Friday, August 13, 2010

Purple Saxifrage

Purple Saxifrage, originally uploaded by susanvg.

Adventure Canada trip July 23 - August 2 / Purple Saxifrage is the flower of Nunavut
Arctic Flowers

Brilliant colours
On a barren landscape
Ever sparser
As we travel north

Tenacious growth
In harsh conditions
On rocks
and sandy soil

to defy defeat
They clump together
holding warmth

Bathing in the midnight sun
Of the short summer months
Slowly they spread
Year after year after year

Time moves differently
in the north
Tiny trees are decades old
Growth is gradual

Arctic Flowers
of evey hue
tiny surprises

Dwarf Fireweed

Growth in the Arctic is slow. Plants find ways to adapt to the harsh conditions, finding micro-climates in the shelter of a rock, growing in clumps to preserve warmth, having small leaves and leaving the growing energy for the flowers. Some flowers have hairy leaves and stems to keep warm; some take more than one year to flower.

In most of the Arctic there is little precipitation, a short period of light, permafrost and poor soil. As bacteria doesn't survive easily, decomposition can take seven years. The farther north, the longer it takes. Lichens take hold on some rocks – black, bright orange, green.


Despite the harsh conditions there are beautiful flowers – small but bright.
For more photographs: click here


  1. Tenacious AND beautiful flowers. It's amazing the amount of growth there is in such harsh conditions.

  2. These flowers are lovely. I am constantly amazed by the beauty and sturdiness of flowers everywhere!

  3. I am seeing a coffee table book in the works with your poetry and prose highlighting the photos!

  4. Amazing pictures and colours from the north! Your poem strikes a chord with me - that's what it must be like above the Arctic Circle here in Finland. Beautifully written!