Visiting the Okanogan
Last week my mother and I went to visit family in the Okanogan area of eastern Washington. We didn't manage as much hiking as I had hoped, and we had missed the peak display of wildflowers, but despite some people's belief to the contrary, I was truly and simply pleased just to be there in good company, regardless of a good floral display. Not that a few flowers ever hurts.
On the drive home, we stopped to walk through Ohme Gardens in Wenatchee. This garden stands on the rocky tip of a ridge above the town. It forms a little oasis above the hustle and bustle of highways, packing houses, and the dry desert.
While the garden as a whole is beautiful, it is full of many rather common plants. Nothing wrong with things like cotoneaster, thyme, geraniums, and creeping Jenny, they just aren't terribly exciting to me. But one plant always draws me in when I visit this garden: Dryas octopetala, commonly called white mountain avens.
And that's the story of why I was so quiet last week. I have a lot of catching up to do. So much has happened in the garden in just one week!
|Ribes cereum, or squaw currant, provides an important supply of nectar for hummingbirds when it flowers early in the season. The berries are edible, but are so bland they are better left for the birds.|
|One of several species of Erigeron native to the area.|
|Eriogonum heracleoides, or parsnip-flowered buckwheat, is a good nectar source for bees and was used by Native Americans to treat a wide range of ailments.|
|The cream to yellow flowers often age to a ruddy pink.|
|The fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) was coming into bloom. In areas recently disturbed (usually by fire) this plant can establish huge colonies blazing bright pink when in bloom.|
|After a welcome rain shower, Purshia tridentata, or antelope brush, displays beautiful dark bark that contrasts with the small green leaves and yellow/reddish seed capsules.|
|Water! This wide marshy area must provide welcome relief for the animals living in the area, though at this particular moment it's mostly a playground for the two canine companions in the lower right.|
|Galls have always fascinated me. They can be formed by insects, mites, and fungi. Roses are subject to many kinds of galls. These bright red galls were restricted to the leaves.|
|This gall was forming from young side shoots.|
|One morning we awoke to a young bull moose just a few yards away from the house. Forgive me my blurry photo. It was far enough away that I had some trouble stabilizing the camera at my maximum zoom.|
|Here's a less blurry shot, just before he moved out of sight over the hill. Unfortunately I didn't see his flying squirrel companion.|
|The Okanogan is also a place of panoramic vistas, enhanced by building clouds.|
|Without a doubt, one of the outstanding features of Ohme is the rock work. Walls, paths, pools, and benches all showcase native rock, matching the natural outcroppings.|
|Several historic structures exist on the property, including this one, supported by these wonderful gnarled logs.|
|The garden boasts several pools, complete with gorgeous waterfalls and lush plantings.|
|Much of the garden is covered in low ground covers and other low-growing plants to provide beautiful open views.|
|Oh to have natural rock outcroppings like this to play with!|
|A swallow-tail butterfly was enjoying the lavender.|
|Some of the paths are a little challenging. I'm glad I'm not afraid of heights!|
|I love Asplenium trichomanes, or maidenhair spleenwort. Ohme has some of the healthiest patches I've seen in their shadier nooks. Provided they have enough water, this fern loves growing in shady rock crevices.|
|Seriously, can I have that bench? Complete with rocky cliff, of course.|
|A view down to the lower pond, with juniper and fireweed in the foreground.|
|Looking up from a low path, the trees rise up like pinnacles on a rocky fortress.|
|Creeping Jenny is a widely used ground cover in this garden and is very effective with the grey rocks. In a garden west of the Cascades I would be too afraid of it taking over completely, but here it is a tough and wonderful ground cover.|
|Another perilous path winds down and along the side of the ridge.|
|Below and beyond the garden are fruit-packing houses, highways, and the Columbia River.|
|A member of the rose family, the white flowers perhaps resemble more closely a buttercup or anemone.|
|The feather seed heads add further to the resemblance to anemones or pasque flowers, yet this mat-forming woody sub-shrub is indeed a member of the Rosaceae.|