Monday, January 2, 2017

A Moss Gloss

I lived briefly in Oregon after college.  I didn't know a single person there, so I spent a lot of time on solitary road trips to the coast.  I fell in love with Hug Point, a beach with dramatic surf and interesting rock formations, but since meeting Todd and making even more trips to the beach, my very favorite might be Cape Meares.  The trail to the sea winds through a series of otherworldly, foggy bogs, a brilliantly green forest dripping with moss, and what seems like acres of wheat-colored sea grass.  The ocean itself is almost an afterthought.  It's always raining when we go to Cape Meares, and it's almost completely empty, other than an intrepid dog-walker or two.  It feels like our own little world.

This year, though, it just didn't work out.  I developed a drippy cold at nearly the exact moment our plane touched down, and Todd was at Immediate Care within two days for a terrible sinus infection.  Not only did we not go to Cape Meares this year, we rarely left the house!  Still, I was itching to get outside and scout around, even if it was just in my mother-in-law's yard.  I'm fascinated by not just the plant variety by region, but also by season.  You can bet that most plants in Indiana are dormant right now, and we've got quite a lot of brown in South Carolina, too.  But Oregon...Oregon is green.

The moss is so interesting close up...

...and there are so many varieties that any branch you inspect has so much personality and visual interest.

It adds a little bit of romance to nearly everything!

We had a few frosty mornings.

Old heirloom apple trees in the yard had an arresting presence.  The limbs had Medusa-like tangles at the ends...

...and fist-like clumps up and down the length.

A few solitary apples remained...

...but most had fallen.

 I loved the 'winter interest' of many of the dead plants.  These dried hops still add a lot of interest to a trellis...

...and some of these waterlogged roses looked almost ready to bloom again!

There's a lot of life left in the Pacific Northwest garden, though.  Although the temperatures regularly fall below freezing at night, lots of rain and above-freezing daytime temperatures mean that many plants can thrive.  I loved seeing blossoms peeking up through the green!

Bright berries...

...and active local wildlife...

...added to the feeling that this garden may be mainly dormant, but still has a lot of life left in these winter months!

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