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Author Topic: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta  (Read 9509 times)

cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2020, 08:13:02 PM »
Back to that walk on July 13 (I'm feeling like a map of the acreage and the parts of the farm nearby where I walk might be useful....have to think about making one..lol). The summer-- up until the last week-- has been cool to warm, very little hot (even as far as we define it here-- 30C give or take a few degrees), and frequent rain, including some all day events, such as we have not seen for a few years. Wetlands are nicely filled, and wildlife-- such as mosquitoes-- have done very well! Dragonflies have also hatched out in tremendous numbers, but they are always later than the mosquitoes, and are more fond of warmer weather, so it has not been until quite recently that they have really come on strong in the yard-- which gives us a lot of relief from the mosquitoes! (the first I saw of the mass hatching was on this walk..later)
On the day of the walk, it was a moderate 19-20C-- as usual, probably a few degrees higher in contained sunny spots, lower in shade, and the sun and clouds were taking turns. I'm not fond of photos from overcast times, but often if I waited a few minutes, I could get the shot I wanted when the sun came back out.

The first part of the walk was along the east, then north part of the acreage-- east is the road, northside borders my relatives' farm. A big chunk of the east border suffered a  a clearcut a few years back, when the local power company, which normally makes sure electric lines are safe from trees, started a new practise and greatly overstepped their mandate. In the first photo you see the view looking up the ditch, acreage to the left, road on the right.

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Below the poplars you see, there was another wooded strip, largely spruce a few decades old with some poplars, willows, etc, which extended to about midway in the ditch--which is actually part of our land-- the ditch seems so wide because they took soil from the hill for roadbuilding  farther up where it crossed a long wetland, that would have been late 60's or very early 70's. Standard practise for the power line maintenance is to top spruce that come near lines, and remove poplars, which they had been given permission for, when all of a sudden they showed up with some monstrous forest eating machinery.. When I realised what was going on, I had them stopped, at least the last section, which is directly between the house and road, was left intact. This mess left us more exposed visually to the road, and more vulnerable to the large amounts of dust that come off the gravel road in dry weather. There followed a year of planting inside the acreage to establish more trees and shrubs in what was a somewhat empty area between the roadside woods and the house, and we built what I call 'fedges' kind of a cross between dry hedge and fence.. another subject for another day!
Anyway, you see here the site of the carnage, several years on. The only two upsides were a)the woodland strip was turned into a mass of wood chips which served as mulch for many beds (though, frankly, the major part went to plantings I had to make because of the clearing!) and b) in the open mixed woods behind those poplars, there was suddenly more light, which  was pleasing to many of the native plants in there. Especially along the edge, there has been an explosion of native Vicia and Lathyrus, Cornus canadensis has done extra well (or maybe that's just the view-- they are fine in the shade, too), Viburnum edule a few metres in has been extra nice. Some weeds have also done well, especially some clovers, but being an agricultural area, they are already everywhere, and usually don't form exclusive stands, so they don't bother me too much. You can see a Silene latifolia in one shot-- they can be very vigorous weeds in gardens, fields, disturbed areas, but don't generally persist long term in closed soils. This one is probably there because of the soil disturbance, and/or my practise of dumping weeds along the property edge, likely won't persist.

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« Last Edit: August 03, 2020, 08:15:28 PM by cohan »

Hoy

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2020, 04:49:56 PM »
Silene latifoliais usually annual or biennial here but self sow a lot where happy, usually in disturbed soil. Do you have Trifolium medium? It can build up dense mats, spreading by underground runners.
Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2020, 07:53:24 PM »
Silene latifoliais usually annual or biennial here but self sow a lot where happy, usually in disturbed soil. Do you have Trifolium medium? It can build up dense mats, spreading by underground runners.
Yes, I think the Silene is biennial or short-lived perennial here, that is probably why it does not persist in closed soils.
As far as I know we don't have that Trifolium-- we have repens, pratense and hybridum. All of them are a pain in the butt in the garden, especially repens which will grow under mulch etc, but when they grow outside cultivated spaces, at least other plants are able to grow among or through them.

cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2020, 04:44:32 PM »
More photos from that walk on July 13 (jeepers, nearly a month already!), without too much blabbering....
This set is still in the edge of the wooded area I showed above, and or in the roadside ditch...
1-Vicia americana etc

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2,3-Shepherdia canadensis -oddly the waxwings that usually strip these as soon as they are ripe have not been around much this year, which means I've snacked on them more than ever!

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4-nice gall on a poplar leaf

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5-Shamefully I have not sorted out the several local Salix species, this one should not be super hard, with it's somewhat glaucous fuzzy leaves, and somewhat later seeding..

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« Last Edit: August 11, 2020, 06:44:11 PM by cohan »

cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2020, 04:48:42 PM »
and more... wet woods at the north of the acreage, just bordering the open(cleared) strip of wetland that is coming up..
1-Symphoricarpos albus, common here in a wide range of habitats

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2- small Sedge etc, presumed-- there are a huge number of Carex species in Alberta, I have really not even started to figure out the locals, but there are many nice ones.

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3- I think this is a moss? shady, wet habitats, typically under other vegetative cover

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4- Galium boreale and Galium triflorum are common and conspicuous species, less obvious is this small, tiny flowered wetland species..

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5- Geum aleppicum -- a wetland/edge species here, which has nonetheless made its way into my gardens, where it is adaptable to even dry sites, and very attractive, but will seed generously.

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« Last Edit: August 11, 2020, 06:49:42 PM by cohan »

cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2020, 07:11:07 PM »
Now crossing the fence from the acreage to the farm-- this is the section I mentioned earlier which was bulldozed (think a smaller machine, though..lol) a few years ago to give access to the fence for repair and expand grazing-- this is wetland and was all grown in with woodies. Some of these species are happy in mixed partly wooded areas, some flower in sun or shade, others are mostly vegetative in shade and only flower/abundantly when there is an opening..
1-Rubus arcticus pretty adaptable, though like anything, will be a bit denser and more floriferous in sun; I've planted a bit in a low wet/mesic spot between rock ridges, and it may be doing too well, climbing the ridges easily! I'll probably need to start yanking! It does flower much more there than in shady places... it probably needs a nice bed mostly to itself where it can form a big beautiful patch!

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2-Epilobium species probably E ciliatum, though I'm not totally clear on these species of Willow Herbs, there may be more than one.. flowers are tiny, though bright (there are some whites, also) and I especially like the reddish overwintering basal rosettes-- among the only signs of life in early spring. I have the species around in the garden, but it has never really been problematic for me, as it is in some places, and I am quite fond of it.

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3-Geum rivale, the central flower heading to seed; flowers in sun or shade, though quite floppy in shade; oddly, this has a wider range of habitats in the wild than aleppicum, yet has not made the leap to the yard and garden as that species has.

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4- Ranunculus acris, the durned Buttercup, invasive here, fortunately not forming exactly exclusive colonies, but still taking up a lot of acreage, and often in wetlands, which had been previously exempt from many of the foreign forage escapes that are so common in mesic to drier sites.

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5- Erigeron philadelphicus another of those odd birds which occur in wetland/edge habitat, but in the garden will grow anywhere at all, flowering much more than those in the wild. They put on quite a show, but seed very generously, with seed ripening nearly as soon as the flowers have lost colour; very nice in a meadow setting with other robust plants, but keep them away from rock beds with smaller species (not super hard to remove, but there will be many to remove!).

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cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2020, 09:13:09 PM »
I now interrupt regular (plant focussed) programming, to show you some views from the area-- taken from the moving vehicle (no, I'm not the driver ;) )..
I've probably repeatedly ;) said here that it's been a wet summer (even after noting that June through at least mid-July is our rainy time, and thunderstorms throughout the season can drop a lot of rain) and not especially warm. We had a week or two that approached hot, mostly because the nights were almost warm instead of our usual chilly ( meaning houses did not cool off rapidly, as they usually do here) but that ended with, of course, more thunderstorms and rain ;) Now we are back to alternating warm days or parts of them when the sun is out, cooler spells when it is cloudy and rainy, and chilly nights. The other day while I was working, there was a couple inches of small hail in Rocky Mountain House, looked like snow on the ground (working, no pics)... here are several views later on the highway, then gravel commute heading home. Bear in mind these are generally zoomed and cropped (the mountains are not that close), more edited than usual, since through the glass shots at highway speeds can need a bit of work ;)

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Hoy

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2020, 10:05:17 PM »
I recognize some of the plants! Ranunculus acris is native here, and quite common from seaside to montane meadows. But I think the old species is split in several new taxa.

Rubus arcticus is also native here but in the east and north so I have never seen it growing wild. The berries are very tasty I have heard.

Geum rivale is also very common here, but G. aleppicum doesn't grow here, at least not as a native plant.
Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

Robert

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2020, 12:15:51 AM »
Cohan,

Now that I have some time to read, I am enjoying your thread.  8)

Your countryside is very beautiful. Thank you for sharing both the plant photographs as well as the scenes from the countryside.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2020, 09:48:39 PM »
I recognize some of the plants! Ranunculus acris is native here, and quite common from seaside to montane meadows. But I think the old species is split in several new taxa.

Rubus arcticus is also native here but in the east and north so I have never seen it growing wild. The berries are very tasty I have heard.

Geum rivale is also very common here, but G. aleppicum doesn't grow here, at least not as a native plant.

I'm not sure about the flavour of the Rubus-- usually berries are rather scarce and scattered, they are rather seedy, as all Rubus, I guess... I should see if the big patch in the garden made berries , or they may be gone already...
I've suddenly noticed this year that I see two forms of yellow flowered Geum in the yard-- in theory I might have macrophyllum, but none ever seemed to key out to that from the leaf characters.. but I realised that some seem to have different sepal characteristics, and more noticeable leaflets near the flowers... I'll have to see if I got decent photos and look into it...

cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2020, 09:49:34 PM »
Cohan,

Now that I have some time to read, I am enjoying your thread.  8)

Your countryside is very beautiful. Thank you for sharing both the plant photographs as well as the scenes from the countryside.

Thanks, Robert. It is always interesting to see both similarities and differences in where others live and garden :)

cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #26 on: August 21, 2020, 09:21:42 PM »
The feeling from the morning of August 17, 2020, fleshed out with some suitable photos from that day and others...  a few more images on the blog post ..
Late summer morning,
light clouds slow
the temperature's ascent,
it's warm, pleasant.
The air's thick with the scent
of clunky old roses,
while rock beds, weeds and masses
of wildflowers buzz
with bees and flower flies, and butterflies,
and a million other tiny
flying, crawling lives.
In the open, dragons hunt and survey
while mosquitoes find
it's prudent to hide in the shade
and wait,
for cooler times.

https://cohanmagazine.blogspot.com/2020/08/scent-of-old-roses-late-summer-poem-and.html

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cohan

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2020, 09:23:31 PM »
continued...

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Leucogenes

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2020, 09:47:46 PM »
Cohan... the quality of your photos is outstanding. Detailed and vivid. I am very impressed and I am looking forward to seeing more of them...

Cheers
Thomas

Hoy

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Re: Moods and Walks- Ponderings and Meanderings in Alberta
« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2020, 06:56:05 AM »
Cohan, seems you have a rich insect fauna around!
Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

 


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