Rhododendron Recon 5/4/2014

Pacific Rhododendron (R. macrophyllum)

This morning, I returned to the Pacific Rhododendron grove in Deception Pass State Park.  As I mentioned in the last post, I am planning to return there tomorrow morning.  It's been raining here for the last couple of days.  When it started to let up this morning, I thought I should take the opportunity to check things out.  I set off in a light drizzle, but under the canopy of the forest, I didn't get very wet.  By the time I got to the rhododendrons, the rain had stopped.  It was actually a very pleasant hike.

In the Pacific Northwest, the term "mossback" can refer to someone who plays in the rain.  Hiking camping and golfing are typical examples.  We are quite the opposite of the contrarian, backward sort the word usually describes.  Instead, we relish our opportunities when they come, rain or shine.

Anyway, the rhododendrons are coming along nicely.  I am still planning to return tomorrow morning, May 5th if it's not raining hard.  Check the rain situation and the radar on my Current Weather page.  For anyone who wants to join me, we'll meet in the North Beach parking lot at 9:30 in the morning.  Use the main park entrance on Whidbey Island.  Veer to the right when you come to the Y.  Signs point the way to North Beach.  I might be a bit late, so don't leave without me.  We can celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Deception Pass State Park.  In the meantime, here is more of what I saw today:

Pacific Rhododendron (R. macrophyllum)

Pacific Rhododendron (R. macrophyllum)

Pacific Rhododendron (R. macrophyllum)

Pacific Rhododendron (R. macrophyllum)

Pacific Rhododendron (R. macrophyllum)

No matter how many times I come here, this is just not a sight I expect to see under the canopy of an old growth forest.  I am not exaggerating that magenta color with editing.  In fact, it tends to over-saturate and I usually have to tone it down.

Common Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)

Once again, I continued up to the summit of Goose Rock.  Near the top I spotted what appears to be Common or Oneseed Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) just beginning to bloom.  This is a native of Europe, North Africa and western Asia introduced here in the 1800's.  The seeds are spread to new territories by birds.  It is considered invasive in some natural areas.  Since this was the only one I could see, it doesn't appear to be causing too much trouble at the moment.  It apparently likes the dry, austere conditions of Goose Rock.

Western Starflower (Trientalis latifolia)

Western Starflower (Trientalis latifolia) is also blooming all along the trails in the park.  Look carefully, however, they are very tiny and easy to miss.  Unlike the Hawthorn, these are much loved native plants.  They even come up wild in shady spots on my garden.  Starflower is the Washington Native Plant Society's symbol for their native plant restoration project.

Once again, if you are free tomorrow morning and want to see the rhododendrons up close, you are welcome to join me.  My next trip will tentatively be Saturday, May 10th.

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