Botanical Rambles

Welcome to the Washington Native Plant Society Blog
Jun
05

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 Bill Brookreson at Davis Canyon. 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 Me...
  279 Hits
279 Hits
Mar
11

Joe and Margaret Miller's Legacy

Trunks of western red cedar (Thuja plicata)Photo: Ben Legler 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 ...
  536 Hits
536 Hits
Jan
01

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 ...
  399 Hits
399 Hits
Nov
15

A Message from the New WNPS President: Don Schaechtel

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...
  384 Hits
384 Hits
Apr
17

Goodbye Koz

Seashore Life of the North Pacific Coast by Eugene N. Kozloff The first word I had that another giant had passed away was this email on March 10 from Mike Ramsey, one of my colleagues at the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office:  "My sincere blessings and gratitude to Eugene Kozloff, for his contributions to Puget Sound and coastal waters education and conservation. In my early years of nearshore education and work Seashore Life of the North Pacific Coast was the primary and ...
  256 Hits
256 Hits
May
10

Botanize Bigger!

Lewis’s mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii)Photo by Jim Ellinboe With your help, the Washington Native Plant Society will reach its fundraising goal for today's GiveBIG event! We are tantalizingly close to reaching our $10,000 goal. You have until midnight tonight, May 10, 2017, to help put us over the top. Log in now and make your gift.  Big or small, all gifts during GiveBIG bring strength to WNPS. GiveBIG , hosted by the Seattle Foundation, is an opportunity to show your support for Washi...
  237 Hits
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237 Hits
Sep
22

Happy Trails Joe!

Joe Arnett weighs Hitchcock–and retirement–in the Wenatchee Foothills, June 2017.Photo by Sarah Gage Joe Arnett, long-time rare plant botanist with the Washington Natural Heritage Program , retired at the end of July. Joe has worn many volunteer hats with the Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS). Among the roles that I know he has played are: at-large board member, instructor in the Native Plant Stewardship Program , field trip leader, Editorial Committee member, writer for Douglasia and membe...
  303 Hits
303 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
Dec
04

Twenty ideas for the gift-giving season

Whether you love it or hate it, the gift-giving season is here. And the Washington Native Plant Society is here to help. You can give your sweetheart, pal, family member, friend, co-worker, spouse, in-law, or even yourself, one of these fine WNPS-themed gifts: 1. A WNPS membership and all the stuff that it includes: the quarterly journal, Douglasia , chapter newsletters, programs, field trips, and much more. It's easy to sign up online and there are membership categories for any budget. 2. The W...
  207 Hits
207 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
02

Big Trees, Big Hearts, and GiveBIG

Give BIG Let's start with GiveBIG . Tuesday, May 3– and now extended through Wednesday, May 4 –is the Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG event. The Foundation sponsors this online giving event to inspire you and others to give generously to nonprofits in our region—and the Foundation stretches your donation by adding money of its own. Make an impact—your spring contribution to the Washington Native Plant Society will be made even more valuable by stre-e-e-tch dollars available from the Seattle Foundat...
  242 Hits
242 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 ...
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217 Hits
Dec
29

Tick Tock

Just a few more days to finish your end-of-the-year "to do" list! That includes giving native plants a voice by making a tax-deductible gift to the Washington Native Plant Society before the close of 2015. Since 1976 (40 years!) WNPS has been gathering people in community to connect and learn about Washington's flora through study, education, and advocacy. What are your favorite native plant activities? Growing native plants in your garden? Visiting beloved wildflower meadows? Working on hands-o...
  202 Hits
202 Hits
Dec
06

Six Gifts for Plant Lovers

Hanukkah is upon us. Christmas and Kwanzaa are coming up. And New Year's will follow. Which means…ample opportunities to give gifts to those we love and to those who do so much for us throughout the year. What gifts will you give this year? Hey, I have a half dozen ideas for you! Native Plants of Fort Townsend Mural by Larry Eifert, all rights reserved. Larry Eifert's mural at Fort Townsend State Park has been turned into a 500-piece jig-saw puzzle . The mural shows flora and fauna of old-growth...
  198 Hits
198 Hits
Aug
21

Our House Almost Burned Down

Editor's note: The dry, hot, droughty summer of 2015 has brought heartbreaking deaths of firefighters near Twisp and stubborn wildfires throughout the state. It's timely to hear from someone who lived through a fire last summer. Ken Bevis is a Wildlife Biologist with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. This piece is excerpted from the Small Forest Landowner News of September 3, 2014. On Friday, August 1, 2014 at approximately 1:30 pm, a trailer got a flat tire on Highway 153 ne...
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180 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
May
04

Big Leaves, Big Heart, GiveBIG

A big leaf of bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum).Photo courtesy of the Starflower Foundation, all rights reserved. Today is May 5, Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG event. The Foundation sponsors this one-day, online giving event to inspire you and others to give generously to nonprofits in our region—and the Foundation stretches your donation by adding money of its own. It's a great opportunity to show your support of the Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS). WNPS has provided educational opportuni...
  201 Hits
201 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
Nov
22

Gratitude and Giving

Pinesap (Monotropa hypopitys)Photo by Ben Legler, all rights reserved. Everywhere I turn these days, people are promoting gratitude as being good for you.  Gratitude is good for you For example, the psychologist David DeSteno wrote an article in The New York Times about how gratitude can help you cope with impulse buying during the holidays. His studies have shown that willpower, or even feeling happy, won't help you curb your expenditures or increase your patience as much as feeling gratef...
  208 Hits
208 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
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
Dec
11

Snail Mail: Still Thriving

My name is Sarah, and I am a snail mail addict. I love to get paper mail. Personal letters are the best, of course, followed by magazines (especially our Washington Native Plant Society journal, Douglasia ). But as my family will attest, I'm not immune to the charms of catalogs, fundraising appeals, and even the well-crafted credit card offer. Say what you will about the commercial and material excesses of December, it is also a time when snail mail can get really interesting. News and photos fr...
  191 Hits
191 Hits
Nov
12

Change is in the Air: A Musical Interlude

Catherine Hovanic on a recent trip. Photo courtesy of Hovanic In this season of change, I find myself humming certain tunes to help ease various transitions. So the subtitles in this post link you to music videos. To everything there is a season… ("Turn, Turn, Turn" The Byrds, 1966) I visited the east coast for three weeks in September-October and saw splendid fall color in the deciduous forests of Connecticut and western Massachusetts. We had excellent weather—classic crisp clear days—while wes...
  189 Hits
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189 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
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
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
May
01

Five Plants—and People—I Appreciate

We're now in the middle of 2013's Native Plant Appreciation Week . I spent last weekend touring some inspiring gardens on the Central Puget Sound Chapter's Native Plant Garden tour. When I got back home, I took an appraising look at my own garden. It's still very much a work in progress—as most gardens are. I poked around, grubbing out weeds and trimming errant branches, and I thought about how my garden is populated with people as well as plants. Here are five plants, and five people, I found i...
  243 Hits
243 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
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

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