Need Green

Almost St. Patrick’s Day, and our plants are not dressed properly. They will have to be pinched for not wearing green! Until a week and a half ago, everything was cloaked in white. Snow is still piled here and there. The long Winter still has its icy hold on us.

I comfort myself with the evergreen plants, green all winter. Slough Sedge (Carex obnupta), Pacific Coast Hybrid Iris (Iris sp) and Deer Fern (Blechnum spicant) are lovely, though slightly flattened from snow load. Some plants, sheltered by trees or the greenhouse, have kept their green going: Small-flowered Alumroot (Heuchera micrantha), Fringecup (Tellima grandiflora), Red Huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium). Most of Red Huckleberry’s leaves have turned a deep maroon, but some near the base of the plants are still bright green. And though it will be a while before it buds out, the Red-Twig Dogwood’s (Cornus sericea) winter color is gorgeous.

I have to look close to see the optimistic little green buds along the branches of deciduous shrubs such as Black Twinberry (Lonicera involucrata). The Indian Plum (Oemleria cerasiformis) has been waiting in a state of suspended animation, its flower buds in mid-uncurl since the end of January; soon I will be able to tell which plants are males and which are berry-bearing females.

Bulbs affirm Earth’s faith in Spring: Crown Brodiaea (Brodiaea coronaria), Great Camas (Cammassia leichtlinii) and Common Camas (Cammassia quamash) are trusting the future to bring longer days; they were trying to poke through the snow a few weeks ago, testing the temperature. A few White Fawn Lilies (Erythronium oregonum) in the greenhouse are showing off their pretty, mottled leaves, but it is too early to say if they are going to flower this year. Broad-leaved Shootingstar (Dodecatheon hendersonii) tentatively spreads its rosettes of round leaves, carefully hugging the ground.

The forecast (sun and 60 degrees) and the plants tell me Green Spring is almost here. But we got more snow yesterday morning! We have been so immersed in White Winter that it feels like an unending, recurring dream. How will I ever get my green on? Help! Somebody pinch me!

2019-3-13 TH

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