Nativica Spring WoodsWalk through Native Plant Art

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Welcome to Nativica’s Spring Woodswalk through the native plant (NorthWest) collection by Heidi D. Hansen (c2000-2017)!  Please feel free to order prints of the botanicals you love, and purchase using the Paypal button here (see the end of this blog for details).

PacificRhododendronbloom - CopyWalking in spring means Rhodies and Azaleas — but know that only a couple are native to the North West, the Pacific and the Western.  Direct sun will make them turn a deeper pink.Azalea - CopySalmon2The spring rain helps our salmon runs, and the native plants that grow on the banks of our rivers and creeks help keep the river soils secure, and arriated for the salmon eggs.salmon1

Trilliums are a deeply loved spring favorite.  The sessile has no “second stem,” and turns mottled with age.  It is a myth that if you pick a trillium it won’t grow back.  If the rhyzome is healthy, it will be back next spring.  Ants spread the seeds of the trillium when the seed pod bursts open and a delicious liquid pours out.  They go get that delicacy, and on their way home spread the pollen that stuck to it.  Deer treat trillium glens like salad bars!  Moles nibble on the rhyzomes underground and the rhyzome will bloom from that nibble.  I once knew a trillium rhizome that had 23 blooms! It takes about 7 years from seed to bloom, and then will bloom each spring thereafter if healthy.

Our native lilies, the Fawn and Tiger, grow in areas moist and partial sun, close to where one can find trilliums.

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The Kurabayashi trillium is rare, and a deep maroon color, which gives it the nickname “blood trillium.”  These are often found in clumps, because they grow in hiding spaces and tend to get old enough to house bunches of blooms.  An old horse I knew named ‘Star’ found a clump of these and had a delicious snack!
Wetlands are complex ecosystems, that are important to insects and butterflies and moths and algeas and moss and lichen, as much as fish and two and four-footers. Our native turtle is making a comeback from depleted populations, so enjoy looking at them, but please don’t take them home as pets! And skunk cabbage is bit ripe – smelling, but grows right in the water and is very useful to other water life.


Our native strawberry grows just about everywhere, and is often used for parking lot ground cover because its leaves are shiny evergreen and is durable.  It loves to grow near river banks, where the complex root systems keep soil intact.  Has two blooms, one in late spring, one in late summer.  An important food source for insects as well as birds and animals.  Attracts butterflies and moths and people who love to eat strawberries, which are not too sweet, and smaller than commercial, but nonetheless a refreshing find.

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The Pacific Dogwood (tree) blooms have a distinctive curl to its petals, is a spring blooming tree, and has a tri-stem pattern to it’s flowering branches.
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March blooms include the yellow flowers of Tall Oregon Grape and Red Flowering currant which share the same habitat as Pacific Madrone.  Pacific Madrone is depleted due to its prized hardwood with its luscious orange tones and peeling bark.  It is an evergreen with shiny leaves, and the tap root goes down forever into the ground, which makes digging it up to re-plant nearly impossible.

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One of my most favorite places to woodswalk in Vancouver, USA, is Ellsworth Springs.  This is a special spot where native plants and wildlife teach me the charisma and diversity and pioneer beauty of native life.

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As an artist, I am captivated by the range of textures and shapes of native plants in the wild.  When I look at the greens, I see a palette of 5 shades ranging from blue – green to red-greens to lime-greens. When you look at native plants in the wild, try to see them as elements of a painting.  And, when you plant them in your gardens, use the color palette, textures and shapes of species and varieties so that your garden will look and feel like a well-constructed piece of art.

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Big Leaf Maple trees bloom out in spring, and their young leaves are as lime-green as the moss they are famous for housing over the wet winter.
There are many Riparian areas in and around the suburbs, easy to get to and rich in native finds.  In NW suburbs,  willows and beavers just seem to find each other.
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Remember the Fawn Lily we talked about earlier?  Well, they come in pink, too — but it’s a rare find.

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You’ll find a rich history if you woodswalk around Vancouver, USA — a complex and tragic and dramatic and exciting history for the First Nation peoples and early seed-gatherers who followed Lewis and Clark from England’s garden societies.  Our very own Spruce trees were cut here on the Columbia river to ship to England in WWI to make the first airplanes used in battle.  Our Spruce seeds were used in the 1800’s to re-populates the United Kingdom’s Spruce forests after a great blight there that took them down.  Still today, you’ll find many native plants in Europe around the 45th parallel that came from our NW native plants including Red Flowering Currant, ferns, berries, and evergreen trees and shrubs.
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My late father, Wallace W. Hansen, started his native plant nursery by discovering a trillium on a woodswalk. He asked me to find a way to paint the trillium in a fashion that captured its ‘Mona Lisa’ appeal.  What is really interesting, is that by chance one day, while browsing through an ancient dictionary that his grandfather and grandmother had brought with them when they settled in the NW from the eastern united states, I came across an old, old dry crackly trillium that they had pressed in between it’s heavy pages so long ago!  What is this fancy of the trillium that seems to run through this family’s genes?


How many native plants can you identify in this painting?  Where would you go to find them, and this turtle?
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The yellow Iris love wet feet!  You can cut up a mature yellow Iris bulb into bits, put it in your kitchen sink full of water, and it will grow so fast you’ll be amazed.  This is a great teaching plant for young children just learning about gardening.  However, sad to say, while yellow Iris is often included in the native plants of the NW literature, technically, it’s not, it’s an introduction that goes way back in time.  I suppose on can make up one’s own mind on that, it’s an issue on the fence.


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Nativica is a place, a place to go to in your imagination through art, as well as when you take your two feet out on a walk or hike or exploration.  Please remember that our native plants of the North West have endured and thrived for millennia here, and we must do our part to make sure they are here taking care of our grandchildren long after we ourselves have become part of the ecosystem.

Thank you for taking this Nativica In Spring woodswalk here with my native plant botanical art collection.  You can purchase an 8 x 10 print of  any item you see here for $14.99 plus $5.00 shipping.  You my purchase the entire spring collection you see here for $89.99 plus shipping. Just use the Paypal button here, and contact Heidi to discuss your order in detail.  Call (360) 892-5218, or email  Thanks, and happy woodswalking!


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And, I sincerely hope you can find a couple of hours on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, 2017, to join me in a Day of Climate Change Service.  I will give you this free Nativica Earth Day poster (8 x 10 on heavy poster paper, signed and numbered by the artist — me  –)  if you will do 2 hours of labor that helps our planet cope well with the effects of climate change.  I will be available all day Earth Day in my studio (Vancouver, WA), with free light refreshment and free posters for those who come over with a good service report. Thanks! — Heidi HansenNativica poster ad


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