Oregon Natives

Plant Name: Philadelphus lewisii20170607_152255
Common Name:  Lewis’ mock-orange
Plant type: Deciduous shrub
Height: 6- 10 feet
Spread:   3-4 feet
Bloom Time:  Late Spring & Early Summer
Flower Color: White
Exposure:  Full Sun to Partial Shade
Soil Requirements: Will grow in poor soils
Water Needs: Medium, but Drought tolerate
Attributes:   Highly Fragrant Flowers!
Scent similar to orange blossoms
Rarity: Wide spread native, but not common.
Uses: Native plantings, Xeriscaping, Fragrant Garden
Native to: Western N. America – British Colombia , Washington, Oregon, California, East to Montana
USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-10

Photo by: Carlotta Lucas
Date: June 7, 2017
Location: Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Madrona Trees

‘Tis tmadrone-drawinghe Season for Madrona

Stand in a clump of Pacific madrone or madrona trees during a winter storm, the trunks wet and luscious, creamy green and burnished red, and feast on the beauty. Children pull off the beckoning curly bark strips and stroke the underlying pale green bark, smooth and soothing. Mature trees can support many bark colors and textures: the older rough brown-gray squares, dark weathered curlicues, strips of fresh reds, and the young green underbark. The Klamath Indians tell a beautiful story about Madrone Girl, who lured her lover the North Wind back from the embraces of another native tree girl, Chinquapin, by scrubbing her skin pure and new in the Klamath River. She sang a love song while standing proud and gorgeous from a mountaintop; North Wind immediately returned. It has since become a tradition, this sloughing off of flecks and puzzle pieces of bark during the summer, decorating the forest floor.

The first Euro-American explorer and naturalist to describe madrone was Dr. Archibald Menzies who explored the Puget Sound with Captain Vancouver in 1792. The scientific name, Arbutus menziesii, commemorates Dr. Menzies.  In his journal he aptly described the species:

“a peculiar ornament to the Forest by its large clusters of whitish flowers & ever green leaves but its peculiar smooth bark of a reddish brown colour will at times attract the Notice of the most superficial observer”.

While a common understory tree in lower-elevation forests in Southwest Oregon, each mardone-berriesmadrone tree sports a different wondrous shape from multi-stem octopus trees that have re-sprouted after a fire to grand “girthy” older beauties.  The leaves are sclerophyllous – thick and sturdy broadleaf leaves that conserve water during hot summers. Second year leaves drop off during the summer, adding yellows to the bark chip forest floor, while younger leaves provide a canopy of green light all year-round. The leaves also provide a holiday-style contrast to the red pitted berries that droop from branches in the fall.

Local indigenous people, like the Takelma, harvest the berries. Band-tailed Pigeons, American Robins, and many other critters eat them, dispersing the seeds to feed future generations. Little kids and crafters make necklaces of dried madrone berries. Like other plants in the heath family, such as manazanita, the sweet urn-shaped flowers bloom in the spring and are visited by bumble bees.

Madrona feeds all of us – poets, dreamers, explorers, birds, and bees.

Author: Kristi Mergenthaller, Stewardship Directory Southern Oregon Land Conservancy
Article from Southern Oregon Land Conservancy Newsletter- Winter 2016


Posted by: Carlotta Lucas – Ashland Garden Club

Trees Talk

Suzanne Simard: How trees talk to each other

“A forest is much more than what you see,” says ecologist Suzanne Simard.

“Her 30 years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding discovery — trees talk, often and over vast distances. Learn more about the harmonious yet complicated social lives of trees and prepare to see the natural world with new eyes.”Ted Talks https://www.ted.com

Filmed June 2016 at TEDsummit

Horticulture Report

Kalmia microphylla_Mountain LaurelPlant Name: Kalmia microphylla
(Note: The kalmias are very poisonous!)

Common name: Alpine laurel, Bog Laurel, Swamp-laurel, Western bog-laurel
Plant type: Dwarf Shrub
Height:   6-24 inches
Bloom Time: May – September
Flower Color: Pink to Rose Purple
Exposure: Sun to part shade
Soil Requirements: Moist, humus, acidic soil, low nitrogen
Water Needs: Average to Wet
Attributes: Native, Alpine

Habitat: Forested Meadows, Subalpine, Alpine, Wetlands
USDA Zone: 2-8

Horticulture Report: American Cranberry Bush

Viburnum trilobum (American Cranberry Bush)
Cultivar: Bailey Compact
Plant type: Deciduous Shrub
Height:   5-6 ft    Spread: 5-6 ft
Bloom Time: Late Spring -Early Summer
Flower Color: White
Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
Soil Requirements: Acid, Moist well-drained
Water Needs: Average, do not overwater!
Attributes: Oregon native, low maintenance, dense, compact round shrub, burgundy fall foliage, showy fruit, seasonal interest
Note: Berries non-edible
Uses: Woodland Garden, Borders
USDA Zone: 2a – 7b