What’s In Bloom – Bladder Campion

I’ve always liked Bladder Campion.  The flowers, with their distinct inflated bladder, have always intrigued me.  Aesthetically, this white flower is very pleasing to me.

What's In Bloom - Bladder Campion

Native to Europe, here in North America Bladder Campion is considered to be a weed. It grows easily in well-drained soils, and can be seen blooming along the side of many trails and in open fields throughout the summer.

It is likely a familiar sight to many, although you might not have gotten up close and personal to examine it.  I can’t resist examining anything and everything in bloom when I go out for a walk or a hike.  This drives Greg crazy sometimes as it has a tendency to slow us down.

What's In Bloom - Bladder Camption

I consider Bladder Campion to be a pretty wildflower.  The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture considers it to be a weed.  I think it’s quite interesting how humans have grown to consider most plants that they have not planted themselves, and that they therefore do not consider to be useful, to be a nuisance plant, i.e. a weed.

To me, pretty flowers are useful just because they are pretty.  They make me smile.  Seeing them helps me relax.  Plus I am sure that some animals benefit from their presence.  They must be a source of food for something.

What's In Bloom - Bladder Camption

The leaves of Bladder Campion are considered to be edible and are harvested and consumed in some parts of Europe.  The leaves are small, so I would think there is much work for small reward in harvesting these.

What is your favorite wildflower?


What’s in Bloom – Columbines

I planted some columbines in my front flower bed two summers ago.  I wasn’t sure what they would look like, as I was only familiar with wild columbines, which are a beautiful red colour, with a yellow throat.  I thought the domesticated ones would be lovely too.

I was disappointed when they didn’t bloom.

Last year, I understood why my columbines had not bloomed the year I planted them.  Columbines are a spring flower.  They are my first perennials to bloom after my bulbs.  And they do not disappoint.

Purple Columbines

Columbines are a showy flower, wouldn’t you agree?

Pink Columbine

I love how extremely three dimensional they are.  I can look at them from different so many different angles, and they surprise me each time.

Pink Columbine

I’ve given them the nickname of “dragon flower”.  The unopened bloom reminds me of a dragon’s head.  A flower that can resemble a mythical creature appeals to me.  Can you spot the dragon’s head?

Resemble a dragon's head

I love how dense the blooms are.  They are so dense, it is difficult to photograph just a single bloom.

Pink and Purple Columbines


pink columbines

Which ones do you prefer, the pink or the purple?


What’s in Bloom – Apple Blossoms

Flowering Crabs (Malus spp.) are my favorite tree.  We had one in the backyard when I was a kid.  Every spring I looked forward to seeing it bloom.  The tree was often overloaded with pink flowers that smelled wonderful. Every time I smell apple blossoms, I am transported back to my childhood.

What's in Bloom - Apple Blossoms

Fortunately, I am able to indulge in my love of these apple trees every spring here in Ottawa.  This is my favorite spot in the entire city in the spring. I go by it twice a day on my commute to and from work.  I eagerly look out the window, drinking in the beautiful sight.

What's in Bloom - Apple Blossoms

There are hundreds of flowering crab trees in this spot.  All of them bloom at the same time.  It is a magical place.  Walking through the rows of trees is like talking a walk in an enchanted forest.  I love being surrounded by all these pink blooms, with their heady perfume.  There is no other place like it.

Pink Apple Blossoms

What's in Bloom - Pink Apple Blossoms


What's in Bloom - Apple Blossoms


What’s In Bloom – Tulips

I love spring.  It’s a magical time of year.  Everything around me is transformed from dull grey, black and brown to tender green with splashes of colour.  It’s the time when everything wakes up from its winter slumber and comes alive again.

Last week, when I looked out my living room window, just the tiniest bit of green was visible.  Now when I look out, not only are the trees in full leaf, but some flowers are blooming too.

single tulip bulb

I’ve always loved flowers.  I love the excitement of discovering that a new flower is in bloom today.  It could be a garden flower or a wildflower, the sense of awe is the same.  I am always actively looking for new ones.  Some days I have more success than others.

Bird's eye view of tulip bloom

I like to look at flowers from all the angles – sometimes that means a bird’s-eye view.

Right now, the tulips are in bloom.  I planted some for the first time two falls ago. I planted some more last fall.  Growing tulips here is challenging.  I am waging an ongoing battle with the squirrels.  They dig up the bulbs shortly after planting, they find some they missed in the spring, and then they eat the leaves of the remaining ones as they are growing.  Luckily, they have left me a few, so I have some bright spots of colour to enjoy.

spring flowers tulips

Although I have only been able to get a few tulips to survive, I have lots of opportunity right now to admire tulips.  The city of Ottawa is awash in tulips.  Most of the city’s parks have extensive tulip beds.  The city is ablaze in colour.

Tulip Festival Ottawa Canada

Photo by Derek Hatfield – used under licence CC BY 2.0

The massive display is part of the Canadian Tulip Festival. It’s the largest tulip festival in North America.

The Tulip Festival started in 1953 in commemoration of Canada’s role in liberating the Dutch in WWII, and providing refuge to members of the Dutch Royal Family at that time.  A grateful Princess Juliana gifted Canada with thousands of tulip bulbs on an annual basis.  These bulbs were the starting point of the festival. Today, over 1 million tulips bloom in the city. The tulips are an impressive site.

Ottawa Ontario Tulip Festival

photo by Robin Dawes – used under licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The sheer number of tulips is impressive.  The riot of colour is cheerful and uplifting.  One can’t help but smile when admiring them.  Dow’s Lake is the site of some of the most extensive tulip beds. Greg and I hope to go there on Monday to take it all in.

tulips in bloom Canadian Tulip Festival

photo by Lord of the Wings used under licence CC BY_SA 2.0

What’s blooming in your backyard right now?