Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Here's Wishing for Fields of Blue

One of the most amazing sights I've enjoyed in Oregon is that of a broad meadow full of native Camas (camassia quamash) in bloom. They're getting rarer, but there are still many places where you can see such a thing.

In town, however, that sight is exceedingly uncommon. The Masonic Cemetery above my house has a nice bloom each year. I'm sure there are other places in town where some Camas survives...but not enough!

My own super-slacker gardening style has allowed the native Camas in my own lot to re-present themselves. These deep-burrowing bulbs (lily family) do well in ground that's not much disturbed. They take years to flower if started from seed. So, in my front lot which is basically left to do it's own thing, the Camas has come back and it makes me happy each year to see it.

I'm very keen to 'roll out the welcome mat' in the back lot so that the Camas might come back there too. Last year, I planted 50 new bulbs in a new native 'meadow', but only a handful seemed to make it. I'm anxiously looking forward to springtime this year to see if those few survived and to see if any more might decide to join them.

Despite my focus on food-gardening, I don't intent to eat the Camas that grows...if it grows. (Camas was a staple for Native Americans in the Willamette Valley.) I'm just hoping to see it re-establish in a way that will help me understand what the valley looked like once upon a time.

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