Hansen's Northwest Native Plant Database


Wallace W Hansen Northwest Native Plant Journal
Northwest Native Plant Newsletter and Journal, August 2001


1 – “To Do” List For Native Plants for August

2 -- Free Native Plant Seeds

3 – Lost Treasure Found! Willamette Valley Ponderosa Pine 

4 – From The Inaccessible To Your Garden - Modoc Cypress 

5 – Delicious Recipes For Native Plant Edible Fruit

6 -- Western Red Cedar - The ‘Tree of Life” in the Northwest!

7 -- Personal Notes


Modoc Cypress ( Cupressus bakeri)

1 – “To Do” List For Native Plants August 2001.

A – Plan for your fall native planting now. Fall is an ideal time to plant out shrubs and trees while the soil is still warm. Get in the ground before November, if possible.

B – Set up your composting area now – get all the fall leaves you can.

C – You can dig and move trillium rhizomes and camas bulbs at this time. They are all dormant. Wait a month before moving Tiger Lilies.

D – As we get into September, you can divide some native perennials including Wild Ginger, False Lilly-of-the-Valley and wild asters.

E – Watch for insect damage on native rhodies and madrone. If the insect eats a nice square “notch” it is probably the fly form of the Japanese Root Weevil. Spray with Orthene right away, just as it gets dark in the evening, when these pests come out. If they lay their eggs in the soil, the larvae may girdle root and kill the plant later. Beneficial nematodes are good for these underground pests. You should only apply when soil temp is 50 degrees F or more.

2 - Free Native Plant Seeds

 Seeds to collect now -

Douglas Hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii)

Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor)

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)

Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana)

Mountain Huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum)

Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum)

3 – Lost Treasure Found! Willamette Valley Ponderosa Pine

Most of the Ponderosa Pine trees in western Oregon, California and Washington come from seed native to eastern Oregon – cold winters, hot, dry summers. They grow OK on the west side of the Cascades, but do not like lower, wetter areas. Now, go back nearly 150 years to when early pioneers first started through this long, beautiful valley. There were Ponderosa Pines that were native to the Willamette Valley. They nearly went extinct. In 1996 some modern pioneers formed the Willamette Valley Ponderosa Pine Conservation Association. Through hard, brilliant work, they established an effective restoration program. Seeds and seedlings are getting into local nurseries. I grow this beautiful pine – the needles glisten like jewels in the early morning irrigation water! They love this wetter climate – they grow in standing water and tolerate grazing livestock. The deep taproot provides a sturdy foundation from the strongest storms.

4 – From The Inaccessible To Your Garden! – Modoc Cypress ( Cupressus bakeri)

Here is a magnificent cypress, Cupressus bakeri, nearly lost in an isolated area in the Siskiyou Mountains in southern Oregon. Cypress usually does not get this far north. This tree grows fast to about 50 ft., with aromatic twigs, brown bark, gray-green, beautiful foliage. This tree is a survivor – a forest fire survivor. The dense, hard cones hold the seed and remain on the trees for many years. Only when a forest fire burns the tree and melts the pitch holding the seeds do the cones drop. The mother tree may be destroyed by the fire, but months later, the surrounding ground is covered with hundreds of new seedlings! What a design for survival! I grow these handsome trees and you may find them in nurseries. The name “Modoc” refers to a tribe of Native Americans in that area – I believe there were some fierce battles between the settlers and the Modoc Indians.

5Recipe Department - Little Wild Blackberry Pie (Northwest Native Plant)

I am going to slip in a recipe or two in each newsletter – you can enjoy native plants and eat many of them also!

Here is my favorite recipe of all time, from my childhood as a country kid in rural Whatcom County, State of Washington, near the Canadian border, in the middle of the “Great Depression.” “Little Wild Blackberries” are Rubus ursinus, a low rambler with small berries. They appear in logged over land, climbing over stumps and brush piles, mostly in the sun. It usually takes all afternoon to fill a 1 gallon empty lard pail to the brim (and lots of scratched hands and arms!)

 Pick at least 3 pints of berries – enough for one deep pie. You figure out the two crust recipe. Using pure lard and flour. Crusts should be thin.

3 pints fresh Little Wild Blackberries

1 cup sugar

¼ cup flour

1 tablespoon lemon juice

dash of cinnamon

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Wash berries (watch for tiny spiders) and sprinkle with lemon juice. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and add to berries - toss lightly. Form the lower crust in a deep pie plate, add berry mix, add small slabs of butter on top of mix, place top crust (thin) and cut steam holes. Before baking, sprinkle sugar over the top crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Serve while warm. Top with generous scoops of thick yellow cream. If possible, get fresh milk, not homogenized, with full butterfat content the day before and let stand in a bowl in a cool place, overnight – then skim off. Everyone should experience this treat, at least once in his or her life.

6 – Western Red Cedar - The ‘Tree of Life” in the Northwest!

Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) was the “Tree of Life” to Native Americans in the Pacific northwest. It still is a Tree of Life in a broader sense to all those now living in the northwest. This tree is strong, noble, rugged – an inspiration to all, past, present, future. Native Indians used this awesome cedar for clothing, tools, canoes, housing. Large strips were removed, dried, beaten until the bark separated into layers, then used for mats, ropes, baskets, etc. If you have the room, use this tree generously in your native plant gardens and woodlands. Western Red Cedar likes wet feet. It will grow in swamps but on drier ground also. In northwest Washington, right next to Canada on the coast, there is Birch Bay State Park. Within that park, there is a large swampy area, home to a magnificent stand of Western Reds. You are in the presence of giants – strength, inspiration – the legend that if one leans against a giant cedar, one becomes stronger, is true! Even the aroma of red cedar is edifying. In the 1930”s I spent summer time with my Grandfather Duncan, who had a cabin deep in the Olympic forests near Quileute, Washington. It was on the banks of a small stream called the Dickey River. My Grandfather made the cabin himself out of Western Red Cedar. The pleasant, strong aroma of red cedar seemed to bond me to something primitive, ancient - a safe shelter, a refuge in that simple cabin surrounded by giant trees , deep in the forest. Be grateful for this wondrous tree! Use it in your gardens if you have room. It will live for hundreds of years. Those who follow you will reap what you have sown.

7 – Personal Notes – A Special Moment

This is a beautiful afternoon in early August – a special moment. The yellow sunshine splashes carelessly outside my window, producing ever changing patterns amongst the cedars, willows, oaks and firs that crowd my window and onto the twisting paths that meander and vanish thru my gardens. The past stretches backward into the womb of time – mysterious, unknowable, filled with many ghosts. The future stretches forward, into all the tomorrows – unknowable, mysterious, forever. But for this special moment, eternity blinked and I locked it away in the “round-tower of my heart” (Longfellow.)

Dear Readers, enjoy today, enjoy your gardens, enjoy your families, seek quiet periods to still for a moment the relentless rush of time - follow your principles, your beliefs - be true to yourself and it follows as day follows night, that you will be true to others.

E-mail comments are welcome. (Note from Jennifer: As did Wally, I also welcome your email comments!)

Good Luck!


Contact:  star@chillirose.com ~ Copyright 2011 © Wallace W. Hansen ~ All rights reserved