Word for Wednesday – Serendipity – Join In

Chicory, Blazingstar
Word for Wednesday is an exploration of words as seen through pictures, where a word relates to a story in photos. If you would like to join add your link!


Merriam Webster

: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for; also : an instance of this.


American Heritage at Yahoo:


pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties

  1.  The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
  2.  The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
  3.  An instant of making such a discovery.

These are definitions that seem to apply. So let’s take a trip to the Falls. No, a barrel going over the Falls is not the serendipitous event…. since I did mention I would stretch the definition of finding something that does not belong to include both good and bad….. in fact it is garden related, called…

Gardening on the Edge

Why it is called gardening on the edge is because these gardens grace the precipitous edge of the Bridal Veil Falls. A steep drop to certain death if one was to jump.  They are battered daily by the spray and high winds. It is quite a feat for them to survive, let alone bloom with such delight.

The area is often sprayed to eradicate the weedy growth on the Canadian side, so it is a good bet here as well. Mother Nature always has other plans, to regrow and tend her beautiful serendipitous garden in the most unlikely and treacherous of places.  Enjoy the little survivors of the garden edge of the Bridal Veil Falls, both from the top of the Falls and at the base. You will see much more from the base in a later post.

Eupatorium, Eupatoriadelphus maculatus Spotted joe-pie-weed

A long way down, these plants grow almost perpendicular to the rock face wall.

Nightshade, Climbing, Solanum dulcamara L.


Creeping Campanula and grasses, growing out from the wall, hanging on to who knows what.

No fancy camera angle here. This is how they grow. They are clinging to the rocks that you see.

Plants in the mini rapids on the walk to Luna Island.

The map in the brochure tourists get when they arrive. The center is the American Falls with Luna Island just to the right. In the future, I will mark up the map to where I am taking photos.

  1. Observation Deck, where the view of the American and Bridal Veil shot below was photographed.
  2. Base of the American Falls, where the boulders and upward shots of the Falls where shot.
  3. Luna Island, where the wildflower shots were taken, the arrow at the corner two images below.

The American and Bridal Veil Falls

Can you get a better example telling the story? This is the corner edge right before Bridal Veil Falls drops vertically 78 feet, followed by the water descending the talus boulders another 103 feet to the Maid of the Mist Pool below, reaching a total violently bouncing drop of 181 feet. Different sources have this drop calculated slightly divergent, so this is an approximation. No argument, a few feet discrepancy won’t matter if you drop along with it.

Talus Boulders and half way down to the base of the Falls. Talus are the broken rocks at the base and sides of the falls.

Boulders and black berries

The waters rush along at about 23 to 30 miles per hour.

The moss and algae getting all the water it relishes, but hanging on for dear life.

Flowers are not the only pretties, berries are everywhere.

How do they grow in solid rock, find a fracture and depend on the moisture, I guess.

Having its own private island. I am not sure if this is wild joe-pie-weed, but it grows on this rock each year. See the berry bushes and Purple Loosestrife along the shore of the bigger island in the middle of the rapids? This spot has so many pretty wildflowers and no one gets to visit them, not willingly anyway.

Base of the American Falls, Nature’s Rock Garden taken on a rainy morning.

Next Word for Wednesday, Sept. 21,  will be Illuminate. Light up those blooms and see what we can create. Every two weeks we can have another word. So far we have Bucolic and Diaphanous. Add a word you would like to picture in your comment. We will use it in an upcoming post.

If you would like to join and add your post to this Word for Wednesday party it would be most appreciated.

You can also add Wordless Wednesday Posts if your image is a serendipitous one, like a bloom that you did not expect or an odd garden visitor. Or add life to an older post. All are welcome, just so it says serendipity.

Having a wordpress.com blog, I am not allowed the thumbnail images in my post directly, but clicking the link for InLinkz should take you to a page to add your link with thumbnail. We will see how that works. Join in, words or no words, thumbnails or not, let’s party! Or do what you might know with Mr. Link….

<!– start InLinkz script –>
<img style=”border:0px”  src=”http://www.inlinkz.com/wpImg.php?id=81511″>
<!– end InLinkz script –>

Mr. Linky

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
This entry was posted in garden, Niagara Falls State Parks, wild flower garden, Words for Wednesday and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to Word for Wednesday – Serendipity – Join In

  1. Aerie-el says:

    Gardening on the edge is right! Nature is amazing and you’ve captured some incredible examples. All I can say is…wow. And gorgeous!

  2. TufaGirl says:

    This posting of the wildflowers on the brink of the falls is just amazing. I bet no one ever notices the wildflowers out there.

    Sigh. No serendipity to be found this week. Will definitely work on “Illuminate”.

  3. Shyrlene says:

    Those shots were amazing, and the ‘Word for Wednesday’ tie-in is so well done. I have to ask — was that you hanging on the edge taking those photos? Looks pretty ‘death-defying’ if you ask me?!! I’m not prone to vertigo when looking at a long, straight drop — but I am pretty skittish getting too close to the edge.

    • Shyrlene, yep, that was me hanging out over the edge, but a railing stood between me and the drop. I was so amazed by those flowers. They are prettiest in the Fall. Another few weeks and they should be spectacular.

  4. Laurrie says:

    The backdrop of the falls is endlessly fascinating, and the way you frame and compose your pictures (and then tell us how you do it and where the shots are from) is always worth studying. Serendipity for sure in the first photo with the happy discovery of flowers next to blue water. The other photos go beyond accidental discovery into beautiful portraits of tenacity, life on the edge, adaptation and all kinds of metaphors of life! You do such great photo essays.

  5. GirlSprout says:

    Donna, thanks for hosting. Serendipity is one of my favorite words. I’m not sure if I used Mr. Linky right, so I might have posted twice inadvertently.

    • It worked A-OK. I may have to go wordpress.org to get the links on the post. If Word for Wednesday works out as a meme, I may just do that in the future. I am a little apprehensive about self hosting. No body to help if the site goes down.

  6. Daniela says:

    I understand English very little, but I understand very good your photos. They are wonderful.

  7. Joy says:

    Donna girl these are fantastic pictures (I am still laughing over the “crazy seagull ” remark!)
    It is astounding when we see plants grow from impossible places you can’t imagine how they do it ! The little island with the Joe Pye was a perfect shot!
    All the pictures were amazing : )
    I will have to see if I can dig up a picture that meets the serendipity description : )

  8. Barbie says:

    what an amazing sight to see that nature finds her place EVERYWHERE! Wonderful photos thank you 🙂

  9. You live in such a beautiful area to be able to capture these lovely photos. Each one seems worthy of a bench to sit and ponder the wonder of it all. And, of course, your photos are always excellent!

    I linked in your meme offering serendipity as my blooming cypress vine. It sustained no damage from Hurricane Irene–not even a bloom was damaged. Thanks for hosting.

  10. Donna says:

    Serendipity indeed…these flowers have nerves of steel…I love the idea of this meme and will plan accordingly!!

  11. Jennifer says:

    My favourite shot has to be of the Joe Pye Weed on its own tiny island in the midst of the swirling waters. That is one plucky little Joe! I will come up with something for ‘Illuminate’, next weeks word. Too bad that you can’t do thumbnails! They are always such tempting excuses to visit other blogs.

    • Jennifer, if you click the links to add, you don’t have to add, but you get to go to the other participants. This saddens me too, since WordPress does not allow Java Script postings for security reasons – on the .com blogs. On .org it is allowed because you self-host through a hosting company. It is a bit of a worry to do your own HTML and CSS, but have no clue on Java. I do CSS on both blogs, as it is allowed by WP, but if the site goes down on a self-host blog, it goes down forever, as a few errant codes would do that. On wp.com if I make any errors, they can fix it for me. You lose the support going to .org. I know I can probably muddle through since I create websites (limited) and use Dreamweaver, but it is really more time consuming to IT the blog. And most people know me, my creative side would get me in wails of trouble always trying to create something better, rather than just being happy that it works and looks acceptable.

  12. What a great idea! How often have I seen those wildflowers and never thought to snap a photo?

  13. One says:

    Hi Donna, I thoroughly enjoy your sharing of gardening on the edge. Beautiful views.

  14. patty says:

    Isn’t it amazing what we might see if only we looked? Some great shots there Donna. I imagine you have a good zoom lens to have managed some of those photos.Now I wonder what is growing on the Canadian side of the falls.

    • Patty, pretty much the same on the other side too. I did pretty wildflowers earlier this year from Canada, and asked the workers if they spray. They have had deep budget cuts, so the flowers get a reprieve, and they spray very little now. When they do spray, it is environmentally safe as they use a vinegar solution. I bet we don’t. I have to snag a worker sometime and ask. I often see them cutting, but these areas are inaccessible and must be sprayed to stay low enough for tourists to see the views. Like I noted in the post, trees take root in these conditions. I showed one in winter and it was a huge juniper growing straight out from the wall in the cliff area at Devil’s Hole. It really is amazing what plants do to survive conditions like this.

  15. Ok, I finally found the comment button, LOL. Wow those are great shots, some of them actually gave me a touch of vertigo.

    Did you go to both sides? Canadian,and American?

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

    • I did the Canadian side earlier this year, but I get over there pretty often. Their side is much more manicured, so I was surprised to see the wildflowers growing so nicely on the river side. They are pretty good about keeping the views open and cleared, which really some, were quite overgrown. I told them how pretty the natural look was and how it was a counterpoint to the lovely tended gardens. They explained that they are on a five year plan now due to worker layoffs and since there are less workers, places like I mentioned are the last to be attended. Every five years they do a major cut rather than each year.

  16. Holley says:

    This is what came to me: Gives me a new respect for my weeds. Mother Nature really does leave no soil unused. If these places have plants growing on them, my garden must look very safe to them!

    • I always had respect for weeds, even though there are thugs I can do without. Many perennials are weed decedents, so it is hard not to appreciate where they came from. The perennials just hybridized in the desirable qualities and eliminated those ratty looking leaves and rampant reseeding.

  17. I’m always in awe of where plants manage to grow and survive, and sometimes, like these plants, even thrive! The Nightshade is surprisingly beautiful, no doubt relishing the extra moisture in that environment. I love the clump of joe-pie-weed growing out in the middle of its own island, it just seems like such an improbable place to be. I certainly wouldn’t venture out there to plant it 😉

    • I had to look up that plant. The purple stem is actually that bright a purple. And the green such a pretty color. That island is right before the drop of the falls, it would be hard to get out there. That weed is there every year. I have a photo from last year too.

  18. Vertigo would be my word for today, lol. Your photos are amazing. You’re much steadier at heights than I am.

    I think this is a great idea and I’ll start looking for shots of illuminate. Should be fun.

  19. b-a-g says:

    Donna – You are very brave putting yourself in danger for the sake of your art! On the subject of serendipity : I wrote a post for Hanni’s meme but I was busy and forgot to link up, then I realised that it would fit with your meme.

  20. Lynn Rogers says:

    love the flowers and waterfall pix. I’d say photographer on the Edge! I linked my blog w/ turtle love but it didn’t turn up anywhere. The berries you talked about are rose hips on the rugosa roses growing by the falls.

  21. andrea says:

    Serendipity is my favorite word, in fact my next post has it prominently, but that is my post today. Looking at those boulders and the falls make me feel scared, but i laughed at the plant with its own island, monopolizing it. Next time when you show the map let us know also where your house is, haha! You have not seen my previous waterfalls photo, though it can’t compare with yours, it is also lovely and not very scary!

    • Andrea, I did see your waterfall images and they are very nice. I would recommend to all to see them. I have been having a lot of trouble leaving comments on your posts. I push submit and the page goes blank. Through Blotanical, I never miss your posts.

  22. You showcase that extraordinary environment so well Donna, so rich with tenacious life. Love the idea of marking the map and wide angle shots with where other shots were taken, really helps with the context.

    • I picked up the map last time I was there and thought how useful it would be for people visiting the Falls. I go places not all tourists do that have some pretty scenery and the map could help people plan trips with what they might not see otherwise. Not this post though. Everyone sees these spots. They just might not look down and see the simple beauties along with and in juxtaposition to the magnificence of the Falls and Niagara River.

  23. Bom says:

    Wonderful post Donna. I was hoping for a picture of the little tree, lonely all by itself. Maybe that is why it stands so close to the edge? It is almost a match for private island plant. I didn’t see a sign of ducks this time around. Are they from the other side of the falls?

    ps. Very nice writer’s challenge, your Word of Wednesday.

    • No, the ducks are still around, but they fly and hang around in small flocks. They were at the Horseshoe Falls that day. Those little islands where the joe-pie-weed was, that is where the ducks are sometimes. It is right before the Horseshoe Falls. My post on Ducks over the Falls was at that spot. That is why I keep mentioning that the birds are crazy. They get caught up in the spray (which is really unpredictable when it is like a huge splash) and it weighs them down with the strong winds and down they go. I have seen ducks go in and not come out. Three Sisters Island is a favorite duck spot with lots of places to swim that the waters are not too fast moving. That is why I am using the map in the future. It is a lot better for getting context.

  24. Autumn Belle says:

    Aha, finally I arrived here! I’m using another new computer with latest internet explorer version. With my older computer which can’t load IE9, your comment form will not appear at all.

    I love waterfalls eventhough there’s none nearby to my home. I like weeds when they behave like pretty wildflowers. There’s a lot to learn in life from their survival skills. Your pictures are magnificient. Having Word for Wednesday is a great idea, better if I can make it coincide with Wordless Wednesday too. Looks like I already have many Ws in my comment here.

    • Autumn Belle, I leave weeds grow and flower in my garden late on the season because the flowers are pretty. I do pull them before they seed though. they bloom right along side the roses, much to the chagrin of the fussy roses. LOL.

  25. Les says:

    If I did not know ahead of time that this was Niagra, I would swear it some exotic, inaccessible wilderness. Thanks for stepping close to the edge for sake of your readers.

    • It was more like leaning, Les. I am too chicken to go too many places that appear dangerous. In winter, I do walk the trails and they are steep and slippery, but I rarely leave a trail. I visit the waters edge, but only in places where it is legal to do so. This year alone, there were at least four that slipped or fell in that was reported. I know one has not yet been found. While looking for them, another they were not looking for was found. There is no accurate recorded numbers because a few go in and are never seen again, therefore not counted in the total.

  26. Serendipityisn’t a word I often use but I am a big believer that such moments, whether described as seredipitous or divine intervention, are wonderful and affirming. I think it was serendipitous that I discovered your blog last year because I have learned so much from it!

  27. Oh, my goodness! More than once, my stomach went down to my feet, as I thought I might fall off the edge. I am not good on heights, especially near an edge. Your photos and commentary are awesome! What tough, lovely plants! My vote is for them to survive!

  28. I have visited Niagra Falls 3 times. Thanks for taking me back to one of the world’s greatest wonders.

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