Showing posts from May, 2014

Clematis 'Nelly Moser'

I planted this Clematis 'Nelly Moser' vine last year.  As you may know, nursery stock usually starts as a spindly little plant and probably won't bloom the first season.  Now that it has had a year to settle in, it is blooming for the first time.  I knew what it would look like, but I wasn't expecting this.  That blossom is 7.5 inches/19 cm across, and I am tickled to death with it.  I read that it also has attractive seed heads, so I still have that to look forward to. Previously, I had a Clematis armandii 'Apple Blossom' in this spot.  It was a vigorous evergreen variety with beautiful foliage.  In my garden, however, it was a sparse bloomer and never looked like the pictures.  The blossoms were always hidden in the leaves.  As soon as the rain hit them, they would turn brown and fall off.  It was not a good choice for my situation and I decided it had to go. This Clematis is growing on the east side of the house near the south corner.  It gets mornin

Trash Collection

I grew up in Gig Harbor, Washington where commercial salmon fishing was the most important industry.  You might say, I was weaned on salmon.  In those days, we never had to buy this king of seafood.  Friends in the industry were always bringing us fish.  I also remember talk of Anacortes.  Before heading to the Alaska fishery, Anacortes was the port where they stopped to provision.  It was the second home of the Gig Harbor fishing fleet. Of course, commercial fishing has also been important in Anacortes.  The city remembers this history through a unique form of public art.  Trash cans along the street in Old Town and around the downtown waterfront are decorated with authentic vintage canned salmon labels .  Some of the designs are a hundred years old.  All were for products produced by Anacortes canneries. The Chamber of Commerce building also commemorates this piece of Anacortes history .  Salmon canning began in 1894 with the Fidalgo Island Packing Company.  By 1915, eleve

My 2014 Pacific Rhododendron Adventure

Since late April, I have been visiting Deception Pass State Park at intervals.  On Saturday, I returned to the park once again.  My quest has been the grove of wild Pacific Rhododendrons growing on the lower south flank of Goose Rock.  This never ceases to be an amazing experience for me.  In the deep shade under the canopy, a network of trails leads through this old growth forest.  It's a dark, two-tone world of greens and browns.  Then, suddenly, I am confronted with this: The incongruity is startling.  Where a bit of dappled sunlight penetrates the trees, the Rhododendrons have found a spot to their liking .  I have wondered why they grow in this location, but not in other similar environments in the park.  The U.S. Forest Service database provides some clues.  First, they grow in association with coniferous trees, pines, firs, cedars and hemlocks.  Soils should be moist, but well drained with a balanced supply of moisture.  Rhododendrons are indicative of low soil nit

Pacific Rhododendrons 5/5/2014

Today was my scheduled return to Deception Pass State Park to check on the blooming Pacific Rhododendrons (R. macrophyllum ).  I was accompanied once again by Jerry who first joined us on April 27th.  I have been tickled how this former Texan has come to enjoy hiking in the Pacific Northwest woods.  As we made the turn onto the Discovery Trail we were greeted by Western Starflower (Trientalis latifolia) . We made a special discovery on this trip.  Near the top of the Lower Forest Trail we found a  Spotted Coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata) just beginning to bloom.  These are members of the Orchid family.  This region is home to several species of Orchid which are ideal forest shade dwellers.  They have no chlorophyll and are not dependent on photosynthesis.  Instead, they live by parasitizing fungi that grow in duff, the decaying organic material on the forest floor.  You must look carefully to find these secretive little plants: Less than the Coral-root you know That is

Rhododendron Recon 5/4/2014

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 situa