Today my water hyacinths opened their first blooms.
These are a pest in warmer climates as they quickly turn open water into a swamp but they don’t survive our winters. I haven’t even managed it by bringing them indoors. But in an Ontario pond their quick growth means you soon get a lot of flowers from a couple of plants and they take up a lot of nutrients from the water so they reduce the green algal tinge of shallow ponds in bright sun. Their floating roots also provide shelter for baby fish and tadpoles.
I have three kinds of waterlilies, which also grow incredibly fast. Here’s a pink one with the mandatory frog on the lily pad.
I like this yellow one – it is a little more delicate and has interesting coloured leaves.
The pink one grows fastest. I gave away lots over the last few years, they double in size every year if you don’t hack them down. I’m surprised that these native ones aren’t just as prolific – they only increase about 50%.
The big leaves to the right are from a Lotus. I’m hoping for blooms soon as the leaves are taking over the pond. Even though Lotus and Lily are not that closely related, the leaves have very similar habits (floating ones followed by “umbrellas” held over the surface once the surface is filled). But you can easily tell them apart as the lilies have a slit to the centre stalk but the lotus do not.
On a different note, this orchid opened yesterday in the greenhouse, so I brought it up for the living room window:
I know it probably won’t last, but 20°C weather before the equinox is unprecedented here, so I was out in the sun. I even did a bit of rototilling, even though I hate the noise. Luckily, it quit after about 15 minutes; usually does at this time of year as the fuel probably has some water in it after being in the garden shed all winter – it freezes onto the inside of the tank and then percolates into the water. I’ll have to go and buy some more as there are too many weeds in this spot (the sunflower garden) and the vegetable garden, and I don’t have enough time to dig that much by hand twice, which is what it would take to get the grass roots out.
In case you’re wondering why the metal sleeve around the pole: there is a bird house on top for the bluebirds or swallows (whoever gets it first) and the sleeve stops mammals from getting up and eating the eggs.
There may have been a few flowers sneaked out during the week, but I was working late. There are a lot this weekend where there were none last week. (Stop sniggering, you people on the Wet Coast or the UK).
Here are the first wildflowers, the coltsfoots:
For those not paying attention during your botany classes, coltsfoot are composite flowers, like daisies and dandelions. Look really close and you can see that the outside “petals” are tiny strap-like flowers with stamens sticking out at the base, and the little dots in the middle are tiny star flowers. Each flower head for a composite is actually an entire bunch of flowers all by itself.
It might be clearer in this close-up.
Just three of the disc florets have opened, the rest are buds which will open soon. You can see the circle of stamens for the ray florets just outside the circle of buds.
There are also crocuses. I have in my spice cupboard a package of saffron. Saffron is the stamens from crocuses. It make wonderfully scented rice, but I haven’t tried picking my own.
Last but not least, the frogs are back. Their song is not as pretty as the birds, except for the spring peepers, but I haven’t heard them yet – they are tiny so they probably won’t risk coming out until they are sure it is going to stay warm.