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Sunday, March 28, 2021

Where the Wild Things are Part III

 “It is easier to tell a person what life is not, rather than to tell them what it is. A child understands weeds that grow from lack of attention, in a garden. However, it is hard to explain the wild flowers that one gardener calls weeds, and another considers beautiful ground cover.”

― Shannon L. Alder

Spent a fun filled weekend up in the Columbia River Gorge, hiking around to look at some of the spectacular wildflowers that area has to offer. It had unfortunately been decades since I had been to Catherine Creek, a place that I used to spend a lot of time at. Hit the bloom on a great day, sunny skies and calm conditions made for a spectacular time. 

Grass Widows Olsyinium douglasii with Wy'east
in the distance across the mighty Columbia River.

Zygadenus venosus the camas you don't want to eat

The Bitteroot wasn't blooming yet, but the populations looked good in the rocky crevices

The Primrose Monkeyflower in sheets on the wetter sites.



View East (upriver) toward the Dalles

Naked Broomrape Orobanche blooming well.

Mimulus alsinoides tucked into a rock crevice


The Chocolate lilies were just starting into bloom, echoing the bloom time of the different clones in the greenhouse at Illahe

A nice dark form of Fritillaria affinis

Chocolate lily under the oaks

Lithophragma glabrum Bulbiferous woodland stars looking great among the drying down grasses.

Fritillaria pudica, lot's of this one in bloom

I used to spend evenings and weekends hiking around the gorge in the days when I lived in Portland and was immersed in Rock garden plants and finding all the native species I could. It's amazing how much it has changed in the 18 years since I was a regular up here. So crowded at the trailheads now, Dog mountain must have had 300  cars at 9:00am. Jack Poff (Rae Berry's gardener and one of my early mentors and I used to run up the gorge on an afternoon and would have whole place to ourselves. The Dalles Mountain Ranch was always a favorite haunt as well. 

F. pudica, the goldfields of the eastern gorge.

Upper Catherine Creek

Dodecatheon poeticum


I love taking pictures of plants, especially in the wild, Haven't had this much fun since Chile. Despite the crowds at the trailheads, with a little huffing and puffing you can disperse relatively quickly and spread out enough to not notice the huge amount of people descending on nature these days. 

Klickitat, or Mt. Adams by White Mans vernacular
The Gifford Pinchot was one of the places that made me fall in love with the diversity of native plants one can find with a little venturing. This actually reminded me a lot of Chile, the Andes right above the lake District region. 

It was a fun visit and a blast from the past as we stopped by Edgefield to look around the gardens I worked at for a time. Lot's of memories from a time long past, I miss Jack and the Berry garden and the relatively carefree time of youth when knowledge was pouring in and afternoon wildflower adventures to the gorge were common place. Don't miss an opportunity to take that adventure and make time to stop and check out the flowers. Life is coming at me pretty fast these days as the kiddo decides on what university she is headed off to in the fall. A new chapter is coming and I hope to fill it with new adventures and trying to pack as many memories in this next chapter as the pages allow. 

Rain, and heavy winds to finish spring break, par for the course for Oregon in March. Looking forward to some sunshine in the forecast for a busy week of garden work. 

Cheers, 

Mark

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