Botanical Rambles

Welcome to the Washington Native Plant Society Blog

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CPS Volunteers, Salal Garden
Jun
25

Kids Growing Sagebrush for Restoration

School may be out for the summer, but kids at an elementary school in Pasco, Washington,  will be caring for a sagebrush plant during vacation. In the fall, they will plant out their seedling to help restore a burned area of Candy Mountain in West Richland. At Robert Frost Elementary School, the sagebrush growing and planting project is the brainchild of Washington Native Plant Society member Gretchen Graber and AmeriCorps tutor Erin Davis, in cooperation with teachers, the school administr...
  275 Hits
275 Hits
Mar
12

Explorations in 2017 with the Washington Native Plant Society

Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) Photo: Ben Legler 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 17–1...
  268 Hits
268 Hits
Feb
05

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. Cover of the 2017 Washington Nativ...
  261 Hits
261 Hits
Dec
28

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...
  242 Hits
242 Hits
May
23

Our Stinging Nettles

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica).Photo by Ben Legler 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 fo...
  220 Hits
220 Hits
Apr
25

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. Poster for 2016 Native Plant Appreciation Week. Photo by Ted Alway Klickitat Canyon Lomatium spp. April 2016Photo by Sarah Gage Take a trip I'v...
  187 Hits
187 Hits
Jan
25

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 ...
  217 Hits
217 Hits
Apr
20

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...
  240 Hits
240 Hits
Apr
27

Appreciating Common Camas (Camassia quamash) during Native Plant Appreciation Week

Common camas, Umtanum Ridge. All rights reserved 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. Opportun...
  292 Hits
292 Hits
Apr
20

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). Western red cedar (Thuja plicata). Photo...
  218 Hits
218 Hits
Mar
30

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). Photo by Sarah Gage. Western Trillium ( Trillium ovatum ) ​ Trillium's flowers surprise me every year—they are just so clean and so white. Christy Karras recently ...
  203 Hits
203 Hits
Feb
25

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 Stewards Yossi Schuck and Lisa Griswold practicing their plant ID skills usin...
  210 Hits
210 Hits
Jan
21

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...
  208 Hits
208 Hits
Sep
04

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...
  249 Hits
249 Hits
Mar
27

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...
  239 Hits
239 Hits
Jan
30

For Sale: Bare Roots and Live Stakes

Tagging live stakes at Lincoln Park, Seattle. Photographer: Janet Skeels, all rights reserved. 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 t...
  266 Hits
266 Hits
May
01

Salal Chapter - Native Plant Garden

Story written and photographed by Kathleen Winters. Images from left to right:  The lathe house; entry to the Skagit Valley Native Plant Garden; Salal Chapter volunteers; and Art and Helen Kermoade Tucked away in the lowland fields of the Skagit Valley is a labor of love and concern for native plants that manifests as an extensive and charming display garden. Created eight years ago as a collaboration between the Salal Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society and the Washington S...
  181 Hits
181 Hits

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