Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Making Traditional Labrador Tea during cold and flu season - a recipe to try, if you dare

Labrador tea with flowers:  photo: Marian De Gier Design
therapeutic labrador tea: note fuzzy brown hairs underneath leaves

poisonous bog laurel, shiny leaves, no fuzzy hairs
Camosun bog is part of the territory of the Musqueam  X'muzk'i'um.  150 years ago,  in the Pacific Northwest, your grandma might have sent you to the Bog to pick Labrador tea if your little brother was coughing.  You had to be careful, because if you picked Kalmia instead, your little buddy would be vomiting. 

Now that many of us are suffering the effects of a seasonal cold or flu, a hot cup of Labrador Tea sounds very attractive... until you read this from the "Alberta Plant Watch":
CAUTION: The tea can cause drowsiness and can act as a strong diuretic, cathartic or cause intestinal disturbances. The tea should be used infrequently and strong tea avoided.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sphagnum Moss from Camosun Bog

All photos copyright Gerry Mignault,  CBRG
The keystone species in Camosun bog is Sphagnum moss, sometimes called peat moss.  Without Sphagnum , the bog would not exist. Sphagnum maintains the wet and acidic conditions favoured by bog plants.  It has the incredible ability to absorb water like a super sponge and it pumps hydrogen ions into its surroundings, thus creating a very acidic environment. 

Sphagnum moss is a Bryophyte, one of the earliest plants to colonize land in evolutionary history. It doesn't have many of the adaptations shared by more recent land plants:   Lacks a cuticle (no shiny waxy protective covering - lip balm for plants!) Has no vascular system, the xylem and phloem (the "arteries and veins" of later land plants - maple syrup is tree "blood" drizzled on our pancakes!).

Sphagnum shares many characteristics with its close relatives, the aquatic plants.  like seaweed, it has swimming sperm. Thus sphagnum requires constant water for sexual reproduction.  Observe Gerry's  photos of Camosun bog's range of Sphagnum moss varieties.
more pictures below

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Healing Bog: "Bog Restoration", redefined, by Garth Thomson

Garth Thomson, from Kelowna  sends greetings and thoughts of just what kind of restoration is going on when we stand ankle deep in peat, pulling deer fern and salal. Read on...

Hello fellow Crazy Boggers,

I've been watching from a distance via email updates for the last 7 years (yikes time flies!) and visited the bog briefly on my only visit since 2003 to Vancouver last year. I was active in the bog from 2000-2003 and spent almost all my weekends during that time weeding, digging, and planting along with you.  My frog still watches me from behind my desk and my wooden badge is still in my box of "special things". 

The bog attracted me because it was such an interesting and beautiful place so close to where I lived at the time. I had spent many many years doing work related to the natural environment and had trained in forestry at UBC in 1985. In 2000 I had just finished the course work related to a diploma in Restoration of Natural Systems at UVic. I had also recently been diagnosed with Crohn's disease and was going through a major struggle to keep myself functioning at all. On the surface, it just looked like a quiet place to get away from the struggles but I think at a deeper level there was much more going on that wasn't said. I've really only been able to adequately put words on it very recently.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Camosun Bog featured on "Our Sustainable Region" and Parks Newsletter

camosun bog featured in Our Sustainable Region TV
see year 2010 episode 46, regional parks, "Camosun Bog".  And I recommend Laurence getting into the documentary film biz 'cause he's a natural.
Bog Buddy program , the photos,  and the bog children's stories also got featured on the Parks Newsletter too.  Cool.