WNPS Annual Awards: Recognizing the Exceptional

WNPS has two awards that are intended to be given annually by the WNPS State Board of Directors: the WNPS Mentzelia Award and the WNPS Outstanding Partner Award.   Awards are presented annually at the Study Weekend event. 2018 WNPS Mentzelia Award: Bill Brookreson The 2018 WNPS Mentzelia Award is presented to a WNPS member who has made a significant contribution to native plant conservation, research or education in Washington State. This year's Mentzelia Award winner is Bill Broo...
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An End-of-May Garden Walk

AlliumInPot500 Gardening with native plants in western Washington at the end of May.
What's in bloom? What's in leaf? What's thriving? What is pffft? These are the perennial questions a gardener asks in May. I've been spending some long days in my Seattle garden, enjoying the lingering twilights and mild temperatures. This goat's beard ( Aruncus dioicus var. acuminatus ) is a surprise. It's only been in the ground a year or so, and last year it was puny. I wasn't sure it was going to survive—or that I would remember where I planted it, as it disappears so completely over the win...
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Pad Thai and Mima Mounds

20170503_195729 Pad Thai and Mima Mounds
Common camas ( Camassia quamash ) is blooming along I-5 between Tacoma and Olympia, and that means it's time for my annual pilgrimage to the Mima Mounds with a to-go order of pad thai. The Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve is about 16 miles south of Olympia, west of Little Rock. It's managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources to preserve the mounds themselves and the prairie ecosystem that covers them here. This Puget prairie grassland, formally known as the Roemer's fescue–white ...
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Seola Pond Project

SeolaPond_aerial_group_fromvideo Volunteers at Seola Pond planting event
More than 50 kids weeded, dug, and planted at a small neighborhood pond in unincorporated King County, thanks to the creativity and perseverance of a neighborhood volunteer, Scott Dolfay. Scott received an $800 education grant from the Washington Native Plant Society to buy plants and signage. He also received a small grant from King County. Seola Pond is part of the Seola Creek Drainage Basin , just north of Burien and southwest of White Center, in unincorporated King County. Scott had noticed ...
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I’m a fool for April

April is finally here, with its promise of warmer and longer days and a bit more rain. It's a busy month, no mistake, starting off with a trifecta of Easter, Passover, and April Fool's Day. It's National Poetry Month, and it seems like every family I talk with is all abuzz with plans for "spring break." What else will April 2018 bring? Will it be cruel, as T.S. Eliot famously declared in The Waste Land, April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire,...
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Joe and Margaret Miller's Legacy

In early January, the Washington Native Plant Society received a generous bequest from the estate of WNPS Fellows Joe and Margaret Miller. Joe passed away in 2007 and Margaret passed away in 2015. Although I never met the Millers, I often heard Art Kruckeberg speak fondly of them as advocates for the North Cascades and founding members of WNPS. One of Joe and Margaret's great contributions was a 1971 floristic survey of the Big Beaver Valley , conducted in response to a proposal to raise the lev...
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How You Can Help Prevent and Stop Invasive Species

Callitriche stagnalis by Clay Antieau
Our friends at the Washington Invasive Species Council, whose work closely aligns with our goals of conserving native plants and plant habitats, have a bunch of great suggestions for preventing the introduction and spread of invasive species. And in conjunction with National Invasive Species Awareness Week, Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed February 25 to March 3, 2018 as Washington Invasive Species Awareness Week. Clean your gear  Clean your hiking boots, bikes, waders, boats and trailers...
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Plant Profile: Red-osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea, a.k.a. Cornus stolonifera)

Why choose red-osier dogwood?  This fast-growing shrub pleases every month of the year. During dark winter days, its red twigs glow under sunny or gray skies. Leafing out, the shrub forms a fresh green backdrop to its own clusters of creamy-white flowers and to other spring-bloomers. Red-osier dogwood will often bloom into late fall, so that you can see it with both flowers and its blue-white berries when the leaves turn yellow or maroon.  What it can do in the garden Red-osier dogwood...
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2018 Washington Botanical Symposium

Washington vernal pool, photo by Joe Rocchio
The Washington Native Plant Society is proud to announce our involvement as a sponsor for the 2018 Washington Botanical Symposium. This program is co-hosted by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and the University of Washington Herbarium at the Burke Museum. The symposium features an extensive network of professional, academic, and amateur botanists are actively engaged in the conservation, management, and study of Washington's diverse flora. Their expertise ranges from how best to man...
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Native vs. Nonnative Plants in Pollinator Gardens

​It seems these days that questions about butterfly and pollinator gardens have moved on from "why?" to "what shall we plant?"—with the conversation often turning to whether or not it is better to plant native species than nonnative ones. Led by Andrew Salisbury of the Royal Horticultural Society, a team of researchers in Britain undertook a four-year study to try to provide an answer. Their work was published in May 2017 in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation .  The research was done...
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Gleanings 2017

As we say goodbye to 2017 and hello to 2018, I'm cleaning up, cleaning out, and looking ahead! Flipping through my electronic and paper files, I found a number of items that didn't make it into Botanical Rambles in 2017 that I still wanted to share with you. I grew up reading the columnist Herb Caen in the San Francisco Chronicle. He practiced what he called "three dot journalism," in which he connected short news pieces…or anecdotes…or tasty gossip…with ellipses. Though I can't hope to emulate ...
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The Holly and the Ivy…Festive, but Not in Your Forest!

Tip of the Holly This is an English holly ( Ilex aquifolium , see photo below) that I pulled out of the ground. What I want to impress upon you are the measurements. From the top to the root collar is about 12 inches. The root then extends another 36 inches. Folks, that's a 2-to-1 root-to-shoot ratio. Maybe they should change the expression "tip of the iceberg" to "tip of the holly." Can you imagine what the root system is like on larger hollies? This is one of the big problems with this invasiv...
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Riparian Planting in Eastern Washington

Stream Stewardship
I visited several salmon restoration projects in the Yakima Basin at the end of October, and I was excited to see the progress being made to restore native willows, cottonwood, red-osier dogwood, and grasses in old road beds, formerly channelized streams, and other challenging sites. Some resources about planting along streams and rivers in eastern Washington have crossed my path recently, and I thought I would share them with you. The first is a save-the-date announcement from Heather Simmons a...
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Are Generous Plant Lovers the Happiest People on Earth?

Giving Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday Giving Tuesday may have come and gone, but opportunities to give abound this time of year. But why give? As Gretchen Reynolds points out in a recent New York Times article , "the scientific evidence that generosity is good for us has been scant, even as the benefits of selfishness are obvious." However, in the same article she cites a study in which half the study subjects agreed to give money away (i.e., be generous) and the other half agreed to keep money fo...
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A Message from the New WNPS President: Don Schaechtel

Don Schaechtel WNPS President
Hi Washington Native Plant Society Members: I am honored to be elected by the WNPS Board of Directors to serve as your President for the coming year.I had been a member of WNPS several times in the 90s, but got serious about the Society while leading Mountaineers Naturalist trips in 2005.One of our other leaders ran into Alan Yen's WNPS field trip on the Iron Peak trail, and Alan identified a plant that had baffled all of us: Ivesia tweedyii .That encounter introduced us to the collection of WNP...
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