Thursday, November 6, 2014

Naturally Beautiful Roadsides Project Update

Hello friends of the WNPS Okanogan Chapter,

We had a great year on our Naturally Beautiful Roadsides project. 

Richardson's penstemon was still blooming at the site on October 30th.


Since autumn of 2008, chapter volunteers have cared for a short stretch of roadside along Wa. State Highway 20, between Winthrop and Twisp, from milepost 198.7 to 198.9 approximately, on both sides of the road. We broadcast native plant seeds, plant native plants, and hand-pull weeds rather than use herbicide. Each year we sign a No-Spray Agreement with the Wa. St. Dept. of Transportation (DOT).

Look for our sign!

This spring DOT installed a sign identifying our site and flexible plastic stakes that alert spray crews – red stakes at the beginning of our site mean “stop spraying”; green ones at each end of our site mean “resume spraying”. Those stakes should prevent any accidental spraying of our site. Also, we ordered small “no spray” signs to install each growing season.

Quite a lot of seed

In the past, we always hoped to collect lots of seeds for the roadside, but most years we just didn’t get it done. Still, we wanted to kick-start colorful flowers at our site. So at the 2014 annual meeting, we requested and were granted a budget of $500 to spend on the "no spray" signs described above, and seeds. We spent $474.07 to get signs and all the seeds listed below.

1 lb. of Lupinus sericeus, silky lupine
2 lb. of Linum lewisii, flax
1/2 lb. of Eriophyllum lanatum, Oregon sunshine
1/2 lb. of Penstemon venustus
Ipomopsis aggregata, scarlet gilia (both purchased seeds and seed collected by Dana Visalli, Dorothy Evans, Lucinda Tear, Juliet Rhodes and others)

And many other seeds we collected - 
Ericameria greenei, goldenweed
Erigeron pumilis and E. linearis
Purshia tridentata, bitterbrush
Lithospermum ruderale, puccoon
Gaillardia aristata, blanketflower
Mentzelia laevicaulis, blazing star
Bluebunch wheatgrass, Idaho fescue, and who knows what else
Gloria Spiwak collected penstemon and others from the MVIC native garden.

Autumn work

On a rainy October 30, a hearty crew whipped through the weeding and then put down all the seeds listed above. Peter Morrison took our bags of weeds and continues to compost them as he has in the past. In the future we plan to step back from this project, do only light weeding in spring and fall, and hope that all those seeds pay off with some flowers observable at 60 mph.

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