I made my first botanical jaunt to the Woodridge Bog. I had to battle mosquitoes and wind, but it did not rain. It was cloudy so lighting conditions were good for photography. So I bravely ventured forth into the wild bog. For some reason I feared I might not find any orchids. There were no yellow lady’s slippers on the way in as I thought there would be. No such luck. Too early I guess. This is a weird year.
The first flower I saw was Goldthread a gorgeous little flower. I always think of them as diamonds in the bog. So I stopped to photograph this little flower. It was difficult to get a comfortable position in the bog as I had to kneel to get down low enough for this tiny little flower. Kneeling down in a bog is an experience. I basically had to sit down on the wet bog. Eventually I managed to capture an image I was happy with. According to Mary Ferguson and Richard M. Saunders in their fine little book, Canadian Wildflowers this plant is often found in the shade of a tree from which “the white flowers shine out like stars.” I think that is the perfect description and I wish I had thought of it. In a similar vein, my friend Doris Ames, who actually knows a few things about wild flowers, unlike me, described it this way: “The flowering stem is 5-15cm tall and bears a single star-like flower.” In any case to come across this sparkling celestial light on the floor of a dark bog is a great delight. After I saw this it didn’t matter if I was unable to find any orchids. I was satisfied.
Shortly after that, I found Ram’s-head lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium arietinum R. Brown). This is Manitoba’s smallest lady’-slipper and one of the rarest orchids in Manitoba. When international orchid enthusiasts came to Manitoba for the North American Native Orchid Conference a couple of years ago some of us from our Manitoba group showed them around and they were all excited to see this little treasure. I was thrilled to find it for the first time this year and naturally stopped to take a number of photos. These are so small it is very difficult to find them in a bog. They can hide under a dime.