Bogwood in bloom

May 22, 2024 | Author: Lee Peterman, LCSWA member | Editor: Nancy Hildebrandt

Rain holds back for wetlands restoration walk and chat near Scio

The morning of May 3rd dawned clear and sunny, the forecast high was in the upper 50s with rain in the afternoon. The background work had been done to prepare for the Oregon State University Extension-sponsored wildflower tour at Bogwood.

OSU Extension agents Lorelle Sherman with Crystal Kelso and Master Woodlands Manager/Women Owning Woodlands Net coordinator Erin Geibner arrived early to perform final setup and preparations for the soon-to-be-arriving registered guests.

After the tables and pavilion tent were pitched and the parking of vehicles of the arriving attendees was accomplished, a brief social period of greetings and pointing out various literature and facilities was completed.

Field guides and other publications on wildflowers displayed on a table

Field guides and other publications on wildflowers were also on display. Photo by Bonnie Marshall.

Landowners and stewards of Bogwood, Shirley Jolliff and myself, along with extension agent Sherman began the round of welcoming speeches and introductions to the guests. Following introductions was a brief description and Q&A regarding the native seed beds and past plantings of native flora in the yard and what visitors might see once the tour was underway.

Group admiring plants along a Bogwood walkway

There was plenty of time for hands-on experiences during the May 3 Bogwood tour. Photo by Bonnie Marshall.

The general idea was to split the tour into two groups, to keep things manageable and not have folks spread out over too great a distance which could make stops and presentations difficult. This plan was accomplished with approximately 10 people in each batch and each group set off in opposite directions, with the plan to meet somewhere vaguely in the middle of the prepared tour route, so that the overlap was kept to minimum. Both groups had members who were knowledgeable on the native wildflower species as well as one guide who knew the path and where to lead each group. Because the rain had fallen the day before, it was a worry that the trails and paths would be underwater, living up to the name “Bogwood,” yet nearly all the paths were relatively dry and no, or little mud was present. The groups did meet in the meadow, at nearly the spot imagined, and after a brief co-mingling, separated and continued along the planned route.

Snow queen with purple flowers

Native snow queen flowering at Bogwood. Photo by Bonnie Marshall.

Some of the highlights of the wildflowers noted and discussed were the abundant Oregon Iris (Iris tenax) and Common Camas lily (Camassia quamash), but lesser-known flowers and plants were observed, such as Slender Cinquefoil (Potentilla gracilis) and Fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum) as well as the winter-time blooming but still flowering, Snow Queen (Synthyris reniformis). Various native grasses and sedges were noted, which are not “as pretty” as wildflowers were, nevertheless in “bloom” and very important for the ecosystem. Also noted and discussed were the beaver dam analogs in the meadow/wet prairie, built to slow and spread the force of the run-off in the seasonal stream and how even small and low dams could significantly increase the moisture in the meadow for a few extra weeks, enabling a longer growing season for the native plants as well as hinder potential wildfire.

Western buttercup with yellow flowers

Native Western Buttercup blooming at Bogwood. Photo by Bonnie Marshall.

The two groups met back in the yard at approximately the same time, (a minor miracle), and everyone unfolded camp chairs, or sat beneath the pavilion tent and a pot-luck lunch was laid out for all to enjoy. Following lunch, a great time of socializing and comparisons of wildflowers observed took place.

Attendees began gather their dishes and load their vehicles as the clouds moved in, yet the rain did indeed hold off until after most guests had headed home. This was another miracle, as it has been the pattern that a tour of any kind on Bogwood brings rain.

Special thanks to Faye Sallee and Mike Albrecht as wildflower experts in the group led by Jolliff and to Sherman whose knowledge was wonderful in describing the various flora observed in the group led by myself.

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Oregon iris was in full display during the recent tour of Bogwood. Photo by Bonnie Marshall.

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