nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘wildflowers

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Do you love picking berries, herbs, other plants from the garden? I think you’d like my book of poetry ‘within easy reach’ (Chapel street Editions, 2016). It is illustrated with my drawings and contains notes on various example of the edible ‘wild.’ Order it here.

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where we step

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my brother and I explore

the old home place, overgrown

and unused, the house fallen

into the cellar, a sock

tossed into the dresser drawer

but, barefoot not an option

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even shod, we are careful

of our feet – nails, glass, bricks

from the chimney, unease creeps

beneath the grass – we watch for

the water well, covered but

with rotted boards

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hard not to love where we step –

the mint enfolds our ankles,

rose and rosemary, our minds

chives lace our sneakers, fold

flowers from purple papers

lavender leans on the walls

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silver, graceful and wise,

the sage surveys our ruin,

thyme is bruised,

everywhere we step

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Stay safe.

All my best!

Jane

wild gardens

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As I look for ornamental plants that have escaped to other places in the landscape, I often find plants so lovely, it is hard to believe they have not been cultivated at one time.

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One of these is chicory (Cichorium intybus), a lovely blue flower. We found chicory growing on the Dugan Road west of Woodstock.

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22 flax Watson Settlement Rd

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Also known as blue sailors and, in French, chicoreé, chicory is a tall plant, seen along roadsides and in other waste places. Sometimes chicory is brought in loads of gravel (used for road maintenance) to locations where it is not usually found.

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27 chickory (2)

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Chicory has basal leaves resembling those of the dandelion.  When broken, the stem exudes a white milky fluid.

The bright blue flowers of chicory occur along the length of the almost leafless and somewhat zig-zag stem. Each flower is formed of a central involucre of tiny blue flowers and a disc of larger ray flowers.  The rays are square-cut and fringed.  The flowers follow the sun, closing by noon, or on overcast days.

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25 cropped chickory

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At least one gardener I know has successfully transplanted chicory to his garden.  I think I will keep a list of garden-worthy wildflowers during my treks this summer and perhaps write a poem to capture my virtual wildflower garden.

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This work was made possible by a Creations Grant from artsnb!

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All my best.

Jane 

 

 

 

Written by jane tims

July 15, 2020 at 7:00 am

abandoned gardens: wildflowers take over

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Finding abandoned house-sites where the house has been burned, rotted or torn down is not difficult. Sometime bits of the house are still visible. Sometimes the house-site is the only un-mowed part of a hayfield. Sometimes there are shrubs or flowers, remnants of the plants that once grew there.

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After a few years of abandonment, wildflowers and other plants that colonize disturbed or waste areas gradually take over. In our travels we have seen bedstraw (Galium spp.), spreading dogbane (Apocynum andossemifelium) and other invasives.

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7 old homestead Debec area

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On our drive to the area west of Woodstock, we saw lots of rough bedstraw, with its leaves in sixes (Galium asprellum), sprawling over abandoned areas. It forms a tangle across low pastures and ditches. The tangle looks springy and comfortable, the perfect mattress stuffing, but feels rough and sticky when rubbed backwards from stem to flowers, due to the plant’s rasping, hooked prickles.

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DSCN1254

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On Wednesday, we took a drive to the area north of Stanley to Centreville, a community settled in 1890 and then abandoned.  We revisited a property we saw in 2018, to try and identify a plant I had seen there. Spreading dogbane (Apocynum androssemifolium) has taken over the front of the property and is gradually spreading into the field.

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DSCN1248

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Not a very pretty name for a fragrant, nodding flower, pink and bell-like, with tiny red veins inside each flower.

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DSCN1251 cropped

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Although my project is about garden escapes, I think I need to mention the wild species that move the other way, from wild areas to areas that have been abandoned! It’s all about competition and so often, the wild species, adapted to living in our soils and climate. are the successful ones!

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This work is supported by a Creation Grant from artsnb (the New Brunswick Arts Board)!

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All my best.

Stay safe.

Wash your hands.

Jane 

Written by jane tims

July 10, 2020 at 7:00 am

wildflowers – Bladder campion

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One of my favorite roadside flowers is the Bladder campion, Silene vulgaris (Moench) Garcke.  The flowers are white, with five deeply lobed petals. The flowers protrude from an inflated, papery calyx, greenish, purple-veined and bladder-like. This time of year, the flowers are almost past.

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I love the scientific generic name Silene, derived from the name of a Greek woodland deity. Another common name for Bladder campion is maidenstears.

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The leaves of Bladder campion are edible, used raw in a salad or cooked in a stew.

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 4, 2017 at 7:14 am

wildflowers – Canada lily

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A drive this time of year through Grand Lake Meadows, along the old Trans-Canada Highway, will show you one of our prettiest wild flowers — Lilium canadense L., the Canada lily.

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The flowers are a glimpse of orange in vast fields of greenery. The flowers are down-ward pointing, reminding me of a chandelier of light. They bloom from June through August in the moist wetlands of this part of central New Brunswick.

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As the meadow winds flip the flowers upward, you can catch a glimpse of the dark red anthers and the spotted interior of the petals.

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 2, 2017 at 4:43 pm

review of ‘within easy reach’

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My book of poetry within easy reach (Chapel Street Editions, 2016) has been reviewed by James Deahl (Canadian Stories 20 (116): 66-67, August/September 2017).

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

July 31, 2017 at 7:41 am

a touch of Monet

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Last week, on a drive to Plaster Rock, we passed a pond along the Saint John River filled with water lilies (Nymphaea sp.).

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Lovely. Calming. And reminiscent, in the way they lay on expanses of open water, of Monet’s water lilies at Giverny.

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When I think of water lilies, I also remember Edgar Allan Poe’s short story Silence – “And the water lilies sighed unto one another….”

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So to add to these greats, I have my own snippet from my poem ‘Bear Creek Meadow by Canoe’ (published in Canadian Stories 14 (82 ), Dec 2011 ):

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dignity quiets our paddles

hushed voices heed

the diminishing echo

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pliant as stems of pickerel weed

we honour the whisper

of wild rice

the edgewise touching

of nymphaea and nuphar

amphibian eyes

in the harbour-notch of lily pads

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we are threaded by dragonflies

drawn by water striders

gathered in a cloak of water shield

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

 

Written by jane tims

July 24, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Wildflowers: Blue-eyed grass

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One of my favorite wildflowers in the fields around our cabin is Blue-eyed grass – Sisyrinchium montanum Greene.

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June, 2017

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Blue-eyed grass is not a grass at all, but a member of the iris family. It inhabits moist, open ground, fields and meadows, and blooms in late spring and summer. The plant is low and slender, with a deep blue flower and a bright yellow center, borne at the top of a straight, usually unbranched, stem. The stem is two-edged, flattened on the margins. The flowers are borne in the axil of a sharp, upheld bract called a spathe. In French, the plant is called Bermudienne. Montanum means ‘of the mountains’.

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June, 2017

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Blue-eyed Grass

Sisyrinchium montanum Greene

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I walk in grass

but it isn’t grass-

Sisyrinchium

it winks at me

with azure eyes

and I blink brown at them

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Blue-eyed Grass

stands straight and still

staunch Bermudienne

simple maid

with a watchful eye

and a sword above her head

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June, 2016

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

 

Written by jane tims

July 7, 2017 at 7:03 am

along New Brunswick’s roads

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New Brunswick is a beautiful province. We also have a great road system, both for those who want to linger and those who want to get through as fast as possible.

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This time of year I am amazed at the beauty of our four-lane Trans-Canada highway. I think the roadside has been seeded with a wild-flower mix but many are weedy species common in New Brunswick. Whatever their origins, the results are lovely.

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I have found these flowers in a quick sampling of the roadside:

Buttercup (Ranunculus sp.)

Lupin (Lupinus sp.)

Bird’s-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

Red Clover (Trifolium pretense)

Daisy (Leucanthemum sp.)

Viper’s Bugloss (Echium vulgare)

Yellow Hawkweed (Hieracium caespitosum)

Bedstraw (Galium sp.)

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farafara)

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

(plus many grasses, sedges and non-flowering plants contributing to the background of green)

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Long stretches of highway can be boring-beyond-belief, but, because of these expanses of bloom, I am enjoying our drives along the highway this summer.

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

 

Written by jane tims

June 26, 2017 at 7:41 am

pink lady’s slipper

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This time of year, my husband does an inventory of the Pink Lady’s Slippers (Cypripedium acaule) on our property.

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This year, he found 10. He only saw three last year but there have been as many as 15 in bloom at one time. We never pick them and try to keep our property natural and wooded.

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The Pink Lady’s Slipper prefers acidic soil and partly shady conditions, making our grey woods an ideal habitat. Our flowers are often a pale pink or white variety.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

 

Written by jane tims

June 23, 2017 at 7:00 am

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