod still blooms

And like Malcolm Muggeridge, you sometimes look around and see a cross


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Bower Woods, September 3

What really pushed me out on a walk today was to check on the the Caragana bushes I’ve been tracking since first blossom.  I thought I had left it too late, but I was just in time.  If you stand near a Caragana bush at this time of year and listen carefully you will hear the soft pop, pop, pop of  pods splitting and spitting forth their seed.

Ripe Caragana Seeds

Curled Horns of a Split Pod

Then I figured I should take a look around at what was happening.  The last time I walked Red Deer trails was on August 15th.  Even then you could see signs of the coming Autumn.  However, truth be told,  most things are still green though the wild roses are taking the lead with changing leaves.

Wild Rose Leaves

It’s as though the  Woods are poised waiting for the curtain to go up on Fall.  Today I noticed  the absence of the small butterflies so abundant two weeks ago.  The Sow Thistles that then boldly demanded attention with their yellow blooms, today blended their whites with those of the Canada thistles. The purple vetch that has bloomed furiously all summer, building mounded islands in the disturbed meadow, has given itself over to the making of seed too. Not a blossom to be seen.

Vetch pods

Smooth purple asters were still plentiful, though looking more tousled than before.

That consummate hustler, the Canada Thistle, was unfortunately abundant.   Not my favourite plant by a long shot, but there were so many they just begged to be photographed.

Field of Canadian Thistle in Seed

Canadian Thistle- ready to fly

Many red rose hips in evidence.  Also a variety of plants sporting inedible berries.


One berry per plant

Cool Purple stripes

Blue belled berries

Oh yes, and an abundance of fresh mushrooms up and making the most of the end of summer.

Some of many Fungi in the woods

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Red Deer Trail – August 15th

And what did the Magpie and I see on our walk to the  Bower Woods and back today?

A sea of Goldrenrod

And a single Goldrenrod plant

More and more and more Smooth Purple Asters

And just a few

Toadflax - Butter and Eaggs

A Mint plant of some variety

Cow Parsnip Seed

Caragana Pods going brown

A Canopy of Orange Mountain Ash Berries

And also,

the first hint of Fall in the leaves across the park

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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.


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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Urban Trails – Red Deer- August 8th

Just a few days late with tracking what’s happening to the progression of summer here in Red Deer –  what with picking Saskatoons,  traipsing off to Drumheller,  putting some effort into Hebrew and keeping down the dust in the house and so forth.

Didn’t initially think a lot was happening when I headed out Sunday afternoon, but there’s always room for a few surprises.

One was that  Sow Thistles  had taken the stage in a big way- all of a sudden their lanky height was everywhere topped with bright yellow blossoms. Some Thistles were over my head.

Reaching for the big blue yonder

Some were making a cooperative effort to outgrow young Trembling Aspen Poplars.

If enough of us do this together!

Another was going for the floral arrangement effect against a pine.

Upper Class Urban

And what’s wrong with the beauty of this blossom?

Mouse click on me, and then again for the close-up effect

Even it’s seed head reminds one of a white kitten.

White kitten fur

There, you see.  Sow thistle is taking over.  The rest of August 8th will have to go into the next blog.

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Flowers in Drumheller

In the Badlands

After visiting the Royal Tyrrell  Museum our most urgent desire was for a picnic table in the shade to eat lunch at.  And we found one near the abandoned coal mine.  Just past mid-day in what comes about as close to a desert environment as Alberta allows, it didn’t seem like a likely time or place in which to photograph wild-flowers.

It wasn’t, but a few things grew.



Silver and Gold

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Flowers at Dry Island Buffalo Jump

It’s fun to take pictures, come home, and page through “Wildflowers Across the Prairies” or some such, to find a name for my most recent “discovery”  And there it is- correctly cataloged, described with precise scientific wording. “LEAVES are opposite, ovate, with a rounded base and pointed apex. They are. . . ”

“So what’s the point?, you say.  “You have discovered nothing new. It’s in print already, and scattered over the internet to boot!”   Ah, but these photos represent particular flowers, on a particular day, in a particular location which I, myself, saw.  If I share them with you you might be motivated to search out your own experiences.

I was thinking of it this morning in terms of spiritual experience.  God is not new, and with him there is no shadow of change.  He is the Alpha and Omega, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  For thousands of years people have recorded his works and their experiences of his presence and intervention.  And yet his work of grace to me is not diminished because another has known him.   In fact, a particular joy of growing in the knowledge of God is to compare notes with others.

Anyway- back to topic.  Here are some of the flowers we enjoyed finding at the Buffalo Jump.

Prairie Sunflower

Sunflower on the flats

Wild Blue Flax

Pasture Sage

Prairie Coneflower Group

Prairie Coneflower

Tufted Fleabane

Western Wild Bergamot - scented like Earl Grey Tea

Purple Prairie-Clover

Purple Prairie-Clover


Lichens on Rock

Silver Buffaloberry - This particular stand of bushes is special because my father introduced me to it his last summer.

Buffalo Berries- not quite ripe

Hairy Golden Aster - just coming into bloom

Scarlet Mallow

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