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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

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