Botanize Big, part 2

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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 info . I'm going to miss the Study Weekend (and it's waitin...
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Happy Trails Joe!

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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 member newsletters, Study Weekend and Botany Washington trip leader, and guest speaker for chapter program...
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Yellow Lady's Slipper - Signed Limited Edition Print

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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 ponds in low moist areas in north central and north-eastern Washington. Most populations in Washington ...
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Explorations in 2017 with the Washington Native Plant Society

Explorations in 2017 with the Washington Native Plant Society
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 17–19, 2017 ) will be headquartered at Eastern Washington ...
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Washington’s Cherries

Washington’s Cherries
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 learning about George Washington in elementary school was that he cho...
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Plant Profile: Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa)

Plant Profile: Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa)
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 blue-green foliage and heart-shaped blossoms lighten up full to part sh...
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February: Time to Plan

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. Photo Contest: deadline February 1...
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Starting the Year with Nature

Starting the Year with Nature
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 if there were hills? What if I lagged help...
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Shout Outs for 2016

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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Western Hemlock: A Grinch of Greens

Western Hemlock: A Grinch of Greens
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 Herbarium, occasionally I would get a request for a specimen of Washington's state tree, western hemlock, from...
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Across Washington State in Wildflowers

Across Washington State in Wildflowers
Do you, or does someone you know, want to learn several of the most beautiful plants in Washington State by sight? During these winter days, a great way to do that is to hang the poster "Wildflowers Across Washington" where you can contemplate it daily. I have been gazing at "Wildflowers Across Washington" since it was first produced, back in the 1990s. At the time, I was working at the University of Washington Herbarium. One day, three volunteers with the Washington Native Plant Society met at ...
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Send Those Cards and Letters

Send Those Cards and Letters
Long-time readers of Botanical Rambles know how I feel about snail mail . And December is a great month for sending and receiving actual, real, bona fide cards and letters. As my sister Annie says, "Just say yes to the U.S.P.S." Luckily for all of us, the Washington Native Plant Society offers stunning holiday cards that share the magic of Pacific Northwest winters. Each set features 7 images donated by photographer Mark Turner. Note that the images on this page include Mark's colophon, but the ...
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Time to Look Ahead: Get Your 2017 WNPS Calendar

Time to Look Ahead: Get Your 2017 WNPS Calendar
The 2017 Washington Native Plant Society calendar, featuring all of this year's photo contest winners, is now available . Be sure to get one—or several! They make great gifts and supplies are limited. Entertaining and educational prose from Ellen Kuhlmann, of the Koma Kulshan chapter, accompanies the lovely photos. The images are generously contributed by Washington Native Plant Society members like you. In fact, the contest for next year's calendar is now open ! The deadline is February 1, 2017...
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Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap
​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 Washington Native Plant Society page at Network ...
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Pond Weeds and Their Cousins: A Report from the Aquatic Plants Workshop

Pond Weeds and Their Cousins: A Report from the Aquatic Plants Workshop
By the time I found room 246 in Hitchcock Hall, hidden behind construction barriers on the University of Washington campus, class had already begun. I crossed the room quickly to take a seat on a squeaky metal chair stationed behind a microscope. Peter Zika, a botanist specializing in the obscure, was halfway through a lecture on local aquatic plants. Before I aimed my attention at his slides on the screen, I glanced around at the dozens of plants standing in water-filled jars around the lab. I'...
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