Landscaping with Wildflowers

by Julia Leach 

Growing up in western Washington, colorful wildflower communities seemed to only be found in mountain meadows that you’d have to drive and hike hours to get to.  We’d backpack on Mt. Rainier every August to see the Perseid meteor shower, and to get our “wildflower fix.”  My uncle would take me out to the Olympic Peninsula on expeditions to find the “elusive” and exotic-looking Calypso Orchid, which, up until a year ago, I thought was extremely rare.

A Calypso Orchid seen along Hatchery Creek.

I moved to the Wenatchee area in 2010, and have been astonished by the diversity, abundance, and showiness of many of the native species.  Lupines used to be a treat to see on the other side of the Cascades, here they grow along the highway. Berry-picking is a totally different and delicious experience over here, where there’s more to forage for than invasive Himalayan Blackberry.  And I still can’t believe that I’ve found Calypso Orchids right off the trail of almost every “east-side” hike I’ve done.

As Cascadia Conservation District’s AmeriCorps Intern, I’m very excited about getting more of our locals to incorporate native plants into their next landscaping project. We hope you’ll think about and learn more about incorporating native plants into your landscape. Learn more about this by contacting Cascadia, (509.664.9370) or visiting our website (

This post was originally published on 4/1/12.

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