Saturday, last June, at the Wagner Natural Area

Here are some pictures from our annual walk around the Wagner Wilderness Area (aka Wagner Bog, though not really a bog, more a fen). Best time to see the orchids, for which the area is famous, is about mid-June, but every year is different (wetter or drier, spring coming earlier or later). It is a beautiful place any time. And hardly anybody goes, because there’s no shopping or fast food, so you can feel you have the place to yourself.

First, read the signs. They pay a sort of tribute to some of the people who have come here before you, and, if you’re lucky, won’t come back today. (Click to enlarge.)

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The yellow lady slippers (Cypredium calceolus) were abundant this year, in light forest cover (young aspens) a little way off the path at the beginning and end of the circular trail. Getting good photos is challenging, as often the view from the path is obstructed by other plants (which is why there are so many pictures of signs here and not nearly enough of plants, sorry).

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Is this the biffy? Looks like it. And it’s right next to the picnic shelter, good place for a biffy.

Nope.

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Much of the signage here is aimed at idiots, or the thoughtless. See also the note at the very bottom. People, eh. (Honey wagon, ha.)

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Next comes the meadow, and today it was covered in Northern Blue butterflies. You could hardly walk without stepping on one.

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Saw a few specimens of Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium montanum) among the vetches and grasses. I have seen this plant in the city, in unmown grass or on an “undeveloped” lot, and ordered seed to grow some, and then it appeared on its own in (what I call) the woodland garden.

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At the end of the meadow, you enter the forest, mixed aspen-poplar and white and black spruce, a changing variety of trees and shrubs as you hike toward the pond.

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Here is one of a few marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris) still in flower on this day.

As you approach the marl pond, the orchids become more frequent on the spruce forest floor. These two are spotted round-leaved orchid and pale coral root.

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The shooting stars (Dodecatheon pulchellum) were thick in the marshy areas around the pond. Our only native primula, if you don’t count the dodecatheons (some do, some don’t) is Primula incana. I saw one once, a few years ago, on the Wagner trail, but only one, only once. There must be more around, as this is good habitat for them.

A dwarf raspberry, Rubus acaulis.

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Finally, near the end of the trail, we spied a lively, wonderfully mobile cluster of baby spiders. Click to enlarge.

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