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Posts Tagged ‘wildflowers’

water

The provincial park at  Rainbow Haven Beach can attract thousands of visitors on a hot summer day.   The large sandy shore is beautiful and the cool water can be refreshing in the heat.  A network of boardwalks leads to different sections of the beach, allowing visitors to walk among the grassed sand dunes without having to disturb the ecosystem.

rainbow haven 1

Parking lots fill quickly, so vehicles line the sides of nearby roads, where they are often ticketed if wheels are found touching the pavement.  Lifeguards, washroomsand change rooms with an outdoor shower are all available throughout the summer months.  Volleyball is a popular activity on the beach, attracting many young people.  The numerous plastic toys that are left behind indicate the large number of children who are kept busy playing in the sand.

rainbow haven 2

Over the years I’ve noticed a decline in bird and marine life along this shore. Intensive human activity, even if it’s limited to a single season, has an effect on wildlife that cannot be denied.

mussel bed at rainbow haven beach during low tide

Plovers no longer nest in the grassed areas, which is probably just as well, since many dog owners ignore the signs that instruct them to keep their pets on a leash.  Sensitive sandpipers have moved further into the quieter watershed area behind the beach.  Seashells have become more scarce over the years, as have the crabs and sea stars that were once common tidepool residents.  Only seagulls remain, if they are present at all, lured by the garbage left behind by visitors.

statice

Wild Statice grows in the park.  Sometimes called Sea Lavender, it will be a bright purple once it’s in full bloom.  This plant is often used in both dried and fresh floral arrangements.  It is illegal to remove plants or animals from a provincial park.

Managing parklands in a way that allows people to enjoy nature while minimizing the negative effect on the ecosystem is an ongoing challenge.  If you visit this beach, take care to leave with only your memories.  Let only your footprints remain behind on the sand.

For all posts about Rainbow Haven Beach see here.

This post updated August 23, 2015.

All text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2009 and 2015.

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ragged robin

Ragged Robin flowers grow wild in the yard.  They just popped up a few summers ago and I’ve been mowing around them ever since.  They’re too pretty to cut down.

daisy patchI used to mow around the Oxeye daisies too but now restrict their growth to mostly a large circular bed in one corner of the yard.  Once they’re done blooming, I mow the area flat.

Wild flowers require no special care.  They grow where God has planted them (or I’ve transplanted them) and need no extra watering beyond what rains down.  They’re not as prone to blight and insect damage as introduced species seem to be, and the slugs don’t have much of an apetite for them.

Unfortunately, these plants are often seen as weeds and tend to be either tolerated or eradicated with great effort from city lawns.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

~ William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

Whether or not a plant is considered a weed is a matter of perception.  Poet William Blake believed that ‘If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.’  Signs of innocence are close at hand but it’s up to us to open our eyes, take notice and try to understand them.  ‘Everything that lives is holy’ and can bring us in touch with that which is infinite.  What positive things might happen today if we were willing to abandon our pre-conceived, limited notions of beauty and abundance?

shore birds in flight

Nature in its many forms possesses qualities that can connect us to this holy state.  From sandpipers on the ocean’s shore to doves on city streets, these signs of innocence are ready to give us a glimpse of the infinite and the eternal, if only we would adjust our focus.

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Summer spills her golden days,
Upon the earth in lust displays.

~ Nora Bozeman

black eye susan

Warm August days bring forth blooms of a yellow color that weren’t noticeable on the landscape a few weeks ago.  These cheerful flowers have a golden glow that mimics the bright summer sun.

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are native to North America and are desirable in gardens for their bright color and quality of low-maintenance.  They’ve been used by native people to treat a variety of ailments from snake bites to earaches.   These yellow daisies  have a flat open design that is especially attractive to butterflies.

wild flowers and grass

Evening-primroses (Onagraceae) open at sunset and close by noon the following day.  Also known as sun cups, they are pollinated by moths that fly from flower to flower during the night hours.  The young shoots of this plant can be eaten in a salad while the roots can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable.  Yet another name for this plant, King’s Cure-all, reveals its myriad medicinal uses, from pain-relief to cough suppression.

light yellow flowers

I haven’t had any luck identifying the plant with light yellow flowers shown above.  It grows profusely along the Salt Marsh Trail.  Does it look familiar to anyone?

Update August 6th:  I’ve discovered that this plant is most likely Sea Radish which is in the Mustard family (cruciferae).

hawkweed

Canada Hawkweed is also a native plant, found growing along roadsides and railway tracks.  Since the trail along the salt marsh follows the old Blueberry Express train track, it’s no surprise that it’s found along there.  Rough Hawkweed, which has hairier stems, grows in my lawn in early July.  Usually considered a weed, it derives its name from the old belief that it was eaten by hawks to improve their eyesight.

golden rod

A few Golden Rod plants are in bloom along the Salt Marsh Trail but not yet in my yard.  Ever since I was a child, their blooming has been a sign for me that the summer was winding down. There are numerous varieties of this plant.  Larger ones have very rigid stalks and can grow several feet tall.

Take time this month to drink in the beauty around you.  If you don’t have a garden of your own, take an extra bit of time to enjoy the flowers growing freely along roadsides.  Enjoy these golden days because…

Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

~ William Shakespeare

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wildflowers

Have you ever entered a clearing in a forest and suddenly discovered something so unexpectedly beautiful that it almost seemed otherworldly?  This happened to me this morning.  One moment I was on a familiar trail, and the next, I was stepping into unknown territory, lured by wildflowers on the edge of a small meadow.

field of flowers

It was very early morning, and in the twilight, the lupins looked like a blue haze over the green meadow grasses.  I wondered how many people had come upon this place at different times and felt a similar sense of awe.

gnarly tree

In one corner, a gnarly tree, bare of leaves, looked over the clearing with its arms raised in exclamation.  It had likely seen this lovely display on numerous occasions during its lifetime.  But such loveliness never fails to impress, regardless of how many times one sees it.  Our long, harsh winters work hard to erase the memory of such visions from one year to the next. 

Such sights in late spring refresh the spirit and are well worth the effort of trodding off the beaten track into unknown territory.  In more places than one can imagine, fields of wildflowers are waiting to be discovered.  God has built them.  Will we come?

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