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Posts tagged ‘plants’

In Search of a Rhodi

When I moved into my house last year it was the end of June and I had a lot to do. My back yard was starting to bloom and overrun with weeds but I had no idea what anything was out there and not much time to find out. We had a garden in California, much different from here in the Pacific Northwest and very little grew at our home in the mountains of Arizona. Our seasons on the mountain were snow, wind, fire and rain.

Mine bloomed just before the visit to the gardens

Mine bloomed just before the visit to the gardens

Can you see the big fat bumble bee in this one. It boomed after my trip. Who knew they could be so pretty.

Can you see the big fat bumble bee in this one. It boomed after my trip. Who knew they could be so pretty.

There were 4 or 5 bushes that did not that had no appeal for me. Turns out they were rhododendrons and peonies and they must have bloomed before I moved in. This year they finally bloomed so I could see what they looked like. Just in time, at least for a couple of them, for my field trip to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens.

 

In all the years I have come up to visit my sister, who incidentally lived within a couple of miles of this place, I had not known it was there. Thank goodness for our wonderful Senior Center. It was fun this way as we had a tour guide with a lovely German accent. She was 82 and a volunteer at the garden. She walked that entire garden with us and there was a LOT of walking.

All the gardeners are volunteers as well. According to Wikipedia, so I don’t get my facts incorrect:

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens are botanical gardens located between Reed College and the Eastmoreland Golf Course in southeastern Portland in the U.S. state of Oregon. The gardens, at Southeast 28th Avenue and Woodstock Boulevard, cover 9.49 acres (3.84 ha), and are named for Crystal Springs Creek, which flows along its western side. Crystal Springs Gardens feature more than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, and other plants in a setting of small lakes, paved and unpaved paths, fountains, and small waterfalls.[1]

In addition to the manicured areas that make up most of the gardens, patches of less orderly shrubs, upland forest, marsh vegetation, and submerged logs attract wildlife, especially waterfowl, most prevalent in winter. The Rhododendron Society has counted 94 species in the garden, including grebes, herons, ducks, Canada geese, wigeons, gulls, thrushes, nuthatches, hummingbirds, and others.[2]

 

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In addition to the lovely walk through the gardens, we stopped for lunch at a local Mexican restaurant. I had a nice salad and then we were sent to wander the streets of nearby Sellwood in search of antique shops. Me, I found the craft store instead. Oh dear.

One last view of the water for that peaceful feel. Come for another visit anytime.

One last view of the water for that peaceful feel. Come for another visit anytime.

Do you have Rhodri’s in your garden and what’s your favorite of the colors? Have you taken any fun field trips lately?

“It was such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth, to feel at one’s fingertips the possibilities of the new season.”
Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Spring

Is it really almost here? The calendar said it’s only eleven more days away. But we are being teased with signs of it everywhere. Hope of warm and green abound. Stepping out onto my finally dry deck, (it’s quite slick when wet) I was able to get a good look at the potted plants I put there when I moved in last October. The pansies have survived and the heather has thrived. New growth on the heather warms my heart.

New growth on the heather. Yay!

New growth on the heather. Yay!

My daughter sent a text while at work on Friday to see how I was feeling and if I was up for an adventure. Well, I’m always up for an adventure no matter how I feel. I met her at her apartment as she gets home at 12:30 on Fridays, then riding with her into downtown. We had a quick lunch at a Greek hole in the wall that was a block away from the Chinese Garden. The sun was shining but still a bit crisp. My toes didn’t warm up all day. I wasn’t expecting much since my sister said the Chinese Garden was low on her list of local attractions. What a pleasant surprise we had. Maybe it was our attitude of just enjoying what came our way that day.

Let's have a local adventure

Let’s have a local adventure

There were some very potent scents greeting us as we walked into the garden area. I asked about taking photos and the curator said it was a requirement and he would be checking for quality on our way out. Already a reason to giggle. There were plants I had never seen before and the fragrance of their flowers followed us every step of the way.

best smelling flowers ever

Yellow daphne. A new plant for me to experience

Yellow daphne. A new plant for me to experience

As we came to the end of a very small garden we found the tea house. The thought of tea makes my daughter’s essence vibrate. Her eyes light up and there is pleading in them. I said to her that we had already had lunch but maybe we could have tea and dessert here. What the heck would a few more calories hurt if it made her that happy to sip tea. There were so many to choose from, so we each had a different tea to share. I took my dessert home.
While sipping tea and looking over the garden, we were entertained by a mature Chinese gentleman playing traditional Chinese music on a violin like instrument. I did ask permission to take his picture. The fun part was when I heard “You are my sunshine” and “The Red River Valley” coming from that classic Chinese instrument I think was an Erhu. I looked over at him and smiled the “I hear what you are playing” smile. He shot a tiny one back at me. Most of the patrons weren’t really listening.

playing ehru

Back at home Friday evening, the neighborhood ducks were wandering all over. A lovely couple found a nice warm spot under the carport to take a break. The sun had left the asphalt quite warm as it made its descent. I don’t know about you, but spring and fall are my seasons. The extremes of winter and summer find me longing for more balance. I hear the birds chirping and saw the first robins here yesterday. Yes, I think spring is coming and I am ever so grateful. Are you seeing the signs?

does this look safe (2)ducks resting cropped

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard’s Egg

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself