Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spring Confusion

One thing I don't expect living on the mild Oregon coast-- crunchy snow on the steps of my greenhouse.

Note- new olive tree in the background, swaddled for winter.
This, and 22 degrees F overnight in late February... in an area that barely reaches freezing in mid-winter.  Suffice it to say the plants are slightly confused.

Just last week I was admiring the blooms on a client's deep-red camellia, and the daffodils are sooo close to opening.

For the most part I'm not worried about a late frost, as it's too soon for us to have un-winterized anything like the water spigots outside.

I will admit to some concern about my prized peach fan, and the just-emerging leaves of my treasured raspberries.  The raspberries less so, they will grow more leaves if these are damaged.  But early-blooming fruit trees are always a gamble against late frosts, as that short period of bloom secures the potential summer harvest.  I haven't the heart to check my espalier pear yet, it almost always blooms the same time as the peach... and the peach was showing its fat pink-tipped buds the other day.  Fingers crossed.

Many plants were lured into emerging from dormancy after some pleasant weather earlier this month.  Daffodils were already 4-5 inches out of the ground when we returned from our long trip in late January.

The poor winter-blooming heath was in mid-bloom when the unusual snow and ice arrived this week.

Appreciating the snow-light:  nothing like a bright clear day dawning on the reflective surfaces to light up the landscape.  A photo-hound's dream.  Snow just looks right on a blue-star juniper, doesn't it?

One standout shrub, overlooked, in early spring:  Berberis darwinii, wow.  The contrast of that mango-orange blooms and deep pink pedicels, against the backdrop of shiny black-green leaves.

I'm not usually an advocate of "poke-y" plants (holly, barberry, yucca, etc) since I end up maintaining the painful things.  But if you have room for a tall hedgerow, or a steep slope where no people will likely need access, this plant can really highlight your February landscape.  It also provides nicely for wildlife.

Finally, when the weather is uncooperative for gardening, take time to step back and appreciate something special.... like the tidepools I was able to explore on an extremely scoured-out winter beach after very high and minus tides last week.  Exploring these sculptural gardens and natural water features was something special indeed.

Lincoln City tidepools, just south of the D River


  1. We're further south than you, but our gardens have been equivalently confused this winter too. Beautiful January and early February weather, followed by a cold rain, and a strange dusting of snow (which we almost never see) over the weekend. I hope your peach survived the late season cold, a few of our stone fruits were blooming too! Not good timing for a late winter chill.

  2. Gosh that really would confuse your plants! In the UK (England)we are used to the snow, but we did get more than usual around December time, killing off autumn sowings of hardier veg.I hope all your beautiful plants recover, thanks for stopping by my blog.