Monday, July 26, 2010

What's blooming in High Park, late July

[Photo: Desmodium canadense.]

I had a great time with the High Park Volunteer Stewardship Program pulling weeds in the Sculpture Garden restoration site yesterday. There are tons of flowers in bloom now:


  • Achillea millefolium (yarrow, achillée millefeuille)
  • Asclepias syriaca (milkweed, bébé lala de lait) (only a few are still blooming, most are setting seed)
  • Campanula rotundifolia (harebell, campanule à feuilles rondes)
  • Conyza canadensis (horseweed, vergerette du Canada)
  • Desmodium canadense (showy tick trefoil, desmodie du Canada) (shown above)
  • Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane, vergerette annuelle)
  • Helianthus divaricatus (woodland sunflower, hélianthe à feuilles étalées)
  • Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower, lobélie cardinale)
  • Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot, monarde fistuleuse)
  • some kind of Potentilla, maybe Potentilla fruticosa (shrubby cinquefoil, potentille arbustive)
  • Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan, rudbeckie dressée)
  • Silphium perfoliatum (cup plant, plante bain d'oiseaux)
  • Verbena stricta (hoary vervain, verveine veloutée)


  • Cichorium intybus (chicory, chicorée sauvage)
  • Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace, nid d'oiseau)
  • Melilotus alba (white sweet clover, mélilot blanc)
  • Pastinaca sativa (wild parsnip, panais sauvage)
  • Polygonum sp. (smartweed, renouée)
  • Trifolium pratense (red clover, trèfle violet)

We also saw a big wasp dragging a caterpillar to a hole she had previously dug, presumably to lay eggs on it. Although I felt sorry for the caterpillar, it was fascinating to watch. In Growing Green (White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2006), an intriguing book about veganic food production, Jenny Hall and Iain Tolhurst recommend growing native plants near fields of crops to attract beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Where are the bees?

It seems to me that there are far fewer bees than usual this year. Has anyone else in Toronto noticed this?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Beautiful Eumorpha pandorus: another reason to grow native plants!

[Photo: Eumorpha pandorus.]On the wall of the Danforth/Coxwell Library, my son and I were thrilled to spot this big (8-9 cm) beautiful moth, who was kind enough to stay put while we ran home to get a camera and bug book.

This beauty is intriguingly named Pandora sphinx moth (sphinx Pandore). Its larval hosts include Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia, vigne vierge de Virginie), and sure enough there is a Virginia creeper climbing on the wall of the library, which I photographed last year. (The larvae also feed on Vitis spp. (grapes, raisins).

I have been meaning to get some Virginia creeper growing in the backyard, and seeing this beautiful moth makes me all the more determined.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Big beautiful beetle, Pelidnota punctata

[Photo: Pelidnota punctata.] When cutting back the neighbour's encroaching grapevines, I discovered this beautiful insect, a whopping 2 cm long, and was actually able to get a decent photo! (The bug was so still when I caught it that I thought it was dead, but after a few minutes it rubbed its face and started nibbling the leaf.)

This beauty is a grapevine beetle (scarabée ponctué de la vigne), an eastern North American relative of the sacred scarab beetle of ancient Egypt. The adults eat grape leaves and fruit, and other plants as well such as Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia, vigne vierge de Virginie), but are not considered a major pest of vineyards. The eggs are laid in rotting wood or soil, and the larvae (grubs) feed on roots. Both larvae and adults are nocturnal, which I guess is why this little(ish) one was inactive when I found it—it was drowsy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, July 2010

Lots of blooms for July, mostly annuals. I started a lot of plants from seeds this year, and it is gratifying to see some of them flowering already!


    [Photo: Adiantum pedatum.]
  • Adiantum pedatum (maidenhair fern, adiante pédalé). I bought this beauty at the North American Native Plant Society Plant Sale this spring. It will never bloom, of course, but it's too pretty to leave out.
  • Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed, asclépiade tubéreuse). I saw a monarch butterfly in the garden yesterday; maybe it will lay some eggs? Fingers crossed! [Photo: Myosotis laxa.]
  • Myosotis laxa (bay forget-me-not, myosotis laxiflore). Another treasure from NANPS, it has already quadrupled in size! I'm going to relocate the encroaching sedum soon to give the forget-me-not room to really go crazy.
  • Oxalis stricta (wood sorrel, oxalide) [Photo: Rudbeckia hirta.]
  • Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan, rudbeckie dressée); as always, the star of the summer garden.
  • Solanum ptycanthum (eastern black nightshade, morelle noire de l'est)

Alas, the Monarda didyma 'Jacob Klein' (beebalm, monarde) which put on such a show last year is very unhappy this year; it had a few small sad blooms which are already past. I tried moving the Liatris spicata (dense blazing star, liatride à épis) to what should be a better location for it in terms of sun, and it seems stressed out too, though it is working on a flower spike.

Happily, some of my native seedlings are doing well, in particular, Tradescantia ohiensis, Agastache foeniculum, and Asclepias tuberosa; maybe they'll make an appearance for a Bloom Day next summer!


  • Antirrhinum majus NOID (snapdragons, mufliers)
  • Calibrachoa NOID
  • Campanula rapunculoides (creepy bellflower, campanule fausse raiponce). This pretty plant is horribly invasive here in southern Ontario; I've started trying to get rid of it though it seems futile. [Photo: Cerinthe major 'Purple Honeybells'.]
  • Cerinthe major 'Purple Bells' (honeywort, grand cérinthe). Compare these cream and pink flowers to their depiction at the McKenzie Seeds website. This isn't the first time that McKenzie seeds have come out very unlike the depiction on the package. They're okay, but not especially striking, especially from a distance.
  • Chlorophytum comosum (spider plant, plante araignée)
  • Cuphea hyssopifolia 'Lavender Lace' (false heather, étoile de Mexique)
  • Glandularia NOID (verbena, verveine; apparently they've moved these common annuals which everyone calls verbena into a new genus)
  • Heliotropium arborescens 'Marine' (heliotrope, héliotrope)
  • Hibiscus syriacus (rose of Sharon, althéa) [Photo: Hosta 'Orange Marmalade'.]
  • Hosta 'Orange Marmalade' and NOIDs [Photo: Petunia 'Carmine Madness'® and Iberis umbellata 'Fairy Mixed'.]
  • Iberis umbellata 'Fairy Mixed' (candytuft, ibéris en ombelle). Grown from seed for the first time this year, started outdoors, very easy. I think I'll be growing these again!
  • Impatiens walleriana 'Xtreme Pink'™ [Photo: Impatiens walleriana 'Xtreme Pink' and Lobelia erinus 'Cascade Sapphire'.]
  • Lobelia erinus 'Cascade Sapphire' (I think)
  • Lysimachia
  • Matricaria recutita (German chamomile, camomille vraie) [Photo: Pelargonium NOID and Scaevola aemula.]
  • Pelargonium NOID (geranium, pélargonium)
  • Petunia 'Carmine Madness', 'Ultra White', and NOID
  • Rosa NOID (rose, rosier)
  • Sanvitalia
  • Scaevola aemula (fairy fan flower, scaevola émule)
  • Sedum spurium (rock cress, orpin bâtard)
  • Tagetes patula 'Janie Primrose', 'Janie Tangerine' [Photo: Adiantum pedatum, Viola 'Purple Penny Picotee', and Solenostemon scutellaroides 'Golden Wizard'.]
  • Viola 'Penny Purple Picotee' [Photo: Zinnia elegans 'Magellan Persian Carpet Mixed.]
  • Zinnia elegans 'Magellan Persian Carpet Mixed'. I'm pretty pleased with these, though I do feel that Park Seed misrepresented the colour, what do you think?

    Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Be sure to check out what's blooming around the world this July!

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