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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!


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.


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. 


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Two of my favorite natives.

These are two of my favorite natives. Both are relatively uncommon and I would dare to say rarely encountered.

Darlingtonia californica to me brings back great memories of backpacking deep into the Kalmiopsis wilderness and seeing it growing in boggy seeps or along frigid snow melt springs with its stolons winding through the bluish green serpentine rocks next to Cyprepedium californica both in bloom at the same time.

Peaonia brownii is a great plant that means a lot to me. The man who was a great mentor to me in growing alpines, rock garden plants and natives, Jack Poff, first showed it to me somewhere up near Bird Creek Meadows in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. I collected seeds a few months later. Jack has since gone plant hunting in the big meadows in the sky and our frequent trips out to Flag Point, the Gorge and Indian Heaven are memories now from a decade a decade and a half ago. 

Such great memories and some amazing plants.

Finally the rain is ending and we are looking at at run of sunshine. Temps into the 60's.
Cheers, Mark

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Drenching Rains of Early March

Fritillaria montana

Just another torrential downpour of a weekend, Feels like we got a solid 3" this weekend, the ditches are full. I think the water drops on the F. montana kind of say it all, it's been really wet.

Narcissus rupicola
Despite the weather, a few bulbs are still shining on, these are the tough ones you want to look for on the yearly list if you want some solid performers no matter what the weather throws at them.

Fritillaria kotschyanus

I for one am hoping for round of decent weather coming through at some point, forecast says some sun might show up later this week. Fingers crossed.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

The green green grass of home.

The rain is falling heavy, the grass is wet and everything drips with humidity.

The rain is constant now and often accompanies heavy gusting winds. Mostly from the south west.

Rain...rain....all I see is rain.