Botanical Rambles

Welcome to the Washington Native Plant Society Blog
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
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
Nov
29

Are Generous Plant Lovers the Happiest People on Earth?

Giving Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday Giving Tuesday may have come and gone, but opportunities to give abound this time of year. But why give? As Gretchen Reynolds points out in a recent New York Times article , "the scientific evidence that generosity is good for us has been scant, even as the benefits of selfishness are obvious." However, in the same article she cites a study in which half the study subjects agreed to give money away (i.e., be generous) and the other half agreed to keep money fo...
  354 Hits
354 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
Tags:
237 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
May
28

Watch Out for Weeds this Summer!

Impatiens sp. Touch-me-not Coming up in June are several free training opportunities to learn how to identify invasive plants that threaten our national forests and wilderness areas. First up is a June 1 st Weed Watcher training in North Bend, and attendees will learn to identify and map priority invasive plants along trails in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. This training is co-hosted by the King County Noxious Weed Control Program, The Mountaineers, and the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Natio...
  188 Hits
188 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Tags:
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

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