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Friday, March 30, 2012

Where the wild things are

So I had the great fortune of starting my career for a little known but wonderful botanical garden nestled in the hills of South West Portland. The garden is gone now, but certainly not forgotten.

It's been a miserable rainy, windy last couple of days. The creeks around Salem are going to flood so I have to go to work tomorrow, but I'm not complaining, it pays time and half and if we can do something to help some people from suffering property damage then all the better.

Anyway, I haven't had time to do much picture taking in the greenhouse so I thought I would just throw up some pictures from "the glory days", when said botanical garden paid me to travel the state collecting seed of our native wildflowers.....some are bulbs and some are not, but they are all treasures.

Cyprepedium californicum
Kalmiopsis Wilderness

Western Rattlesnake
one of the hazards of seed collecting in the
Calochortus macrocarpus
John Day Fossil Beds-Painted Hills Unit
Calochortus tolmei
Mt. Adams Wilderness

Paeonia brownii
Mt. Adams Wilderness
This picture was taken in 2001, I came back later and got seed of this specimen I have it growing in a rasied frame at the nursery, it hasn't increased much in 11 years, but I noticed this year it's sending up two seperate shoots.....could this be the year it finally flowers?

Cyprepedium montanum
East Slope Mt. Hood

Lilium bolanderi
Kalmiopsis Wilderness
this photo was taken before digital cameras!!! Kinda makes me feel old, I'm sure a few of the readers remember the day's of adjusting f-stops and buying slide film?

Phlox and Iris inominata
Illinois River, Oregon

Corydalis caseana var. cusickii
So a little while ago I posted that I didn't much care for Corydalis, but this one is something special. Also, I have kind of been reconsidering the genus after my recent visit to Jane's place. I only have Beth Evans and another one I can't remember right now, Jane had a whole bunch of them blooming that were actually quite spectacular and I guess I will have to look into the genus a bit more.

So here it is in it's habitat, That's the Imnaha River in the background a tributary of the great Snake river that drains out of the Eastern flank of the Wallowa Mts. I was actually fly fishing this great river known for it's steelhead and salmon that travel a thousand river miles upstream to spawn when I found this plant. It can get 6' tall and seemed out of place, like someone had introduced a garden specimen into the wilderness. I consider this species one of the "ungrowables" the roots reach 6' deep into sandy, glacial till, the roots constantly saturated with 42 deg. F. snowmelt runoff water. Perhaps someone has cultivated this species? I would love to hear from you and how you did it. Oh ya and if you live on the banks of the Imnaha, Grand Ronde or one of the creeks clowing out of Eagle Cap then you are cheating!

Aconitum columbianum var. columbianum
This was a pretty cool color form I found in a boggy meadow on the trip up to the summit of Cusick Mt. in the Wallow Mts.

So you always have to give credit where credit is due....Jack Poff (RIP teacher) the gray haired gentleman in the foreground is the one who showed me most of these wonderful plants, or told me where to find them. That's Bird Creek Meadows with Mt. Adams in the background, one of Jacks favorite botanizing locations. The "Hippy" in the middle used to be a caretaker at the Leach botanical garden in Portland, which if you have ever heard of Kalmiopsis leachiana that garden should need no introduction, anyway he was an expert in carnivorous plants of the US. and in the bog behind us he found Utricularia and Drosera. The grey beard, is Dave Peterson, formerly of Squirrel Heights Gardens, one of the greatest little nurseries and gardens I had the pleasure of pulling weeds in. Dave is a fern expert par excellance! One of my greates memories is when the four of us spent a day exploring the Gifford Pinchot National Forest to unlock it's botanical secrets.

Douglasia laevigata var. laevigata
Mitchell Point, Columbia River Gorge

Tonight I have 5 chances to win 600 million dollars.
Oh, the botanical dreams that would be realized if those numbers match up! Just stop and think about it for a minute, what would be your horticultural endevours if money were no object? I could go on for days just telling you about the gardens I would build, the bulbs I would find, the nursery I would build.......Well here is to a 5 in 175 million chance that I will get to do it some day!

In the meantime, I'm going to bed early because I will be cleaning stream grates and placing sandbags tomorrow. Pray it stops raining and the sun comes out!

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