Botanical Rambles

Welcome to the Washington Native Plant Society Blog
Dec
01

Riparian Planting in Eastern Washington

I visited several salmon restoration projects in the Yakima Basin at the end of October, and I was excited to see the progress being made to restore native willows, cottonwood, red-osier dogwood, and grasses in old road beds, formerly channelized streams, and other challenging sites. Some resources about planting along streams and rivers in eastern Washington have crossed my path recently, and I thought I would share them with you. The first is a save-the-date announcement from Heather Simmons a...
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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...
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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...
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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 ...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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Jul
01

Yellow Lady's Slipper - Signed Limited Edition Print

Cypripedium parviflorum Salisb. Signed Limited Edition Print 12" X 18" Print run limited to 150 prints. In celebration of the Washington Native Plant Society's 30th Anniversary, we are excited to announce our first limited edition print of a botanical watercolor. The subject of this print is the Washington threatened yellow lady's slipper. The yellow lady's slipper ( Cypripedium parviflorum Salisb.) is a Washington state threatened plant. It is found in wet forests, bogs, and on the periphery of...
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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...
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Feb
19

Washington’s Cherries

Chokecherry fruits (Prunus virginiana)Photo: National Park Service When I was growing up, February had a lot going for it, with three holidays. Lincoln's birthday (February 12 th —studying by firelight; Honest Abe; top hats), Valentine's Day (February 14 th —giving, and hopefully receiving, Valentine cards; candy hearts; a stomach ache by nightfall), and Washington's birthday (February 22 nd —noble profile; wooden teeth; cherry pie). Two days off, with romance in between! What I most remember le...
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Feb
13

Plant Profile: Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa)

Pacific bleeding heart. Photograph by Ben Legler, all rights reserved. It's that Valentine's Day time of year, and hearts and flowers are on everyone's mind. 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. Pacific Bleeding Heart ( Dicentra formosa ) Why it's choice This perennial's lacy leaves and delicate pink flowers belie its rugged disposition. Pacific bleeding heart's ...
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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...
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Jan
22

Starting the Year with Nature

Evans Creek PreservePhoto: Elizabeth Gage I have to admit I was anxious. Although, really, what better way to start a new year than in the woods with a bunch of friendly plant lovers? The New Year's Day walk in Evans Creek Preserve would be followed by lunch at a Mexican restaurant. It sounded like a perfect combination of nature and civilization for a newcomer to the world of native plants. My anxiety stemmed from the fact that this walk would be my first of any length since Thanksgiving. What ...
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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...
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Dec
23

Western Hemlock: A Grinch of Greens

Herbarium specimen of western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla)Courtesy of the University of Washington Herbarium Many of us bring evergreen boughs or trees into the house this time of year. And how many of us have made the mistake of bringing Western hemlock ( Tsuga heterophylla ) into our homes—only to find needles everywhere. Everywhere, no matter how fresh the branches. The Internet tells us that hemlocks are "not the best" for seasonal decorations. When I worked at the University of Washington H...
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