Silver Linings

We’re in the late-February slog of a western Washington winter. Personally, I’m done with winter, but it doesn’t seem to be done with me. I’m trying to look for the silver lining (I can really see it today—what is that yellow-white orb in the sky?). Wet, cold weather is an important part of keeping Washington green. And right now, the native seeds we planted last fall are undergoing natural “stratification”; many species need two to three months of cold weather to soften them and prepare them for germination. And the plants know where we are in the calendar; Pretty Shootingstar (Dodecatheon pulchellum) and Great Camas (Cammassia leichtlinii) are fully informed and sprouting above the cold soil. Both grow from bulbs and seed themselves fairly easily.

Pretty Shootingstar is the easiest of the Shootingstars to grow. It does well in partial shade to full sun. It does best in moist, even wet conditions.

The bulb sends up leaves in early spring, then gratifies the gardener with gorgeous magenta flowers. Later, the seed pods drop seed which will readily germinate and thrive IF not out-competed by weeds OR victimized by indiscriminate weeding!

Great Camas does well in soil that holds winter moisture – it can be completely inundated — but dries out in the summer. It is easy to unwittingly weed out the seedlings, which resemble blades of grass.

Pretty Shootingstar-DodecatheonPulchellum IMGP4357CamassiaLeichtlinii at TH

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