Botanical Rambles

Welcome to the Washington Native Plant Society Blog

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Educational Grants
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
Apr
21

Seola Pond Project

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 ...
  394 Hits
394 Hits
Mar
31

I’m a fool for April

Sagebrush violet (Viola trinervata)Photo: Ben Legler 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 L...
  546 Hits
546 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...
  267 Hits
267 Hits
Oct
12

Pond Weeds and Their Cousins: A Report from the Aquatic Plants Workshop

Peter Zika in the field at an Aquatic Plants WorkshopPhoto: Washington Native Plant Society By the time I found room 246 in Hitchcock Hall, hidden behind construction barriers on the University of Washington campus, class had already begun. I crossed the room quickly to take a seat on a squeaky metal chair stationed behind a microscope. Peter Zika, a botanist specializing in the obscure, was halfway through a lecture on local aquatic plants. Before I aimed my attention at his slides on the scree...
  204 Hits
204 Hits
Sep
04

Goodbye Sarah Reichard, and “Where Do We Go From Here?”

I was stunned to learn that Dr. Sarah Reichard passed away in her sleep in late August while leading a UW Botanic Gardens tour in South Africa. I first met Sarah in 1981, when she was an undergraduate in Botany at the same time I was earning my Masters at the University of Washington. I saw her most recently at the memorial service for Dr. Art Kruckeberg , where we shared memories of Art. We chatted about my recent trip to the Chelsea Flower Show in London and her then-upcoming trip to South Afr...
  233 Hits
233 Hits
Jun
24

In the field with Art Kruckeberg

Art Kruckeberg, one of the founders of the Washington Native Plant Society, passed away on May 25, 2016, age 96. He was a grand old man of Washington botany, a mentor, and a mensch. Formal obituaries may be found in the Seattle Times and on the University of Washington Biology web page. What follows is an appreciation of Art that I wrote for the Washington Native Plant Society journal Douglasia in 2000. Art Kruckeburg, 1920-2016Photo by Doug Henderson (1969) The faithful and the newly converted ...
  212 Hits
212 Hits
May
13

Maytime

Maytime is… A completely over-the-top movie musical from 1937, starring Jeanette Macdonald and Nelson Eddy A single, deep red Paeonia hybrid with golden stamens A time when plant lovers in the northern hemisphere shift into high gear All of the above And the correct answer is 4–all of the above! Here are several items for your consideration during this blooming busy time: More color Invasive procedures What do you want to learn? More color I hope you enjoyed the Celebrating Wildflowers coloring ...
  235 Hits
235 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
Mar
14

Dates to Remember: Botanical Activities Abound!

Cue the overwhelm. The spring rush is upon us. Washington Native Plant Society activities Opportunities from other organizations Washington Native Plant Society Activities April 1, 2016 No fooling, applications for the South Sound Native Plant Stewardship Training are due April 1! The Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS) and its South Sound Chapter are offering a Native Plant Stewardship Program for Pierce and Thurston Counties in Spring 2016. The six-week, no-cost program combines classroom l...
  241 Hits
241 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
Jun
20

Just Because It’s June, June, June: News and Notes from the Washington Native Plant Society

Where Have You Been Rambling?  You may be forgiven for wondering if Botanical Rambles had rambled off in to the sunset, considering that the most recent post was May 6 th ! Your humble blog curator has been overly busy with her day job, notably helping to organize the 2015 Salmon Recovery Conference and then (trying) to catch up on many end-of-biennium tasks. Washington Park Loop RoadPhoto from City of Anacortes It hasn't been all work. I introduced an out-of-town visitor to the pleasures o...
  214 Hits
214 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
Mar
05

A note from Dick Olmstead, Professor and Herbarium Curator, University of Washington

Friends and Colleagues, As many of you know, Hitchcock and Cronquist's "Flora of the Pacific Northwest" has been the authoritative guide to the region's flora since its publication in 1973. Generations of students, academic researchers, and field botanists have relied on this work to support their diverse botanical interests. However, the systematics, nomenclature, and distribution of our region's flora has changed over the course of 40 years due to ongoing research, access to more information, ...
  240 Hits
240 Hits
Jan
24

Book Review: Pacific Northwest Foraging

Pacific Northwest Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alaska Blueberries to Wild Hazelnuts Pacific Northwest Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alaska Blueberries to Wild Hazelnuts by Douglas Deur, published in 2014 by Timber Press . Pacific Northwest Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alaska Blueberries to Wild Hazelnuts A good berry book is berry hard to find, and berries have been berry berry good to me, but berry books, not always quite so. In my ongoing "lite...
  195 Hits
195 Hits
Aug
27

One Way to Share Your Enthusiasm for Plants with Kids

Imagine you are outside. The sun is shining, illuminating the new growth on the western red cedars. It's been a great growing season and the plants at Washington Park Arboretum are thriving. The backdrop of evergreen trees is a lovely frame to all of the native and non-native plants in the collection. Now, if those kids would just get here! Just when you thought you couldn't wait any longer, here comes the bus holding a bunch of school-aged children just bursting with energy and excitement to be...
  187 Hits
187 Hits
May
20

Hitchcock Springs Eternal—Especially in the Spring

Flora of the Pacific Northwest, aka “Hitchcock” Perhaps you, like me, are panting a bit from all your spring-season activities. A plant sale here, a volunteer activity there, an evening walk in the Mima Mounds, a couple of marathon gardening sessions, and voila! I'm ready to lie down in the shade of a big tree and have a glass of lemonade. So, my hat is off to the stalwarts who participated in Botany Washington 2014 on May 17–18. A capacity crowd signed up to enjoy the floristic splendors of the...
  202 Hits
202 Hits
Mar
14

Plan Your Botanical Break!

Desert yellow daisy (Erigeron linearis) photographed by Aaron Theisen. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. Choose from three botanical weekends—or stuff yourself and attend all three. It's time to plan—and register—for your botanical getaway now. Botany Washington 2014: May 16–18, 2014 This year's focus for Botany Washington is Spring Diversity in the Lower Columbia River Basin . Co-sponsored by the Washington Native Plant Society and the University of Washington Herbarium at the Burke Museum ,...
  201 Hits
201 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
12

Watch Out—Don’t Miss these Opportunities

Tweedy’s lewisia, a WNPS 2013 winning photograph by Ray Izumi. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. Ready or not, the new year is off to a roaring start. Here are a couple of opportunities with deadlines coming up… 2014 WNPS Photo Contest Photo contest deadline is January 15, 2014. Send in your favorite photos! The Washington Native Plant Society is looking for your great photos of Washington wildflowers and native plant landscapes. Help us show off the beauty of native plants and share informat...
  207 Hits
207 Hits
Sep
24

Weighing in on Northwest Plant Books

In early July I was hiking on Sauk Mountain near Rockport in a meadow full of wildflowers and was dismayed to find that I couldn't remember the names of some common plants. I wasn't carrying a plant list or a book. Once home I rummaged through my book collection trying to figure out which I should put on the top of my "must take" hiking pile. My bookcase yielded roughly 14 "general" Pacific Northwest plant books, excluding ethnobotany books and hiking guides that comment on wildflowers but aren'...
  198 Hits
198 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
May
23

Learning to Speak the Grass Language

Smith’s melic (Melica smithii). Photographer Clayton Antieau, all rights reserved. As a youth, I was afflicted with debilitating allergy to grass pollen. I'll spare you the details, but I will say that it engaged my curiosity about these plants early on. I saw grasses everywhere, in many habitats and with notably varied habits. I outgrew the allergy—but my curiosity remained. I admired grasses in the wild, grasses as weeds, grasses as food, grasses as garden subjects. I came to recognize many gr...
  207 Hits
207 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
15

Ten Ways to Connect Kids with Native Plants

What are your earliest childhood memories of native habitats, plants, and animals? I loved a secret hideout behind a cluster of evergreens in our backyard in New York, where I dug in the dirt and collected prickly chestnut burs. My husband Dave remembers long hours of wandering the woods behind his house in Illinois. My botanist friend Julie walked with her grandmother, who taught her many of western Oregon's natives. Most of us have a unique experience that stands out in our memory. I suspect t...
  166 Hits
166 Hits

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