This view is across the Parkway at the end of my street, looking toward the Rainbow Bridge to Canada. I was in awe of the big sky, so you see only a bit of Niagara Falls, USA and Canada.
Big blue skies that go on and up forever are rare here so every one is special. I know you westerners are laughing right now since they are old hat to you, but this view of the river is not seen everyday like this.
This is also a view looking Northwest into Canada, across the Niagara River. Here I thought the water was a pretty scene, but seriously, it was hard to point the camera down and not up today.
So let’s keep walking. This is how I walk to the Falls, past all the native blooming plants. It is hard not to think they are more than just weeds. Pollinators come in all types and sizes and make every weed a wildflower.
The insect above might be a Green Metallic Bee, Agapostemon sp., rather than a fly. I believe because the antennae are longer than would be found in a fly. This is not a good photo, because it does not show a profile view which would help in identification.
Walking along the gorge towards Niagara Falls, yields many lovely wildflowers, but by the time I return with photos, I often don’t have enough info in them to properly identify the plant. Like above, I did not take the photo including the leaves, which are mandatory in proper plant ID. Yarrow leaves are pretty distinctive.
Yarrow tidbit. Did you know the entire yarrow plant, excepting the roots, can be used medicinally. I learned this from a seminar last year on native plants given by a Native American woman, knowledgeable in herbs and native plants. She said the plant, fresh or dried can be taken internally or applied externally, depending on the ailment.
Here are some of the ailments it is purported to benefit. It reduces fever, and helps relieve flu and colds. Its bitter tonic properties relieve stomach-ache, diarrhea, cramping, as well as sore throats and gum irritation. It supposedly relieves menstrual pain.
Externally, it stops bleeding, and helps to prevent infection of topical cuts. Also it is used as a hemorrhoids treatment. This information has been passed down though generations of Native American healers. You have to wonder if they really work. I will write more on this later, or if you have that burning desire to know how it is concocted, I may give you the lowdown in the comments. Just ask. It really is interesting.
Here’s a tidbit on the Oxeye Daisy. Daisies have been reported to be INVASIVE in seven national parks, including the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. How you ask? They spread by underground roots and by over active seed production. The seeds float and find their way to river banks. They form dense colonies to replace up to half the grasses in pastures, additionally, they have been found to host several viral diseases affecting crops.
Tidbit on the Pollinator
It is Eristalis tenax, a Syrphid Fly – Common name, Drone Fly
Some hoverflies’ larvae are important predators of soft-bodied prey like aphids and thrips, much to rose growers delight. Many Syrphids, like the Drone Fly above, are important pollinators, and are considered beneficial insects. Gardeners can plant flowers that attract them like; Alyssum, Iberis umbellata, statice, chamomile, parsley, and yarrow. The list is actually longer, since this Flower Fly gets its generalized common name because it likes just about any flower, native or not.
The poor but popular daisy is now being maligned and put on the noxious weed list in many states and Canadian provinces. Want to know which states? Ask in the comments and I will list them.
Bunny by the native garden at the Falls. Looks like he is headed for the Coneflower and ready to muscle out the groundhog for a tasty meal. Groundhogs like this plant. I always have the wrong lens on when I see bunnies, I had to enlarge him.
Many grow the daisy, me included, but a better native replacement is Purple Coneflower, Black-Eyed Susan, or Blanket Flower, Gaillardia araistata.
I am not very adept at naming the wildflowers, and should get a handbook to carry along, but some I do know pretty well. I really like the wildflowers, but not all wildflowers are natives. Just like not all wildflowers are weeds either. So many have similar form and make identification difficult, except to those that really are into indigenous native plants.
Any of you that are knowledgeable on native plants, please leave the names of the plants I am not sure of, it will be most appreciated, like Patty at Gardening Pomona, who is very knowledgeable and was quite helpful.
The main reason for liking native plants for me has to do with the pollinators. The flowers themselves are usually quite small in comparison to the hybrids that originated from them. Often, because of selective breeding, the use to pollinators has been compromised.
The little fly above is another bee and wasp imitator from the family Syrphidae. It is a Hoverfly, Syrphus forvus, that looks like a wasp but it is not dangerous. It only scares the birds, even as tiny as it is. I actually have some good photos of this insect that you will see in a later post where I was actually focusing on the tiny fly, not the flower in those images.
I find so many more and varied insects when in the fields and pastures. My yard gets a variety of insects, and does have what many consider native plants, but it is still nowhere the quantity and variety of a trip to the field or farm. To see my opinion on native plants and home gardens, see the post The Native Melting Pot of Plants, What Goes?. It is a very long, researched post with many supporting links that is much more than a personal opinion post.
The above three images are from my garden. I see bees like these in the fields far more often.
This field above was filled with clover. And, teeming with bees. I was not here to photograph the insects, but get clean shots of the small blooms.
I do not know what this one will be when it blooms, but the form was interesting. It looks like the bud captured another plant’s airborne seed.
Any of these smaller images get larger with a click if you need to see them for identification purpose. Any that I am not sure of and you are, please let me know in the comments.
Bird’s-foot trefoil a creeping invasive I believe. A pretty little flower. Tidbit: It is a non-bloating legume that contains a condensed tannin, an anti-bloating control. So it is good for cattle to eat.
Cute little plant, but I am not sure what it is. Maybe Hawksbeard (Asteracea), like My Green Patch identified. I did look up Hawksbeard, but I could not find them grouped like this on the end of the stem, so I was unsure. The plant is maybe a foot tall.
As identified correctly by Island Threads.
As identified correctly by Island Threads.
A wild rose because of the leaves, or Hackberry because of the flowers? See, I need a guide book. This is a small tree or large shrub. It is difficult to tell what form it will become. The leaves are not typical of Hackberry and the cluster is not typical of wild roses. Philadephus is out too. Hum.
This Spiraea was in the bed of native plants at the Discovery Center. The building and grounds are getting renovated. I do believe they are keeping the native gardens with all the new construction.
These geraniums were also in the native bed, but plenty was seen along the trails.
I had no idea what this flower is called, but the Queen of Seaford identified it as Erysimum, Wallflower.
The privet was growing wild along the Niagara trail. Even when I try to avoid the insects, one slips in on the shot. See the little critter?
Not sure of above either, but it looked like a type of Geum.
Bindweed is not a plant most want in a garden, native or otherwise.
Colt’s Foot, I think. A tiny dandelion look-a-like. Cute little bug too. Check out the comment below by Wild Cookery. The author says this is not Colt’s Foot.
The pink grasses are quite pretty.
Buttercup tidbit. Buttercups generally inhabit moist areas and can be poisonous to animals. All animals are susceptible to buttercup poisoning, generally and most often by the tall buttercup (Ranunculus acris L.), but cows are most often poisoned. Dried buttercups, however, are not poisonous, so buttercup laden hay can be fed without fear of poisoning the farm critters.
I find this interesting because buttercups are a flower kid’s love to pick.
This is the typical tourist view of both set of Falls. The Horseshoe Falls is in the far distance. The gorge side walls in the distance were where Nik Wallenda made his historic walk over the Horseshoe Falls on Friday, June, 15th., from the US to Canada. I saw it televised and did not walk down to the Falls to see it live, although my husband insisted I go and take photos. I was glad to have seen it on TV, a much better view than being there.
Next on GWGT… lots of images and design ideas at the Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College. This is a beautiful set of gardens. Chanticleer??? I think there was a request. This will be a few posts since the place is so big and amazing. Followed up by a peek inside my abode and what’s cooking? Seems anticlimactic, huh?