I first fell in love with this small, lovely forest plant when we first moved to Oregon in 1987, from (egads!) Southern California. It was early in February on West Fork Trail Creek at an elevation of about 3000 feet and snow was still on the ground. Little bright lavender flowers were poking out of the forest duff and rocks surrounded by neat scalloped heuchera-like leaves. I found it very charming.
Now the "Trout Lilies" , Erythonium oregonum, are pushing up their beautifully mottled leaves and will be followed by wonderful white and yellow lily flowers. One can almost tell what month it is by the arrival of our various plants.
We are very fortunate to live in this wonderful small valley situated in the Lower Cascades. My husband, Walt, and I bought this treasure of forest and meadow with incredible natural rock outcrops, in 2000. We live here with our wolf-husky, four cats, seven Jungle Fowl, (Asian wild chickens....beautiful and bratty...), and many Japanese koi. There is a half-acre pond down below a long meadow that we've planted with water lilies and parrot feather and other water plants. This is filled by spring and winter run-off and is only about eight feet deep at the center. The koi have done well and reproduce enough to feed our local heron and ospreys.
We've designed and constructed a pond with a stream bed and cascades nearer the house and is home to some of our favorite koi.
We are visited daily by our black-tail deer, skunk, coyotes, fox, black bear, an occasional elk, Pileated Woodpeckers, robins, blue birds, jays, kingfishers, Western Tanagers, juncos and many others.
Rain was late this year and we received very little snow...global climate change? However we've started to catch up and hope this rain will continue into June as it did last year. This property was originally owned by a family named Oliver, who homesteaded in the late 1800's. They occupied the land for many years. Obviously, the land was originally occupied by the Latgawa Tribal People but our "forefathers' saw fit to push them out of this wonderful area....However, the Olivers left some interesting mementos of their occupancy....rusted old vintage autos (probably out of the 1920's) and other trash.
Old German iris, cyclamens, many lilies (like a tiger lily), and arums were planted around the property. Even a Yucca filamentosa resides on a hillside.
In the next three months Calochortus tolmiei, Lilium washingtonium, Iris chrysophylla, Calypso bulbosa and many others will be blooming. These are our natives and we've introduced in our gardens other examples of wild and rock plants from around the world, which I will discuss in future articles....if our Jungle Fowl don't dig them all up first...