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13Wildflowers By Tania Moffat

had the opportunity to experience it. As a child it may have been the joy of finding buttercups and tiny violets peeking up through the grass at the lake, or wondering at the lone wood lily pushing its way through the forest floor, or the alluring scent of wild roses growing along the roadside. Wildflowers have that special power to delight


and surprise us, maybe as we are not responsi- ble for putting them there. Perhaps it is because they, despite everything humans and nature may do to them, endure and thrive on their own, prospering in the oddest of places. Many of us enjoy them so much that it is only natural that we want to include them in our own gardens. While some of these wild beauties can be

tamed and they, or their cultivars, are sold in nurseries, others will not survive our interfer- ence. Wildflowers do well in the wild because they’ve developed their own techniques to thrive in often hostile environments. Once incorporat- ed into a cultivated garden, some can become invasive making us rue the day we first saw them. Before planting any wildflower be sure to check that it is not an invasive species in your province and learn a little about its growing habits. In some cases you may be able to plant wildflowers but at other times you may be better off finding something similar. Here are some beauties you may or may not

recognize. 22 • Summer 2015

Yellow ladyslippers have greenish brown sepals and petals and a yellow “slipper” with a few brown or reddish-purple spots.

It’s a rare treat to happen upon ladyslippers in the wild.

The small yellow lady’s slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum var makasin), large yellow lady's slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum var pubescens) and showy lady’s slipper (Cryp- ripedium reginae Walt.) are just a couple of the varieties that are native to Canada. As part of the orchid family (Orchidaceae), their beauty lies in their stunning irregular slipper-shaped flowers. They are most commonly found in sunny locations – fields and open areas, aspen and poplar woods and the upper margins of bogs and other wet areas. They bloom from late spring to early summer. While these varieties may be more common than others, they are still rare and any ladyslipper should not be disturbed, picked or transplanted as they will not survive.

tumbling upon a wildflower growing in its natural habitat is something that will make almost anyone smile. We’ve all likely

Photo by Hardyplants.

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