Monthly Archives: April 2016

Join the Celebration: Native Plant Appreciation Week 2016

Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed April 24 through May 1, 2016 to be Native Plant Appreciation Week across Washington State—and you’re invited to help the Washington Native Plant Society celebrate.

Yellow-red daisy-like flowers, Gaillardia aristata

Poster for 2016 Native Plant Appreciation Week. Photo by Ted Alway

The Washington Native Plant Society is 40 years old this year, and it’s Washington’s 12th year of celebrating our flora with Native Plant Appreciation Week.

Take a trip

Field of bright yellow desert parsley flowers on green grass hills.

Klickitat Canyon Lomatium spp. April 2016
Photo by Sarah Gage

I’ve been traveling across Washington for work lately, and botanizing from behind the wheel (safely, of course). It’s been my pleasure to see hillsides of brilliant yellow desert parsley (Lomatium spp.) in the Klickitat River canyon, splashes of blue camas (Camassia quamash) along I-5 outside Olympia, and pink mounds of bog laurel (Kalmia occidentalis) in forest openings near the Hoh River.

Where will you go? Washington Native Plant Society chapters and partners offer field trips of all descriptions this week and throughout the year. There’s no better way to enjoy Washington’s nearly 3,000 species of plants than by getting out and having a look for yourself.

Grow a garden

two people leaning over a table full of plants for sale

Washington Native Plant Society Plant Sale

A highlight of my gardening year is visiting (and sometimes volunteering) at my local Washington Native Plant Society chapter plant sales. I always find some plants I “need” for my yard, and some pals, old or new, to talk about them with. One of my sisters, a recent convert to the joys of gardening, will be shopping with me this year, while my other sister may be helping out as a volunteer. Cultivating plants, community, family—what could be finer?

What will you grow? Washington Native Plant Society chapters offer plant sales in the spring and fall, with fine plants and excellent opportunities to pick the brains of knowledgeable plant lovers. And this week and all year, support the 2016 Native Plant Appreciation Week Participating Nurseries—businesses that know the value of growing and supplying native plants.

Protect your place

two women filling out data form

Native Plant Stewardship Program: learning how to monitor restoration sites.
Photo from Washington Native Plant Society

Near my home in Seattle, I’m watching the transformation of a local green belt. Its former blackberry thickets, ivy-covered trees, and stands of cherry laurel are changing due to the hard work of a local stewardship group. These hardy volunteers mulch and weed and plant and water, and they are making a huge difference. The new native trees and shrubs are alive with birds. Occasionally, I’ve had time to pitch in myself, and I always cheer on the volunteers when I see them at work.

What will you care for? The Washington Native Plant Society and its partners offer many opportunities throughout the state to help protect, manage, and restore natural areas. You can find an opportunity that suits the time you have available—anything from a few hours of tree-planting to training as a Native Plant Steward and committing to a project long term.

Join or renew, and give

western red cedar

Western red cedar. Photographer: Catherine Hovanic, all rights reserved.

I first joined the Washington Native Plant Society in the late 1980s, and I’ve been a member ever since. And every paycheck, I give a little to the society through my workplace giving program. When I can, I make additional donations through the year. Why? Because the work of the Washington Native Plant Society is important to me: the scientific research, the conservation projects, the community activities, the learning and sharing—all these activities help give our flora a voice. And…the plants are beautiful and the people are fun.

How will you give? There’s never been a better time to join the Washington Native Plant Society. If you’re a member already, now is the time to renew your membership and update your membership profile. You’ll be receiving your renewal notice in the mail soon. You can join or renew or give online at

Now through May 3, you can stretch your donation to the Washington Native Plant Society with GiveBIG. All donations made through GiveBig will be stretched with a pool of matching dollars contributed by Seattle Foundation, corporate partners, and other philanthropic donors. What a great capstone to Native Plant Appreciation Week—and a great kick-off to our 40th anniversary year.

Lucy discovers pine drops. Photographer: Gretchen Baker, all rights reserved.

Lucy discovers pine drops. Photographer: Gretchen Baker, all rights reserved.

Your membership and donations help the Washington Native Plant Society continue to provide educational opportunities, support conservation advocacy, and grow our twelve active chapters statewide. Let’s continue to learn about and understand Washington’s native flora, and preserve this rich resource for future generations. And let’s continue to have fun, enjoy each other’s company, and smell the flowers while we engage in this important work.