A Winter Stop by Skidmore Woods

A Winter Stop by Skidmore Woods

It’s well established that the weather gods are crazy, all over the country. Apparently California’s HUGE storm will alleviate drought, with flash floods, mud slides, and other general pestilence.

Around these parts, it’s been raining nonstop. We’ve had more rain in a half of February than is usual for the entire month. And that’s saying something for the Pacific Northwest. We’re hunkered down waiting for the deluge to stop. I don’t think I’m alone in yearning for gardening weather. I like to think I embrace the abundance of rain for the green it produces. But come on, this is ridiculous.

That said, I happened by Skidmore Woods a few days ago. It was raining. But the car veered to the right and hydroplaned to the curb. Next thing I knew, I was burying my nose in fragrant and fabulous plants.

Hamamelis NOID in Skidmore Woods.

Hamamelis NOID in Skidmore Woods.

I was freezing and wet, oh but the vision of loveliness. And the fragrance.

Hamamelis NOID but maybe H. 'Arnold Promise' methinks.

Hamamelis NOID but maybe H. ‘Arnold Promise’.

That bright yellow bloom is a welcome sight in mid-dreary winter. On my list.

Wee Rhododendron with great big leaves.

Wee Rhododendron with great big leaves.

The Rhododendron above is reminiscent of R. ‘Sinogrande’. But there are so many. And I’m definitely not a Rhodie aficionado. But I know you’re out there.

The greens were so green. Okay, fine: weeks of pouring rain has some utility.

Shiny green leaves. Camellia?

Shiny green leaves. Camellia?

And Camellias still in bloom. I do like Camellias, contrary to previous claims.

Camellia NOID strutting its stuff.

Camellia NOID strutting its stuff.

I still don’t know my conifers, but I like them. Does that count? I even went to a lecture about them last Sunday. It was a Hardy Plant Society (HPSO) event, with a talk by Norm Jacobs of Arbutus Nursery. He knows conifers, in spades.

Intense textural grooviness. Cedar?

Intense textural grooviness. Cedar?

And this Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis (probably).

Sarcococca wins the bean in the fragrance department.

Sarcococca wins the bean in the fragrance department.

Every shade garden needs this beauty. Right?

I noticed the fragrance before I found it.

I noticed the fragrance before I found it.

How is this for an elegant gorgeous plant? Mindy gave me a Sarcococca a couple years ago, but I planted toward the back of the bed. I need to move it out front where I can see it better.

Looks fantastic from any distance.

Sweet box looks fantastic from any distance.

And this smashing plant.

Do you recognize this single blossom winter bloomer? Rhodie? Azalea? I don't know.

Do you recognize this single blossom winter bloomer? Rhodie? Azalea? I don’t know.

I’ve come around to loving the dense layering of Skidmore Woods. Fine, truth be told, I loved it the first time I laid eyes on it–plant lust in abundant display.

A wider shot. A leggy shrub or a vine?

A wider shot. A leggy shrub or a vine?

Here’s hoping we all get some decent gardening weather soon. The good news from Flamingo Gardens: I’m ready. How about you?

Cheers

  • Tim Vojt

    Beautiful and wet! Oy. Still extended forecast here for May weather in February. Stuff is springing to life.
    What’s a boy to do?
    Grin and bear it, I guess.

    • Patricia L Cunningham

      Hah. I know I can count on you to rough it. Did you notice I used Zone 6 plants? Or is that still one above your zone. I thought I read that Columbus had changed from 5 to 6–but I might be making that up.

      • Tim Vojt

        I am zone 6. Outside of the city it is colder and we had two zone 5 winters during the vortex two years back. Almost 70F again today. Nice to be out in the sun and my Hamamelis ‘Jelena’ is almost in full bloom and I can detect the scent a bit downwind; earlier I had to stick my nose right in it. Loving it!

  • Oregon Russ

    Where is Skidmore Woods? No results in google search.

    • Patricia L Cunningham

      Sorry Russ, I just added a link. I wrote about it before–and admit to dubbing it “Skidmore Woods”– but you can see why, no? It’s near Wilshire Park in North East PDX. Most garden bloggers have skidded to a stop when they come across. You can send an email to me & I can give you precise locations. tricia@plantlust.com

  • ricki grady

    You can tell Azaleas from Rhodys by the number of stamens. Of course I can’t remember which is which so a lot of good this non-news flash will do you.

    • Patricia L Cunningham

      Ha. Ricki. Can’t tell you how much I adore you. XO.

      • ricki grady

        just to keep that adoration thing going…it’s five stamens on Azaleas and ten on Rhodys…and you don’t have to do a thing to earn my love.