Botanical Rambles

Welcome to the Washington Native Plant Society Blog

Plant Profile: Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta var. californica)

Plant Profile: Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta var. californica)
I don't know about you, but this is the time of year I start getting antsy for hints that spring is on the way. Which brings us to one of my favorite plants, beaked hazelnut. As Art Kruckeberg notes: "Hazel initiates the rites of spring hereabouts and will be a special omen for those who watch for signs of yearly rebirth." Why it's choice: Two seasons of gold pour forth from the humble hazelnut. In gray mid-winter, yellow male catkins dangle from bare stems and illuminate the landscape. If you l...
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Ten Ways to Connect Kids with Native Plants

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...
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Destinations: Cowiche Canyon, Yakima Area

Destinations: Cowiche Canyon, Yakima Area
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 spring blooms is Cowiche Canyon. This canyon has been preserved by the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy . ...
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Blooming Resolutions

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...
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Four Things the Washington Natural Heritage Program Does for You

Four Things the Washington Natural Heritage Program Does for You
How much do you know about the Washington Natural Heritage Program? I'm always interested in learning more about the good work being done by plant-oriented folks. The Washington Native Plant Society partners with and benefits from key work carried out by the Washington Natural Heritage Program, housed in the Department of Natural Resources. Joe Arnett, Rare Plant Botanist for the Washington Natural Heritage Program, explains four of the top functions of the program. The Washington Natural Herita...
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My weed odyssey

My weed odyssey
For the past few years, I've been battling English ivy (Hedera helix) in my yard, where it was planted along fences and in rockeries many decades ago . It is so massive that I use a pruning saw to cut through roots but even so, sadly, I am losing the war. Ivy has also taken over the forest understory on community land where my husband and I have a cabin in northeast SnohomishCounty. My ivy skirmishes have made me worry about the inadvertent introduction of other invasive plants that crowd out ou...
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Mountain Hemlock for Lowland Gardens

Mountain Hemlock for Lowland Gardens
In December, it's traditional to appreciate the evergreen conifers around us—their green needles, fragrance, and decorative cones. Many of us bring them into our homes as trees and boughs, or hang swags and wreathes on the door. Out in the garden, this is a good time to take stock of how they are faring, without the distractions of all the other foliage. Here is an appreciation of the Mountain Hemlock in the garden, written by Cindy Spurgeon for the Seattle Times (where you can still see it here...
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Destinations: Winter Walks at McCormick Forest Park, Gig Harbor

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. 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 Gig Harbor, and I can return often to visit. Last winter, 2011, was particularly illuminating. The season started with mil...
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The Washington Native Plant Stewardship Program: Growing Our Success

The Washington Native Plant Stewardship Program: Growing Our Success
One of WNPS's key programs in the Puget Sound area is the Native Plant Stewardship Program. Gary Smith, chair of the Stewardship Program, tells us about what's happening, and what might be next. Native Plant Stewardship Program—by the numbers Year the program started: 1996 Counties served: 3 (King, Snohomish, Pierce) Number of stewards trained: 512 Number of steward volunteer hours: 118,000 What do these numbers mean? Since 1996, the Central Puget Sound Chapter's Native Plant Stewardship Program...
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Plant Profile: Vine Maple (Acer circinatum)

Plant Profile: Vine Maple (Acer circinatum)
Thanks to everyone who read last week's blog post, and a special thanks to those of you who commented on your own experiences with Washington's fall color and especially for sharing some great photos! This week I'm expanding on a short piece I wrote for WNPS a few years ago that appeared in the Seattle Times (here it is in the Times) and other papers around the state. We're having a great show of fall color in 2012, but vine maple steps up with bright-tinted leaves even in the dullest autumn. Wh...
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Fall Color

Fall Color
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 community for posts. And I'll be hoping to hear from you, too. Please comment, email, and engage. As we are launching this blog in the ...
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About Botanical Rambles

About Botanical Rambles
The Washington Native Plant Society is a forum for individuals who share a common interest in Washington's unique and diverse plant life. For more than 35 years WNPS has been a great source for native plant information and action. Your active membership strengthens the Society's role as the voice for our native plants. Please join us today . Sarah Gage curates the Botanical Rambles blog for the Washington Native Plant Society . She is a writer and editor, a broad-spectrum botanist, a cranky gard...
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Salal Chapter - Native Plant Garden

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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...
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