The Re-Set Continues…

In all my spare time, when I haven’t been trying to keep up with the breakneck speed of spring in the nursery, I’ve been trying to shake off the fog of two years of Covid-19 and answer the simple question: What’s next? It feels like time for a re-set. Time to evaluate various aspects of my life—one of which is the ongoing project of Tadpole Haven Native Plants. So, like a bird on a high tree branch, I contemplate the big picture.

The path to present-day Tadpole Haven emerged from some creative family brainstorming in the late 1990s. Growing something seemed logical because of a resource at my disposal: we still owned the old homestead. My kids are the seventh generation to be part of this place: part field, part forest, mostly swamp, around the shoreline of a small lake. Bear Creek, an important salmon stream, runs through the lake.

Growing native plants was my brother’s idea; he was in the road construction business and noticed increasing numbers of projects that called for native plantings to mitigate damage to the environment. The idea struck fire with me. Raising native plants to help the environment fit with the place and with my values.

Northwestern Salamander

I love that in the process of producing more than one hundred native plant species for small-scale landscapes and larger restoration projects, we literally work side-by-side with Pileated Woodpeckers and Douglas Squirrels. Salamanders and Newts enjoy their hidey-holes excavated underneath flats of Fringecup (Tellima grandiflora) and Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregana). It feels like we are working in partnership with this bit of earth for the health of the wider bioregion. It feels good.

Yes. It feels good. But last month, I was surprised to see Western Hemlocks (Tsuga heterophylla) that were shedding needles. Last year was a rough one for forests, which suffered terribly from the early-summer “heat dome.” How many trees are dying? And what will it take to get enough humans to partner with earth to restore the climate balance that has sustained life for eons? In hope, we plant. -Shirley

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