It rarely happens like this here in Portland, Oregon. Winter holding off until it's officially winter. In my experience (13 years here), winter usually comes to Portland in late November, or sometime earlier in December. Even now, when it's officially winter, the forecast is a toss-up. Some say we'll be experiencing our coldest temps (snow! ice! maybe!) this weekend, others say it will be more of what we experienced a week or so ago, upper 20's with sunshine.
Such is winter forecasting in Portland. There are many variables at play and it's not a guarantee until you can see it with your own eyes, and feel it with your own toes. Since this has been an incredibly mild season up until now I took a walk with the camera around the garden, snapping a few highlights like this trio of Mangave 'Inkblot'. They're lovin life. I hope mother nature doesn't give them reason to feel otherwise.
Salvia apiana. I'd heard this might not be hardy through our winters, but I have a smaller one that did just fine through last winter, and it was an ugly season. Maybe this lovely plant will still be here come spring. I hope so.
Eryngium proteiflorum. Oh what a history I have with this plant. Loved it, and lost it x 2. Searched and searched for it, with no success. Then whadda ya know, I found it late in the season at Xera. Bought it and stuck it in the ground, fingers crossed. Found another at Garden Fever (40% off out of season perennials) and have it in a container as insurance. Why so determined? Check out the bloom Anna has in her garden here (page down).
Echium wildpretii, one of three in the ground. You can see it's already been singed by our cold, yet not really cold, temperatures.
I have a few others in containers that I can protect. Still I need to be ready to throw a little frost cloth over these if temps drop below about 26F. Why bother? Because this.
Oh you poor Pachystegia insignis. You were tortured in a container and so, last spring, I finally set you free in the soil. Will you be alive come next spring? Annie's says Zone 8 but I hear it might really be Zone 9.
Grevillea x gaudichaudii. Andrew finally noticed one this last weekend when we were cleaning the gutters. "What's that?"...a special Grevillea. "How long has it been there?"...a couple of years, it lived through last winter when I was concerned it wouldn't. "Well it shouldn't be so close to the sidewalk"...
And I thought he was asking because it's beautiful.
I've got a complicated relationship with Yucca aloifolia ‘Purpurea’. The plants I plant in a great (to my way of thinking) spot rot, ones I plant where they might be shaded out do okay. We'll see how these look come spring.
Ha! I wonder when this happened. That's Dianella prunina 'Rainbow Twist' — which I guess I never dug out after it died last winter — turns out it's root hardy here. Good to know.
Cheilanthes tomentosa, fingers crossed it's still this nice come spring (it's a xeric/desert fern).
Moving into the back garden I'm amazed the Musa Basjoo is still looking this good, just a couple of toasted spots.
And the Canna NOID's in front of it are surprising intact as well. Not beautiful, but not yet mush.
Cobaea scandens, Zone 9...still looks great too. I wonder for how much longer?
In a nod to the gardening season ahead, there are even a few Hellebore blooms forming around the garden.
Hopefully they won't mind a little ice, should it fall from the sky.
The tallest leaves of Begonia 'Little Brother Montgomery' got zapped last week. The lower ones still look fine. The plant itself is very heavily mulched, fingers crossed.
Melianthus major 'Purple Haze' — as someone pointed out when I shared a similar photo on Instagram — that looks like spring growth!
The Bomarea sp., still blooming.
And there are even buds! (so hopeful), those are seeds from the Trachycarpus fortunei, if you're wondering.
More plants in the "I hope they'll make it but realize they might not" club: Euphorbia stygiana
Grevillea 'Ivanhoe' (pay no attention to the dead Macleaya cordata (plume poppy) leaves behind it, I haven't done much garden clean up).
Such a silly looking plant, that I'd really love to have stick around to bloom (see here).
Melianthus villosus will be fine, although it may be cut back to the ground.
This will be my first winter with Akebia longeracemosa 'Victor's Secret', it's said to be evergreen.
Podocarpus matudae, this one will be fine no matter what weather might come our way, even if it looks a little less than hardy.
Maytenus boaria 'Green Showers' was completely defoliated last winter. You'd never know now.
Silly witch hazel. Hamamelis x intermedia 'Rochester' refusing to drop its leaves, even as the blooms emerge.
Schefflera brevipedunculata was the only Schefflera bothered by last winter's cold/ ice/ snow/ wet (mix and match, pick one, or two, or three!). It's made a triumphant return.
Lupinus albifrons. Lost two, one survived. Planted one new one this year.
Ceanothus griseus horizontalis 'Diamond Heights' leafed out after appearing dead. No flowers, but who cares? (not me)
Just a couple more, I promise. This Anigozanthos flavidus from Xera is reportedly one of the hardiest of the Kangaroo Paws. I've got one (protected) in a container, this one is living life on the wild side. Exposed to the elements. We shall see...
Finally my champion "PKW-defying" Phormium. Lived through our memorable winter 2013-14, and lived through winter 2016-17.
You'll be around for spring 2018, no problem...
Weather Diary, Dec 21: Hi 37, Low 26/ Precip trace
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