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Monday, June 4, 2018

Cypella herbertii

Cypella herbertii

William Herbert was a British botanist, illustrator and Poet, He is probably best known for some of his early treatments of the Amaryllidacea, but also published works on Crocus. John Lindley the very well known botanist who studied with Hooker and Banks, named this species for Herbert, who should be more widely known for his contribution to the study of flower bulbs.
It's a wonderful,easy and long blooming plant, these are only three years from seed and they seem to just bloom through the season all the way up to frost. I dug this clump and overwintered it in my unheated barn, in an aquatic plant basket filled with sawdust. It never got watered from November until late March and the foliage only started to wither and turn brown in the later part of Feburary. The range seems to be "almost totally confined to complex of grasslands ecosystems of Río de La Plata, the most extensive area of grasslands in Southeastern South America" to quote the work THE TYPE OF CYPELLA HERBERTII SUBSP. BREVICRISTATA RAVENNA (IRIDACEAE: TIGRIDIEAE)1 LEONARDO PAZ DEBLE2 , FABIANO DA SILVA ALVES3, Which deals with a subspecies but contains a wealth of information on the genus itself.

Sunny and Warm, as was most of May. We saw a few sprinkles move through this weekend, but it was also in the 80's for a portion of it. Looks like it might be a hot summer if this spring was an indicator. 

Might be slowing down on the bulb posts for a bit, as I have a bumper Cherry crop to harvest in between some much needed botanical explorations. I'll keep updating on the status of the bulb catalog as I get closer to the harvest window. 

Cheers,

Mark

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Seed Producers

"Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don't have any problems, you don't get any seeds." Norman Vincent Peale


I have been lucky in my life to have met a few of the amazing seed collectors like Ratko and Halda, who enriched our gardens. But I have also been lucky to have met some amazing seed producers as well. Today we toured Heritage Seedlings amazing native seed production facility in the rich soil at the headwaters of the Little Pudding River outside of Mcleay.


Lynda Boyer is an amazing seed grower, producing some very high quality native seed for restoration projects around the valley. The tour of her production fields was knowledge filled to say the least. 

You have to look closely but this is an actual seed production block of Calochortus tolmei. Pretty cool to see little rows of plants all lined up producing copious seed pods

Kinda made me think of the possibilities of row cropping a few of the illahe Rare bulb selections for mass production!

Amy Bartow literally wrote the book on native seed production, I mean literally and it's called the "Native Seed Production Manual for the Pacific Northwest". Some years ago she gave a group of Chemeketa Community College students a tour of the Corvallis Plant Material Center NRCS production facility, amazing tools and technology combined with grass roots farming knowledge makes for a pretty spectacular operation.

My hats off to the seed producers, the ones who work hard to bring us the material that starts our gardens, our restoration plots, our wetlands, and prairies would be long gone if it weren't for them. 

Sunny, warm, bulbs senescing for the season, veggies and bedding flowers coming on strong. 

Cheers, 
Mark

Monday, May 14, 2018

Renaming the name



 "The disadvantages involved in pulling lots of black sticky slime from out of the ground where it had been safely hidden out of harm’s way, turning it into tar to cover the land with, smoke to fill the air with and pouring the rest into the sea, all seemed to outweigh the advantages of being able to get more quickly from one place to another."
Douglas Adams-The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy


I could have chosen a lot of different quotes since I was in the mood for some Douglas Adams, and he has written so many brilliant things. Of course that quote was written in 1979, and here we are 39 years later and one of the dirtiest, foulest, ethic's lacking Attorney's one could imagine sits at the head of the EPA, the same agency he sued 14 times to ease regulations on pollution. He is straight up funded by the oil conglomerate, and responsible for selling out our clean water and our land. When you can't drink the water and you can't swim in the lake, and your lungs choke from the poison gasses in the air. When the cancer is everywhere because the plastic oozes from every landfill, and the sun can't penetrate the smog and the grass no longer grows green anywhere, is it then that you will realize that money is nothing without a life to spend it?

Just a thought, if work to you is just a paycheck, go do something else. Leave the seat in an environmental stewardship role to the ones who have a passion for it. Otherwise, you are just another Scott Pruitt, setting us all back decades and sucking the life from the planet.




Fritillaria biflora 'Grayana', or is it  now Fritillaria biflora var. ineziana? They seem to be always renaming the name.
This Beauty is a rare one, impacted no doubt by the march of man on his quest towards total domination of the earth, left with only a small fraction of habitat, it may not be long before it's gone from the wild. Sure does good in the garden though, one of the latest of the California Fritillaria's to bloom, this one sometime is still going as June comes rolling around.



The Rock Garden at Illahe Nursery and Gardens on a late spring evening.

Absolutely stellar weekend weather, it hit 80 degrees, but still cooling off wonderfully at night. Looks like a good weather week ahead.

Cheers, 
Mark

Friday, May 11, 2018

Onions and Inspiration

"The mediocre teacher tells.
 The good teacher explains. 
The superior teacher demonstrates. 
The great teacher inspires."
 William Arthur Ward



Allium unifolium 'Wayne Roderick'
Much has been written about Wayne Roderick, if you don't know who he was then you should google it. I won't repeat the many accolades here but I wanted to nod to the inspiration he provided many, including myself. I never met him, but I followed his work intently, I've been to Tilden Park many times and I have a passion for many of the Fine California Native plants he championed. I was thinking about how many of these legendary, plantsfolk are fading away as the "greatest generation" have hit the golden years and gone beyond. I wonder who will fill there shoes, who will spread the botanical knowledge and interest in the information age. I will always think of Jack Poff, the aged gardener for Rae Selling Berry who taught me so many propagation tips and tricks that you can't learn from a book. I hope I can spread some of that knowledge around. Because at the end of it all, you may or may not be remembered for things you did. You may have a statute built for you, or you may even have a plant named for you. But many of these things can fade or find the bulldozer or be lost to antiquity. But as long as people pass the knowledge on, that is a legacy that will hold forever.

Camassia  cusickii 
This was my seed collection from the Wallowa Mt's many years ago now. It's been such a good doer you'll likely see it on the catalog list this year. I know the color is a little pale, and some might say washed out, but those tall, sweet foxtail like flower spikes are really quite resplendent. 

Headed for 80 degree weather this weekend, I caught two bee swarms this week, and I'm getting a new motor put on my boat! If this isn't the Dolce Vita, I don't know what is?

Cheers, 
Mark

Monday, April 23, 2018

Nor Cal


Just a quick photo tour of  my trip to California, had to go lay Grandma Shook to rest. Botanizing is a great way to get the mind off of missing someone special and plants are always a recharge for me anyway. 

Calochortus amabalis
So this was in the hills above Calistoga where the fires burned this past fall. 
Ziagadenus in the Sonoma Hills
Mexican butterworts at California Carnivores, this epic nursery is just a few miles down the road from My grandma's house, I"m gonna miss those plant filled visits. 
California Carnivores is a plant collectors type of place. 
I need one of these for teaching about water quality and the carnivorous plant connection, almost every kid anywhere has heard of or seen a venus fly trap so it's the ideal intro plant to teach botany and evolutionary adapatation.
Made it home to see the cherrys and mustard in full bloom, a hive of bees buzzing happily away and a pretty solid week of good weather. Life is good when it's like this.

Cheers,
Mark

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A few more bloomers

 "Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it."Henry David Thoreau




Iris graberiana 'Yellow falls' in the rock garden,
I have noticed that the color tends to wash out on this one a bit in the outdoor grown specimens vs, the greenhouse pots. Maybe this extra long spring rainfall we have been having is a contributor.


Fritillaria acmopetala 'Dark Form'
from a year ago. There is a story about this one, but for now it's a place holder
Branding and advertising something I haven't done much of, but thinking about diving into it a bit more. It's always been my dream to have a cool hand illustrated hard copy of the catalog. I don't really have much time for drawing anymore, but at this weekends PBS talk Kit Strange was talking about the botanical illustrator working on the Juno Iris monograph, it got me thinking that I better do this catalog thing the right way before it's too late. I'm throwing the collage up because it's making me think how hard it will be to pick 5 or 6 of the best species to illustrate for this years catalog. I was even thinking I'll probably print out a few dozen and drop them off a the local garden centers, who know's might capture a few new customers from it........Branding, marketing, capital investments, market share, dang I wish I had a business person who was passionate about that stuff and I could just do the growing and drawing!


Rain showers like serious heavy, but nothing near what my family in Kauaii have had to deal with. Crazy flooding.

Cheers,
Mark


The Weekends flowers


Just a collage of some stuff blooming this past weekend.



The Trillium kurabayashii saga continues as a friend took pics of this up near Detroit lake....way out of its known range. Looks like a species undergoing a rapid range expansion. ...hmmm one for the scientists to debug?  My theory is that it's a spontaneous mutation of T.albidum.


More soon