By Catherine Siddall
Michael Dirr’s tome on woody plants is unlikely bedside reading because of its unwieldy size and dry, point-form style. It is a manual, after all. But by skipping to the Landscape Value listing I am often rewarded with an entertaining insight based on Dirr’s experience with these plants over a considerable period of time. (It can take years, even decades, to learn about how woody plants adapt and grow.)
By Nelson Maher
On a warm sunny day at the end of winter it’s not hard to think about walking fern (Asplenium rhizophyllum). I know that under a great depth of snow all those walking ferns that I saw last year are in excellent shape, deep green and leathery. This species is just one of the 15 evergreen ferns that I look forward to seeing each spring as I take my first walk on the Bruce Peninsula without skis or snowshoes.
Walking Fern (Asplenium rhizophyllum or Camptosorus rhizophyllus)
By Charles Kinsley
The word savory evokes images of warm, steamy dishes, comforting thoughts of home and hearth. These associations are direct, unambiguous.
By Joe Arnett
On both sides of the Cascade Mountains, blue camas (Camassia quamash) offers one of the most alluring displays of spring flowers in the Pacific Northwest. When Meriwether Lewis first surveyed this region, he noted this striking lily in stands that to his eye resembled lakes of blue water.
Meditations on Musclewood
By Catherine Siddall
My mother and father have always been interested in nature, and we often took family “woods walks” when I was a child. My mother in particular is a natural storyteller and passed to her children many of the stories she learned about the plants we encountered on these walks.
By Paul Heydon
A number of years ago, while hiking on the Carden Alvar north of Toronto, I stumbled across a stand of Indian paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea). It was one of the most breathtaking scenes I have experienced: a sea of brilliant scarlet, orange and yellow. I now go back every year to see the show.
By Tom Atkinson
My first brush with the genus Cercis occurred in early April 1984 on a business trip to California that included a three-day nature tour of the Sierra Nevadas with my aunt and uncle.
Description: Solitary white flowers and lustrous, evergreen basal leaves rise from a thread-like, yellow underground stem. The flowers are 1/2-inch (1-cm) wide with 5 to 7 white, petal-like sepals and very small club-like petals. There are numerous stamens and several pistils.