[Tweeters] High Noon at Saskatoon

Andy Stepniewski steppie at nwinfo.net
Sun Apr 12 18:10:49 PDT 2015

Tweeters and Dennis,

I first heard of CP Lyons while at the week-long “British Columbia Naturalists Training Course” (BC Parks) in May 1972. It was my guide to the plants of that province and especially while working at Garibaldi and Mt. Robson Provincial Parks and later while doing early reconnaissance work for BC Parks in the Chilcotin Ranges, now landscape-sized provincial parks. Still later, it was very useful in western Alberta while I worked in the Canadian Rockies at Jasper.

Yep, those early printings with line drawings are indeed funky by today’s standards. Luckily, fellow BC naturalist William (Bill) Merilees undertook a very significant revision in 1995 (Trees, Shrubs, and Flowers to Know in Washington and British Columbia). Fortunately, this newer work retains the classic line drawings from the earlier printings. However, in the 1995 revision Bill adds about 450 sharp color photos of plants, bringing it much closer to our modern world. Also, beautiful “Ecosystems” maps of both Washington and British Columbia grace the inside covers, revealing the glorious mosaic of natural habitats in both Washington and British Columbia.

Andy Stepniewski
Wapato WA
steppie at nwinfo.net

From: Dennis Paulson
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2015 1:16 PM
To: TWEETERS tweeters
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] High Noon at Saskatoon

Hey, Jeff.

Just wanted to tell you that “Trees and Shrubs to Know in Washington” was also my first plant book when I came here in 1967! I loved it and still have it.

And wanted to tell the rest of tweeters that you may know Amelanchier alnifolia as serviceberry.

Dennis Paulson

On Apr 10, 2015, at 12:00 PM, tweeters-request at mailman1.u.washington.edu wrote:

Message: 14
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2015 10:50:18 -0700
From: Jeff Gibson <gibsondesign at msn.com>
Subject: [Tweeters] High Noon at Saskatoon
To: tweeters <tweeters at u.washington.edu>

Well, it was near high noon here wednesday (4/8) in Port Townsend ,when I told my ol' Pa, " Hey Pa, I'm heading down the road for a spell - got a rendezvous with this Canadian feller". Dad, he old, and didn't really care what I was saying. "OK!" he replied.
So there I was ambling down the road to Kah Tai Lagoon for this rendezvous, when right there at high noon, I arrived at Saskatoon. How did I know it was high noon? Well, a person is gonna cast the shortest shadow of their day at high noon, and being how I'm a sensitive guy, I noticed. I may have checked my cell phone, but that was just for confirmation.
Saskatoon? In Port Townsend? How could that be? Well thats because while Saskatoon is a Canadian prairie town, Saskatoon is also a plant! At least that's what Canadians call it. You see, my first native plant book as a kid was C.P. Lyons excellent "Tree's and Shrubs to Know in Washington" (1956). I've read it cover to cover a thousand times at least. It was (and still is , in my opinion ) a great beginners native plant book. I still have my copy. Give that old thing to any curious intelligent child in these times and turn 'em loose in the woods , and that kid could learn a lot about native plants- I know I did. Sure, the book is a bit funky by today's botanical publishing standards, but isn't nature a bit funky by today's publishing standards? Anyway, that old book has got some soul.
Well, it turns out that ol' C.P Lyons was some kind of Canadian, and in his book he referred to Amelanchier alnifolia ( a beautiful flowering shrub, or small tree) as 'Saskatoon', and in fact it is also called Saskatoon as a common name in the handy and popular present-time plant field guide by Pojar and MacKinnon. Why? Well, because those guys are Canadians too!
So, moving right along, I grew up as a young naturalist with that name Saskatoon stuck in my head.I always liked that name - had sort of a Old West frontier ring to it.
So there I was on my walk in Port Townsend, in a show-down with Saskatoon - I noticed it because it is just starting to bloom here- a showy pure white flower it has. Sometime real soon, parts of Port Townsend will be white with Saskatoon bloom - there's lots of it in these parts.
Well, Canadians will sometimes refer to being in the wild as "in the bush". I got to thinking that maybe some Canadians might be hiding out in this big Saskatoon bush. " Now come out, with your hands up, Canadians! I got the draw on you!" as I drew up my binoculars for a better view of the Amelanchier flowers. No Canadians in there, but them flowers was real purdy.
Continuing down the road I reached my rendezvous spot at the Kah Tai lagoon parking lot - no Canadian to be found. That's because Carlo ( he's the Canadian, and a Tweeter) got stuck in some Washington State Ferry snafu and wasn't able to meet. But luckily his friend Allen was in the parking lot also waiting for Carlo, and wanted to meet me - he liked some of my posts he read. We had one of those long rambling conversations that naturalists are prone to. It was great, and Allen is a very interesting, knowledgeable and friendly fellow, like his friend Carlo. He showed me this book on local plants he was putting together- had the prototypes (I don't know if that's a proper editorial term) in the trunk of his car. Pretty impressive material (text and photos) and I hope it gets printed somehow.
Anyhoo, this was just one of those birder/naturalist connections that Tweeters enables. Pretty cool. I should note that Saskatoon, the plant, is a great wildlife plant - the berries are pretty good for humans to eat, and are also favored by many birds - you know, birds- those feathery animals that fly around a lot. I'm sure you've seen some.
As for me, on my walk back home up the hill, I seen some movement in that aforementioned Saskatoon. It was an Orange-crowned Warbler - increasing numbers are moving thru town right now. Hey, it's migration - maybe it was a Canadian.
Jeff GibsonPort Townsend Wa

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