"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A hike in the woods and native plants.

Well, after hiking many miles and helping to chaperone around 150 5th graders I am glad to be home.  I went with my daughter to their outdoor education class on Whidbey Island for 3 days and 2 nights.  It was absolutely beautiful there, perfect weather and lots of activities.  Look at the view we had all day.  This is overlooking Puget Sound and the mountain range are the Olympic Mountains.
The camp we were in is an old Fort that is now a State Park.  The kids learned about navigation, survival, marine biology, the history of the area and lots of hiking and exploring.  I happened to be in a group with my best garden friend and we both had fun seeing all the native plants growing in the forests that we walked through.  I tried to take pictures, but had a difficult time since the main reason I was there was to help with the kids.  Probably not worth losing anyones kids for the sake of a picture of a tree.  I'm far from an expert in Washington native plants but did my best to identify the ones I knew.  I was actually surprised at how many I knew, some I didn't even realize were native plants here.
Here are a few of the different plants I was able to photograph.
Tiarella trifoliata

Tiarella trifoliata

Black gooseberry (ribes lacustre)

Serviceberry (white flowered tree) amelanchier alnifolia

Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) These were the most pretty deep pink flowers.

Groundcover growing under trees.  We thought it could be wild ginger, but after looking at pictures, I don't think it is.

Tall Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)

Unable to identify, does anyone have any ideas?

Beach Pea (lathyrus japonicas)

A few other native plants we saw were:  Tellima grandiflora, salal, ribes sanguineum, many ferns, wild roses and ground covers and of course many trees. Not very much was in bloom, but I did notice quite a few buds on several plants.  Some of the plants I saw turned out to be on the invasive weeds and species list: lamium and holly bushes were two that we saw.  
As I tried to learn some of the plant names I found a really interesting website called  Washington Native Plant Society.   After reading through, it made me realize how much I really want to learn more about the native plants in my area.  There is really something neat about seeing these plants growing in their natural habitat.  I have quite a few in my garden now and would love to add more.  I also came across a plant sale coming up May 9th at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens from 10 - 4.  It's being put on by the Central Puget Sound Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society, and this is their spring plant sale.
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  1. What a scenic location for your trip with the children. Many of the plants you were able to photograph, I am not familiar with. That website you found will be interesting. I recently found something similar for GA from the University of GA and it is very interesting to me. I hope you can go to the plant sale.

  2. Whoa I'm with Mildred, didn't recognize hardly any. I read a post the other day and it showed an orchid that is natural to our state. Wish I could remember where I read it at. The plant really looked pretty too. Too funny Catherine about not worth losing anyones kids for the sake of a picture of a tree - ahhhhh c'mon don't be such a spoil sport! LOL Sounds like ya had a great time!!!

  3. I didn't find the site but did a google search and found something even more interesting - your readers might be interested since you gave the Washington Native Plant Society. I found we have 42 orchids that grow wild here. Here's the site:

  4. Hi Catherine! Our 4th graders will be on a similar trip,on the Olympic Peninsula. The weather won't be perfect, although. And they don't take parents. Good thing is we went there on our own and checked the place last weekend. Gorgeous!
    You know a lot of native plants, thanks for showing them - I'm still learning!

  5. For not having much time to take photos, I think you took quite a lot-and they're all great. Kudos to your for being able to identify the ones you were able to. Probably more than I'd be able to do. Looks like a nice trip for kids and parents both!

  6. How nice to chaperone a field trip in such a beautiful place! Like a couple of the other posters, I haven't heard of most of those plants you photographed! It's neat the things we are exposed to through the blogging world.

  7. Catherine,

    Glad you got to have so much fun with the fifth graders. Meg teaches fifth grade and getting chaperons for everyday type outings is like pulling teeth with pliers. Now the second graders get all kinds of help, as most parents tend to ignore the older kids when they have younger ones.

  8. You know so much about native plants, way more than me! And no, not worth losing someone's children over picture taking. lol Glad you had fun and got to see some garden plants too!

  9. Everything is so green!
    We are still brown up in Northern Michigan...but green is starting!!

  10. Catherine I enjoyed your native flower pictures. Isn't it great learning about these beauties. A co-worker of mine is really in to native plants. I learn something from him all the time.

  11. Mildred - It's pretty neat to find what plants are natives. I hope I can get to the plant sale too. I'd love to find the salmonberry.

    Linda - I will check out the website you found. It's just amazing to think that orchids would be native in the PNW! The kids thought I was strange enough taking a picture of plants in the first place. Half of them didn't even notice there were plants growing on the ground.

    Tatyana - That sounds like it'll be a fun trip for the 4th graders there. I think this will be the last year for the students in our school district to go because of budget cuts. It's too bad because kids get so much out of trips like these. I hope my family can visit the Olympic Peninsula this summer.

    Jan - There was just so much to see there. We barely had time to stop and look around they kept the kids so busy. In another couple of months I think there will be a lot of flowers. You would've appreciated all the birds. I couldn't get any pictures of them, but there were some really pretty ones.

    Ginger - Isn't it great all that we can learn? I feel like I'm getting a whole other education when I visit garden blogs.

    Randy - We are really lucky at the school my daughter goes to. So many parents wanted to go they had to draw names and put the rest on a waiting list. I'm really happy I was able to go. I think you're right though, a lot of the parents think the teachers don't need them once the kids get a little older.

    Tina - I have quite a bit of shade in the back and so I've been trying to learn what will easily grow there, and the natives seem to be the easiest. Now I want to find a book just on native plants of the PNW. I can't imagine if I lost a kid, but then said, "but look at the shot of this fern I got!"

    The Retired One - Thank you so much for visiting and commenting! I bet you can't wait to see spring, it seems like once it starts it just goes so fast and flowers start blooming all over the place.

  12. Susie - Thanks! I really love learning about them. I'm surprised by how many are natives here, including wild roses. I wish I could've seen them in bloom.

  13. Sounds like a wonderful trip, and educational! You sure took some beautiful shots :)!

  14. That trip sounds like hard work! :)

    The Ribes sanguineum blooming everywhere in Seattle when I was there a couple weeks ago really impressed me. It definitely does not do that in the Bay Area.

    Hard to say, but the coarsely divided foliage in your 'unable to identify' pic looks like the young leaves of deciduous perennial cow parsnip (Heracleum lanatum), native to most of the US and Canada. Some people are allergic to it and get a contact dermatitis.

  15. Mildred pointed me your way, and I enjoyed my walk with you! We have most of the plants you photographed in and around our woods.That one plant does look like wild ginger, but I am not sure it is. We do have it in an area of our property I don't visit much, and if it is wild ginger the smell tells you right away!

    Lovely blog!

  16. Beautiful photos. I hope you are able to find the native plants you're interested in.

  17. Tessa - Thanks. It was a lot of fun, but glad to be home.

    Chuck - I was wondering if that's what it was. I did see some tall flowers nearby but not on these particular plants.
    I noticed more ribes blooming here this spring too, it seems that they are being used more around here in landscaping now.

    Kathy - Thanks for visiting! How nice of Mildred to send you this way. You are lucky to have so many of these on your property!

    Grace - I hope I can at least find salmonberry just for the flowers. They looked a lot like wild rose flowers.

  18. It looks an idyllic location for a school residential trip. Enjoyed your photos of the Washington natives :)

  19. Hello Catherine,

    Glad you had a chance to snap some pics of those natives. I enjoyed the 'walk' with you.

    Around here so much of the 'woodsy' undergrowth are really invasives like bush honeysuckle, while open fields sport lots of Russian olives. Funny, never really 'saw' them before. But once learned about, they suddenly stand out like sore thumbs.

    Kudos for including more native plants in your lovely gardens! Native bees & pollinators will benefit and you'll enjoy their visits. Sure hope you can find a salmonberry. Terrific color. :-D

  20. That was quite a little expedition you've been on (where are those kids, anyways!). Welcome back. Good job.

  21. Anna - Thanks, it was really pretty there.

    Kris - It's funny how once you know what's not supposed to be there you start seeing so much of it. Isn't that salmonberry pretty?

    Prospero - Thanks. It was like an expedition, that was the most exercise I've gotten in a long time!

  22. Catherine What beaytiful scenery and interesting plants. The only name I recognise is the Amelanchier but a different tree to the I grow.

  23. My husband and I are retired truck drivers. We used to deliver to Widby Island,WA often. I really miss that area. Thanks for the memories.



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