I missed Dr. Nina Katalin Barabas's presentation on medicinal native plants at the North American Native Plant Society's Winter Speakers series last night. Too bad because they've all been so good. (BTW: thank Paul Heydon at Grow Wild! for that line-up.) I didn't realize that, besides already being a great newsletter and plant sale, NANPS could pull off a great public speaker series too. High Park did too. And winter is such a good time for it.
Sharon Lovett (Rare Plants of the Endangered High Park Oak Savannah co-creator /photographer /author and High Park VSP co-chair) noticed I was AWOL and emailed me this morning. Yes, I missed another good one. But what she really wanted to tell me about was a new book she saw there, a field guide about GTA wildflowers, from a place called Riverwood.
Nina Katalin Barabas PhD and Eva Sabrina Bruni
Mississauga Garden Council. 2008. 184 pp
My first (and apologetic) question: who and what is Riverwood?
Turns out, the Riverwood Conservancy is a:
- 60 hectare (150 acre) park / public garden / natural area / ANSI in Mississauga
- habitat to over 475 species of plants & animals
- the "most ecologically diverse community in the Credit Valley watershed” with 200 to 350 year old trees and mixed old growth, young deciduous and mature mixed forests, woodlands, meadows, oak savannah, old fields, tablelands, floodplain, ravines, slopes, wetlands, marsh and creeks.
In other words, it's a taster's menu of our regional wildflowers, including the odd rare one too, like the White Trout Lily on the book's cover.
Nina, last night's speaker, was one of the volunteers who co-wrote this interpretive wildflower field guide for Riverwood and us. "A volunteer effort ... truly a project by the community for the community". :)
A generous community: 150 species in the guide. Check out the sample pages and features at a glance. Natives and common weeds too and distinguishes the two. Sweet woodland and wetland flowers, but not much for prairie / savannah species. Historic and first nations medicinal uses are the most common themes. I love that it tells you when and where you can find each species at Riverwood. Add a camera to that and it sounds like affordable family-friendly sport to me.
This is the first in a series of field guides volunteers plan to create for the Conservancy / the GTA flora and fauna represented there. The proceeds of the sales of this book will fund the publication of those future books and field guides, as well as their outdoor education program. You can buy the book on-site at Riverwood's Historic Chapell House (open mon-fri 9-4) for $34.99 (or$29.99 for Riverwood Conservancy members). Or call 905-279-5878 or email info@TheRiverwoodConservancy.org to place an order. I was able to just call and use Visa and have it sent to me. With shipping and handling and taxes it was $41.49, and arrived fast too.
Once I saw Riverwood on a map, I realized I'm familiar with some of that forest, but just south of Burnhamthorpe at U of T in Mississauaga / Credit River at Erindale. Sweet place! $35 is an awesome price for a book you can spend an early -> mid-May morning with getting to know spring woodland ephemerals along those forest trails, and then to bring home to help plan out a native woodland garden while the nurseries (and blooms!) are in full swing.
Congratulations -- & thank you -- to the team behind the book, and the gardeners and stewards at Riverwood too. BTW: I can't think of a better peer-recommendation for this book than Sharon gushing "had to have it!"
Just noticed this: "The Native Herb Garden with Nina Katalin Barabas." Free Seminar at Richter’s Herbs, Goodwood ON, Sun Apr 26th, 2-3 pm.