Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Forest, Overcast

Here in the Pacific Northwest we enjoy many days with overcast skies. Cloudy, grey, and gorgeous, overcast days are my favorites second only to rainy days, or maybe snowy days.

I live just a hop across the Hood Canal, east of the Olympic Peninsula. Our local forests may not be quite as luscious as the Hoh Rainforest out near the Pacific Ocean, but we nonetheless enjoy the many benefits of hugging the Olympic foothills. We receive morning Hood Canal mist in summer, rogue snowstorms rolling off the mountains in winter, and righteous rainfalls throughout the seasons which transform all surfaces into a sort of omnitransversant riverscape.

Last week we had a lovely visit from a spring snowstorm which unloaded five inches of snow in five hours. If I hadn’t been so busy having fun and attending to the usual shoveling and wood prep, I would have grabbed some pictures to share.

Instead I offer these images from this evening’s overcast skies. Notice the Black cottonwood quietly leafing out in yellow-green (close-ups to follow). It’s been a bright day in western Washington – too bright for shade-lovers like me. I give thanks to the clouds that rolled in at sunset. Tonight’s clouds allow us to glimpse a cross-section of the local colors I cherish: silver-grey, chalk-white, black-evergreen, periwinkle, gold, dusty lavender and rose.

Our blushing flower guest today is Purple dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum), a member of the mint family which is introduced in this region. According to Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast (one of the best books ever), the name "dead-nettle" refers to its quality of not stinging like other nettles.
I encourage Purple dead-nettle and Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris), both members of the Lamiaceae family, to grow along pathways, driveways, and places where nothing else wants to grow.

I’d say it’s among favorite flowers, but then I’d be leaving out hundreds of others, many whose names I do not yet know (and some whom I probably have not yet met). This evening I invite you to carefully inspect the ground: look at sidewalk cracks, park paths, and “weeds” in the lawn. Take notice of the tiny flowers, some smaller than the nail on your pinky finger. These flowers serve an important purpose (more than one, I might argue), and if you listen quietly, you might hear it.
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Festival of the Trees updates:
The Festival of the Trees 46 is now online at Vanessa's Trees and Shrubs Blog on About.com. Enjoy her fruitful collection of trees both humorous and serious all month long.
Jasmine will host The Festival of the Trees 47 at the Nature’s Whispers blog in celebration of May Day.
  • Deadline for submissions is April 28th.
  • Participation is easy: blog about trees, send us the link, spread the word!
  • Email submissions to: dream.lizard [at] googlemail [dot] com — or use The Festival of the Trees contact form at the coordinating blog.


  1. I adore your photography. Its skillful and extenuates the natural beauty of the subject matter.


  2. Louisa, thank you for your kind words. I'm pleased that you enjoy my work - my whole goal at Arboreality is to bring the forest forward. Thanks for your support.


  3. Overcast skies and pine trees go naturally together. They make for great photos.

  4. Louisa, you tranported me in time to the Pacific Northwest with your descriptive words. My senses were activated, and I felt as though I were experiencing your lovely place. With your lovely photos, it didn't take much for my visualization to kick in. Thank you for sharing your part of the country with us and suppling photographs with descriptions of the plants - very informative. At this time, my hubby is working on his rose beds (SC), which I'm sure you know all about. Again, thank you for sharing.


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