Posting vignettes based on great postcards found in my mail box and elsewhere.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Oh Canada, where pines and fireweeds grow...

Terry a member of Postcrossing from Canada sent this beautiful mountain from the Valley of the Ten Peaks in Banff National Park. I like the contrast of the majestic and rugged mountains with the delicate fireweeds. This beautiful magenta petalled wild plant is common not only to both Canada and Alaska but in the temperate Northern Hemisphere. The plant gets its name for its ability to reestablish on burnt over lands. It often covers fields left fallow or abandon construction sites. I guess nature abhors an ugly vacuum.
Some say they are forecasters of coming of winter but I've found this to be a dubious claim in the absolute sense. I've heard all sorts of predictions. When three rows of blooms are left there are three weeks before the first snow. Or when the plant is in full bloom it means six weeks to winter. One problem with all these prophecies is the lack of defining what constitutes winter. Some people mean the first snow. Others the fall equinox. Some vacillate between both to fit the prediction. I think all plant legends are generally accurate on a local basis with occasional aberrations accepted when they are given by a local who has observed the seasons for a life time or is heir to many generations accumulated observations. From my observations in the interior of Alaska for just shy of two decades, I can say with general certainty: when I see the blossoms fall from the top my snow gear is ready to go.


  1. When we were in Alaska last summer we saw the fields of fireweed on the Dalton highway between the arctic circle and Fairbanks. I was one of the neatest things I have ever seen - I think I took more pictures of that than I did of the mountains we passed through to get there!

  2. I've only visited the Banff area in the winter. Someday I need to go back and visit during the Spring or Summer.