Sunday, February 22

Response to Caroline:It looks like Spring in Portland, OR

I feel bad talking about our spring like weather with all the snow storms you have been experiencing. I wonder if your perennials will look spectacular this year? Just bringing that topic up because I remember reading that somewhere. We will have to see.

These Camelia trees are very pretty and start flowering in December here

Here in Portland, Oregon we have had a two week spell of highs in the 60's resulting in the flowering of many spring bulbs and shrubs. It seems a tad too early to be planting to me, but I just received notification from my community gardening that it is time to get started and that they have planted peas in the community plots.

An evergreen ground cover that flowers all year here

To be honest, I have not even started planning what to grow this year.  I know we have not even decided what seeds we are going to share this year. This early spring has taken me by surprise. Take a look at my over wintered carrots  I planted at my house last fall. I hope they taste as good as they look.

I started these from seed in September and they look ready to harvest now

There is a new addition to my garden at home in the form of a new garden ornament. It lights up at night, but up to this point there has not been enough sun to charge it. It also spins in the wind. I received it this past Christmas.

My new garden ornament

Most likely it is not going to warm up beyond the 60's. I know you have heard me say that spring seems like the longest season here. Some years it will stay spring like from this time well up to May.

A Portland favorite. This perennial seems to flower all year long

A lovely fern

New growth

Flowering tree

Saturday, February 21

Note to Michele: Snow, Snow, and More Snow and..... a Winter Butterfly?

Hi Michele,

The big news here in New England is snow, snow, and more snow. I don't have any garden news for Sprouts readers but I do have weather news. Above you see my garden, buried in snow. In some spots the drifts and bankings are up to 5 feet deep. It's the most snow in the shortest time anyone can remember.
 Snow removal is taking up a great deal of everyone's time. In between storms, we shovel and chip away at it.
 And then more snow comes and it piles up some more. We make sure we're stocked up on bottled water and foods that are easy to heat by camp stove should we lose power.
 And then there is this handy dandy winter tool. For those of you who don't live in snowy areas, this is a roof rake. With all this snow, roof tops need clearing off. And this is the tool to do it. 

Some people are also filling panty hose with ice melting salt to make little salt 'bombs' to toss onto the roof. These salt bombs slowly release salt and melt the ice dams, but it's not very effective until the temperatures are above 30. So we toss them up and wait for the mercury to climb.

We are dreaming of spring in these parts. When shoveling and roof raking it's difficult to believe spring will ever come again. But the other day I had the most unusual surprise. I found a live butterfly in my livingroom. It was white with lavender markings. It landed on my hand, so I set it on the mantle and went to get my camera. I was gone but a few seconds, but when I came back the butterfly was no where to be found. I looked everywhere. Was it a sign of spring? A figment of my snow weary imagination? Something magical? Perhaps it came in on the cyclamen plant my mother gave me for Valentine's Day? It's a mystery. 

But, a butterfly in the house when the temps are subzero and the snow is piled deep outside is special indeed.

How are things in Portland, Oregon? I'm looking forward to your updates as gardening season progresses!


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