Botanical Rambles

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Explorations in 2017 with the Washington Native Plant Society

Explorations in 2017 with the Washington Native Plant Society
By Sarah Gage . Published March 12, 2017 Registration is now open for three stellar events of the Washington State botanizing year: the annual Study Weekend, Botany Washington, and the Know Your Grasses Workshop. Study Weekend 2017—WNPS Annual Member Event This year's study weekend is hosted by the Northeast Chapter of WNPS. Titled From Sagebrush to Subalpine: Exploring the Diversity of Eastern Washington Flora, the three-day event ( May 17–19, 2017 ) will be headquartered at Eastern Washington ...
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February: Time to Plan

February: Time to Plan
As I write this, it's a bit soggy and cold and gray. Out in the garden, though, buds on evergreen huckleberry ( Vaccinium ovatum ) are pinking up, the hazelnut ( Corylus) catkins are starting to dangle, and the inflorescences of the red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum ) on the south side of the house are busting open. February is a month of possibilities and planning. Here are a few of the many offerings from the Washington Native Plant Society and friends. Photo Contest: deadline February 1...
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Shout Outs for 2016

Shout Outs for 2016
As the old year fades and the new one emerges, Botanical Rambles counts down 2016 with ten heartfelt shout outs to some of the people who work for the native plants of Washington State. And as the clock runs down, don't forget to make that all-important year-end donation to the Washington Native Plant Society. This highly idiosyncratic collection of praise is by no means all-inclusive. I'd love to hear from you: who, what, when, and where are your native plant heroes of the past year? 1. "We lea...
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Our Stinging Nettles

Our Stinging Nettles
Nettles are in a very small family Nettles are in a very small family, Urticaceae, most of whose members have stings. Washington's native nettle is Urtica dioica . Nettle leaves' stinging is accomplished with hollow hairs, like microscopic hypodermic needles, which exude formic acid when brushed against. An irritating rash may appear on one's skin, its severity depending on the sensitivity of the "victim." Some people have red, burning sores for days. Some people say they don't feel a thing! And...
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Join the Celebration: Native Plant Appreciation Week 2016

Join the Celebration: Native Plant Appreciation Week 2016
Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed April 24 through May 1, 2016 to be Native Plant Appreciation Week across Washington State—and you're invited to help the Washington Native Plant Society celebrate. The Washington Native Plant Society is 40 years old this year, and it's Washington's 12 th year of celebrating our flora with Native Plant Appreciation Week. Take a trip I've been traveling across Washington for work lately, and botanizing from behind the wheel (safely, of course). It's been my pleas...
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January 2016 News and Notes from WNPS

January 2016 News and Notes from WNPS
Botanical Rambles wishes you a happy new year and offers you this capacious—but nowhere near exhaustive—list of things to do and learn. Contents Washington Native Plant Society News Kudos! WNPS Chapter News WNPS Chapter Activities Conservation—Opportunity to comment Trainings Volunteer Opportunities Grant Opportunities Plant Sales Washington Native Plant Society News The WNPS Office Welcomes Visitors. Located in Seattle's Magnuson Park, the office is generally staffed Monday–Thursday, 9:00am to ...
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Botanical Bonanza!

Botanical Bonanza!
April and May always leave me gasping for breath. Each year, the onrush of flowers and field trips and plant sales and programs whooshes in and sweeps me along. I hope that you, too, are having a botanically busy bonanza of a time. Here's just a sampling of what's going on in the weeks to come: April 26 to May 2: Native Plant Appreciation Week Native Plant Appreciation Week is a great time to celebrate Washington's floristic diversity. With over 3,000 native plant species growing in deserts, rai...
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Appreciating Common Camas (Camassia quamash) during Native Plant Appreciation Week

Appreciating Common Camas (Camassia quamash) during Native Plant Appreciation Week
And we're off! Native Plant Appreciation Week began with a rousing start for me! While botanizing at 60 mph isn't ideal, I love to glimpse the blue of one of my favorite plants, common camas ( Camassia quamash ), along Interstate 5 between Tacoma and Olympia during my weekly trek. The week is full of field trips, programs, plant sales and a couple of garden tours. For more information, see the full Native Plant Appreciation Week listings. Opportunities coming up include: Field trips to Juniper D...
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April is the Cruellest Month…

April is the Cruellest Month…
With apologies to T.S. Eliot , does anyone else feel pulled in a thousand directions this month? So many things to do and see and learn. April is designated as National Poetry Month and Earth Awareness Month . Consulting my WNPS wall calendar , I find that April includes Washington State Arbor Day (second Wednesday), Earth Day (April 22), and National Arbor Day (last Friday). Rounding out the month is Native Plant Appreciation Week (April 27-May 3, 2014). I think that I shall never see / A poem ...
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A Walk Around the Garden

A Walk Around the Garden
In between rainstorms, I've been out in the garden, enjoying the emerging blooms and the leaves. Many species are from our Washington flora and many I've obtained at Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS) plant sales. Here are some of the native plants I've been watching in my garden this past week. Western Trillium ( Trillium ovatum ) ​ Trillium's flowers surprise me every year—they are just so clean and so white. Christy Karras recently wrote a wonderful appreciation in the Seattle Times, " Ta...
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Let’s Get Real about Stewardship

Let’s Get Real about Stewardship
Stewardship. Everyone uses that word these days, but I realized I wasn't exactly sure what it means. So I looked it up. Stewardship is "the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something." As someone who cares about Washington's native plants and plant communities, you have lots of opportunities to act, to protect, and take responsibility for some corner of our flora. Native Plant Stewardship Program One of the premiere programs of the Washington Native Plant Society is the Na...
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Winter 2014 News and Notes

Winter 2014 News and Notes
People are writing in and letting me know about all kinds of plants, plant sales, and other activities around the state. Lots of botanical fun to be had! News from the Suksdorfia Chapter: Susan Saul writes that the Suksdorfia Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society now has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/suksdorfia . With wildflower season getting underway in the Columbia River Gorge, now is a good time for people to follow posts about what is blooming. On that page, I read tha...
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Back to School

Back to School
It's really happening, isn't it? August has ended, September is here. And with September comes that back-to-school combination of mourning (for the summer that's ending) and speeding up (for the autumn activities ahead). Time to learn something new, don't you think? The energizing briskness of fall opens up all kinds of opportunities. In addition to a new season of programs offered by Washington Native Plant Society chapters , here is a six-pack of educational and fun choices around the state. D...
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Sign Up!

Sign Up!
It's time to sign up, step up, apply, and register. Spring is here and it brings loads of opportunities to learn, to contribute your time, and to get out and about. First off, here are some activities sponsored by the Washington Native Plant Society and its partners. Native Plant Stewardship Training Application deadline April 8 . We are once again offering free Native Plant Stewardship Training in Seattle. Native Plant Stewards help restore Seattle's forested parks. Partners with WNPS are Seatt...
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For Sale: Bare Roots and Live Stakes

For Sale: Bare Roots and Live Stakes
While it's still too early in the year for most native plant sales , there's one type of sale that is already underway. And that is the conservation district bare root plant sale. As a lifelong city girl, I never really knew what a conservation district was until I worked for the late Washington Biodiversity Council . Then I learned that conservation districts grew out of the Depression-era dust bowl troubles, as a way for the government to help farmers and others manage their land better. Nowad...
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