Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Wildflowers, Pacific Northwest

When I see the naturalized Trillium ovatum (western wake robin) in our garden here in the northwest, I am reminded of my wonderful seventh and eighth grade science teacher who introduced me to wildflowers and the larger Trillium grandiflorum in the east. Each year we would study and learn the botanical names, make our annual spring trip to the arboretum, and then some of us were selected to compete with other junior high school students in the outlying counties in identifying wildflowers at the local university. Okay... I won two years in a row, and the prize was the same each time, Wild Flower Guide, Northeastern and Midland United States. I do believe my teacher felt he had won when I gave him the prize the second year.

This one has turned pink with age.

Erythronium oreganum, also known as dog’s tooth violet, fawn lily or trout lily, has lovely nodding heads of creamy white to yellow which seem to arise abruptly from their mottled-leaf.

Also in the garden this time of year (but not native) are several varieties of Helleborus x hybridus, sometimes referred to as Lenten Rose and Christmas Rose, although they are not in the rose family. A beautiful and relatively carefree plant, it loves well-draining fertile soil. For more information on these plants, you might visit www.hellebores.org.