Canada and Cardinal Flowers
Today is the birthday of the Canadian-English writer and botanical illustrator Catherine Parr Traill - she was such an amazing woman.
When Catherine was 30 years old, she was newly married, and she immigrated with her husband to Canada. Her family wasn't thrilled about any of it. They didn't approve of her choice and husband, and they certainly didn't like the idea of her leaving England. Yet, there she was in a boat on the river to Peterborough when she saw some Cardinal Flowers growing along the riverbank. Catherine was enthralled. The flowers in Canada were drastically different from those she'd grown up with, and her passion for wildflowers would help sustain her during the hardships of settling in the Wilds of Canada.
Catherine ultimately became known as the botanist of the Backwoods. Although she had never formally studied botany, her accomplishments were quite extraordinary. Catherine published a book called Canadian wildflowers. Her niece took care of the illustrations. The book was helpful and beautiful. It was bound together in a large folio with colored plates, which is now regarded as a rare and valuable antique book. One of the reasons the book is now so rare is that back in the mid-to-late 1800s, the book was used to decorate homes. Young mothers and wives would tear out the beautiful large hand-colored plates and frame them Dash, probably displaying them in their parlors or bedrooms.
Settling in the Backwoods of Canada nearly broke her husband. Clearing the land was backbreaking work the weather Dash, especially during the winter, was incredibly harsh, and for the first three years, there was nothing to harvest. Although they were landowners, there was little labor around to help. One of their homes was destroyed in a fire, and another was seized by the bank to pay off debt. It was Catherine's General optimism and enthusiasm for the outdoors that carried her family through the hardest years. In all, Catherine spent 65 years in Canada. She raised nine children. Experts agree that her best work was a book called Backwoods of Canada that was intended to be a handbook for emigrating women. Catherine's tone was cheerful and direct. Her entire life, Catherine was incredibly observant and resourceful, and she pulled those skills together as she created the content for her writing. Despite all the terrible hardships she and her family endured, Catherine was a prolific writer, and she always stayed sweet. Catherine died in her home at the age of 98.