Visitors to next weekend’s Glide Wildflower Show will find a brand-new guidebook that combines one of the state’s most massive hallmarks with some of its daintiest inhabitants.
“Sharpe’s 101 Wildflowers of Crater Lake National Park,” updated and expanded in vivid detail by a Douglas County resident, will be available for sale at the show’s merchandise table.
The booklet depicts each of the title’s 100-plus specimens, ranging from the primrose monkeyflower to the glacier lily to a bouffant little gem that goes by the name of — no kidding — dirty socks. The guide is geared to the casual admirer as well as the more serious blossom stalker.
The project was germinated about two years ago, after wildflower show doyenne Jeanne Moore of Idleyld Park showed a copy of the 1959 original “101 Wildflowers” to Roseburg’s Bob Allen.
Moore, a former member of a Crater Lake advisory board, got into conversation with Allen, a sitting board member, about the national park site in which they share an interest. Moore said she was disappointed she hadn’t engineered the reprint of the booklet. Allen took a look at the 40-page handbook and decided to show it to a friend of his who happens to be a botany instructor at Umpqua Community College.
Ken Carloni said he soon realized that revising “101 Wildflowers” was not going to be a matter of tossing the paperback on a photo copier and pressing a button.
“I looked at it and noted that much of the nomenclature is out of date. Some of the trails are no longer accessible to a visitor,” he said.
In addition, the original work by Grant and Wenonah Sharpe was confined to pen-and-ink drawings by the latter. Carloni steeled himself to capturing a photograph of each and every blossom, deputizing a seasonal park ranger by the name of Mike Cook for the 5 percent or so of blossoms Carloni was unable to shoot himself.
“The bulk of the time spent (on the publication) was really in the photo editing and layout,” Carloni recalled. “It was a lot of time fiddling, fiddling, fiddling — one can get pretty obsessive.”
Carloni was driven by two passions: one for wildflowers, but another for Umpqua Watersheds, of which he is a member. The group’s mission is to protect and restore the Umpqua Watershed and beyond through education, training and advocacy. Carloni and others decided that the new “Sharpe’s 101 Wildflowers” could provide a small but steady revenue stream through sales as opposed to grants or donations.
Having started in July 2012, Carloni was preparing to wrap up the revision last October when a bit of unease began nagging at him.
Carloni said he had assumed the book had gone into the public domain some years back. But when he did some research, he discovered that the original authors had renewed the copyright a few weeks before the required deadline in 1987.
“I was crushed. I thought now it would have to be completely rewritten,” he said. “I also thought, what were the chances that someone who wrote a book in 1959 would still be alive?”
It turned out that Grant Sharpe was no longer living, but his widow, Wenonah Sharpe, was. Not only that, but when the 87-year-old resident of Port Angeles, Wash., received Carloni’s emailed request as forwarded by the original book’s publisher, she did more than graciously consent to a reprint.
She wrote a foreword for the book that made Carloni teary-eyed, he said. Particularly this sentence: “Though Grant died in 2006, his battles for environmental concerns have been continued by worthy successors, among whom I recognize the Umpqua Watersheds organization.”
Carloni said one of his goals with the project is to “give a sense of how magical these things are, how perfectly adapted to the environment they are and how they work with their pollinators.”
The booklet therefore dovetails with what wildflower show organizers hope to accomplish, he said.
“All we botany types really want to do is be ambassadors for the flowers. We want people to know and love them.”
Founding show organizer Moore said she believes the finished product is an outstanding job.
“It incorporates the sketches, which I think is so helpful in trying to identify a plant, and with the photographs and updated plant names, we have the best of both worlds,” she said.
This year’s show has another special feature that is a first since it was founded in 1965. Moore said she’s pleased to see a beekeeper added to the presentation schedule.
“People want to know about how to avoid things that are harmful to bees, especially with so many dying now,” Moore said. “He’s going to be located right next to where, on Saturday, the Glide Garden Club has a plant sale.
That’s a good mix because if we didn’t have bees, we wouldn’t have as many flowers, because they wouldn’t be pollinating plants.”
In addition to the activities at the Glide Community center, related exhibits are planned to coincide with the show.
The Douglas County Museum will display a collection of official Glide Wildflower Show posters by local artists beginning this weekend. An artist reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the museum to kick off “Wilde Flowers,” collaborative works inspired by Oscar Wilde. The works by Jon Leach and Holly Werner will be on view at the museum through July 25.
“Sharpe’s 101 Wildflowers of Crater Lake National Park” sells for $15 and is also available at While Away Books, 932 Harvard Ave., and the Umpqua Watersheds office, 539 S.E. Main St., both in Roseburg.
• You can reach Assistant City Editor Tricia Jones at 541-957-4216 or email@example.com.