Flowers, Banff National Park
Take a walk along the boardwalk at Johnston Lake & stroll through the medow - bursting with scent & beautiful coloured wildlowers - I could have stayed all day with the gentle hum of insects, bird song & the least chipmunk (too quick to photograph) drarting to & fro.
Ok, I don't mean elusive as in hard to find. These flowers are everywhere in Alberta--I guess that is why it is the provincial flower. But dangnammit, these things are hard to photograph. I thought that this shot provided the perfect light to capture the pink colors of the Alberta Rose. No such luck. Completely washed out--looks like an albino flower. In real life these flowers are a brilliant pink. Not at all sure why they don't cooperate with a camera. Maybe they are some sort of poltergeist flower that is unphotographical.
This flower is adapted to very harsh climates. The flowerhead is closed up very tightly in a hairy pod until it is ready to flower for just a few days. While the leaves and roots of many wildflowers are brewed in teas, the anemones are especially irritatiing and it is useful medicinally for such things as killing fleas and lice.
Also known as "ba$tard toadflax" which is reason enough to like this pretty little perennial. Another reason to like the plant is the fact that it is semi-parasitic--meaning that it attaches itself to other plant roots and sucks the juices right out of them.
In my book, this is the prettiest of the Rocky Mountain wildflowers. In early July paintbrush is abundant along the trails and roadways.
Did you know that there is speculation that hummingbirds and paintbrush evolved together. Hummingbirds are especially attracted to red flowers and the paintbrush has flowers with long tubes with plenty of nector--seemingly tailor-made for the long bills of the hummingbird.
This is a great storybook, written by Tomie de Paulo, to read to children or for your own enjoyment...especially before heading out, or while you are in, the mountains.
The tale is about how the flower, the 'Indian Paintbrush', came to bloom in Texas and Wyoming.
The story's hero, Little Gopher, has a gift...he can paint beautiful images of his people. One day he has a dream in which he sees a white buckskin painted with beautiful colours, much like a sunset.
Little Gopher tries his hardest to capture these colours in his paintings, but is never satisfied with the results.
One night he hears a voice telling him to take the white buckskin to the place where he watches the sun set, and he does. There he finds paintbrushes filled with the colours of the sunset, sticking out of the ground. He paints the most beautiful colours on his buckskin!
The next day, on the hillside, are beautiful flowers, for the brushes had become plants which bloom every spring to this day!!
There are over 200 species of paintbrushes that form the genus 'castilleia'.
They are a member of the figwort family and are perennials that can grow to 60 cm. tall.
They will be found growing at mid to high elevations, and in dry to moist areas such as forests, roadsides, and slopes.
Dyes have been made from this plant. And, not just because I'm an artist, but this is one of my favourite of the wild flowers. I love the colour, shape, and the areas where I always find it growing!
Well, I have to include my favourite fruit here!! .....and the fruit of the wild strawberry is by far SUPERIOR in flavour to any of the cultivated garden varieties!!
The flowers of the wild strawberry form after the leaves come out in the spring and there are usually 2-3 flowers in a cluster. The fruits are ripe around July in the lower mountain valleys.
You will find them most often at the edges of woodlands, openings to forested areas, and along roadsides and open, dry areas such as old fields.
Bears and other small animals LOVE to eat the wild strawberry. I usually only take a couple to savour (for my once yearly wild organic high!!) because I know Mother Nature gave the animals this fruit for their food and they are the ones responsible for spreading the wild strawberry seeds around.
All parts of the wild strawberry plant (roots, leaves, fruits) have been used for medicinal purposes, especially by our European ancestors and the First Nations people.
'Anemone occidentalis' or Western Pasque Flower is one of many beauties that grow in and around the Banff National Park.
In the mountains their season is in July (earlier in the foothills and prairies around the mountains). I love to touch the soft hairy leaves and stems.
But PLEASE don't pick them!!
The flowers are short-lived, and are soon replaced by a feathery white seed head.
This purple beauty grows in abundance in the Canadian Rockies.
Resembling a daisy, it grows from 30 to 70 cm. high. and blooms most of the summer from July to September.
You will find her in the more open areas where there is moisture.
The flowers of the 'Arnica latifolia' is a cheerful and sunny discovery when hiking in the mountains!
You will find it mostly in open forests, moist meadows, and rocky slopes at medium to high elevations.
It blooms most of the summer and grows from 10 to 60 cm. high depending on the location it is growing in.
The 'Dryas octopetala' can easily be confused with the 'Dryas integrifolia' which grows mostly in the arctic.
The dryads growing in the mountains ('Dryas octopelata') are best told apart from the other arctic dryads by the leaves...which are longer (up to 3.5 cm), wider, and a little rounder.
They have scalloped edges and the upper leaf surfaces are wrinkled. The surface is often sticky from the chemicals excreted by the glands of the leaf. It grows low and close to the ground to protect itself from the harsh winds.
You will find this plant in gravelly and rocky barrens, alpine meadows, and alpine ridges. It loves the sun!
I love this flower!! I see it everywhere...even here where I live on Vancouver Island.
It's a member of the Evening Primrose family and grows to 6 ft. tall with each of its flowers 1" wide.
It blooms during the months of July and August and grows in abundance in open areas, roadsides, and disturbed or cleared land.
Its common name is derived from its ability to rapidly colonize recently burned areas after a forest fire.
This is such a sweet and delicate beauty!!
I love the colours of it...from pale to deep sky blue. And they're so very graceful on their thread-like stalks... waving in the wind.
Can you hear them ringing??
I know the faeries can!
You will find these flowers of the Bluebell family growing on grassy slopes, canyons, and open or well-drained sites from sea-level to alpine elevations.
They are perennials which bloom during July, August, and September and grow from 30 to 40 cm. high.
The native range of this plant is vast (NE Asia, Europe, Alaska, Canada, and northern U.S.). Hikers are familiar with it even in high elevations. And, like fireweed, it thrives in burn sites. It is a very hardy and drought-tolerant plant.
This clump-forming perennial dies down to its roots each winter. In spring the shoots emerge and grow from 1-3 ft. high. The flowers begin in June and grow into the fall.
Some Indians used the dry flowers to stuff pillows...something I just recently learned...and not a bad idea considering the cost of down pillows these days!!
So far though, I just collect these flowers around where I live (again, NEVER in National Parks!!) for my dried flower displays.
They last a very long time!
I guess that's why they call them Pearly EVERLASTING!! :o)