Arbutus menziesii

Arbutus menziesii, or the Madrone tree, is a beautiful tree native to Western Washington.  On a recent trip to Orcas Island I didn’t see any Orca whales but I kept spotting this amazing tree.   The most striking feature is the cinnamon red peeling bark in contrast to the young chartreuse green bark. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, oval and leathery.  The flowers are white, urn-shaped … Continue reading Arbutus menziesii

Salal

  Look at this beautiful plant.  Look at the green leathery leaves. Look at the soft fuzzy new growth.  Look at the fine bristly hairs, look at the petite urn-shaped flowers.  Look at those drooping little bells of white and pink. Look at this contrast of tender and tough.  Look at the smooth curve of the leaf and straight line of the stem.  Know this plant, … Continue reading Salal

Swainson’s Thrush

It was summertime, deep into July.  I heard this haunting melody and was captivated.  I wondered if we had a visitor from another world.  With some help from a good friend I discovered it was the Swainson’s Thrush, a visitor in our woods for only a few months.  The call is heard in the early morning and late evening, just when the sun in making … Continue reading Swainson’s Thrush

Pearly Everlasting

Our cat is a true horticulturist. He loves plants. Whether it’s the smell or the texture, Pearly everlasting, or Anaphalis margaritacea, is completely irresistible to Sprite.  He rolled in it, sniffed it, rubbed it and was blissfully happy to be part of this lovely native plant.  Who knew that nature has created another catnip?  I see it blooming now in the ditches on the side of … Continue reading Pearly Everlasting