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Friday, June 24, 2016

Traveling a bit

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” Mark Twain



I've been out on a bit of a summer solstice adventure this past week. Ran across some Calochortus to share. Eastern Oregon is a fantastic high desert, cut occasionally by deep canyons and snowmelt fed rivers that hold great fishing. 
Calochortus longebarbatus in the Painted Hills of the John Day Fossil beds

The habitat above Burnt Ranch on the John Day, open bunch grass, and very dry Juniper/Sage land.

Calochortus argillosus is pretty much all that is left blooming in the greenhouse now, this Central Californian coastal species is always putting on a show in June. All the references say it grows in hard clay soils, but I've grown it in my standard moo doo and pumice mix and it increases well.


This hot spring and fairly advanced entry into summer has me thinking that the catalog will be out a bit earlier this year, I'm hoping to start harvest mid July sometime, so keep an eye on here and I'll post updates as I get closer. 

Rain, 70 degrees, but warmer this weekend

Cheers,

Mark

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Who wrote Holden Caulfield?

You are probably wondering where this guy went....well, I'm feeling a little like J.D. Salinger and thinking to myself, I guess I'm that guy that sometimes just disappears into the woods and doesn't want to commit 100% to the hermit kimgdom, but honestly sometimes sees the reality, day to day, however ho hum, hum drum, churning out a living 8 hours a day, behind a paper work cloud a bum rap that needs escaping reality.

This wonderful yucca is something to come home to though....floating in a mist of sweet peas, it's actually one of the finest perennial  plants I ever grew from seed. A hippie from Bozeman, Montana brought me the seed from his spring break trip to some Utah desert slope in 1999. I was living in Montana at the time and I kept the seed in an envelope for two years until i finally germinated it in Oregon.

It's with me 15 years later a stalwart in my life, it's prickly and it could cut you, but once a year it sends out white velvet spires of cascading bells.

I have no idea what the species is...if you live in Utah or you know this plant will you tell me what it is?

97 degrees in June, Al Gore was right.

Cheers,
Mark

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Closest Botanist to Home




Camassia cusickii

I have featured this plant before and I think I referenced at the time how it has been maligned in some bulb reference books as coarse leaved and small flowered. I for one am a huge fan, I think it can look stately on it's own, and while the color may be a bit of white-washed pale purple tending towards nothing to write home about, I rather like the upright form. 

One of the funner aspects of the plant is who it was named for, William Conklin Cusick, the deaf botanist who explored so much of the wonderful Elkorn, Blue and Wallowa mts in Oregon. The part I like best is how he grew up right smack dab in the country that Illahe now occupies. He lived on kingston praire (now a nature preserve and close to where I used to do some mitigated riparian restoration work). He attended Willamette University in 1864-65, (My sister works for the University that occupies much of downtown Salem). He also lived for a time in Dallas, OR (the drummer in the band I was in in High School lived in Dallas). So many aspects that hit so close to home!

Anyway, I won't do the great man justice with these little snippets, but he also has one of my favorite Monkeyflowers named for him and you can read about it and his life in the great NPSO publication: http://www.npsoregon.org/kalmiopsis/kalmiopsis14/love.pdf

The weather has been spotty, rain mixed with some sun. Supposedly headed for temps in the 80's this weekend. 

Cheers and happy friday, 

Mark


Friday, April 22, 2016

What's that song by Bob Seeger?

"Up there in the spotlight your a million miles away, every ounce of energy you try to give away"
That feels like it sums up this week on a few different levels. Genuine care about Middle schoolers being introduced to Botany on a collectors level or putting on a dog and pony show for the brass.
There is something so rewarding and simple about walking around the garden on a Friday between the thunderstorms.
The rock garden starting into bloom.

Also, I really like to be able to walk a few hundred yards and enjoy the difference between cultivation and nature. My native meadow is filling in with Camas and Checkermallow, it's fun to see the slow development of a seeded parcel compared to the instant gratification of popping containers in the ground. One is so moldable and the other defined more by the laws of nature.

I think it's called "Turn the Page" and it's about time to do it.

Thunderstorms, torrential rain, whipping winds, calm and sunny, hail, rain, overcast and clear all in the span of an hour today.

Cheers, 
Mark 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Not all who wander are lost.

The chocolate lily wandering its way through a rhododendron on the corner of the old farmhouse.

Headed for some grand weather this weekend and excited to host the David Douglas Society and the Willamette Valley Chapter of the Native Plant Society for a garden tour this weekend.

Cheers,
Mark

Monday, April 11, 2016

They Called It Paradise


Back from a wonderful adventure to visit family on the Kauai, spectacular trip and seeing the Uncle and Cousins farms after so many years away was great. 

Sunset over Bali Hai



Neomarica in bloom

The Uncles Palm Tree plantation

Anya and the landscaping at Pepperwood.


So back to the grind, work and gardening, the weather warmed up while we were away so spring is in full swing the Cherries are in full bloom now and I'll post up some bulb pics again soon.

Cheers,
Mark 



Monday, March 28, 2016

Spring Break

Last year it was Chicago, this year we are going to kauai. Super excited about the trip, I might be blowing the blog up with tropicals. But since we haven't shipped out yet I'll show you some of the bulbs we are leaving behind.

This nice clump of Trillium chloropetalum, growing in rich flood plain stands of black cottonwood and Oregon ash.

The Junos are starting into full effect.

Looks like we are headed into a warm spell Temps are supposed to push into the 70's finally!

Cheers,
Mark