Friday, May 20, 2016

Allium karataviense

Allium karataviense is a bulb with a flower about the size of a baseball.  The usual color of the flower is a very pale pink.  Allium karataviense 'Ivory Queen' has white flowers.  There is also an uncommon form named 'Red Globe'.  Allium karataviense blooms in May, earlier than most Allium, which generally bloom in June.  The plant is not very tall, maybe 6 to 8 inches.  Each bulb produces one flower & just a few blue-green leaves.  Allium karataviense spreads slowly by the division of the bulbs & also by seed.  It takes some years for the seedlings to flower, but one flower can produce many seedlings.  A large group of flowers may arise in dry & sunny locations with good drainage in winter.  There is no need for summer water.  Allium karataviense grows naturally in the dry mountains of Central Asia.  It is sometimes called the Turkestan onion.  I think this is one of the more beautiful Allium, both in leaf & in flower.  Rainwater is often cupped at the base of the leaf pairs like sparkling jewels.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Cowiche Canyon

Cowiche Creek

Cowiche Canyon in April 2015

Click here for more photos of Cowiche Canyon.

Cowiche Canyon is located in Yakima WA.  It is quite a stunning & an easy walk.  Even though the surrounding area is heavily developed in housing & orchards, it looks perfectly natural.  The canyon encloses the view to conceal everything but the native plants, the landscape & the wide, level path with 9 sturdy bridges over Cowiche Creek.  (In case you wonder, Cowiche is pronounced: cow-itchy.)  This trail was once a railroad bed.  It runs slightly more than 3 miles long & connects to 4 other trails.  The Cowiche Canyon Conservancy is the owner & caretaker of the trail. It's mission is to preserve & restore shrub-steppe & riparian terrain within the Cowiche Creek & Naches River watershed areas in the Yakima Valley. It own 2,000 acres & has a conservation easement on another 3,000 acres of land.