UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County

Spring 2.0

As we headed out on our drive up to Oregon, before the Memorial Day weekend, we commented on how recently our hills had turned brown.  Our weather had become much more summer like.  We knew things were going to change when we got to Oregon.  We had traded in our short-sleeved wardrobes for long sleeves and thrown in rain jackets.

Canola field photo by Keith Arrol

As we drove north, we were thrilled to see that Lake Shasta looked full again.  Then in Oregon everything was beautiful and green.  We came across a spectacular yellow field on a rolling hillside.  We asked and found out it was Rapeseed, Brassica napus, the plant that is used to make canola oil.   

Over our short visit we explored parks, gardens, and neighborhoods.  We reveled in beautiful irises, ours had bloomed out long ago.  It felt like we had gone back in time to early spring.  Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, Columbine, Aquilegia sp., and Rhododendron were numerous and thriving in the cool moist environment.

Iris. Following photos by Karen Metz

We were charmed by the many varieties of flowering Dogwood, Cornus kousa that seemed to be at peak bloom.  The most dramatic plants, though, were the Peonies, Paeonia sp.  Their big, showy blossoms were so impressive.  I truly enjoyed experiencing all these plants that I don't tend to grow because of their high water usage. I will even admit to being a little envious of the Oregon environment.

Dogwood.

Small pink dogwood.

But there are trade-offs for all that greenery.  Because of the lush growing conditions, there is more growth.  That means more material to prune and more downed branches and trees with bad weather.  In the rural area we visited, there seemed to be burn piles everywhere.  This made me a little twitchy, and I kept having to stifle the urge to call 911.  And I wondered about the effect of the smoke on the air quality.  Also, that high humidity, which is wonderful for the plants, played havoc with my hair.  Forget about a bad hair day; it was a bad hair week.  Living there would either require a completely different hairstyle or many new hat purchases.  I guess every location has its pluses and minuses.

Peony
Peony

Pink peony
Pink peony

Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 at 10:33 AM

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