Posts Tagged ‘native plants’

Native plants far from home

August 31, 2010

It never fails that when we go on tour to England, Scotland, and Ireland we see lots of North American native plants in gardens – Oregon grape, red-flowering currant, salal are all ubiquitous in the Pacific Northwest, but cherished ornamentals when they travel across the ocean.

Sometimes the North American natives don’t even cross state lines very often. I have yet to see Veronicastrum (culver’s root) in a Seattle garden – not even my own – and yet it’s glorious in the gardens abroad. In early July we caught this sight at June Blake’s garden, which we visited before we headed to her brother Jimi’s garden Hunting Brook.

The Veronicastrum stands up to 6 feet high with whorled sets of leaves up the stems; its inflorescences form slender lavender (or white) flames snaking toward the sky. What’s not to love?

Oh wait, this just in – “How to grow” advice from the Missouri Botanic Garden says: “Soil should not be allowed to dry out.” No wonder it looked so good in June’s garden. With my cavalier attitude toward watering, I’d better take a pass.


Trevor Kincaid would be proud

June 21, 2009

The garden group – Jane, Dorothy, Jutta and I – made the trip to Lewis County yesterday to celebrate Lupine Field Day at Mallonee Farms, an organic dairy (part of the Organic Valley co-op) where the farming practices of the Mallonee family create the right environment for the endangered Kincaid’s lupine

John, Maynard, Mary Mallonee

John, Maynard, Mary Mallonee



 (Lupinus sulphureus var. kincaidii) to thrive.  Thanks to Mary and John Mallonee, and their son Maynard, who care about the land and their family and know that organic practices make a healthier world.


Joe Arnett, state botanist with the Washington Heritage Conservation Program, talked to the group gathered at the Baw Faw Grange in Curtis about endangered plants and conservation, noting that usually the location of conservation sites were kept quiet, but that the Mallonees wanted the world to know that rare plants, people and cows can live in harmony (also growing in the pasture – the pale larkspur, Delphinium leucophaem, and the thinleaf peavine, Lathyrus holochlorus).

Joe Arnett checks Hitchcock for lupine ID.

Joe Arnett checks Hitchcock for lupine ID.



We also celebrated the family connection:  Dorothy is the daughter of Trevor Kincaid, for whom the lupine is named.  Two of Dorothy’s sisters, Polly and Kathleen, and their family attended the festivities, and everyone hiked well into the field to view the lupines, which were just finishing flowering (and then got soaked as a shower of rain arrived).  Trevor Kincaid, University of Washington entomologist and self-proclaimed “omnologist” (a word he coined, meaning he was interested in everything), would’ve enjoyed the day.

Dorothy with lupine.

Dorothy with lupine.