Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring in the city- but not here.

Last week I had to make an unplanned shopping trip into the big city.

It was a beautiful sunny spring day which makes the long scenic drive down the Columbia River gorge very pleasant. It is always a beautiful drive, no matter what the weather is, but if it isn't raining the curves in the highway are a lot less stressful.

I pulled over and got out to take this photo so I wouldn't get yelled at by my kids for driving and shooting. But I couldn't get the tracks out of the photo.

This route along the river to Portland is the same one that Lewis and Clark took to the Pacific two hundred years ago.

We live about seventy miles from Portland. That translates to about two garden zones. Here at our 1500 foot elevation near Mt. Hood we are about a 6a zone with micro-climates ranging from 5 to 7. I have to know this when I want to plant a shrub or I risk having it freeze on me the first winter.

Portland is easily in zone 8 and I could tell when I drove into the city last week.

Because spring had very clearly already arrived there!

I had to park again and take a bit of a walk in one of my favorite old neighborhoods.


Spring was everywhere!

And camellia were everywhere! This is one shrub that will not grow here on the slopes of Mount Hood.

They look like a tropical flower to me and I am always amazed that they are one of the first things to bloom after the winter chill and rains depart.

I don't know the name of this but I thought it was very sweet. Does anyone know what it's called?

Heather. It makes me think of Charlotte Bronte and the English moors.

Candy Tuft. Mine won't bloom until late April!

It was a treat to travel into the spring zone.
In our valley the garden zones vary widely too. We live in the upper Hood River valley closer to the mountain. In the lower valley on the banks of the Columbia River- just ten miles from here- spring is starting to arrive with daffodils and forsythia too.

But tonight while taking a walk- it was snowing. Such are the climate variations of the Great Northwest!


  1. I didn't just see that.

    Lalala! Not listening!

  2. The camillias are blooming here as well. And with three days of 60 to 70 degree weather, all those buds on the local trees and plants will be bursting forth. So ready for it!

    Love your river pictures. I read it fast and thought you had written "so I wouldn't get yelled at by my kids for drive by shooting"!!

  3. The pink flowering shrub is a currant - I think! Anyway, it looks just like mine, although the one in my garden hasn't quite gotten to this point of its spring glory.

  4. I agree that the leaves look like a currant but I had no idea they had such beautiful little flowers or that they bloomed so early!
    Thanks! I knew you would know it!

  5. It was snowing here at the college yesterday when I got out of class at 3:00PM; but only for a few minutes. It then cleared up and was 50 degrees again.

  6. It is very difficult to hear of such thing when there are still 12 inches of snow on the ground everywhere I look, and as I continue to gaze out the window, I see slush falling. Slush as in Ugg.

  7. What else do you expect in Minnesota??
    Glad I got out of there 36 years ago!


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