Finally! A Snow Day in the Rainy Day Garden

Below 500 feet and in the 'banana belt' of the Portland Metro area, the residents along the Willamette River have gotten little snowfall this year. February has been abnormally cool, bringing with it a few snow storms. However, they have had little impact in our area.

Today was a rare day when my employer was closed and I was home to capture a pretty snowfall that found it's way down to sea level.

We didn't get much but just a few hundred feet up, it was sticking to pavement and creating slick roads in the hills around us. 

I love a coating of white in the winter garden. It disappears as quickly as it arrives but I wandered around my gardens this morning and captured some pretty scenes.

Helleborus 'Valerie' from the Spring Promise line

Helleborus 'Golden Sunrise' from the Winter Jewels line
A look down the road as the snow flurries fly..

The backyard is looking quite wintry with a cap of snow. Below is the detached garage and back of the cottage. The old dogwood tree with licorice ferns growing on the trunks.

And further back, the veggie and berry patches are looking soft and cozy with a blanket of snow. We've been busy this past month, cleaning out our veg boxes, pruning fruit trees and berry canes and laying a thick layer of bark mulch to suppress weeds and keep the area tidy. Soon it will be time to plant seeds.

Below, I think my new, red, squirrel proof, bird feeder is quite smart. So far, it has proved to be truly  'squirrel proof'. Finger x'd they don't figure this thing out as they have certainly tried to break in.

I love taking close-up looks at the snow coating the plants. I find that snow highlights a plants features, drawing the eye to it's lines and form.

The new growth of the coral bark maple looks dramatically 'coral' against the neighbors grey house.

Coral Bark Maple - Acer palmatum Sango Kaku
Below, our native aster covered in snow. I haven't cut back all of the gardens yet as I saw a female 'Anna's' hummingbird gathering the spent seed heads and fluff from the native asters (pre-snow) and I realized they were nest building already. My clean up will wait a little bit longer. 

stalks of our native aster 'Douglasii'
This columnar white pine will be a stand out in my garden in the years to come. It's still a juvenile, but it's cones and green needles look like the definition of 'winter' when it's brushed with snow.

Eastern Columnar White Pine - still a baby tree but has grown 2' this year!
I am trying to use more native plants in my gardens. Sword ferns are easy to grow and I find that the native Pacific Tree Frogs like to hang around them all year. Yes, even in winter I heard their croaky chorus.

native sword ferns
Another perennial I forgot to cut back (and I'm glad I didn't) because the 'golden waves' of the seed heads covered in snow were fantastic. 

perennial grass miscanthus 'Malepartus'
My lone pieris (I've forgotten which one it is) is building buds and will be ready to bloom in another month. This is a hardy shrub that provides the hummingbirds and bees an early food source although it is not a native plant.

an early spring favorite 'Pieris'
I often forget about this black willow. It came to me as a small cutting from fellow blogger Allison and it has grown into a nice shape. The snow provides contrast to the black catkins that are forming. The birds love to gobble them up after they've bloomed. In previous years, swams of bush-tits will frequently visit and eat the seed heads.

Black Willow 'Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys'

Even the bee bath is looking cute
Another source of winter food for the birds are echinacea seed heads. I leave them up as long as possible to provide yet another food source. I often see Junco's sitting on them, munching away. This year, house finches have hung around the gardens too and are enjoying these seeds.

echinacea 'Purple Coneflower' 
And finally, I'll end with the heirloom camilla. It's a NOID, but my husband's great grand parents planted it, likely in the 1930's after they built our home. It's a perfect shade of pink and offers a soft fragrance. Such a beauty! It was nearly hacked in half when we moved in and took the home and garden over. I'm pleased at how much it's grown and recoved in the past six years. 

NOID heirloom camilla
When I finished editing the pictures for this post, by mid-afternoon, I found that the snow was gone. Easy come, easy go.

I'm thankful that I was home to take some pictures and capture the garden in winter. This will likely be our last gasp at wintry weather before spring really emerges.

Cheers, Jenni


  1. Lovely. The photo with the red bird house is really cool.

  2. Sooo pretty, you make me almost love snow! I love that you're using that bird feeder thing as a "bee bath" - I have the same one and think I should do the same. Does the water get hot in summer as it's so shallow? Also, your discovery of Anna's hummingbirds taking the seed heads of asters - that's so cool! I"ve seen them do that for clematis seed heads, but not asters. I just cut back all mine last weekend, next year perhaps I'll leave them longer as our winters seem to be moving into February full-force. Oh, and I love your new bird feeder! Cheers, Roomie! xo

  3. That black willow! What a beauty. (In the snow at least!)
    I can see how attuned you are to your garden and its critters, by how you've noticed who's feeding and what they need. I think you may be right about the frogs and the sword ferns, as in my yard they hang around them too...or at least they hang around where I encourage the ferns the most.

  4. Thank you for the beautiful snow day tour through your garden. I'm totally going to copy your bee bath idea. So cute! Can you believe that they're predicting more snow for tonight?


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