Cascades Penstemon (Penstemon serrulatus), the purple flowers in the photo above, is native to the west side of the Cascades and a prolific self-seeder in our native plant garden. It stays in bloom for about three weeks for us, just finishing up now. If I recall, we started with just one or two plants in a different garden bed a few years ago. We cut a few stems with mature seeds and spread them in this bed and now we have masses. They seem to move themselves around to where they want to grow, which is how we ended up with this floriferous border. Continue reading
Saturday Brian and I hiked back in time. No, we haven’t invented some marvelous time machine. We just picked a trail that started higher than where we live and hiked uphill. While it was early summer down in Bellingham, we found early spring on the Hannegan Pass trail some 40 miles up the road and 3000 feet higher in elevation. There were no other cars in the parking lot and we didn’t see anyone else along the trail, though there were a few footprints in the mud that told us others had passed this way in recent days.
Green corn lilies (Veratrum viride), just getting started, complemented masses of slide alder (Alnus viridis) in this recently-melted avalanche track. We marveled at acres and acres of this lush foliage on both sides of the trail. Later in the season these plants will be over four feet tall. Continue reading
Henderson’s checker-mallow, Sidalcea hendersonii, is a somewhat uncommon Pacific Northwest native plant. In its natural home you’ll find it just above the high tide line in coastal environments where it tolerates being periodically inundated with salt water. However, it’s quite happy in a garden setting. Continue reading
May lily is an apt name for this little woodland groundcover, as the flowers reliably open in early May here in the lowlands of western Washington. It’s also called false lily-of-the-valley because of its resemblance to that common garden plant. In technical terms, it’s known as Maianthemum dilatatum.
Whatever you call them, May lilies are one of those plants I look forward to seeing in bloom each spring. Continue reading
Yesterday evening Brian and I meandered slowly through our woods along what we variously call the new trail, the short trail, or the creek trail. Maybe we’ll nail down a name for it one of these days. But the trail name doesn’t matter so much. It’s the woodland path closest to the house, but we don’t walk it as frequently as some of our other trails. We walked less than 100 yards as we found much to observe and enjoy in the hour we spent.
These spreading wood ferns (Dryopteris expansa) are right beside the trail at the base of an old and decaying stump. True to their name, this fern seems happiest growing on rotting wood. People often confuse it with lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina), another common fern that grows in our woods. Continue reading
I was out early this morning. Well, not so early that the sun wasn’t up, but early enough that it was still low in the sky and the dew lay undisturbed upon the garden and our woods. I embraced the cool, still air and ambled down the path from our lawn and into the woods with my camera on my shoulder. It’s a nice way to start the day, but something that has yet to become a habit. Continue reading
Fringecup (Tellima grandiflora) and Piggy-back Plant (Tolmiea menziesii) are two common woodland wildflowers that have just come into bloom at our place in the last few days. That’s Fringecup in the photo above, along with some foliage from Enchanter’s Nightshade, some May Lilies on the left, and a bit of Bugleweed in the background.
Both of these common plants are in the saxifrage family (Saxifragaceae) and people often confuse them, particularly when they’re not in flower. Now that they’re blooming it’s easy to tell them apart by their blossoms. Continue reading
Red elderberry, Sambucus racemosa, flowers are peaking in our woods and woodland border right now. This medium-sized Pacific Northwest native shrub puts on quite a show when she’s in bloom, covered in masses of somewhat pyramid-shaped clusters of small white flowers. In the photo above of the woodland border in our garden, made a couple of weeks ago on April 12, the flowers have yet to emerge among the newly unfolding leaves. The showy red flowers are red-flowering currant, Ribes sanguineum, blooming below the elderberry.
We’ve been watching our elderberries develop all month as they come into flower, and now as the flowers begin to fade. Continue reading
One of the great things about being confined to our home is to watch the near-daily changes in our garden since we can’t go far afield to catch the blossoms somewhere else. The flowers that were in full bloom just a week ago are fading and new ones are taking their place. Right now, it’s the serviceberries (Amelanchier alnifolia) that are putting on their spring show.
The serviceberries are the white flowers in the photo. Behind them are the brilliant yellow flowers of golden currant (Ribes aureum). Both shrubs are native to Washington state, although the currant is an east of the mountains species. Also starting to bloom is great camas (Camassia leichtlinii), another Pacific Northwest native.
We’re getting to the end of the season for trillium blossoms in our garden and woodland. It’s been a wonderful run for these favorite wildflowers this spring. In the photo above, our Giant Purple Wakerobins (Trillium kurabayashii) are beginning to look a little bedragled in the petal department, although the foliage is still fresh. The white flowers just beginning to open are the non-native Sweet Woodruff, Galium odoratum.
These flowers have been looking good since early March. I photographed them the first time this year on March 18 and shared the photos in a blog post on March 24, a full month ago. I have trouble thinking of another perennial flower that stays looking good for this long. Continue reading