Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fertilizer Friday -- Taking Inspiration for the Garden from Mt. Rainier's Wildflowers

For my Fertilizer Friday post, I'm going to be flaunting flowers that aren't mine. They belong to Mother Nature -- specifically, the big patch of Mother Nature that is Mount Rainier.

At 14,411 feet, Mt. Rainier is the highest mountain in the state of Washington, and in the Cascade Range, and is home to some wonderful wildflower walks. Last weekend, while my son and his wife were visiting from Philadelphia, we took the almost two-hour trip from our home to Paradise, on the mountain's south slope.

As young, fit marathon runners, they could have easily seen a lot more of the mountain than we did, but they were very nice to go slow so their old, pleasingly plump mum could keep up.

The Nisqually Vista Trail, which we followed, is a 1.2 mile loop that winds it way up and down through some very lovely wildflower meadows.

Blue Lupines and Fleabane.

Lupines and Indian Paintbrush

Indian Paintbrush close-up

Rosey Spirea

Fluffy Western Anemone seed-heads

Sickletop Lousewort

Pink Mountain Heather

While huffing and puffing to keep up with the young-uns, I found myself inspired by the beauty. There is an area of my garden, in the northeast corner behind the water feature, that I've been at a loss what perennials to plant.

Currently it has lots of native shrubs, but at the front there are some colorful Heucheras that will have to be relocated. The area directly underneath the Douglas firs is unrelieved shade, but there is a swath at the front that gets sun for several hours. I realize that many, if not most, of the pretty wildflowers that I saw on the mountain will probably not thrive in my suburban, lower-elevation garden. But at least I have a better idea now of the look I want to achieve.

It's going to take lots of planning and research and thought. It won't happen overnight. But it will be fun to get started.

I hope you enjoyed this look at flowers that aren't mine. You can find lots of other people flaunting their flowers for Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time. Check it out.


  1. So lovely! I just love the wildflowers here in the NW...especially those lupines...they are just so beautiful...glad you got out of the house...there's nothing like a hike to get invigorated...and exhausted ;-)

  2. Lovely place to visit. I love bare ground. It just begs to have something planted there.

  3. I love discovering wildflowers on our hikes through the Sierra's. Great job capturing the beauty and detail of the flowers!

  4. What a stunning place ... your photos show such beauty! The wildflowers are so gorgeous ... especially loved the lupins. Will be looking forward to seeing how that area in the north-east corner develops!

  5. How beautiful. I was born and raised here and never driven up to Mt. Rainier. I do, however, get some beautiful pictures. I probably went there as a child with my parents at some time.

  6. Beautiful photos! We can learn a lot from Mother Nature. I would love to have a stately stand of Indian Paintbrush in my garden. Hmm....

  7. Your pictures of the mountains and your hike are fantastic! Whenever I get stumped on what's not working in our yard, Mother Nature gives me lots of inspiration for how to make things look, well, 'natural'. Your garden is beautiful, I love the curving beds!

  8. In all the years I've lived here I've only been to Mt. Rainier once, and it wasn't when the wildflowers were blooming. It looks like it was just beautiful for your visit. I love the idea of the native wildflowers for your garden. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

  9. Alison, what a treat to have your children visit. I miss mine way back on the east coast but hoping to see them sometime this fall.

    The flowers are lovely as is the terrain. And I can see your border beginning. ;)

  10. I'm glad to see *virtual* wildflowers here since we were too early for them on our recent visit. What a beautiful national park, all the same.


Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.