Beauty in the Bog

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.

3 thoughts on “Beauty in the Bog

  1. Love those lady slippers. Here is a legend I told kids at the WAG when he had Linda Fairfield’s drawings of lady slippers on display.

    Ojibwe Legend

    Long ago in the depth of winter the people in an Ojibwe village were suffering from a terrible illness. Only one girl remained healthy and she said she would travel to a neighbouring village where the healers had herbs that could cure the others. The girl walked through a blizzard and got the needed medicine. On the way home she found herself in deep snowdrifts. Walking through them she lost her moccasins but her worry for her friends and family made her stumble through the icy snow crystals barefoot. She left a bloodstained trail of footprints behind her. She made it home and the medicine healed everyone. The next spring her brother went looking for her lost moccasins and found that all along the trail of bloody footsteps where the girl had walked there were beautiful pink flowers growing that looked like the moccasins the girl had worn. The flower was the lady slipper known by the Ojibwe as the moccasin flower. They remind us of the courage and strength of the young girl who brought healing to her village.

    1. That is a fantastic story. I always wondered where the name moccasin flower came from. By the way I also went to see that display at the WAG on your recommendation and really enjoyed it. I meant to tell you that and forgot. Do you mind if I adopt it for an upcoming post?

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