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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Winter 2014 News and Notes

Winter 2014 News and Notes
People are writing in and letting me know about all kinds of plants, plant sales, and other activities around the state. Lots of botanical fun to be had! News from the Suksdorfia Chapter: Susan Saul writes that the Suksdorfia Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society now has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/suksdorfia . With wildflower season getting underway in the Columbia River Gorge, now is a good time for people to follow posts about what is blooming. On that page, I read tha...
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Watch Out—Don’t Miss these Opportunities

Watch Out—Don’t Miss these Opportunities
Ready or not, the new year is off to a roaring start. Here are a couple of opportunities with deadlines coming up… 2014 WNPS Photo Contest Photo contest deadline is January 15, 2014. Send in your favorite photos! The Washington Native Plant Society is looking for your great photos of Washington wildflowers and native plant landscapes. Help us show off the beauty of native plants and share information about their ecology and value in our WNPS Photo Calendar . Each year the calendar displays our f...
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Revisiting Resolutions, 2014 edition

Revisiting Resolutions, 2014 edition
Well, 2014 has launched. How about those resolutions I made so publicly last year? Last January I noted some blooming resolutions for 2013. I had typical results on my general resolutions. Eat fewer sweets (Fail! If anything, I ate more sweets in 2013, since I discovered dark chocolate M&Ms.) Get more exercise (Actually, I did pretty well on this one.) Be an all-round better person (Probably not for me to say. I don't think I became a worse person. Let's call this one a draw.) I definitely d...
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The Holly and the Ivy and New Year’s Resolutions

The Holly and the Ivy and New Year’s Resolutions
Among the Christmas carols I grew up singing was the English song "The Holly and the Ivy," which begins The holly and the ivy When they are both full grown Of all the trees that are in the wood The holly bears the crown. Anyone who has worked at removing invasive non-native species in western Washington is likely to disagree with that sentiment—unless holly wears the "crown" of most prickly and most leathery. But then that carol dates to no later than 1823 according to Wikipedia. That was a time...
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Something Slimy Slithering to a Garden Near You

Something Slimy Slithering to a Garden Near You
A new guide, Land Snails and Slugs of the Pacific Northwest , helps identify 245 terrestrial slugs and snails in and around Oregon, Washington, Idaho and western Montana. Described as an essential resource for biologists, horticulturalists, gardeners and naturalists, the book is rich in color photographs, range maps and complete mollusk characteristics. The author, Thomas E. Burke, a retired U.S. Forest Service Wildlife Biologist, presented recently to the South Sound Chapter of the Washington N...
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Snail Mail: Still Thriving

Snail Mail: Still Thriving
My name is Sarah, and I am a snail mail addict. I love to get paper mail. Personal letters are the best, of course, followed by magazines (especially our Washington Native Plant Society journal, Douglasia ). But as my family will attest, I'm not immune to the charms of catalogs, fundraising appeals, and even the well-crafted credit card offer. Say what you will about the commercial and material excesses of December, it is also a time when snail mail can get really interesting. News and photos fr...
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Enjoy Wildflowers Year Round: Order the 2014 Calendar Now

Enjoy Wildflowers Year Round: Order the 2014 Calendar Now
While Hanukkah is in the rear-view mirror—and its coincidence with Thanksgiving some 70,000 years in the future—the year-end gift-giving season of 2013 is fully upon us. You might be making some late Hanukkah gifts, giving presents for the the Winter Solstice, Christmas, or Kwanzaa, or making your tax-deductible donations. Or all of the above! Last year we took a look at twenty gifts related to the Washington Native Plant Society. If I do say so myself, those are some great ideas, with perennial...
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Plant Profile: Piggyback Plant (Tolmiea menziesii)

Plant Profile: Piggyback Plant (Tolmiea menziesii)
As the days draw in, and we spend more time indoors, there's at least one Washington native plant that can join us there. The Piggyback Plant is a well-known and popular native that survives as a houseplant. Are there others that have worked for you? Why it's choice: Bring a spot of woodland into the house with Piggyback Plant. This herbaceous perennial can thrive in a shady garden dell or in an indoor hanging basket. Look for small new plantlets "piggy-backing" at the base of each leaf. What it...
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Another Take on Fall Color

Another Take on Fall Color
I don't know about you, but I am shocked to find that it is November again. Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that we began Botanical Rambles with a post about fall color ? This year I had a chance to roam around Fort Worden State Park for an afternoon, and here is some of what I saw. On the beach: Large-headed sedge ( Carex macrocephala ). The leaves of this distinctive sedge become a lovely golden in the fall, enlivening the tan and gray-green of the dunes. The dark-brown flower stalks—the large ...
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Change is in the Air: A Musical Interlude

Change is in the Air:  A Musical Interlude
In this season of change, I find myself humming certain tunes to help ease various transitions. So the subtitles in this post link you to music videos. To everything there is a season… ("Turn, Turn, Turn" The Byrds, 1966) I visited the east coast for three weeks in September-October and saw splendid fall color in the deciduous forests of Connecticut and western Massachusetts. We had excellent weather—classic crisp clear days—while western Washington soaked in the wettest September on record. We ...
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