The robins are singing, the sun is shining, the grass is getting green, the Prairie Crocuses are blooming and the weeds are starting to sprout … it must be spring! So, once again we’re getting the weeding/care team together for the wildflower bed in the NE corner of the Belgravia Arts Park.
Next Tuesday, May 16th at 6:30 pm will be our first ”clean out the old” to “make way for the new” season. Please come out to help if you can, meet your neighbours and learn about some of the wildflowers growing in our perennial bed. We’ll find out what works for people and set the schedule for this season, likely Tuesday evenings again. Thank you all in advance. Whatever time you can spare is greatly appreciated.
Wildflower Tidbits: Prairie Crocus (Anemone patens) *
The genus name Anemone comes from the Greek word for “wind.” Anemone plants are known as windflowers, because it was believed that they blossomed only when the wind blew in springtime.
As soon as the snow melts, you will want to start looking for this “harbinger of spring”! The prairie crocus has pale blue or purple flowers arising from the woody rootstock that appear very early in spring. The whole plant is covered with woolly-white hairs.
Prairie crocus seems to be generally limited to unbroken prairie. It forms a partnership with fungi in the soil, exchanging nutrients. These fungi are important for its success in dry prairie soils. Occasional fires seem to greatly improve growing conditions for prairie crocus, by boosting the supply of nutrients and sunlight when dry grass cover is removed. Two years after a fire, prairie crocuses bloom in much greater abundance
“The name of ‘gosling’ given the downy buds by prairie children is eminently suitable, but the Indian name is even better. The Indians… had a perfect genius for choosing the most poetic and significant name for things about them. ‘Ears of the Earth’ they called these furry ears which, so soon after the snow drifts melt, the prairie thrusts up to listen for the first faint rustle of summer.” (A. Brown. 1970. Old Man’s garden. Gary’s Publishing Ltd., Sidney, B.)