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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Road Trip

A recent trip to the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon was a great reminder of the reasons we grow native plants and create naturalistic gardens in which to showcase them. Viewing plants in nature, whether on rocky slopes, in meadows, woodlands or in alpine settings, is the perfect inspiration for growing them at home.  The Siskiyous are a botanically rich and diverse region and I was able to see plants growing in a wide range of native habitats.

When traveling in the Siskiyous, you learn to expect the unexpected.  Our namesake plant, wild ginger, is generally a woodland plant.  Here, Asarum marmoratum also grows on open rocky talus slopes with its roots buried deep in the cool moist soils below.

Rock outcroppings become hanging gardens for Sedum spathulifolium and other native Sedum species.

Some attractive plants thrive along the roadways and we viewed many Penstemon species, masses of Iris innominata and small perennials like Phlox adsurgens.

Water is a limited resource in Western mountains and plants develop strategies for coping with dry summers.  Geophytes such as Calochortus, Triteleia and Lilium flower in moist early season soils and go completely dormant as soils dry.

Other plants such as Aquilegia formosa and Heuchera micrantha grow near permanently moist areas in and around seeps, springs and streams.

I was particularly excited to spot the illusive Lilium bolanderi during this trip.

One of the most unique habitats in this region is the serpentine bogs where the insectivorous Cobra Lily Darlingtonia californica grows in profusion along with other serpentine tolerant plants such as the Epipactus grandiflora and Lilium pardalinum ssp vollmeri.

Viewing these unique plants was one of the highlights of my trip and I am already making plans to build a new bog garden at the nursery!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for taking us along with you! You sound excited about the new garden, and if it turns out as well as the additions (Woodland and Dwarf Conifer gardens) I enjoyed during a recent visit to WGF, I can't wait to see it.
    I had to laugh at the photo of the Asarum nestled among the sharp-edged rocks - maybe I should add some to the Asarum bed (read: "Slug buffet table") we keep trying to create in our Woodland Garden at Pittock.