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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Serendipity Happens: a Weeding Discovery

I couldn't believe my eyes!  Life is full of surprises, and in addition to enjoying working out in all that fresh air, doing 2 hours of weeding on the bed pictured in my Paradise lost post, I made a fun discovery.  In removing several years of spent Himalayan blackberry vines and a tangle of the native Trailing blackberry, Rubus ursinus, and some hanging branches of the Western Red Cedar, I found some of the expected dwarf Cascade Oregon Grapes, and a nice clump of Salal, which had winding through it a number of vines (!) of the native Orange Honeysuckle, Lonicera ciliosa, aka the Western Trumpet Honeysuckle.  I had been wanting this choice native honeysuckle for several years, because hummingbirds would love it, and here it was in my backyard all the time!   And in addition I generated another pile of branches and vines to run through the chipper (free mulch!), including the Cedar branches, which always release a heady cloud of heavenly perfume as the leaves are chipped.  And here is the finished bed after weeding-
Here is the nice Honeysuckle, a cluster of blooms in a leafy bowl created by the last 2 leaves joined
in a disk.   Even this plant is supposed to have edible berries, though I haven't tried them..... yet.

Here's the nice clump of Salal, Gaultheria shallon.  It's native, and has a berry that is edible even raw-
it helps to be hungry- created to be healthy eating, with a nice complement of anti-oxidants from the dark purple pigments- anthocyanins, like Oregon Grape, though not tasty like a blueberry, and can make a dense 3' growth that can overrun the more delicate Cascade Oregon Grape and Trilliums.

The trick is keeping the Trailing Blackberry, aka Vegetable Barbed Wire, from just growing back over all the plants, not to mention the Himalayan blackberry.  At least it is nice to have weeds that make a tasty berry too.  The Western Trumpet Honeysuckle has been rated 2 out of 5 for food uses and medicinal uses by the database, Plants for a Future .   The Pacific Northwest proves once again to be a great place to garden!


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