Friday, April 21, 2017

Geranium phaeum



Geranium phaeum makes a great background plant & filler of space in lightly shaded areas.  It is fairly tolerant of dryness.  It's a pretty plant with a profusion of dark blue, purple or black flowers in April & May.  Black flowers suggest the common name Mourning Widow.  Geranium phaeum is taller than most  species.  It grows to a height of nearly 2 feet when in flower.  The flower spikes with seed pods are also attractive.  There is no need to cut them back after bloom has faded.  The leaves are pleasing in form.  Some have nice purple blotches, like the cultivar 'Samobor'.  Geranium phaeum is native to Europe in the Pyrenees & Alps in subalpine meadows & forests.  This is a good candidate for dry, light shade.  

Friday, April 7, 2017

Green Plate Special

Shed with plans & information.


The garden is completed enclosed with fence.

All the planting beds are raised beds of wood.

The public entrance

Wood-fired pizza oven with the Treehouse building in the background

Kitchen.  These photos were taken in October 2014

Green Plate Special introduces middle school students to gardening & cooking fresh produce through after-school programs, summer camps & evening cooking classes. Food growing & cooking are tied to academic subjects like math, science & history. They provide snacks & lunch! Students can take home food they have cooked & produce from the garden. Chickens are also kept here. There are various opportunities for volunteers, such as helping out at the Garden Gala in September, working with the kids, maintaining the garden & tending the chickens. I went to a Garden Gala & it was a lot of fun. It's a wonderful space. Green Plate Special was founded in 2011 & moved to this space nextdoor to Treehouse in 2013.  It is located in the Rainier Valley of Seattle.

Friday, March 3, 2017

UBC Botanical Garden & Centre for Plant Research

Kirengeshoma palmata (Yellow Wax Bells)

Rodgersia in the David C Lam Asian Garden

Eucalyptus coccifera 

Alpine Gardens

Physic Garden.  All photos were taken in August 2014.

The UBC Botanical Garden is a charming place to visit at any time of year.  The garden was established in 1916 at the University of British Columbia.  Plants of every type cover the garden more than 100 years later.  The David C Lam Asian Garden is forested with Asian trees.  Quite large Rhododendron of many species expand beneath them.  Areas near this garden are also forested with species of Acer, Cornus, Magnolia, Sorbus &  the family Styracacia from North America & Asia.  The Greenheart TreeWalk is suspended between the trunks of tall BC native evergreen trees.  The E H Lohbrunner Alpine Garden, with many small shrubs & rather few trees, is a stark contrast.  Xeric plants from around the world live here.  A pedestrian tunnel leads from the shaded forest to this sun-drenched part of the botanical garden,  Here you will also find a physic (medicinal) garden laid out in a formal pattern of concentric circles.  The entire botanical garden covers 110 acres.  Allow at least an hour to walk its many paths.

Friday, February 3, 2017

South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve



Lysichiton americanus (Skunk Cabbage) 

Trillium ovatum (Western Wakerobin)

Lysichiton americanus (Skunk Cabbage)


South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve in April 2014

The South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is a very rewarding stop along the Oregon Coast near Coos Bay. It features hiking trails through lush & beautiful native forest, along rushing streams, down moist ravines that are filled in spring with blooming plants including Trillium ovatum (Western Wakerobin) & great masses of Lysichiton americanus (American Skunk Cabbage). Before long, you reach boardwalks that lead out through the grasses that fill the edges & fingers of the slough.  It feels like quite a journey, yet takes little time. The reserve supports informed management of the Coos estuary & provides a model for coastal management everywhere. There are 5,000 acres in the natural area located here. The reserve was created in 1974 as the first unit of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, a network of estuarine habitats established by Congress in 1972 as part of the Coastal Zone Management Act. You can visit the interpretive center here & walk on a number of different trails.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Pearl District in Portland





These photos were taken in October 2014.

I've stayed in Portland about a dozen times.  I love the urban landscape.  It's particularly interesting in the Pearl District, where old warehouses mix with modern residential buildings.  The Pearl District has changed since it was rezoned from industrial to mixed use in the mid-1980s.  There are restaurants, shops & parks.  Tanner Springs Park is wonderful.  Powell's City of Books is a huge bookstore at the downtown edge of the district on W Burnside Street.  The Pearl District lies between downtown & the Alphabet District.  It's easy to walk between these areas.  The Portland Streetcar runs between them.  I don't always go downtown.  But I do always visit the Pearl District.