Posted by: atowhee | May 5, 2015


There are many flowers in the May woods.  This one always stops me. PE BEE PE1 PE2 PE5The Latin name of this flower, commonly called pussy ears, commemorates Dr. William Tolmie.   He was raised and educated in science and medicine in Georgian-era Scotland, a key center of science at that time. Tolmie was an important figure in the Hudson’s Bay Company’s affairs in the Pacific Northwest from the 1830s onward. He was stationed at Fort Vancouver (WA), Nisqually (WA) and other posts before following the British flag north to Victoria.  He was an avid student of natural history and collected many new species  including several bird skins he presented to Townsend and Nuttall when they arrived from Boston in the 1830s.  One warbler, MacGillivray’s, bears the Latin name of Oporornis tolmiei.  Near the mouth of the Nisqually River and adjacent to Nisqually Wildlife Refuge is Tolmie State Park, a fine birding spot.





  1. Thank you so very much for these beautiful botanical lessons! MarshaSent from XFINITY Connect Mobile App

  2. Hi Sue,

    I had never heard the proper name for what we call, pussy ears. Here is my favorite, the calypso orchid. It is all of 5″ high with only one leaf. She hides in the duff of the fir trees. Image result for calypso orchid image Image result for calypso orchid image

    I am glad you are enjoying OUR rain! You have waited a few years for it. No matter how little rain we get, the weeds still come up. They just set seed earlier so they don’t lose out. Smart little buggers. Thus I have been on the hunt for them both on hands and knees as well as with the weeder. I no sooner finish one area than they are putting out seed in another area. Tomorrow I have to hit two places. One because it has ve t ch and that stuff spreads like crazy. Who cares that it is this great nitrogen fixer. It is just feeding N to the weeds in the field!

    Today I did the final transplant to one gal. containers of the tomatoes. I was exhausted and couldn’t figure out why I hurt so much. Then I realized that I had been using all the flank muscles I used on Monday to dig a big hole to transplant the birch tree that I had them put in….. the wrong place! Had to move it 4 feet and it is perfect now. Emily the gardener came over for the big move and it went well. I am so glad I moved here. I had no idea how much I would love growing plants and trees. It is amazing to see trees that were small enough to get in my car for delivery are now 5 – 8 ft. taller in 4 years .

    Have you decided on putting in any veggies this summer? You will love watching them grow just like you do your flowers – – – except that you can eat them! You asked about my garden. Friends are coming over tomorrow for lettuce, dill and to take some huge bok choy off my hands. It grew better than the kale. I am always so tired that I never get around to using it in stir fry, but tomorrow I must.

    My tomatoes will go in the ground at the end of this month. The ground should be 70 degrees minimum and mine is still 62 in the raised beds. I have onions growing that will take months. The garlic I put in last fall is growing well and will finish in a month or so I think. My gardening buddy, Raul, gave me two artichoke plants which I finally got in the ground. They were a chore because everything needs netting under it for the golfers and around it for the deer so every project has some fencing to be built. The strawberries are my first try and are flowering. Now people tell me earwigs like them – a lot! The fight will be on…. I have tiny plants of cucumber, melon and eggplant growing in the house. They will be my last crops and I started them later as they like the heat of july, august, and sept. I am determined not to let mildew beat me to the melons this year. We are due for a few days of low 80s. The temp has been up and down here though and without rain.

    Every day is a long work day here until the worst of the weeding is finished. There are usually several other small projects going at the same time so I really have to be here. Watering is a constant in one area or another. That is fine because I enjoy all of it. I am going with a few friends to hike Hobart Bluff next weekend. It is a good thing I love to see the mountain wild flowers or I would never get out of here! There have been minor house issues like hot water tank repair, electrical, and now the hose bib is leaking. I think of my mother saying, “Marie, it is always something with a house. Why do you want one?” Sure glad I did not liste n to that advice.

    The birds I love are not plentiful now except for the hummers. The birds are busy nesting and they really seem to stay close to wherever their nest is even though I have a reliable food supply. Gotta protect the territory if you are a boy , and gotta tend the young for both parents. Soon they will be bringing their young to the feeder and the babies will do their cute wing flutter and be singing, “Feed me, feed me.” I would not miss this experience of nature in my life for anything. And to think I really had no idea what was in store for me here.

    One serious thing: I saw two different things about asthma patients going critical because their inhalers were empty. Do you keep spares in the car and house for Karen in ca se one is misplaced? Probably so. They truly are life lines. That is it. I must get in the prone position….. But first I think half an aspirin is in order.

    Enjoy that gr een grass. I am sure you are glad you left California!

    m arie

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