Popular Posts

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

Thursday, March 24, 2016

It's Finally Spring

Borrowing text from the Pacific Bulb Society site "Fritillaria davisii is found on hillsides, scrub, olive groves and cornfields at low altitudes in the Pelloponenese (Greece).".  If you are not a member of the PBS, please join at once.

I have found this charming little plant to be an outstanding performer in the raised beds. I'll be out planting some to the rock garden this fall for sure.

It's been wet and rainy for thr start of spring. Temps in the 50's.

Cheers,
Mark

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Plant Hunting Days

I don't have a ton of time for reading books these days, mostly when I do it's a scientific journal of some sort or something on wooden boat building. But if I had a genera that I would pick for leisure reading it would be most certainly be something on the Plant Hunters and Botanists and explorers from times past. The story of Georg Steller is probably one of my favorites, but lately I've been reading about David Douglas and his adventures around the Pacific Northwest collecting seeds. I was really born a few hundred years too late, because I would have loved the life of Joseph Banks, or Thomas Nuttall, I won't say Steller because the year they spent shipwrecked in the Aluetians sounded like hell.
Plant Hunting in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, Mark Akimoff with Darlingtonia californica and Cyprepedium californica in bloom.

I used to spend a lot of time out plant hunting  and the Kalmiopsis was my favorite spot, such diversity and ruggedness. 
The Kalmiopsis in the Babyfoot/chetco pass area is very rugged, but exceedingly beautiful. Finding a treasure trove of Darlingtonia's well grown in cultivation in a local garden center this week kind of inspired some memories of some simpler times when I could drop everything and disappear into the woods for a week with a backpack a tent and some seed envelopes. 

Hiking the kalmiopsis is not for the faint of heart and I must admit I was younger then and in the companionship of friends with the youth and vigor to trek for days to find the rare ones. 

But it sure did lead to some great garden displays back then, Lupinus albifrons, Kalmiopsis leachiana, Silene hookeri just to name a few in this shot. 
Jack Poff in the foreground was a mentor to me in the field of natives, rock garden plants and alpines. Dave Peterson the grey bearded gentleman owned a fantastic fern nursery called Squirrel Heights in the woodstock neighborhood of SE Portland back in the day. The fellow in the middle I can't for the life of me remember his name, but he was a carnivorous plant expert who worked at the Leach Botanical garden.  This shot was on a plant hunting expedition we all took to the Gifford Pinchot NF, I was really lucky to have met these guys and extracted so much knowledge from them. 

Anyway, the Paeonia and Darlingtonia featured in yesterday's post brought back some great memories and since this is really just a garden journal posted for everyone to see, I thought I would share some of those memories with all of you. 
Sun is back in the forecast and thank goodness for it. 

Cheers,
Mark