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Posts Tagged ‘Jewelweed’

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We enjoyed a pleasant weekend, but Monday and Tuesday have been overcast and drizzly. On the plus side, flowers can really shine on a dull day. While even bright flowers sometimes look washed out under intense sun, on gray days they make their own glow. Here are a few of the flowers that caught my eye today.

Pictured above are the small orange flowers of jewelweed (Impatiens capensis). It’s a native that grows quite vigorously in damp areas around here. It seeds about in the garden and I mostly pull it out, but left this one plant because jewelweed is loved by hummingbirds.

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I usually plant a few annuals each spring, and by late in the summer, when the garden begins to look a bit tired, they add a boost of colour. Lavatera ‘Silver Cup’ is a pretty, clear pink. For brilliance, though, it is hard to beat zinnias.

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The rudbeckias are reliable late-summer bloomers. This is rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldstrum’. You can just make out a little yellow flower crab spider near the centre of the photo.

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A few late daylilies are opening the last of their flowers. Wild Child (Salter 2002) was new this year and I enjoyed its colourful blooms. I was sad to see its last flower today, a bit bedraggled by the rain.

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Golden Tycoon still has a few buds left and stands up well to the rain.

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The angelica (Angelica gigas) is just coming into bloom and is very popular with bumblebees.

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My Lemon Queen sunflower (Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’) is also just starting her show and will soon be attracting crowds of bees.

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Here are the leaves of annual coleus competing with the flowers for attention.

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This echinacea, ‘Now Cheesier’ struggled last year. I moved it this spring and it is doing better in its new location.

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Finally, here’s a garden variety of a native wildflower, Joe Pye Weed. This is Eupatorium ‘Phantom’.

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Late summer is Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) season. The plants are plentiful around this area, especially in moist, shaded sites. Unlike many weedy plants that have tough, fibrous stems, Jewelweed has a tender appearance. The bushs can get to be quite large, sometimes reaching 150 centimeters in height. The bright orange flowers, scattered in open clusters over the plant, are clearly the source of the name Jewelweed. The bright orange blossoms seem to shine. The mashed leaves of the Jewelweed plant have been used as a salve, applied externally to soothe rashes caused by plants such as stinging nettle and poison ivy.

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Jewelweed flowers are designed to attract hummingbirds, who can probe the tubular blooms with their long beaks to collect the nectar. Several plants have sprung up in the garden outside the kitchen window and I left them there so that I can enjoy seeing the hummingbirds making their rounds of the flowers. Above, a pollinator has wiggled his way into the bloom to collect the sweet reward.

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Larger insects may act as nectar thieves, chewing through the back of the flower to steal the nectar without providing the benefit of pollinating the flower. Jewelweed is also known as Spotted Touch-Me-Not. The term “touch-me-not” is a reference to the seed pods. When they are full and ripe, the slightest touch will cause the pods to ‘explode’, shooting their seeds out in all directions. Below, an immature pod can be seen developing to the left of the flower. Thanks to Birdgirl for kindly providing these fine photographs.

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