As I walked along the pathways that meander around the cabin and down towards the lake I found myself hunched over, captivated by beautiful wildflowers. With a camera in one hand and my sister’s copy of Plants of Northern British Columbia in the other, I practiced my skills at plant identification and made some interesting discoveries. Some of the flowers I identified are well known to me and were a special part of my childhood, other flowers were new to me.
The Indian Paintbrush, or the Common Red Paintbrush, was one of my favorite childhood flowers. I would often sit by a patch of Indian Paintbrush flowers and pluck out their long corolla tubes in order to suck the nectar out of them. Another childhood favorite is the Prickly Rose. The flowers are shades of light pink and sweetly scented. As a child I would gather the petals and use them in my imaginative play. In the fall the rose hips are a deep red and perfect for plucking and making into various magical concoction. In fact, the rose hips are high in vitamin C and the outside rind can be eaten or made into tea, but I never did that as a child.
As I walked on the road I spotted large patches wild strawberries along the side. I have memories of snacking on these with my papa; their small fruit are delicious when ripe. As I inspected the strawberry blossoms another low lying white flower caught my eye, these I identified as bunchberries. The berries are edible, but I have never eaten them. Towering above the white strawberry and bunchberry blossoms are a creamy white flower clusters named False Solomon’s Seal. I have not taken noticed of this plant before but the way the flowers catch the sunlight is entrancing.
I noticed a few other flowers on my walk. The yellow flower of Mountain Arnica reminded me a little of the Arrowleaf Balsamroot in the South Okanagan, and I spotted under a shrub some Pink Wintergreen just starting to bloom. The Sitka Mountain Ash blooms are drying up which is a relief because their smell is quite unpleasant but soon the Alpine Lupines will be showing off their dazzling purple-blue flowers. When I take a moment to hold still and appreciate what nature has to offer I am never disappointed. Truly, nature is amazing!