Society Meeting – April 24

Howard Hunter opened the meeting by welcoming members and guests as well as new members, and reminded all to sign in on the meeting sign sheet which would be passed around.

Howard also reminded those present that the County Garden Show needed volunteers on the day to help with set-up, door admission, Victorian Tea, and the Raffle Table. A sign-up sheet was available at the meeting, and a page with a reminder and details can be found here.

Walter McGee gave an overview of the Flower Show rules and categories including the ‘provincial flower’ category – a somewhat whimsical category combining actual flowers with artifacts. Full details on the categories, etc. are in the Flower Show brochure which is available for download here [486 kb pdf].

Walter and Marianne Malachowski reminded members about the Green Trust’s Music Festival to be held following the County Garden Show and beginning at 7:00 pm with the younger performers and continuing on until 10:00 pm. Tickets can be obtained from Walter at $5/ticket. More details of the music festival to be posted later this month.

Anne Reeves gave the members an update on the vendors and sponsors for the County Garden Show (full details here). Anne noted that interest was high and the vendors and sponsors were pleased with the greater level of advertising we were doing. Remember to support these vendors and local sponsors!

apr_pic5Howard introduced the meeting’s speaker – Court Noxon – who would be presenting on wild flowers of PEC. The presentation’s special emphasis would be on the species that he believed to be endangered or that had disappeared completely over the past 20+ years he had observed and documented wildflowers in the varying habitats found in PEC.

PEC has seven distinct habitats each of which has a difference mix of plants (and animals); beaches, dunes and pannes, forests, meadows, marshes, fence bottoms, and alvars.

Sea rockets have been absent from PEC beaches for at least five years. In the dunes and pannes, fringed gentian and lobelia are ‘vulnerable’; the beach pea and hoary puccoon are both no longer found in the dunes and pannes.

The forests in the interior of Sandbanks are changing as the climate and environment changes. The American beech has become stressed and is more susceptible to insect damage; the pinesap and yellow lady’s slipper flowers are no longer in the forest.

Meadows and marshes are two habitat types that are gradually disappearing or changing. Monarch butterflies – which once filled PEC’s meadows are now an ‘at risk’ species. Changing marshes have caused a loss of river otters and snapping turtles and wild rice, southern wild rice, and cardinal flowers are plant species no longer found in PEC marshes.

The ‘fence bottom’ habitat, though widespread, is changing. As farming practices change, hedgerows are disappearing which affects the air flows across the fields. Butternuts are rarer because of hedgerow clearing, wild grapes, wild plum, and hawthorn are also almost all gone.

In the alvars, early buttercup and prairie smoke – despite intense conservation efforts – are almost all gone. The overall alvar habitat is naturally changing and many of the ‘traditional’ alvar plants are becoming less populous.

While biodiversity reduction is ‘bad news’ no all change is bad. Court closed his presentation by mentioning some good news, like the arrival (or first sightings) of corn cockle and Nora Barlow columbine.

Court’s web site provides a comprehensive and easy-to-use database of descriptions, habitats, colours, images and more about PEC’s wildflowers. You can also get a copy of Court’s lavishly illustrated book entitled Field, Forest, Hedgerow’ from Books & Company in Picton.
The mini show topic was ‘forced bulbs or wild flowers which you have dried or self-taken photographs of wild flowers’.





Mini-show entries were judged by the members at large. 1st place was shared by Gwen Reilly and Kim Katanik-Kuris [upper pair above], 2nd place went to Mary Jenkins and 3rd place to Arline de Bourbon [lower pair above]. Click the images to see larger versions.

Photo-credit: Bert Jenkins

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