If You Lived Here... : Talking Plants Blog ...you'd understand why my garden is minus a gardener. It's not that I've crossed over to the dark side so much as I've become a zealous devotee of the wild side.
NPR logo If You Lived Here...

If You Lived Here...

...you'd understand why my garden is minus a gardener. It's not that I've crossed over to the dark side so much as I've become a zealous devotee of the wild side.

Every spring, sometimes as early as March, anyone listening can hear the call of the flora as it breaks bud along the Columbia Gorge. After twelve years living in the NW, that call's become deafening.

According to the field book I'm packing these days, Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest, we've got FORTY-ONE distinct species and varieties of penstemon, and that's not counting the scads of varieties sold and grown in NW gardens. (Portland area's Joy Creek Nursery offers almost fifty). So forgive me if I don't stick my neck out and i.d. this one, which is out by the gazillions amidst the balsamroot in the upper meadows of the Tom McCall Preserve. Ketzel Levine, NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Ketzel Levine, NPR

It didn't used to be this way. Time was, nothing could get me out of the garden come spring, particularly when I was gardening in D.C. where the race was on to finish everything before the weather turned like a rabid dog.

But as gentle NW rains continue to fall on my garden, lulling me into a false sense of of calm re: planting and mulching for the summer to come, I am nobody's gardener. Instead, I am a grateful witness to a miraculous if fragile world.

Here's an overview of that balsamroot -- rioting here with lupine -- on the relatively steep hike to the top of the Preserve. We've got eight species in the NW; this one's Balsamorhiza deltoidea Ketzel Levine, NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Ketzel Levine, NPR

Of course not all the flowers in the Columbia Gorge are so bold and gregarious. Because of the continued wet and cold, a number of species remain reluctant to bear their souls.

A bashful monkshood (it is, isn't it? I thought delphinium, but it's too robust), one of hundreds now shuddering at the top of Multnomah Falls, waiting for the right moment to unfold. Now that I think about it, I'm not entirely sure this is the native monkshood. Damn! Guess I'll have to climb back up after work today, just to be sure. Ketzel Levine, NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Ketzel Levine, NPR

About