All posts tagged: plant


If you have a Crabapple Tree in your yard, you know there can be such a thing as too many crabapples. If you offer your crabapples to the local wildlife –  deer, rabbits, squirrels, foxes, bears, raccoons or coyotes for instance –  you won’t ever have to deal with too many crabapples. You might end up with wild life problems, however… I planted six Purple Spire Columnar Crabapple trees a few years ago. This year we harvested the three crabapples you see in this photo. Too many crabapples might not be a problem for some time. Plant Profile Common Name: Purple Spire Columnar Crabapple Scientific Name: Malus x ‘Jefspire’ Hardiness: to Zone 3 Growth: Purple foliage; full sun; 10 to 20 feet tall (8 meters); 5-10 feet wide (2.5 meters); columnar form; slow growing Blooms: Sparse pink flowers in spring. Fruit: Flavorful but often very tart Origin: A seedling from the controlled cross ‘Thunderchild’ and ‘Wijcik made by Dr. David Lane of the Summerland Research Station in British Columbia If you plant crabapples, don’t count …

Mountain Ash Berries

The Mountain Ash tree is a member of the Sorbus genus. The fruit is not only safe for humans to eat, it is a favorite of many types of birds. Mountain ash berries hang on the tree well into the winter, making it a good source of cold-weather bird nutrition. In Celtic and Norse folklore, the Mountain Ash was called a Rowan or Witchwood tree because it was believed they had magical properties. If you have read the Harry Potter books, you might remember that Rowan Wood was prized for making wands. It is commonly stated that no dark witch or wizard ever owned a rowan wand, and I cannot recall a single instance where one of my own rowan wands has gone on to do evil in the world. – Mr. Ollivander, Harry Potter books – This site about Wand Woods was of particular interest to me because the Red House woods not only have a Mountain Ash tree, they have numerous other trees that are good for making wands: several apple trees, many …

In the Woods

Everything in the country, animate and inanimate, seems to whisper, be serene, be kind, be happy. We grow tolerant there unconsciously. – Fanny Fern – The only people I am aware of who don’t have troubles are gathered in peaceful, little neighborhoods. There is never a care, never a moment of stress and never an obstacle to ruin a day. All is calm. All is serene. Most towns have at least one such worry-free zone. We call them cemeteries. – Steve Goodier – This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Serene.

Leaves in the Fall – When the Smoke Cleared

Smoke from wildfires in British Columbia settled into Alberta for much of the summer – but it finally cleared late last week – when it snowed… Today was the first day that more normal early fall weather arrived. It was a perfect day, one you wish you could bottle and save for winter. Layers of clouds piled up all the way to the snow capped mountains (which you can just see along the horizon if you imagine hard enough.)  Mixed green and gold foliage contrasted with the changing colours just beyond the fence line. Wild raspberry leaves are turning colour – they stand out in sharp contract to the layers of greenery that haven’t yet responded to the frosty nights. The spider web layer – fortunately clearly visible or I would have walked right into it! What is the first thought that pops into your mind when you hear the word ‘Layered’? This week’s Photo Challenge is Layered.

How Local is Local? Test Case – My Carrots

The movement to eat locally grown food can be relatively easy, or impractically hard, depending on how strictly you follow it. Kris Vester, president of Slow Food Calgary, describes a locally grown organic product as one that is grown locally, is free of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers and is produced in a way that does not use fossil fuels or any other matter that may affect the environment for future generations. This definition made me think about the carrots I just harvested from my garden. Geographically, they are as local as you can get. They are free of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. I didn’t use fossil fuels to put the seeds into the ground or get the carrots out of the ground. But what about the seeds themselves? How did the seed company grow and harvest them? How were they transported to the stores where they were sold? I used a fossil fueled vehicle to go buy the seeds and bring them home. The Car Guy used a fossil fueled vehicle to pick …

Bottlebrush Plant

One of the most prolific bushes in our Arizona yard is the Bottlebrush. Behind the bottlebrush is our Oleander hedge, also a prolific flower producer this time of year! Each bottlebrush bush produces an abundance of bright red blooms made up of masses of stamens with the pollen at the tip of each filament. Plant Profile Common Name: Bottlebrush Scientific Name: Callistemon Hardiness: USA zones 8 through 11; can withstand low temperatures of 20-25 degrees F Growth: evergreen shrub; full sun to partial shade Blooms: red bottlebrush shape flowers This week’s photo challenge is Prolific.

Canada Thistle – Success Breeds Contempt

There is no denying the beauty of the flowers of the  Canada Thistle. Unfortunately, the plant’s prickly nature and highly successful ability to propagate, have caused it to be labeled a noxious weed in most of Canada and about 35 U.S. States. Ironically, it isn’t even native to Canada, having come from the Mediterranean region and southeast Europe. It was likely a stowaway in contaminated hay and grain seed brought in during early colonization in the 17th century. The early residents of New England (USA) blamed the appearance of the thistle on the French traders from Canada, but historians now believe the thistle arrived in both countries at about the same time. So, like the Canada Goose and Canadian Clipper storms, the thistle joined the ranks of things that Canadians might be blamed for. When I looked for a quotation about the thistle, the most popular one by far was this one which shows the undesirability of the thistle in comparison to other flowers: I want it said of me by those who knew me …

Golf Carts and Corn Stalks – After Flood Perspectives

Our eyes are side by side – we just naturally look at life in a horizontal perspective! In the aftermath of the Flood at Hidden Valley, Alberta, a few things that were once vertically aligned are now in a horizontal position. This golf cart near the 4th green has become a little greenhouse for what looks like a sunflower plant! I turned the camera and took a vertical shot of the 4th fairway. It is now a lush forest of new poplar saplings and – a few more sunflower plants. I continued walking along the 4th, past the Half Way house, then to the 6th green and bunkers. In addition to much more beach area, I found a corn plant. This vertical photo shows the lush green growth of the grass – and a few more of the many corn plants in that area! The Car Guy and I think that bird feed must have been scattered by the flood waters. The wet, nutrient rich silt encouraged the seeds to germinate and grow very quickly.  …

Poked – Barbed Wire and Rose Thorn Macros

I hate weddings. Old people would poke me saying ‘You’re next’. They stopped when I started going up to them at funerals and poking them, saying, ‘You’re next’. – Author Unknown Although it isn’t very polite to poke someone with your finger, the only thing that might get hurt is someones feelings. Not so if you get poked with one of these metal menaces. Do you know what it is? Not quite as dangerous, but painful none the less, are the thorns on a rose bush. I don’t think there are a pair of gardening gloves that can protect your hands when you try to prune one of these plants. The rose is just one of many plants with very prickly personalities!