The following is part 2 in a series on a trip I took up north to Ontario, Canada’s Bruce Peninsula to see carnivorous plants growing in the wild.
We left the beach area, and doubled back to the Oliphant Fen, which we had passed on the way in (see map here). Note that there is no real parking area for the fen, just a little divot in the road alongside with space for 2 cars. If you’re looking for a public bathroom, there is a porta-potty at the beach. That’s about it for amenities so I suggest packing water and a picnic lunch and/or snacks.
This journey began with a mystery. More than a decade ago, on a long weekend cottage trip with friends, I was told that there was a place, somewhere north of our destination on the Lake Huron shoreline — no one seemed to know where it was for sure — where there were carnivorous plants growing wild. The thought of seeing some of my favourite plants growing wild sparked a desperate need to find this elusive place. It stayed on my mind for quite some time until, on another visit to the area, I asked Davin’s dad about it. A few hours later I was standing on a boardwalk looking out across the fen, a peat-based wetland ecosystem, at northern pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea) and slender-leaved sundew (Drosera linearis).
Davin and I recently celebrated our 20th anniversary together and to REALLY celebrate we are going on a road trip through the Mojave and Sonoran deserts! !!!!! !!!!!!
[Infinite exclamation points here.]
It was a fall evening some years ago, just before the golden hour (my favourite time of the day). My friend Laura was headed out to Humber Nurseries to take some photos in their private garden and offered to take me along. Not one to forgo a chance to get out of the city or into private gardens, I went along and took with me my digital and one film camera.
Readers often ask where I find such unusual and interesting plants, and the answer is that I am always looking. ALWAYS. I scan corner shops as I walk by. I look in places you would not expect to find plants. I beg friends with cars to take me on buying trips to hole-in-the-wall nurseries outside of the city. I am fortunate in that I have lots of generous gardening friends who share the surplus from their own gardens. And in the spring months, I go to all of the local plant sales.
While not all plant sales are created equal — some can be overpriced and others carry lots of junk — many one day sales put on by horticultural societies and botanical gardens can be a great way to find unusual, well cared-for plants, at below retail prices. Plant sales also give these organizations and public gardens a bit of a funding boost.