Some of our annuals are coming into flower and we couldn’t help but share some photos!
Today’s first flowering specimen of Clarkia amoena seemed timely, given its common name is Farewell to spring. Given the particularly warm conditions we are currently experiencing, another name comes to mind: Hello summer! This is in fact a tribute to the untimely passing of a dear friend, Moralea Milne, who referred to Clarkia as such. Moralea’s friendship and inspiration played a role in the species selection on the Elevated Lab ecology experiment.
Another beauty is the tiny Collinsia parviflora, or small-flowered blue eyed Mary. Contrast the specimen in the image above with the Sedum divergens beside it gives an impression of how tiny these plants are! Being native to this region, these small flowering annuals may offer important resources to the range of native pollinators that benefit from their pollen and nectar.
The ecology study on the Elevated Lab trialed 18 herbaceous species associated with Garry oak ecosystems that were grouped into five functional types, or growth forms. Each growth form featured three species, except for tall forbs which had five species. The three annual species include the two mentioned above, as well as Plectritis congesta. These were broadcast as seed across each plot in early February, each in their respective weight. We intend to sow another batch of these annuals in autumn, in order to ensure a seedbank and provide for better establishment and performance.