“I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils”
- William Wordsworth
I’m getting quite an education in narcissus this year. Although, not just in the botanical sense, come to think of it. Har har.
It seems that as I familiarize myself with the various types, sizes, shapes, and colours that are out there, my attentions have been turning more towards the teeny, tiny, diorama-sized daffodils, like this Narcissus juncifolius I came upon the other day growing in the rock garden section of the Montreal Botanical Gardens. These bright little flowers were one of the highlights of my trip and I spent quite a lot of time documenting them with various cameras.
According to “Gardener’s Latin,” the species name juncifolius refers to the leaves, which are thin and cylindrical like the a grassy rush, aka juncus.
I offer you this photo of one of the flowers next to Davin’s thumb so that you can get a better gauge of their scale.
Tiny but eye-catching.
Last month, I spoke and signed books at the Annual Montreal Seed Fair held at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. When things got a bit harried at the event, I took the opportunity to relax with walks through the greenhouses.
Inhale deeply. Exhale deeply.
I’ve said it at least a dozen times, but of the greenhouses I’ve visited, those at the Montreal Botanical Gardens remain my favourite to date and always a highlight of any trip to Montreal. Oh how I wish we had greenhouses this inspiring here in Toronto! [Speaking of which... the super amazing Drawn & Quarterly bookstore is hosting an event for the book next month so I'll be headed back there soon. Stay tuned.]
The orchid conservatory was in full form during my trip, and possibly the best I have ever seen it. I took a ton of photos. Here are just a few of the orchids that caught my interest that day.
Jade Slipper Orchid (Paphiopedilum malipoense)
Ludisia discolor ‘Alba’
Phragmipedium ‘Court Jester’
Paphiopedilum ‘Green Mantle’
Several plants in the peperomia genus are grown as common houseplants here in North America, but have you ever seen one like this?
I was first introduced to this particular plant in Dominica, where it goes by the local names JiwonflÃƒÂ¨*, JonflÃƒÂ¨, or Giron Fleur**. It is most often found in very damp and dark places, and as a result most of my photos were lousy. Last month I found it again (as seen here), on display in the Tropical Rainforest Conservatory at the Montreal Botanical Gardens and was able to get a better photo.
JiwonflÃƒÂ¨ is a tiny trailing succulent that grows as an epiphyte, hanging from the branches of trees, most commonly cocao and grapefruit. In Dominica, the plant is brewed into an herbal cold remedy but what’s most fascinating is the smell. When you crush the leaves, it emits a soft green peppercorn aroma. I suppose this shouldn’t be too surprising since peperomia is in the same family as black peppercorns (Piperaceae).
I made my first visit to the Montreal Botanical Gardens about nine years ago. It was early August and the lotus flowers in both the Japanese Garden and the Chinese Garden were in bloom.
Two close friends had died the year before, just days after my birthday. We went to Montreal to get as far away as we could from the place we had seen them last. That trip did a lot to boost my spirits, but it was probably the lotus that made the biggest impression.
For nine years I pined for a return visit during the month of August to experience them in bloom again. This year it finally happened.
Unfortunately, I was only able to bring my digital camera with me. The day was unbearably hot and I was unable to lug a big camera bag around due to a shoulder injury. I’m happy with the digital shots, but of course, as a film lover, I can’t help feeling remorse about the photos I didn’t get to take. After all, it could be another 10 years before I see lotus in bloom again!
I’ve put together a limited edition printing of Lotus in Bloom notecards. There are five photos in the set. However, just a warning that we are going on a big trip during the month of December so I will be shutting down the online shop in about a week’s time.