Botanical Rambles

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Watch Out for Weeds this Summer!

Watch Out for Weeds this Summer!
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 National Forest. The goal of the...
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Hitchcock Springs Eternal—Especially in the Spring

Hitchcock Springs Eternal—Especially in the Spring
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 lower Columbia basin. On Saturday night of this...
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Beyond Grass

Beyond Grass
I had a grand time at the Native Plant Sale and Celebration on May 3 rd , sponsored by the Central Puget Sound Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society. I got to wear a green vest and walk around providing color commentary for people who were shopping. People most often requested plants for these situations: Ground covers for a place where they were replacing the lawn or where they'd pulled out ivy Plants for dry shade under big trees or roof eaves. These conversations brought to mind an a...
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Appreciating Common Camas (Camassia quamash) during Native Plant Appreciation Week

Appreciating Common Camas (Camassia quamash) during Native Plant Appreciation Week
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. Opportunities coming up include: Field trips to Juniper D...
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April is the Cruellest Month…

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). I think that I shall never see / A poem ...
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Waterworks Canyon

Waterworks Canyon
Editor's note: Mark Turner posted this piece on his blog, Passions , on April 22, 2013. He's generously agreed to share it with Botanical Rambles. Waterworks Canyon is part of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Oak Creek Wildlife Area . I took the liberty of adding the scientific names from the WNPS plant list for the area—any errors in those are mine. It had been six years since my last visit to Waterworks Canyon , a gem of a place for early season wildflowers west of Yakima, Wash...
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A Walk Around the Garden

A Walk Around the Garden
In between rainstorms, I've been out in the garden, enjoying the emerging blooms and the leaves. Many species are from our Washington flora and many I've obtained at Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS) plant sales. Here are some of the native plants I've been watching in my garden this past week. Western Trillium ( Trillium ovatum ) ​ Trillium's flowers surprise me every year—they are just so clean and so white. Christy Karras recently wrote a wonderful appreciation in the Seattle Times, " Ta...
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Shoot! It’s Shotweed

Shoot! It’s Shotweed
Spring is here, and I am venturing out into the garden to see what is going on. If I can look beyond the remaining garden clean-up chores from last fall (heh), I can see the flowering gold and red currants ( Ribes aureum and R. sanguineum ), and the emerging leaves of inside-out flower and wild ginger ( Vancouveria hexandra and Asarum caudatum ). And… what's this little white flowered herb? Oh yes, it's my old pal, shotweed, that pesky member of the mustard family that seems ubiquitous in wester...
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Plan Your Botanical Break!

Plan Your Botanical Break!
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 , the goal for this weekend is outstanding learning for people of all botanical skill levels. Participants ch...
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I’m a Vector, You’re a Vector Too

I’m a Vector, You’re a Vector Too
Several years ago, I was on an autumn larch hike led by Clayton Antieau, a past-President and long-time board member of the Washington Native Plant Society. Several of us on the hike had lugged our copies of Hitchcock and Cronquist up to the subalpine meadow in our day packs. These well-worn volumes had weighted down many a hike before. Once we arrived in the meadow, we cracked open our floras to start the delightful tedium of keying out plants in habitat. Out fell plant remnants from previous f...
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Let’s Get Real about Stewardship

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 One of the premiere programs of the Washington Native Plant Society is the Na...
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Botany in the Movies, 2013

Botany in the Movies, 2013
It's time to catch up on movies before the Oscars on Sunday, March 2 nd . Thank you for tolerating this quirk of mine; next week we'll return to Washington's native plants. Once again, I found scarce mention of botany and botanists in the movies I saw in 2013. For some reason, movie makers focus more on things that go really fast, blow up, burst into flames, or all three. 2013 was a good year for: Post-apocalyptic scenarios—Elysium, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Oblivion, World War Z Fantasy char...
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Plant Profile: Wild Ginger (Asarum caudatum)

Plant Profile: Wild Ginger (Asarum caudatum)
Blog Curator's Note: This week we'll take a look at a plant that's a favorite with many people, including me. In a sheltered spot, it can look perky even in February, when its heart-shaped leaves are so seasonally appropriate. This is a piece Cynthia Spurgeon wrote for WNPS a few years ago that appeared in the Seattle Times (here it is in the Times). Happy Valentine's Day! –SG Wild Ginger (Asarum caudatum) Why it's choice: Native wild ginger is an elegant ground cover with bold, deep-green, hear...
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Go Hawks! Hawkweeds, that is.

Go Hawks! Hawkweeds, that is.
In light of the Seahawks' complete domination of Super Bowl XLVIII, I thought it might be timely to consider the hawkweeds of Washington. Hawkweed, or Hieracium , is a member of the lettuce or Cichoriae subfamily of the sunflower family (Asteraceae). This means that the flowers look like dandelion flowers, with long, strap-shaped flowers (or ligulate flowers, in botany-speak). Huh, you say? Remember that "flowers" in the sunflower family are actually heads made up of many flowers. The "petals" t...
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Top Ten Discussions on Botanical Rambles—2013

Top Ten Discussions on Botanical Rambles—2013
Before January splits the scene, I want to thank you for rambling along with me here on the Washington Native Plant Society blog in 2013. I enjoyed curating the blog last year, and I've signed up to continue for 2014. A special thanks to you subscribers out there—over 130 of you!—who receive Botanical Rambles in your inbox. If you'd like to subscribe, click on the link in the right-hand sidebar. What would you like to read about on the blog this year? Would you like to contribute a post? Please ...
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