Botanical Rambles

Welcome to the Washington Native Plant Society Blog

Stewardship Training Opportunity in Everett

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 The National Wildlife Federation is offering a Habitat Stewards Training in Everett st...
Continue reading

Plant Adaptations and Fire

Plant Adaptations and Fire
Editor's Note: Massive wildfires in Washington State may cause us to see some plants as "gasoline on a stick" (bitterbrush or Purshia tridentata) or as "grassoline" (cheatgrass or Bromus tectorum). But fire is a natural part of many ecosystems, and some plants have developed characteristics that allow them to survive, even thrive, after a fire. In this Botanical Ramble, Ellen Kuhlmann guides us through some of these adaptations. –S.G. Four Fire-Adaptive Traits in Plants Bark thickness This is on...
Continue reading

Tansy, I Never Knew Thee

Tansy, I Never Knew Thee
When I first got the idea to write this article, I was going to title it "Bad Tansy, Good Tansy." However, once I studied up on tansy ragwort ( Senecio jacobaea ) and common tansy ( Tanacetum vulgare ), I realized the title should be more like: "Bad Tansy and Not Quite as Bad Tansy." Every year around late summer, I have noticed in local ditches and in open fields, clumps of tall plants with pretty yellow flowers growing in profusion. I gathered from overheard conversations that these flowers we...
Continue reading

Our House Almost Burned Down

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...
Continue reading

Principles of Kick-butt Gardening

Principles of Kick-butt Gardening
​For many gardeners, gardens embody desirable objectives such as cultural and personal expression, sustenance, nurturing, the world's beauty, self-reliance, faith…. Nonetheless, gardening is consumptive. It consumes your time, energy, resources (water, gas, fertilizers, pesticides), money, and land. A number of shortcuts, methods, and technologies are available to make gardens consume fewer resources and to save you time and money. A worthy and attainable garden goal is a self-sufficient garden ...
Continue reading

The Invasion of Lake Joy

The Invasion of Lake Joy
Lake Joy Lake Joy is a community of single family homes and summer cabins nestled halfway between the towns of Carnation and Duvall in western Washington State. Bald eagles, great blue herons, kingfishers, river otters, deer, black bears, the occasional cougar, bats, and owls live here. Many migratory waterfowl come through in the fall and spring. Red and orange sunsets make way for starlit nights. The lake calls you to explore its calm, clear waters in kayaks, canoes, or paddle boards, and it i...
Continue reading

Coevolution and Pollination

Coevolution and Pollination
The coevolution of flowering plants and their animal pollinators presents one of nature's most striking examples of adaption and specialization. It also demonstrates how the interaction between two groups of organisms can be a font of biological diversity. Flowering plants are adapting to their pollinators, which are in turn adapting to the plants. Each of the participating organisms thus presents an evolutionary "moving target". The relationship between these distantly related taxa is symbiotic...
Continue reading

When in Drought…

When in Drought…
Back in May, Governor Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency . Now in July, the U.S. government has declared over 40 percent of Washington State a federal drought disaster area . Mt. Rainier National Park reports late summer-like conditions: On Lower Paradise trails, only some flowers still in bloom: False Hellebore, Gray's Mountain Lovage, American Bistort, and Subalpine Daisy. On Deadhorse Creek and West Side of Skyline Trail, very few flowers. All lupine have gone to seed. At Sunrise o...
Continue reading

Fires of Summer

Fires of Summer
It's so hot, July feels like August. But then, so did June. Washington State's continuing drought and hot weather, combined with our Mediterranean climate (i.e., not much summer rain) spells extreme fire danger. So it seems timely to think about how native plants can be part of fire preparedness. Firewise As Steve McConnell, regional WSU extension forestry specialist wrote in Forest Stewardship Notes : Fires are a fact of life in eastern Washington. For those of us living in forested areas it's ...
Continue reading

Just Because It’s June, June, June: News and Notes from the Washington Native Plant Society

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. It hasn't been all work. I introduced an out-of-town visitor to the pleasures of the loop road at Washington Park in Anacortes . She ...
Continue reading

Got Milkweed?

Got Milkweed?
Western monarch butterflies, like those in the eastern part of North America, are in trouble. Their populations have declined sharply in the last twenty years. In Washington, the western monarch ( Danaus plexippus plexippus ) and its host plant milkweed ( Asclepias sp.) are found only east of the Cascades. In western Washington, we have no native species of Asclepias . And… no milkweed, no monarchs. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and partners are attempting to reverse the downward popu...
Continue reading

Big Leaves, Big Heart, GiveBIG

Big Leaves, Big Heart, GiveBIG
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 opportunities and conservation advocacy in Washington for over 35 years. Currently we have 1500 members in 12 active chapte...
Continue reading

Botanical Bonanza!

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...
Continue reading

A Visit to Galiano Island

A Visit to Galiano Island
If you are looking for a winter break that doesn't include airfare, look north to a little island in the Salish Sea that provides quiet shorelines, forested trails, an escape from winter rains, and a community investing big in land conservation. Galiano, located in the Canadian Gulf Islands, is a short ferry trip from the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. The island has a year-round population of 1,100 people. Its many miles of community trails are enhanced by camping sites with splendid shore views an...
Continue reading

Bigleaf Maple Syrup

Bigleaf Maple Syrup
When I was a kid, one of the books that set me on course to becoming a nature lover was the Newbery Award winner Miracles on Maple Hill , by Virginia Sorensen. It has a compelling story and vivid descriptions of walking through snowy forests, tapping sugar maples for sap, boiling it down, testing it—and tasting it. These descriptions stuck with me, although I have never lived in maple syrup country. Or so I thought! Last July, Al Craney and Kevin Zobrist published an article, "Producing maple sy...
Continue reading

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