Road trip - the Oregon coast

It's January. You are partied-out and broke. The weather is dreary and cold. So! How about a road trip?

In August 2009, my family traveled to Oregon to visit my son Josh, who lives in Portland. It was great having my three boys and Lou and I all together. We decided to tour part of the Oregon coast, and this is a good time to share some of the photos I took.  Enjoy!

We started our trip in Florence, Oregon. Here is a view of the Old Town fishing village located in Florence on the Siuslaw River.

Some more views of Florence from across the river:

Florence is located adjacent to the Oregon Dunes recreational area, which sprawls for over forty miles along the Oregon coast and is the largest stretch of coastal dunes in the United States. These amazing dunes reach up to 300 feet high, and the views are spectacular.

We went for a "sand rail" tour of the dunes, a thrilling adventure which was akin to riding  a moon buggy on a roller coaster. I wasn't able to take many pictures on this tour, because most of the time I was holding on for dear life.

After leaving Florence, we traveled up the coast to Lincoln City. We stopped first outside Florence to view the man-eating plants at the Darlingtonia Botanical Wayside. Okay, these giant pitcher plants may not consume humans, but they do eat big bugs. I wouldn't want to fall off the path and get trapped there.

We continued our tour of the coast and saw some fabulous coastal views.


I was impressed by the masses of wildflowers which grow along the coast.

Flowers bordered this path next to the coast. The three young men are my sons.

We spent the night in Lincoln City, and the beach outside our condo was a special place.

Barnacle encrusted rock formations on the beach form a natural aquarium, and hundreds of sea urchins, anemones, star fish, and other sea creatures make their homes here.

After leaving Lincoln City, we traveled inland, back toward Portland. In a post later this week I will show you what we did next. Stay tuned - it's exciting! - Deborah


Winter's essence in the garden

The essence of winter is in its shapes and its textures, in its stripped down bareness and honesty. It is in its monochromes and its contrasts, dark against light, warm hearth, frozen water. It is the slap to our senses as we inhale the sharp air or feel the icy hand of the wind push against us.

Winter has come to Alabama, with temperatures dropping into the teens this week. The sky on Sunday morning was cold blue, with rows of clouds marching forward, and the trees raised their dark branches to salute the day.

Walking through the garden, I was aware of some things I may have overlooked in another season. 

A large piece of driftwood has been in the yard since we moved here in 1985.  I like the curving shape of it, and I will miss it when it finally rots away.

I admired the colors of a rock, patterned with lichens.

A bird house in a dogwood tree awaits spring tenants. One summer this bird house had a green lizard as its occupant.

The dried heads of 'Limelight' hydrangea will provide winter interest until spring.

The peeling bark of Betula nigra, river birch is amazing.

Not everything is bare. There are many evergreens. I featured some of them in my post, Evergreens, the regents of winter. A few others, shown below, include:

upper left - 'Saybrook gold' spreading juniper. This beautiful plant is planted on a hillside to take advantage of its weeping branches. I love its golden color.

upper right - Spreading yew grows twice as wide as it is tall. It has deep green needles.

lower left - Osmanthus fragrans, tea olive, is a shrub growing to about ten feet. Even now its fragrant flowers are beginning to bloom. 

lower right -Autumn fern. This is a tough, evergreen fern, which survives with minimal care in the woodland garden. New growth has copper highlights, which gives it its name.

There is another evergreen that I don't own yet, but I have been looking for a place for one in my garden ever since last year when I visited Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. This weeping blue atlas cedar captured my heart with its form and color. A plant like this has to be put in the right place. This one is sited perfectly. It echos the curve of the tree limb above it, and the smaller plant below it echos that shape again. Notice, also, how the curve is repeated in the walkway and how the tree's blue color is repeated in the bench on the right. Fabulous!

Stay warm, everybody, and may you enjoy the essence of winter.  Deborah