a rainy spring/early summer

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Eryngium x zabelii ‘Big Blue’ putting out some very marbled, spiny growth

In this notoriously rainy slice of the Oregon coast, 2022 rainfall has exceeded all expectations and delivered above average inches fall, winter, and spring. And how! And like a starving person led to a banquet, I’m probably the only one in town who isn’t bored, irritated, or disgusted with it yet. But coming from the land of mega-droughts, rain to me is still a miracle, a resounding Yes! from the universe. I haven’t yet tired of the sound of it, whether it drums softly or blows in hard and slanted, whether it comes in dollops of big drops or a fine mist. July is forecast to be dry, so I admit I’m savoring these last few days of rain. And weirder still, at the same time, I miss my dry garden plants and SoCal garden. But on some primal survival level, an abundance of water just feels so reassuring, so…life-affirming. If entertaining two diametrically opposed opinions indicates intelligence, what do two diametrically opposed emotions indicate, (other than paralyzing ambivalence?)

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my first garden encounter with Sicilian Honey Garlic Nectaroscordum siculum

But near-constant rain and cool temperatures do not encourage growth in a young garden. I am told there will be a tremendous surge when the rain abates and the soil has a chance to dry out and warm. Yet even with the delay in growth, already I have experienced new horticultural wonders like the Sicilian Honey Garlic. And, damn, it’s a beauty!

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And like I’ve said before, the geums are invaluable for filling out and blooming early even in a cool, wet spring, when so many other plants are waiting for more warmth. Because it’s such a great plant, you’d think ‘Totally Tangerine’ is in danger of becoming as ubiquitous as Geranium ‘Rozanne.’ — not that I’ve seen it much local.
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osteospermum — what a surprise to find that this overwinters here. Big patches are in bloom in spring

A dormant salvage habit I brought with me north has been re-awakened now that I found a welder in town willing to sell me some scraps. Simple daisies seemed appropriate for a pipe lettered with the words “Viet Nam.”

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The bottomless trough was a steal at $5. Without really planning to, I’ve started to plant around the stock tanks into the rocks. I’ve noticed the rocks act as a sun trap, as does the reflected light off the stock tanks.
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Crambe maritima was a shoo-in candidate for the new garden
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Textural study Bigelowia nutalli in the foreground, Eryngium ‘Charleston Blues’ behind. I’ve indulged a long-simmering eryngium habit here
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And the shadier, patio side of the stock tanks are getting planted up too, here with Cyrtomium falcatum, the Japanese Holly Fern
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And another moisture lover, Filipendula ‘Red Parasols.’
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Everything in the stock tanks is growing really well. A plant that made the move north, Metapanax delavayi, is showing new growth — so glad it survived! From the Guizho and Yunnan provinces of China, the climate here is much more to its liking than Southern California
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Arctostaphylos ‘Sunset’ is thriving in a stock tank. I’m not sure about planting arctos in the ground here yet. A berm is probably the right idea, and I’m thinking of going in that direction with the front garden, which will have woodier plants. Omphalodes llinifolia was a seedling from the Long Beach garden.
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Euphorbia ‘Dean’s Hybrid’
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Oregon Sunshine Eriophyllum lanatum has silvery, artemisia-like leaves
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Senecio candidans

There’s a strong possibility this very finicky senecio may find conditions suitable on the Oregon coast. Silver leaves almost always denote a need for hot, dry conditions — except when they don’t, like in this senecio’s case, coming as it does from the cool environs of the Falkland Islands.

We’ll see what June brings!

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7 Responses to a rainy spring/early summer

  1. Gerhard Bock says:

    I love that you’re adding plants from your Long Beach garden to your Tillamook garden. What a wonderfully idiosyncratic melding of two totally different worlds!

    I’ve discovered a geum that has completely blown me away, ‘Scarlet Tempest’. It’s been blooming in my garden in Davis since last fall. And I mean nonstop! It’s sterile, so it doesn’t waste energy setting seeds. If you ever seen one, BUY IT!

  2. Kris P says:

    I’m so happy that you have the opportunity to garden in such very different climates, Denise, and that you’re making the most of it! I also think it’s great that, in your new environment, you’re taking chances to stretch the prospects of what you can grow there, just as you did in your SoCal garden. I’m entirely on board with your response to the rain along the Oregon coast. I can’t help but wish for an El Nino year here, despite its attendant challenges in the form of mudslides and the like. We’re SO dry and the water restrictions looks scarier by the day. At least June gloom is firmly in place at the moment.

  3. hb says:

    So many new plants to try in a completely different climate. What fun!

  4. Elaine says:

    For those who didn’t grow up in the rainy climate of the PNW I can see how novel it would be. I no longer live on the Coast but still after 2 days of rain I start to get ancy. Can’t imagine how the locals are feeling. However, it’s good for the gardens. Yours certainly looks like it’s enjoying it all.

  5. Denise says:

    @Gerhard, thanks for the tip on the red geum. So many plants made the move north, and it’s interesting to see completely different growth habits up here.
    @Kris, I think the Long Beach garden caretaker is a little heavy with the hose — hope I don’t get busted!
    @Hoov, “reading” a new climate is very absorbing — no pun intended!
    @Elaine, well put. We have the luxury of seeing it not with jaded but new eyes — this amazing ecosystem/river valley would not be possible without all the rain.

  6. ks says:

    What ?? Crambe maritima??? I’ve been lusting after that plant for years. This spring I see Digging Dog has it , but they aren’t accepting new orders right now . I know it will probably hate it here but I’m going to try anyway.

  7. Pam/Digging says:

    I’m so jealous of your cool, rainy garden, Denise. It all sounds wonderful, and of course you know I love the pipes and other metal scrap planters. My Senecio candidans has already bit the dust here in Austin. Why do they sell such things in Texas, I wonder. The Falklands! We’ve had a month of 100F temps already and no rain. That poor little thing had no chance. 🙂

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