Gathering My Crayons

I can’t help myself. When I see a gorgeous plant, I buy it first and figure out where to put it later. I stand there, bowled over, amazed by each one’s beauty. And yes, I do talk to my plants, sometimes whispering, “Just look at you!” or “You are so beautiful!”

Lately my passion for ferns is endless. I must grow each and every variety myself in order to  witness each one’s magnificent unfurling. Especially in spring, the dance of the fern fronds is magical as they arise from tight knots at ground level to graceful, lacy ballerinas. At Nerd Night I couldn’t resist Siebold’s wood fern (Dryopteris sieboldii). Back home I checked my list of ferns and discovered that I’d already bought it several years ago. This is not unusual for me; if I like a plant, I might be seduced by yet another one winking to me from a pot. I believe I’m not alone in this practice. Or at least I hope so!

After a few visits to nurseries and plant sales my crayon box is filling up, and there’s still room for plenty more. This time of year it’s foliage color that I’m hunting for, and besides ferns, conifers are at the top of my hit parade. Golden needles bring me a shot of sunshine on the bleak rainy days, so at GardenPalooza I scooped up Pinus sylvestris ‘Gold Coin’ and Pinus mugho ‘Aztec Gold’.

If you missed GardenPalooza, there are still plenty of specialty plant sales ahead. Don’t even think about missing Hortlandia, The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon’s Plant and Garden Art Sale, on April 15th & 16th, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Expo Center, 2060 Marine Drive, Portland, OR. Admission is free, but parking is $8 (charged by City of Portland), so consider carpooling with your plant nerd friends. Close to a hundred vendors with myriad trees, shrubs, perennials, and more will save you the time and mileage of traveling to each of their nurseries.


‘Louiewas my first golden white pine. Id seen it repeatedly in at least four garden centers before I got over the sticker shock. Lusting after it was relentless, and there was no doubt that Id succumbit was just a matter of when. I would  run my fingers through the soft golden needles, then reluctantly leave without the plant. Until finally desire triumphed over economy, and I bought it, singing Louie, Louie all the way home.

Love Letters to My Garden



‘Louis’ pine


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