Snow Day

Snow Day

Controversy! Some of us at plant lust and friends love snow, and others hate it. I’m in the minority on the love-it side. Snow makes my heart happy. We only see it every few years in Portland, and it’s usually fleeting. I watch the winter weather forecast eagerly, looking for signs of hope. Most of the time, snowflake forecasts are fools gold. Even though I pray for snow, I understand the heartbreak when those of us pushing the limits of our planting zones have our hopes for mild winters dashed. I know a wintery day brings some people down the same way a 100 degree day sinks my heart. But the universe is indifferent to our suffering, all we get to do is watch. This weekend’s snow was followed by freezing rain. I know. Even less popular than snow. Some of the plants may not survive their ice bath. But boy was were they pretty. Opuntia NOID, shared by another Portland Gardener with a large mature plant. Hope that means it’s hardy. Opuntia humifusa should be just fine. Hardy to zone 4, and a real trooper, having survived a mad vandal ripping it to pieces one year in the heat of summer, and an over-crowded, over-shaded situation the next. This Agave NOID might be toast. It spent cold nights indoors in previous years. Such thick snow and ice for this poor thing. Maybe the squid agave will make it? Zone 8b. A girl can hope. Chief Joseph Pine shouldn’t be phased. The ice just magnified the gold needles. I really love this plant. The Fatshedera flowers looked like miniature...
August’s Last Hurrah

August’s Last Hurrah

I’ve been holding out for rain, garden on pause. Avoiding the temptation of nursery visits. Averting my eyes to avoid confronting the sight of plants unquenched from my unreliable hose offerings. The weeds, they’ll have to stay until the soil more willingly releases them. Could it be, the wait is finally over? Do I fall for the meteorologists’s sweet lies this time? The promise of precipitation? The return of workable soil, hospitable to new nursery spoils? Even though there remains another week of our typically hot, dry August to endure enjoy? Might our hottest, driest summer ever be prepared to yield, even briefly, to warm rains? The red banana, formerly thriving in my humble plot, collapsed under its own weight a couple weeks ago. My sentiments exactly. The Echium (piniana perhaps?) is oblivious to, or rather appreciative of, the unrelenting stretch of hot, dry days that have stretched into weeks and months. An impressive performance from a plant that was transplanted from its original in-ground home in the heat of summer last year, spending the winter sulky in a nursery pot, shuttled in and out of the cold. In my garden, Echiums prove triennial not biennial. At first spectacular rosettes, if the weather gods dictate they don’t see next spring, they’re still a worthy annual. Assuming winter does not send them early to their grave, the second year, they start to trunk. The third year, knock on wood, they rise into a Seussian flower tower, setting seed before the end. Two years ago, an echium set seed in the hell strip. Last year, a fabulous drift of babies emerged,...