Secret Gardens, Crater Lake

Two things at least a few of you have asked for: new music, and moar flowerz. You shall have both, my darlings.

I’ve been using Pandora quite a bit now I own the Kindle Fire, and discovered quite a lot of new music that gets right down to the root of me. One of my favorites so far is Secret Garden. It’s Irish-Norwegian sheer delight. Piano and violin and, sometimes, voices that sweep a person right out of this ordinary world.

It’s the sort of music that goes well with dramatic but serene landscapes, and flowers in same. So why don’t we combine said melodies with wildflowers from Crater Lake, which is nothing if not a dramatic but often serene landscape.

Lyall's Lupine

There’s a meadow just up the road from the Pumice Desert where the lupines lie thick on the ground, and the views over the surrounding mountains are spectacular. Even if you’re eager to see the lake itself, take a moment and enjoy a classic alpine scene. And if anyone knows what the magenta flowers are, please do enlighten us. I just galloped through a book on Pacific Northwest flowers without finding them. Lyall’s Lupine, however, was dead simple – short, stout, definitely lupine in leaf and bloom. They were growing within sight of snow banks – snow, in late August, no less. The roots of these plants dive deep so as to survive very long, tough winters.

White Lupine

You know, lupines may have been amongst the first plants to colonize the blastscape left behind when Mt. Mazama blew its guts out. Lupines marched back onto the barren slopes of Mt. St. Helens after the 1980 eruption and established themselves quickly. They have adaptations that help them survive some pretty extreme conditions. Their leaves know how to deal with heat and dry weather. You’d not think anything needs to be dry-adapted on the western side of the Cascades, but we have long summer droughts, and plenty of places where stony or sandy soil doesn’t hold water very well.

Spreading Phlox

On the slopes of the caldera, you’ll see bunches of this fantastic flowering plant spreading out in riotous bunches, ignoring completely the fact that they’re growing on near-vertical ground. My handy Wildflowers of the Olympics and Cascades tells me this is a deep-rooted plant that’s good at stabilizing steep slopes. I can easily believe that. It also apparently keeps the snow from slip-sliding down in winter. It doesn’t look so rough and tough, yet it is. This is why I love nature.

Indian Paintbrush

This stuff grows all over the place up here. I found this bunch at a particularly interesting road cut. Pretty flowers, right? Only, they aren’t flowers. Not really. Those blooms are bracts – modified leaves – and the scarlet tips of leaves. There are a lot of plants that, lacking petals due to some vagary of evolution, have made do with forming sort-of flowers from leaves and bracts. This is one. So now you know – some plants are lying to you. But they’re still beautiful, so we forgive them.

Lupine at Sunset

Moar lupine, from a stop on the other side of the caldera, near sunset. I love lupine. It’s beautiful, easy to photograph, and easy to tell what it is. And, sometimes, there are butterflies on it, which makes it all the more lovable.

I know you’d never forgive me for mentioning Crater Lake without posting an actual picture of it, so in the interests of keeping your love, here ’tis:

Crater Lake at Sunset

The sun’s at the wrong angle for revealing that spectacular TARDIS blue water, but it’s lovely all the same. A few thousand years after mind-boggling violence, we have now got a beauty spot. This world is remarkable.

We’ll close with one more Secret Garden song, which I’ve often listened for at bedtime. It’s just the thing to make a person rest content with the world.


Secret Gardens, Crater Lake
The Bolingbrook Babbler:  The unbelievable truth is now at

12 thoughts on “Secret Gardens, Crater Lake

  1. F

    Kewl! I’ve been torturing the internet, but it has yielded not any hint on what that red plant is, the one what is hanging out with the lupine. It looks like the same plant in the white lupine picture background as is in the Lyall’s.

  2. F

    Since I’ve been sitting here waiting for things to happen, I’ve been further poking through guides and galleries with no luck. Two images which have flowers that look similar, but no names: Image five in the slide show. Second image down.

    Lots of awesome stuff out there, though. There’s this, but it’s indexed by genus or family:

  3. 5

    I’m loving the music, but I’m not sure that it’s conducive to productivity at work. It makes me want to zone out and be carried away. Very calming, for me anyway.

  4. 9

    Thanks for the links.
    I think this one has me beaten. I can’t get enough detail on flower structure to identify it. I thought it was a Crassula at first, but have now dismissed this with your link to Oregon flowers. So I’m stumped.

  5. F

    Every time I thought I saw something similar, the leaves were all wrong. I was even looking for introduced species. I considered that the flower might not be a true flower at all, and that this might just be a not-very-popular-to-photograph stage in the plant’s development.

    I’m not a flower watcher in particular, but this really bugs me.

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