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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

It did actually snow




“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.” 

                                                                                                      Douglas Adams

Colchicum hungaricum 'Valentine'
This one always seems to enjoy a good dusting of the white stuff. I have mentioned phenology before and perhaps this is where it comes in to play. I think I have more photo's of this flower partially covered by snow then any other. It's better than an almanac for my backyard, if Colchicum hungaricum 'Valentine' is coming up, there is a better than good chance you are gonna see snow.



Seed Flats covered by a white blanket.


I really just wanted to point out that it did actually snow, since I slept in enough yesterday to miss it and this morning a fresh coating forced me to get up  and drive to work in it.

I remember a story Jack Poff told me once, He said Mrs. Berry when she would have a particularly choice batch of Alpine seed come in from one of the collectors she funded, would flat them up and have Jack drive them up to a spot she had picked out off the road just past the small community of Rhododendron, Oregon. At about 1,600 feet in elevation, it reliably gets more snow then the Dunthorpe neighborhood where Berry made her garden. Jack would have to find a particular tree and make sure that the the old wooden flats she used weren't seen from the road and tuck them away for the winter. When spring would come he would make the journey back up Mt. Hood to find the flats and pack them back down to the garden. Jack remembered her insisting on this treatment for  her precious collections of Primula cusickiana from the Wallowa Mountains in particular.

I tell ya, ever since that story I have always welcomed a blanket of snow on the seed flats, I haven't taken the time myself to make a similar drive to Marion Forks in my neck of the woods to hide seed flats behind a tree near a road marker, but I have made always smiled a bit to myself every time I set out a seed flat only to have it covered by a welcoming blanket of snow.

Maybe it's a bit of the freeze thaw action that works the seed coat in it's bed of grit that makes the difference? Or the pressure of the snow on top of the flat that puts some hyraulic pressure on the seeds? Maybe it's just one of those old time tricks that you can't really explain but you just know it works.

I do need to apologize to the folks that have been dealing with these polar vortex issues, as I am about to state that our lowest predicted low for the year is about to it 23 degrees F, and folks have had to weather -56 degrees F.

But then again this is Oregon and the generally mild climate is what makes it such a good place to grow a wide variety of plants. And sometimes necessitates the wishing for snow or driving to find it.

Cheers to thinking like the dolphins,

Mark

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