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  • Writer's pictureKarl Koerber

Flower Show along the Bike Trail

I love where I live. Within 15 minutes I can drive to any of a half-dozen lovely hikes or walks and get out into nature for a few hours. A mountain biking trail in the Goose Creek area is one of my favorites, less than four kilometres (as the crow flies) from our house.


This time of year, when meltwater has drenched the thin veneer of soil that overlays the slabs of bedrock characterizing the geology here, there is an explosion of botanical life, with wildflowers in profusion. Common camas is one of the predominant blooms, creating striking blue meadows.


Lots of bumblebees foraging on the camas and other blooms. I think this might be a Hunt bumblebee, but they are notoriously difficult to identify because there is so much variation among a number of similar-looking species.



There are many species in bloom at the moment, including desert-parsley, buttercup-leaved suksdorfia, alumroot, arnica, larkspur, woodland star and western saxifrage, among others. This is yellow monkeyflower, also quite prevalent here.


These wee flowers are one-flowered cancer root, also known by the unfortunate common name of naked broomrape. Probably not the first time I’ve come across them, but the first time I've brought home a photo and looked them up. They are parasitic, and don’t contain chlorophyll, depending instead on other plants for their nutrients. I think the host might be buttercup-leaved suksdorfia, a member of the saxifrage family, which can be seen all around the base of the stems.


Between the meadows, the trail wanders through patches of forest – habitat for more shade-tolerant species like this false Solomon’s seal.


I also noticed this caterpillar tent encampment in a willow bush.


The flower show was in full swing in this particularly lush meadow, where camas, few-flowered shooting star, western saxifrage, desert parsley and others were strutting their stuff.





After my walk, I drove up the forestry road for a couple of kilometres, to an elevation where the snow had only been gone for a few weeks. Some of the roadside flowers here were trillium (one of my springtime favorites), meadowrue (which has distinct male and female plants, with the male bearing the tasseled lampshade-like flowers) and a wee round-leaved violet framed by the head of an emerging bracken fern.




I often ask myself why we spend hours upon hours slaving away in our gardens when nature provides such spectacular displays, free of charge, where one never needs to wield a shovel, rake or hoe. I still haven’t come up with a good answer.


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6 Comments


Karl Koerber
Karl Koerber
Jun 03

My pleasure, Dan - glad you enjoyed!

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Guest
Jun 02

I need to get finished with gardening so I can get out there! Thanks for the reminder.

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Karl Koerber
Karl Koerber
Jun 03
Replying to

I know what you mean. I've been gardening like a mad demon just so I can have a few hours to go for a hike!

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Jennifer Yeow
Jennifer Yeow
Jun 02

thanks Karl - your pictures capture the exquisite beauty of the world around & in answer to your question re. why we bother to create gardens - its because we are "copy cats"


Jen

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Karl Koerber
Karl Koerber
Jun 03
Replying to

Thanks Jen, yes, trying to one-up nature, I guess

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Dan Gray
Dan Gray
Jun 02

Thanks, Karl, precious! 🐝.

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