Almost ready for the performance – Northern Fairy Candelabra

It isn’t every spring we deign to make an appearance. Some years, our gruelling schedule takes its toll and we break from our usual, annual touring schedule. Last spring, was one such time.Img_1720_2 None of us can recall the source of our fatigue, but no matter. This year, we decided to appear with our full touring entourage. 

Usually we like to perform solo from every corner of the garden. This year, however, we’ve decided to do things a bit differently.

We formed several quartets that live up to the name most people know us by – Northern Fairy Candelabra (Androsace septentrionalis). There are also the usual solo performers who provide us with backup. ‘Most years, we limit our touring to western parts of Canada and the United States. Some people call us Pygmyflowers too. We prefer to be thought of as Candelabra though. Img_1721

While we are sometimes viewed as weeds in farmers’ fields, we are mostly beloved as native wildflowers. What isn’t there to love about us? Our white flowers appear high above our slender, toothed leaves and remind people of flickering candlelight. Each of our performances make every garden and field a much lovelier place.

When we have completed our final performances, we "do not go gentle into that good night." Rather, we  finish out the summer setting seeds for next year’s possible return. As our leaves turn a beautiful reddish colour, we "rage, rage against the dying light."

Whenever we start blooming, one gardener is reminded of the song, Wildflowers, by The Trio  – Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton (1987).

I hitched a ride with the wind
and since he was my friend 
I just let him decide where we’d go 
When a flower grows wild
It
can always survive
Wildflowers don’t care where they grow.

Stay tuned for our much-anticipated performances. We prefer to wait until the Liverlilies are finished before taking front and centre stage.

38 thoughts on “Almost ready for the performance – Northern Fairy Candelabra

  1. Gina says:

    Lovely post Kate, as always…I’ve not heard of these ‘performers’ before and very much looking forward to the show! Gina x

  2. Frances says:

    Your song bit from a fabulous trio is so fitting. I have never heard of this plant and also look forward to it’s shining light.

  3. Amy says:

    Hello Kate – these plants are new to me as well and I look forward very much to seeing photos of flowers that look like flickering candlelight. Have a lovely week…

  4. Aiyana says:

    This is such a fun way to present info on plants. You make it so interesting! I loved the Dylan Thomas reference. Well put.
    Aiyana

  5. Selma says:

    This is a magical post. Northern Fairy Candelabra is the most wonderful name. I almost want to write a story about it. And those little candelabras have an excellent taste in music.

  6. Ki says:

    Haven’t heard of these flowers so I had to look them up. I do like your unusual selections and are liking wildflowers much more each day. If I had to do it over again I think an all native wildflower garden would be nice.

  7. Barbara says:

    A very nice, interesting and amusing post about an unknown wildflower. I liked the way you presented it. Looking forward to the continuation!

  8. maya says:

    Looking forward to the performance.Your garden and surroundings are like a fabulous performing centre for the arts and now in spring/summer it must be time for the festival of the arts which must be keeping you busy absorbing all the beauty and transformation.

  9. our friend Ben says:

    How delightful! Do not go gentle, indeed. Do you know the wonderful CD by Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris, “All the Roadrunning”? If not, you must find it–you will like it!

  10. willow says:

    Kate, I love all the allusions in your post. I’ve noticed several California poppies in my garden and my pots that evidently let last autumn’s wind decide where they should go.

  11. naturegirl says:

    Kate I too have not heard of these plants!Now that we are home from the Arizona desert there is much to be done in opening up the garden seson!! Oh dear where do we begin!!
    Happy Spring gardening to you! hugs NG

  12. kerri says:

    They’re new to me as well. I’m anxious to see their performance šŸ™‚ Your garden is becoming a busy place!
    Trio is one of my favourite cassettes. Is there a CD version of it? When they were younger, and still at home, my daughters and I would sing parts while we did the dishes…Kylie low, Kathy high, and me in the middle…some of my fondest memories šŸ™‚

  13. Terra says:

    I was delighted to hear the story of the Fairy Candelabras, told by themselves. These are plants I hadn’t known about.

  14. gracia says:

    “We prefer to wait until the Liverlilies are finished before taking front and centre stage.” – made me smile as I sit indoors in the early evening.
    Happy green weekend, g

  15. lisa mertins says:

    oh kate! enough of these would look like baby’s breath and remind me of the fleeting “blue dicks” we get down here…
    the anticipation for your garden can be felt all the way to california!

  16. kris says:

    Hi Kate – I don’t think I’ve seen this wildflower here – can’t wait to see it blooming. I appreciate the wildflowers more every year – subtle beauty that blows me away once I finally notice it.

  17. Annie in Austin says:

    Hi Kate – what a sweet post and a nice introduction to a performer previously unknown to me. None of my wildflower books seem to have this plant, but I can see why you like it – such wiry delicacy! Fairy Candelabra is a much better name for this wild primula rather than Pygmy flower.
    Kate, you reminded me that back in 1987 I bought the vinyl record of “Trio”. [For you young’uns, records were flat black discs with songs grooved onto them] I played it constantly and used to know the words. Then we got a CD player and bought “Trio” on CD, which unfortunately was damaged 7 or 8 years ago. I might have to buy “Trio” for a third time, and with those Kate and Anna McGarrigle songs, “Trio” now belongs next to the CD’s by Kate’s son Rufus Wainwright. Who could have guessed back in 1987 that Rufus would be more famous than his parents?
    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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