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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

In Like A Lion


Check out the greenhouse tonight.

Welcome to winter. If you've been following this blog, I've been waxing on about how the growing season wouldn't end and we had been frost free for so long. Well that's all done now. I was off in Mexico celebrating my 40th birthday, playing old man and the sea and it hit 26 degrees in the greenhouse. Followed shortly by a pretty decent snow storm, and if you are familiar with our "mild" Mediterranean climate here in the Willamette Valley, decent snow fall is pretty rare in these parts in December.


Me and my wahoo!

Catching the fastest fish in the ocean was a helluva a way to cap off my 40th year on this planet. I think of how much of I've learned and experienced in the first 40, if I can make it another 40 the fish and flowers that are gonna pass through these hands will be many fold.

The growing season has officially ended. 24 degrees with 8" of snow on the ground and I'll be heading out to knock it off the greenhouse soon.


Welcome to winter from a boat somewhere in the Sea of Cortez.

Cheers,
Mark

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Happy Holidays!


Colchicum cupani

The little Meadow Saffron doing its thing in December. Usually this time of year I start seeing some of the hoop petticoat Narcissus starting to bloom. But this year is a bit different still no killing frost or any frost for that matter. But it's forecasted for this Tuesday to be down into the 20's. Long growing season for sure to go almost 10 months frost free.

Cheers,
Mark

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thankful


Narcissus obsoletus

Somethings will never be obsolete. Like flowers. If this one always blooms at Thanksgiving I'm gonna be really happy with that.

I guess I'm thankful it's over and I am now just hoping it all doesn't end in low thundering booms and mushroom clouds rising on the horizon. America hit a rough patch. It's palpable, you can feel the tension, coworker to coworker, family member to family member. Etc....


I'm also thankful to see some great seeds germinated already, I think it's gonna be a great growing season ahead, if the current one ever ends.

In case anyone is keeping track, we still have not had a killing frost, or frankly Amy frost for that matter. It's been a really long growing season.

Cheers,
Mark

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

“But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.” 
― Stephen King'Salem's Lot



The fall season at Illahe Nursery and Gardens
It seems the older I get the more I take notice of the changing of the seasons, The little things like carving pumpkins seem to take on new meaning as the years go by, My little girl is now a teenager and Halloween isn't such a big deal as it once was. But she still carves a pumpkin with her dad on the weekend before the big show. Life goes by pretty quick and if you blink you can miss an awful lot. I smile as the facility maintenance guy brings his grandkid by the cubicle for a trick or treat at the office and I'm reminded of that little 3 year old dressed up like a lady bug, wide eyed and wondering about everything in the world. Now it's horror movies and haunted houses with her friends. I sigh a little bit and I think about how some people find the often grey days of Autumn depressing and I think about the spring that waits around the corner and how you wouldn't really appreciate anyone season if it didn't give way to the next.



Crocus cartwhrightianus 'Marcel'



I love the stories of where selections came from and this is no exception, the story goes it was named by Janis Ruksans for Antoine Hoog's son. Mr. Hoog grew the wild collected seedlings and sent them to Janis. The saffron type looks fantastic this time of year with the failing light and although the slugs love them, I've finally got a handle on those critters by some frequent metaldehyde applications under the pots. 

If I can get my act and camera together before the frost and wind have taken there toll, I'd like to do a post on the Autumn crocus collection. 

Rain, but not that cold this week. Still haven't seen a frost or gotten really close to it, which is nice because I have some food crops I'm trying to get up and established in the greenhouse. 

Cheers, 
Mark 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

I hate daylight savings!

It's true, and if I didn't love the ocean and salmon and clean abundant water, I'd consider moving to Arizona just because of it. I have to admit I don't love this time of year when you have to leave for the day job in the dark and drive home in the dark. This year does offer some tiny bit of solace in that I spent a good deal of time with a trencher and at the electrical panel putting in a proper power line to the greenhouse this year. This weekend I'll install some HID lighting so that I can at least get a few hours of work in when I get home at night basking in the artifical rays of flourescent and burning sodium lamps.
Crocus thomasii in the raised beds at Illahe
Looking great despite the 7 or so inches of rain it has had to endure this month.

I had an amazing visit to the wonderful garden of  Claire Cockroft in Bellevue, Washington. Jane and I took a rain filled drive up and she was a great host for some hours of visiting. I'm so thankful to the elders that are willing to share bits of knowledge and time and plants with the younger set to ensure the collections live on. 


Jane McGary admiring Claire's wonderful curbside rockery, much of it seeded with Ron Ratko's Northwest Native seed treasures.


Claire's nursery is loaded with treasures
And back home Sam is standing guard over the
Crocus collection, he is a marvelous hunter and
After Ginger passed and we went through a few cats
lost to Coyotes, I'm happy to have a good Tom to
Keep control of the rodents.


   
So the daylight is fading ever faster now and the days grow shorter by minutes. 
I do look forward to the holidays, but having to leave in the dark and drive home from the day job in the dark does grow old fast. That doesn't leave much time for enjoying the fall bloomers. 
Thunderstorms and rain, hopefully a little sun this weekend and I'll be out harvesting some of the Saffron. 
Cheers, Mark Akimoff

Monday, October 17, 2016

Autumn Chase

"It is your human environment that makes climate."
Mark Twain



No Frost on the pumpkins just yet. But the weather has certainly changed with the seasons.
Penstemon newberryi var. sonomensis
A bunch of the rock garden plants decided to rebloom right before the Autumn  equinox. I haven't noticed it with much of these species in years past as they were grown in the stooling beds waiting the construction of the rock garden. So I must attribute it to being outplanted finally and maybe finding good conditions after toughing it through the first summer.

Sternbergia sicula
From limestone hills in the Meditteranean region, this is said to like more sharply drained conditions then some of it's kin. The fall bloomers in the greenhouse weathered this weekends onslaught of  torrential rain and wind well, reminding me that I need to do some shuffling around and tuck some stuff away for the winter. 

Merendera....Or is it Colchicum?'


I did promise to do more blogging on the fall blooming collection this year, If the weather clears up I'm going to get the camera out and get to work. so far it's been harvesting the food crops like crazy, figuring out what to do with hundreds of pounds of apples is always fun.

Thunder storms in the forecast, rain off and on and maybe frost next week is the forecast, so far the growing season marches on.

Cheers,
Mark

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Shipping Has Ended for 2016 and it feels like Fall is here.

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” 
― Henry David Thoreau




Thank you so much to the loyal customers and the new folks finding this collection of plants. You make all the work totally worth it. Shipping has ended for this season. I hope to have time to do some more extensive blogging on the fall collection this year since I got everything done and sold earlier then usual.
Some of the Colchicum Mix from this years list doing it's thing already in August.

The early fall bloomers have enjoyed a little cooler weather this week as temps dove down into the 60's 

Colchicum 'Glory of Heemsteede' was included in the Colchicum mix and
that was a very popular item on the list this year.

Thank you again for ordering bulbs and letting me divulge in  the hoticultural arts with passion. Happy Growing!

Cool, cloudy and temps in the 60's as we look foward to the long holiday weekend.

Cheers,
Mark

Monday, August 22, 2016

Fritillaria davisii

Fritillaria davisii



Thanks for helping me celebrate 5 years of  Illahe Rare Bulbs.

Mark Akimoff

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Illahe Rare Bulbs Specialty List 2016-Shipping has ended-This list for reference purposes only.

SPECIALTY BULB LIST 2016 Shipping has ended, this list is here for reference only. 


Greetings,
               
This year is celebrating 5 years of continuing to offer the offspring of Jane’s wonderful bulb collection to growers around the world. I owe a huge thanks to Jane for stock, advice on growing, the wonderful experience of working in her garden, moving rocks and pulling weeds, and imparting so much of her knowledge about specialty bulbs.
 This year isn’t much different than the last, it was another super hot summer, so the real Zeric species are once again the true champs. On the flip side I’m offering some unique carnivores that want to grow in standing or running water. Hopefully there is something for everyone. Thank you to the loyal customers who have allowed me to continue to propagate plants and continue a passion for the rare and unique treasures of natures.

The Nursery: Illahe Nursery and Gardens is located in the South Salem hills of the Central Willamette Valley of Oregon at 600 feet in elevation. The Climate here has been described as Mediterranean, although it really is cooler and wetter. Rainfall occurs here primarily between the months of October and May and ranges between 40-80 inches. Temperatures in the winter rarely fall below 20 deg. F. in the winter, however the last few winters have seen temperatures as low as 9 deg. F inside an unheated greenhouse. Summers are generally dry. The Jory loam soil here is deep and extremely fertile. Agriculture in the immediate vicinity is mostly Christmas tree production, vineyards , nursery and grass seed production.

To see pictures of the bulbs, please visit the Illahe blog at www.illaherarebulbs.blogspot.com,  or try The Random House Book of Bulbs by Martyn Rix and Roger Phillips,  or the highly recommended Pacific Bulb Society website.

Size of  bulbs: Bulbs have been selected for large size in hopes of providing flowering in the shortest period possible, some bulbs are available in smaller sizes and those are listed below. Often newly potted bulbs need a year to settle in before flowering. All bulbs are priced per single bulb, unless otherwise noted.

Hardiness: It is impossible precisely to predict the winter survival of bulbous plants in a given area. My garden is a notorious frost pocket although some of the bulbs are grown in an unheated, open ended greenhouse, many are grown out in the open in raised frames.  Refer to standard authors such as Martyn Rix and Brian Mathew for guidance, remembering that they refer to gardens in Britain, USDA Zones 8-9. It is wise to cultivate new (and expensive) bulbs under cover until you have enough to risk in the open garden, where not only weather but also predators threaten them. (For details, see Jane’s chapter on "Bulb and Alpine Frames" in Rock Garden Design and Construction, Timber Press, 2003.) Unless otherwise noted all these plants can survive at least a few degrees of frost, provided they have good drainage and the foliage is not wet. In areas with snow cover and/or dry winters, they can survive more cold.

Domestic customers:
Ordering: Please send a list by e-mail. All orders are filled in the order received, so get your order to me as quickly as possible for the best selection. Send orders to illaherarebulbs@gmail.com
DO NOT FORGET TO TELL ME YOUR SHIPPING ADDRESS.
Shipping: I will bill you for Priority Mail postage.
Payment: DO NOT SEND PAYMENT WITH YOUR ORDER. All bulbs are available in limited quantities and you may not receive everything you want. You will be billed with your shipment, with a Paypal invoice,  so you will receive an invoice in the email and I will ship when you have paid, if the money is not deposited within three days of invoicing your bulbs will be returned to the inventory rack.
International Customers:
Ordering: Send your order via email.  All orders are filled in the order received, so get your order to me as quickly as possible for the best selection. Send orders to illaherarebulbs@gmail.com.
Shipping: I will bill you for first class postage, rate will be based on your order size. If you desire a faster postage rate please let me know this, and I will let you know the rate when your order is ready to be shipped.  I will bill you for Phytosanitary certification, that cost is $45 per order. Due to inspection/phytosanitary scheduling I can only offer a few weeks of international shipping so please place your order no later than September 4th 2016. Get together with a garden group and do one big order if you are international and that way we can all save money and time! Seriously, it would help me, you, the plant inspector and the post man if we all consolidated a bit.
Payment: International customers will be required to pay by Pay-Pal. Your order will be filled and inspected, you will be sent an email invoice with the Pay-Pal deposit information. When the money is deposited your order will be shipped. If you must cancel an order, please do so promptly, if the money is not deposited within 3 business days, you will be sent a notification email and your bulbs will be returned to the inventory rack. Your bulb order leaves here with Phytosanitary certificate stating that it is free from pest and disease and therefore not subject to quarantine, however I do not have any control over the receiving countries agricultural inspections, so I cannot offer any guarantee and the loss should your government hold your bulbs is on you. Please notify me immediately of any issues and I will do what I can.
Remember all bulbs are available in limited quantities so whether you are domestic or international please realize I sell out of some stuff very quickly so get your order in as soon as possible. Email is preferred for questions related to bulb purchases.
Please feel free to forward this list to anyone who might be interested.
Thank you,
Mark Akimoff
Illahe Nursery and Gardens
7645 Sunnyside Rd SE
Salem, Or 97306
503-799-2725
illaherarebulbs@gmail.com
Bulbs
Allium textile Central United States; clusters of starry white flowers. $2
Allium sp.  A good selection for troughs, this former Leach Botanical garden selection does well in very zeric conditions, it has yellow flowers and reminds me of Allium ‘Molly’ but with much finer leaves, It’s probably one of the parents or at least a relative if anyone knows that lineage. $3

Arum dioscoridis Turkey; wonderful but bad-smelling inflorescence, greenish cream heavily spotted with black. Medium, $3

Biarum davisii Crete; Awesome pinkish-white spathes in the fall. $3
Biarum tenuifolium ssp. abbreviatum Blackish spathes, flowers late summer. $4 sold out
Biarum tenuifolium ssp. abbreviatum

Biarum sp. PB435 From the Pacific Bulb Society seed exchange-Figure out what it is and let me know! $3
Biarum tenuifolium ssp. zelborii Crete, Very rare. $6 sold out

Brodiaea californica NNS-05-113, From Ron Ratko’s seed collection. Large lavender fls, early summer, on stems to 30 in. $3
Brimeura amethystina Blue fls., late spring          $3
Brimeura fastigiata Tiny plants with bright lavender fls; hardy to at least 9 deg. F., for containers under protection from excess rain $2 sold out
Calochortus argillosus  the Clay Mariposa Lily from California; stunning, white, pink, yellow and mauve marked floral wine cups! $4 Sold out

Colchicum/Autumn Crocus
Colchicum bivonae Sardinia-Turkey, large, tessellated pink flowers, dramatic. $5 sold out
Colchicum bayoptopium Turkey, small species, great in pots. $5 sold out
Colchicum 'Disraeli' Giant pink flowers with white tessalations, probably one of my all time favorite fall bloomers, certainly eye catching. $6Sold out
Colchicum-Growers/Gardeners Mix-This offering is for a mix of 3 corms propagated from my garden beds, they can be any of a mix of C. autumnale, hybrids I grow (look at past catalog offerings), and possibly one of the rarer species, for those seeking a value and wanting autumn blooms. 3/$3.Sold out

Crocus
Crocus banaticus. Balkans; once considered its own genus, this Iris like and very unique treasure has some of the most interesting flowers in it’s group. $4
Crocus cartwrightianus Greece/Crete, probably one of the wild precursors of the fabled saffron crocus, it is a fantastic homegrown substitute for those that like Paella. $4
 Crocus kotschyanus fall; a good performer year to year, if you want a tidy, autumn bloomer for the rock garden this is a good one. Pink fls. $3 sold out
Crocus thomasii A fantastic fall blooming sativus type, strong saffron fragrance and a great increaser. Adriatic coastal species. $6 Sold out


Fritillaria
Fritillaria acmopetala ‘Dark Form’ Eastern Medd; $6
Fritillaria acmopetala 'Dark Form'
Fritillaria agrestis The legendary California, Stink Bells. Get ready to vacate the greenhouse when these go into bloom.  Huge bulbs. $8Sold Out
Fritillaria amana Turkey; a fast increaser, and a good performer in the open garden. $4

Fritillaria caucasica JJA 85122 From the Archibalds wild seed collections. Dark bells. $6

Fritillaria caucasica
Fritillaria davisii Short stems, dark pendent bells, increases well. Large/$4, small/$2.
Fritillaria elwesii Beautiful bells with a dusty bloom on the petals. $3
Fritillaria messanensis ssp. gracilis Balkans, woodlands and meadows and a great grower in the pacific NW. $4 Sold out

Fritillaria ionica Green on purple the flowers are showy though they are essentially a camoflouge pattern. $3Sold out
Fritillaria JJA 17255
Fritillaria JJA17255 Archibald collection, from the seminal seed catalog: JJA 17255 : Fritillaria sp. Iran, Kordestan, SW of Daraki ( S of Marivan ) 2500m. SW facing limestone slope. " It goes on to say " ... this is a big robust plant about 25cm high, with up to four flowers. The first thought was that it had to be something to do with F. straussii, but the leaves are alternate : neither paired nor whorled. This area, high in the mountains right on the Iraqi border.Absolutely stunning potted specimen. $8 Sold out
Fritillaria kotschyana JJA Northern Iran, Seed grown from the Archibalds. $5
Fritillaria orientalis Caucasus, checkered pendant bells, easy grower. $4
Fritillaria obliqua Greece, rare; The one that started it all for me, and always has me singing “you may wonder why I always dress in black” blackish bell flowers. $6Sold out
Fritillaria persica Peach colored mini bells on large trusses. $6 Sold out
Fritillaria pontica Tall, pale green broad pendant bells, easy lg. $4 
Fritillaria pudica 'Richard Britten'

Fritillaria pudica ‘Richard Britten’ Larger flowered form. Lg. bulbs $9, medium $5
Fritillaria pudica Oregon; Yellow bells. $3 sold out
Fritillaria purdyi x biflora Robust strain that arose with Jane; these are F2seedlings, typically will have purdyi-type black-and-white checked flowers on robust biflora-type foliage and stems. $5Sold Out
Frtillaria stribyrnyi Balkans; Very rare and exceedingly beautiful $8Sold out

Fritillaria stribyrnyi
Fritillaria rhodocanakis Greece; this selection was originally from Hoog and labeled: Fritillaria rhodocanakis ssp. argolica. Which is a very rare subspecies of an already rare plant, however that ssp. has been disputed and it may be natural variation or hybridization between F. graeca or F. spetsiotica, either way its rare and Beautiful brown and yellow bells will look good in the collection. $6

Geranium macrostylum ‘Talish Tuberous species collected by Janis Ruksans in the Talish Mountains of Northwest Iran. $4
Gladiolus illyricus Medditeranean. Small bulbs. Pink. $1
Gladiolus tristis South Africa, the amazing Marsh Afrikaner Huge white fls, with some of the most amazing fragrance ever issued from a plant. $2
Juno Iris               
Iris bucharica Halda collection; white and yellow, vigorous. $6
Iris graeberiana 'Yellow Falls' Good Iris for the open garden or raised bed, electric blue flws with bright yellow falls. $5
 


Iris sp. Dwarf Bearded, I have featured this one a few times before, it came from the famed Portland Rae Selling Berry Botanical Garden, which means it probably has some pedigree that says it was collected from seed in a far off Mountainous country land. It’s a standout performer in the rock garden and at a max height of 8” you can’t lose. $5

Muscari muscarimi Turkey, strongly scented flowers of pale blue to white. $4
 Naricissus

Narciussus bulbocodium petite hoop peticoats in light yellow. Southern France. $3
Narcissus hispanicus ssp. bujei Spain, bright yellow trumpet, fast increaser and tremendous garden subject. $4
Narcissus “Rijnvelds  Early Sensation” World War II era heirloom, big, yellow taxi, I mean early. $1
Narcissus romieuxii Pale yellow widely flared “hoop petticoat” flowers, early. $3 sold out
Narcissus rupicola smaller jonquil species from Spain, good rock garden subject. $4
Narcissus watieri From the Atlas Mts. of Morocco, beautiful white flowers.  $6
Narcissus wilkommii A deep yellow Jonquilla species with a large corona. Lg$3/sm$2
 


Notholirion thomsonianum Kashmir/Himalaya. Winter grower. Superb Pink Fls. $4Sold out

Scilla verna For some reason I like to think of this Europe’s version of the indomitable Camas. $3
Triteleia peduncularis Tall; big white-and-purple fls on very long pedicels, inflorescence can be a foot across; plant deeply $4
 T. didieri

Tulipa didieri Possibly extinct in the wild, or extremely rare. Crimson flowers with a dark center. $7

Carnivorous Plants: I have to ship these as bareroots in moistened peat or vermiculite, with the pitchers cut back or folded over.  Not sure about the viability of International shipping but I will try if you are willing to pay for it.
Darlingtonia californica Oregon’s own unique pitcher plant, the Cobra Lily. This form is incredibly stoloniferous, and has been an easy grower given a cool aquatic root run,  my guess is it’s on of the coastal bog strains that are far easier in cultivation then the ultramafic strains from the Kalmiopsis and Northern California.  $25.
Sarracenia minor  The Hooded Pitcher from Pine Savannas, North Carolina to Florida. One of the species capable of growing in slightly drier conditions. $14
Sarracenia luecophylla The White Topped Pitcher plant, from bogs and pine Savannas from  Mississippi to Alabama, a stunning bug killer. $14
Sarracenia sp. I think this is S. oreophila, but that is really, really rare……???? From cultivated source material, as are all the offerings except seeds. $25

Seeds: Are $3 per packet.  My wild collections are noted, year and accession.
Camassia quamash  MAA 1602 Growing in grass savanna and under the very dry shade of Garry Oaks.  2’ tall flowering spikes of light bluish gray.
Triteleia hyacinthina MAA1606  Starry white flower heads, in early June. Found growing alongside the quamash under 300 year old Garry Oak’s.
Brodiaea(Dichelostemma) congesta MAA 1604 Fork Toothed Ookow, heads of Pink Flowers on wispy stems. Garry Oak and Douglas Hawhthorne scrub margins in Jory Soils.
Iris douglasiana garden grown from a Coastal collection of this common western US species, drought tolerant summer dry species.
Fritillaria biflora ‘Grayana’ garden grown form of this very vigorous selection, these hybridize freely with Fritillaria purdyi  which I grow in close proximity. so  you are likely to see some hybrid swarms in this seed.

Fritillaria liliaceae garden grown, waxy, gleaming white pendant bells. 

Other plants on the list

For some years I have had a passion for carnivorous plants. I have a growing collection and have been propagating some of it so I think I'll offer a few different ones up for sale this year. They will come packed in moist peat moss with the pitchers cut back for space saving.

Except I do have some smaller Darlingtonia californica that I csn ship without cutting back. This form is very stoloniferous, practically spilling out of the large fiberglass water trough it grows in.


This being the first year I'll offer a few amd see what the interest level is. 
Cheers,
Mark

The list is coming

The list should be out late today or tomorrow for sure. So be sure to check here often for best selections. So far I think I have about 53 different species to offer this year, but smaller numbers then some past years, so order early for the best selection.

Check out that picture!  If you can read the label that is a cross I made of Fritillaria glauca X (Fritillaria biflora X Fritillaria purdyi) I  was surprised to see such growth after only 2 years, maybe some extra hybrid vigor there. It will be years before I have any of that available, but I'm excited about the possibilities for sure.

Temperatures in the mid 90's, so I'm happy to have the big work of harvest done.

Cheers,
Mark

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

2016 Harvest is upon us.

I have the kiddo and her cousin helping out this year, teaching the next generation what work means is important to me. If all goes well I hope to have the list out by the end of the week. Keep checking for updates.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Thermidaceae

The late bloomers are all about in shades of pink, lavender, purple and white. I'm going woth what I read on the PBS site for this family, although it sounds like they could debate it out to liliacea, alliaceae or hyacinthaceae.
Brodiaea californica and Triteleia laxa blooming side by side in the nursery
Brodiaea elegans growing at one of our local river parks, this site is under about 10' of water anytime the Willamette River gets above 16' on the Salem gauge so you know it doesn't mind saturated soils all winter.. 
Triteleia peduncularis 
This is one of my favorites for sure, makes quite a show when so much else is senescing down and the summer bulbs haven't kicked in yet.

I've been working on some irrigation stuff around the nursery this week and I have to get this goat pen down soon, but keep an eye out because I have the bulb catalog on the horizon.  I'll be collecting some seed again and offering that and I stumbled into a collection of interesting carnivorous plants that I may offer some propagules up as well.


Sunny, warm, temperatures in the 80's all week.

Cheers,
Mark

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