Botanical Rambles

Welcome to the Washington Native Plant Society Blog
Jul
30

Three Ts on Tiger Mountain

  Last summer I trained for a 9-day hike, which led me up the stony, steep, and well-traveled trail of West Tiger 3 near Issaquah several times. While not a botanical barnburner, the West Tiger 3 trail has its floral pleasures. Lois Kemp put together the Washington Native Plant Society plant list for all of Tiger Mountain back in 1995 (the plant lists are now housed in a responsive data system , developed with support from the Garneau-Nicon Foundation and chapters of the Washington Native P...
  227 Hits
227 Hits
Jul
28

Bees, Trees, Keys, and “Say Cheese”: A Midsummer Medley

Bumble bee on balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata)Photo: Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office It's the height of summer—a busy and lazy time of year. Here are several options to increase your enjoyment and engagement with Washington's native flora during the summer months, and beyond. Bees My garden is abuzz, and I've been wanting to learn more about the bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, spiders and other multi-legged inhabitants. So I was excited to hear about the Pacific No...
  182 Hits
182 Hits
Apr
29

Pad Thai and Mima Mounds

Mima Mounds Natural Area PreservePhoto: Sarah Gage 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 gras...
  672 Hits
672 Hits
May
11

Botanize Big, part 2

Tweedy’s lewisia (Lewisiopsis tweedyi)Photo by Ben Legler How About a Hike? Or a class? Or go to a chapter program? There's plenty going on. Check out the field trips , programs , and other activities for plant lovers statewide. Here are a few activities I'm hoping to attend: " Revising the 'Flora of the Pacific Northwest'-What did we Learn and What's Next" by David Giblin, at the Mountaineers in Seattle. This is the Central Puget Sound Chapter's monthly program on June 1, 2017. Click for more i...
  266 Hits
266 Hits
Nov
12

Bridging the Gap

Delphinium nuttallianumPhoto: Ben Legler ​It's November. Days are short, nights are long, and leaves are down. A friend of mine inelegantly calls November "the armpit of the year." And nationally, we have just finished an inelegant presidential campaign. We face the future with a federal administration and Congress that are not likely to support environmental issues or scientific evidence. I've found some relief by taking a virtual hike at Wallula Gap, with a slide show now anchoring the Washing...
  220 Hits
220 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
Oct
21

Stewardship Training Opportunity in Everett

Newsflash: New Dates for Training The training has been re-scheduled for November 12 through December 3. Fall is always a great time to learn something new. While the Washington Native Plant Society isn't currently offering its Native Plant Stewardship Program , here's a training opportunity from one of our partners that you might find interesting. National Wildlife Federation Habitat Stewards Training Program Community stewardship at Interlaken Park, Seattle. Photographer: Rick Thompson, all ri...
  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
28

A Visit to Galiano Island

Garry oaks (Quercus garryana) on Galiano Island.Photo by Jamie Bails, all rights reserved. If you are looking for a winter break that doesn't include airfare, look north to a little island in the Salish Sea that provides quiet shorelines, forested trails, an escape from winter rains, and a community investing big in land conservation. Galiano, located in the Canadian Gulf Islands, is a short ferry trip from the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. The island has a year-round population of 1,100 people. It...
  204 Hits
204 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
Jul
21

Visit Kruckeberg Botanic Garden This Summer

If you have not been to the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden in Shoreline lately, this summer is a great time to visit. Along with public tours and family events each weekend, the on-site MSK Nursery offers native plants propagated directly from the garden. Admission to the garden is free, but donations are accepted and memberships are encouraged. ​ The public botanic garden is now part of the city of Shoreline's park system, and it is managed by the non-profit Kruckeberg Botanic Garden Foundation. The...
  208 Hits
208 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
07

Waterworks Canyon

Editor's note: Mark Turner posted this piece on his blog, Passions , on April 22, 2013. He's generously agreed to share it with Botanical Rambles. Waterworks Canyon is part of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Oak Creek Wildlife Area . I took the liberty of adding the scientific names from the WNPS plant list for the area—any errors in those are mine. It had been six years since my last visit to Waterworks Canyon , a gem of a place for early season wildflowers west of Yakima, Wash...
  191 Hits
191 Hits
Dec
31

Revisiting Resolutions, 2014 edition

Well, 2014 has launched. How about those resolutions I made so publicly last year? Last January I noted some blooming resolutions for 2013. I had typical results on my general resolutions. Eat fewer sweets (Fail! If anything, I ate more sweets in 2013, since I discovered dark chocolate M&Ms.) Get more exercise (Actually, I did pretty well on this one.) Be an all-round better person (Probably not for me to say. I don't think I became a worse person. Let's call this one a draw.) I definitely d...
  188 Hits
188 Hits
Nov
19

Another Take on Fall Color

I don't know about you, but I am shocked to find that it is November again. Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that we began Botanical Rambles with a post about fall color ? This year I had a chance to roam around Fort Worden State Park for an afternoon, and here is some of what I saw. On the beach: Large-headed sedge ( Carex macrocephala ). The leaves of this distinctive sedge become a lovely golden in the fall, enlivening the tan and gray-green of the dunes. The dark-brown flower stalks—the large ...
  188 Hits
188 Hits
Jul
17

Watch Out for Watchable Wildflowers

Here's some good news. An excellent, but out-of-print, guide to wildflowers in the Columbia Basin is now available online as a pdf, thanks to the Bureau of Land Management. Watchable Wildflowers — A Columbia Basin Guide features great writing and great photos. Here's how it opens: Eastern Washington—Flat, Drab, & Dry, Right? Wrong! From the freeway, the eastern half of the state may appear an endless open space to speed through without stopping, rather than a destination. As you look out the...
  216 Hits
216 Hits
Jun
26

Three Photo Contests

While you're out and about this summer, botanizing, hiking, gardening, or lying on the lawn, you may find yourself taking pictures. If so, here are some opportunities to get Washington's native plants into the public eye: WSECU Calendar Photo Contest While it's not yet time for our Washington Native Plant Society photo contest (that call will come later this year), the Washington State Employees Credit Union Calendar Photo Contest is open until July 15, 2013. This contest is limited to photos ta...
  197 Hits
197 Hits
May
15

NAPs and NRCAs: Three Special Places to Know About in Eastern Washington

I'll be completely honest here, and confess that I have a hard time keeping all the different types of special places and public lands straight. I'm getting better at it, but still. I heard of a study once that found that most Americans basically think that all public lands are national parks. I'm not quite that confused, but there's a bunch of categories and alphabet soup out there. So many agencies: WDFW, USFWS, USFS, NPS, NMFS/NOAA, BLM, BPA, DOE, and DNR*—and that's just for starters. The ag...
  139 Hits
139 Hits
May
08

This! Fort Townsend State Park’s New Mural of Old-Growth Forest

Native Plants of Fort Townsend Mural by Larry Eiffert, all rights reserved. In November, 2010, I suggested to our Friends of Fort Townsend group that we commission a natural history interpretive painting for the park. We put together the funding for the project, including an education grant from the Washington Native Plant Society. Fort Townsend State Park is 2 miles south of Port Townsend off of Highway 20. The park includes seven miles of hiking trails through old-growth forest. The WNPS plant...
  175 Hits
175 Hits
Apr
03

Botanical Birthday Greetings to Washington State Parks

Mountain Lake in Moran State Park. Attribution: Cdbavg400 at en.wikipedia March marked the kick-off celebrations for Washington State Parks' 100 th birthday, and brought to mind the great botanizing available in these parks. One of the first centennial celebrations was on March 9 th , when the Friends of Moran State Park and photographer Martin Taylor cooperated for some aerial photos . You can see the summit of Mount Constitution on Orcas Island and the surrounding forest and environs. Looks li...
  192 Hits
192 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
Mar
15

Looking Ahead

Castle Rock. Photographer, Joe Arnett, all rights reserved. My Spring 2013 edition of Douglasia arrived Saturday, on a day of sunshine and mild temperatures. Perhaps it was the sun, but I think this edition is particularly beguiling. And reading it was a great way to top off a day spent immersed in plant life. First I spent several hours in the garden, trimming, clipping, raking, and vanquishing innocent-looking youngsters of shotweed ( Cardamine hirsuta ) and dandelion ( Taraxacum officinale )....
  219 Hits
219 Hits
Feb
27

Spring at Washington Park, Anacortes

Susan Alaynick, chairperson of the Salal Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society, offers this personal look at spring flowers in Washington Park, Anacortes . The Salal Chapter serves Skagit, Island, and Northern Snohomish counties. Washington Park is an Anacortes city park lying on the west edge of Fidalgo Island. If you keep heading west past the San Juan Islands ferry terminal, you'll get there. And here's a trail map for when you do. Camas and death camas at Washington Park. Photo by: ...
  241 Hits
241 Hits
Jan
08

Destinations: Cowiche Canyon, Yakima Area

Sagebrush violets in March, Cowiche Canyon uplands. Photographer: David Hagen, all rights reserved. Brenda Senturia encourages us to look ahead to the flowering time of the year in Cowiche Canyon near Yakima. The Washington Trails Association website offers additional information on hiking Cowiche Canyon , including recent trip reports. It's not too soon to think about spring wildflowers, especially in the lower elevations in eastern Washington. A well-known location for a remarkable variety of ...
  239 Hits
239 Hits
Jan
01

Blooming Resolutions

It's the New Year. Resolution time, yet again. What do you do about resolutions? Make 'em, keep 'em, love 'em, hate 'em, break 'em, or ignore the whole thing? I like making resolutions so much that I do it several times a year: New Year's Day, Chinese New Year (it's February 10 in 2013), April Fool's Day, my birthday, Rosh Hashanah i.e., Jewish New Year (it's September 4 in 2013). Sometimes I even re-up my good intentions on the spring and autumn equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices. So...
  233 Hits
233 Hits
Nov
27

Destinations: Winter Walks at McCormick Forest Park, Gig Harbor

This week we begin a frequent feature of Botanical Rambles: interesting destinations for the botanically inclined. Please welcome Cyndy Dillon, chair of the South Sound Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society, who has written this post. An invitation to explore McCormick Woods Forest Park in Gig Harbor. Photographer: Bill Brookreson, all rights reserved. I get to appreciate the seasonal cycle of change in the lush native flora since I live within a few miles of McCormick Forest Park in Gi...
  158 Hits
158 Hits
Nov
06

Fall Color

Peachleaf willows and cottonwoods glow golden at Snow Mountain Ranch, Washington.Photographer: David Hagen, all rights reserved. Welcome to the inaugural post of Botanical Rambles, the Washington Native Plant Society blog. We hope to entertain and delight while providing useful and enlightening information about Washington State's plants, habitats, conservation issues and other topics. I'm Sarah Gage and I will be curating the site, drawing on WNPS's talented board members and the broader commun...
  195 Hits
195 Hits

Subscribe to eNews & Blog

Stay up-to-date with a monthly email from WNPS showcasing new blog articles, important announcements, and monthly events across the state.

Search Blog

Search Blog by Date

Wait a minute, while we are rendering the calendar