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!