Garry Oak Meadow–June

Garry Oak Meadow–June

In late June, the meadow grasses are flowering and losing the lush greenness of spring. The seed heads wave in the breeze above the buff-colored blades of grass. Although the flowers are more scattered, a few species are making a fine show. Even on the rockiest, driest hillside, farewell-to-spring (Clarkia amoena), heal all (Prunella vulgaris ssp. lanceolata), harvest brodiaea (Brodiaea coronaria) and Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) still bloom.

Drifts of Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) truly do light up the meadow like rays of sunshine.
Varieties of heal all (Prunella vulgaris) grow around the world, and everywhere it grows, it has a long history of medicinal use. Indigenous peoples boiled the whole plant to make a tea to strengthen the heart, used the leaves on cuts, bruises and skin inflammations, and added the crushed leaves to grease to make an ointment.
The husky yellow-faced bumblebee (Bombus vosnesenskii) still has plenty of work to do, harvesting nectar and pollinating in the process. I found that mixing perylene green and perylene violet made a deep black for the bumblebee.
Nuttall’s larkspur grows in the dappled shade under the ash trees. The cobalt blossoms have a velvety purple cast that is very difficult to capture. I used quinacridone magenta as a first wash, putting stronger color in the center of the blossom, with cobalt washes on top, stronger blue color at the tips. For the harvest brodiaea, I used quinacridone lilac as a first wash, with cobalt washes on top. I find that for flower petals, washes of single pigments keep the colors fresher than washes of mixed colors.
Here is the whole study page. As a model, I used a bumblebee that I collected from the sidewalk. When I find dead bees or other insects, I put them in a bag in the freezer for several days to clean them of mites, then save them for future reference.

I am chronicling the tremendous variety of botanical riches in this rare and endangered ecosystem near the lower Columbia River in Oregon. Once the Willamette Valley and many places along the Columbia River Corridor were characterized by oak savanna. Most of these meadows have been lost to development. This is one of the few left and we are not sure how long it will remain. For more information go here. Thank you for joining me on this journey. More to come soon.


  1. Jody Wiiliams says

    Janene, How much of this type of work have you completed?

    • Hi Jody, I have done 9 study pages now, starting in late March. I did 4 in April since there was so much in bloom but now I’ve slowed down to one or two pages a month. I will be incorporating more seed heads now. I hope to go through the year and maybe into next spring again. I think I am addicted to this project–every time I visit the meadow there is something new to discover! Thanks for asking.

  2. Beautiful Janene! Again, so touched to see your studies of Liberty Hill.

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