T-minus just a few days before we leave on our 10 day desert trip and the madness is in full swing around here. I am never again going away on such a long trip at the height of planting season. Lesson learned. Still, I figure I will stop fussing and fretting about my own garden once I am out there in that giant desert garden with so many amazing plants and landscapes surrounding me.
While I have a heightened interest in desert plants in general and probably know more than the average person visiting the American Southwest for the first time, I also know from other trips that stepping into that landscape is going to feel a bit like walking on the moon with alien lifeforms aplenty.
About a month ago I started to prepare by purchasing books related to the plant life of the Southwest. I tried to get a good general plant identification book, but alas the one I wanted, A Field Guide to the Plants of Arizona by Anne Orth Epple, was not available. I am hoping to pick up a copy somewhere on the trip. Perhaps the gift shop at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix will have a copy in stock. We specifically decided to make this public garden our first stop of the trip so that we’d have a chance to see Sonoran desert plants in an educational context. After all, I don’t expect to see conveniently located name tags once we’re out in the middle of nowhere!
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.