A Mid-April look at the Rainy Day Garden

The weather in April has given gardeners in NW Oregon a bit of whiplash. We started off the month with record cool, overnight temps (down to 26 degrees F ) and this past week, high temps up to 85 degrees F. A very 'continental' weather pattern for the Willamette Valley, Oregon, where we normally have a strong coastal influence in spring. 

What does this mean? Gusting east winds out of the Columbia Gorge - up to 40mph, National Weather Service posting 'Red Flag' warnings for extreme fire danger and no rain for nearing 3 weeks (with a hope for rain at the end of the month). It's pretty extreme for a normally, wet area of the world, in spring. 

It has however, provided warm, dry, days to otherwise enjoy a backyard patio. 

Here's a look at the Rainy Day Garden in mid-April. I found myself up about 7am while the neighborhood (and my household) was still asleep so I boldly ventured out in my ratty bathrobe and snapped some pics.

Above, the postage stamp sized front garden. It's in-between blooming seasons. The hellebore's are finishing and iris, salvias, poppies, columbines, sedums and coneflowers are emerging. It's green and tidy at the moment. Soon the honeysuckle will climb up the trellis and provide a bit of a green screen along the property line. 

Tucked inside the porch, finding the morning sunshine is Silver Cat. This picture pretty much sums up my home life: pets, boots, soccer gear. 


Here's the newly paver'd 'breezeway' between the house and detached garage looking towards the backyard. Notice the old dogwood tree, cornus florida, is beginning to bloom.

And looking at the breezeway towards the front of the house. 

When we have had rain, the new rain chain, pictured above, has been delightful.

My husband and son finished building our new gazebo last weekend, I'm already finding myself enjoying this new space on a daily basis. 

The beds around the paver patio have all been changed from previous years. I've spent the past year dividing and moving plants, adding more plants and really trying to practice better strategies to create a layered, multi season of foliage and blooming landscape. 

With all this change....do you think I could get rid of the invasive Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica) that I inherited in this garden? That would be a hard NO. As an example, in the pic below, this little bed will have lots of pollinator blooms this summer but now its full of....bluebells. sigh.

Here are a few close ups of pretty vignettes around the patio:

Emerging rodgersia and bluebells

Western sword ferns unfurling

Fothergilla 'Mt. Airy' - ,Fothergilla major 'Mount Airy',

The old, pink dogwood tree, planted by the great grandparents - Cornus florida

And to keep it real...this is what the rest of the backyard looks like. Our long, narrow lot, looking back at the 'farm' sections:

We still have a 'pile' that gets added to our yard debris bin, weekly - it's a slow pace of reduction. The February ice storm added more debris than we would normally have at this point in the year. 

The raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are happy and growing. We have apple and pear trees in bloom and at the far end of the yard is my attempt to grow cut flowers in raised beds.

I'll write more about my adventures in cut flower farming later. It's been a wild ride. 

Cheers, Jenni


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