West Valley Bee and Bee

by Skip Via
skip@westvalleynaturalists.org

There are two common recommendations for maintaining and increasing the population of native bee species: plant native plants and provide a bee house of some kind so that the insects can deposit their eggs and have a safe place for their larvae until the spring when they emerge. This article describes an attempt to do these as complementary processes.

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Three Gentians in the West Valley!

by Pat Jaquith
pat@westvalleynaturalists.org

When I first heard the word “gentian”, it was in reference to a veterinary medicine that I needed to apply to a cow I was tending. It was called “Gentian Blue” and although I had little understanding of its role in healing my bovine, it was the most intense blue I had ever seen! Subsequently, my appreciation of the various hues of blue have been in reference to the blue of that medicine. It was many years before I moved to the west where I saw my first flower in the Gentian family, and I was amazed to learn that the green plant I saw was a Gentian! (Frasera speciosa). That one doesn’t grow in the West Valley, but here are some I have encountered here.

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Early Bloomers

by Skip Via
skip@westvalleynaturalists.org

Despite our fits-and-starts beginning to spring here in the valley, it looks like we’re in for another glorious season of wildflowers. I spent last week looking for emerging blossoms and this photo essay is reflective of what I encountered. It’s just another reminder of the beauty and complexity that lies beneath our feet in these parts.

All photos were taken in and around West Valley. Pairs of images were shot at the same location on the same day.

BB-sized kinnikinnick blossoms
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