Monthly Archives: January 2014

Top Ten Discussions on Botanical Rambles—2013

Before January splits the scene, I want to thank you for rambling along with me here on the Washington Native Plant Society blog in 2013. I enjoyed curating the blog last year, and I’ve signed up to continue for 2014.

A special thanks to you subscribers out there—over 130 of you!—who receive Botanical Rambles in your inbox. If you’d like to subscribe, click on the link in the right-hand sidebar.

What would you like to read about on the blog this year? Would you like to contribute a post? Please comment below or email us. We’d love to hear from you!

Here are the ten posts that gathered the most comments in 2013:


Weighing in on Northwest Plant Books, by Kathy Murray

In early July I was hiking on SaukMountain near Rockport in a meadow full of wildflowers and was dismayed to find that I couldn’t remember the names of some common plants. I wasn’t carrying a plant list or a book. Once home I rummaged through my book collection trying to figure out which I should put on the top of my “must take” hiking pile.


Urban Fern Gallery, by Sarah Gage
If you live in a city, I’m sure you’ve seen them too. Emerging from walls, perched on pilings, and seemingly imprisoned beneath grates and guardrails. These urban ferns seem impervious to weeds, landscaping, litter, pollution, desiccation, and other challenges of urban life. No wonder their ancient lineages persist.


Gardening with Edible and Useful Shrubs, by Jane Wentworth

I recently moved and have the good fortune of a new landscape to plant and restore on San JuanIsland. After Phase 1—planting a fine selection of native trees—I set out on Phase 2: adding shrubs that are useful, edible, or both. They got extra points for color and texture. Here are my top five, in no particular order.


Ten Ways to Connect Kids with Native Plants, by Jeanne Ponzetti

What are your earliest childhood memories of native habitats, plants, and animals? I loved a secret hideout behind a cluster of evergreens in our backyard in New York, where I dug in the dirt and collected prickly chestnut burs. My husband Dave remembers long hours of wandering the woods behind his house in Illinois. My botanist friend Julie walked with her grandmother, who taught her many of western Oregon’s natives.


Botanico-Literary Question Marks I: Oaks in Peshastin?, by Sarah Gage

Does this ever happen to you? You’re reading along, and something botanical leaps out at you as Not-Quite-Right. It stays there, worrying you like a raspberry seed nestled up to a molar. Here is a literary botanical muddle that created a twinge during an otherwise enjoyable read.


Five People—and Plants—I Appreciate, by Sarah Gage

We’re now in the middle of 2013’s Native Plant Appreciation Week. I spent last weekend touring some inspiring gardens on the Central Puget Sound Chapter’s NativePlantGarden tour. When I got back home, I took an appraising look at my own garden. It’s still very much a work in progress—as most gardens are. I poked around, grubbing out weeds and trimming errant branches, and I thought about how my garden is populated with people as well as plants. Here are five plants, and five people, I found in my garden.


Four Favorite Native Plant Fragrances, by Sarah Gage

Several native plant fragrances help me mark the seasons each year. I’m sure you have favorites of your own. Here are four that I like to sniff out.


Botany in the Movies—2012, by Sarah Gage

February is movie month, as we count down to the Oscars on Sunday, February 24th. While this topic is only tangentially related to Washington’s native plants, please indulge me. After Chris Cooper won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as orchid hunter John Larroche in Adaptation in 2002, I was hopeful that we were on the cusp of a time of botanical greatness in film.


Misadventures at the Seed Bank, by Don Schaechtel

I spent much of this spring and summer on my hands and knees pulling weeds. Not by choice, mind you, but because four years ago I did not understand the concept of the seed bank. Let me explain.


Who was Wilhelm Suksdorf?, by Don Hardin

It was not a particularly remarkable birth in the village of Dransau, Germany on September 15, 1850. No bands played; there were no parties. And much of the life of Wilhelm Nikolaus Suksdorf would be equally unremarkable. Who could know that the new baby would become one of the three leading pioneer botanists of the Pacific Northwest and perhaps its greatest botanical collector?


Happy reading, and please let us know what you’d like to read—and write!— in 2014.