Our dastardley assault on Mother Nature

Wanted: 4 clueless city dwellers for ruthlessly picking (not one, but a bunch of) rare and endangered wild orchids.  Please don’t turn us in, we knew not what we were doing.

After a Father’s Day treasure hunt that had the WorkHorse traipsing all over the farm to collect things like wine gums and cans of Guinness, we sat down to a breakfast of challah french toast.  At this time, the boy suggested a family bike ride.  So, the four of us grabbed our bikes and set out on our first family ride of the year.  Since the small legs are getting bigger and stronger, we decided to ride around to the back of the farm and check out our land.  A creek runs through our forest which makes it hard to access the back bit of the property, so driving or biking around the back is best.  Of course the forest is so thick that you can’t enter from the backside, but you can check it out.  So, along the back bit of the farm I spotted some really amazing flowers growing by the road.  I remarked to the WorkHorse that they looked like wild orchids.  “Let’s pick them!” I suggested.  Ever faithful, the WorkHorse dismounted and gathered a bouquet and we rode on our merry way.

Once back in the house I gave the orchids a mason jar to live in and went in search of their origins.

Once I booted up the computer, I found that they are indeed wild orchids, called Showy Lady Slippers – fancy pants name, no?  We brought them home to the city and even relocated this guy to a new urban dwelling:

Since then, I’ve done a bit more research.  Here’s what Wikipedia tells me:

The Showy Lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium reginae), also known as the Pink-and-white Lady’s-slipper or the Queen’s Lady’s-slipper, is a rare terrestrial temperate lady’s-slipper orchid native to northern North America.

Despite producing a large amount of seeds per seed pod, it reproduces largely by vegetative reproduction,[2] and remains restricted to the North East region of the United States and south east regions of Canada. Although never common, this rare plant has vanished from much of its historical range due to habitat loss. It has been a subject of horticultural interest for many years with Charles Darwin who like many, were unsuccessful in cultivating the plant.

It is the state flower of Minnesota, United States and was also proposed to be the provincial flower of Prince Edward Island, Canada.

That’s right.  It was going to be the flower of PEI but then they were so rare that no one could ever find one, so they had to choose something else.  Maybe those Islanders should have looked in my kitchen window….

Needless to say, we won’t be picking any more of these beauties.  And I’ll have to plant a tree or save a bird or something to make some kind of karmic amends.  Although, come to think of it, there are catalpa flowers raining down on my newly renovated city yard at a rate of about 1000 per day – so maybe Mother Nature and I are in the neighbourhood of even…

The vegetables are doing well for the most part.  The spinach, arugula and radishes are done – eaten and removed.  I thought I’d feel a pang of regret when I removed veggies past their time, but I found myself liking the clean space in the beds and the possibility of new things.  I continue to plant beets in the hope something will work.  So far only two pumpkin seeds have germinated and one zucchini plant is growing.   The corn kernels seem to have been a delightful meal for the birds.  Don’t even get me started on the sunflowers….

But for the most part, the garden is growing as expected and each week brings new surprises, and always, lots and lots of weeds.

In other news, the birds continue to nest in the ferns.  This time I didn’t make the mistake of leaving the plant down during the week.  I watered and hung the fern, complete with perfect, tiny sparrow’s nest, right back where it belonged.  The nest is made not only of twigs but also of delicate white hair, which I suspect comes from the team of huskies who live next door.  It’s a pretty comfy little nest that mama has going.  Speaking of which, there are some baby birds in this nest who need to be woken and fed.  Until next week!


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