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Tag: verbascum

Central Oregon

Verbascum

My preoccupation with the landscape of western America has grown steadily over the years, beginning in 2014 with a pivotal road trip through the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana and Oregon. Articulating the West’s magnetism for naturalists – why it remains a draw for environmentalists and gardeners alike – is a task better left to professionals: Jonathan Raban (journalist and Englishman moved to Seattle) summarises it perfectly, writing in Granta Journal back in 2008;

“In the dry and lightly populated West, for all the ranching, farming, logging, mining, damming and city-building that have gone on for the last century and a bit, (…) Americans have altered the land less immutably than the Romans, Saxons and Normans altered the face of England. Most of what has been done here still looks like a recent project, a work in early progress, that could yet be stopped..

(…) here, where the lust for the antique is no less keen than in Britain, the true antiquity is wilderness. Old mining towns, chasing tourist dollars, deck themselves out with false storefronts, wooden boardwalks, faux shoot-’em-up saloons, but nobody’s fooled. The real thing – the pricelessly antique antique – is deep forest, the river running wild, the open prairie. There is no second nature here to fall back on, only an either/or choice between nature as it was before we came and the dreck we’ve piled on it in the recent past..”

The concept of ‘Second Nature’ explains it all for the European, whose natural world appears wild, yet reflects centuries of human alteration. In the West, however, primal Nature remains visible just under the surface.

I have passed through central Oregon three times now, each time more enthralling than the last. Here are a few photos I took, with my dad’s old Canon 35mm, during the last, all-too-short visit.

Boardman road

Oregon Diary

Smith 1

The March Marathon

As is typical for most gardeners, March is much less of an ease into Spring as it is a fraught rush through the last of the Winter bulk jobs. There are wonderful signs all around however, that indicate the season of rebirth and intense colour has begun, and we’re midway through the age old procession of common bulb blooms; from crocuses all the way to alliums. I’ve watched the snowdrops and aconites fade, giving way to anemones, daffodils and Iris’. The tulips are now waving with full heads in the wind and soon there’ll be fritillaries in the woodland glade. Further steps in the succession of Spring bulbs will bring muscari, cammasias and bluebells, and this reliable story told annually through the specific make up of these flowers is unlike any other I can think of in the calendar.

But returning to the tasks at hand, and with an improvised deadline of Easter Sunday, I have still yet to finish the pond and the car park beds. These are both areas of the garden I have not spent a great deal of time working in, and I am determined to have them up to scratch and looking their best by the holiday.  The race continues..

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