Oregon February

It’s time! Time to plant peas. Time to clean up Winter’s mess. Last year’s splendor lay decaying everywhere. Time to wipe it away. And under the slimy leaves and needles, magic is happening.

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Hops shoots, cascade

Little sleeping trees are showing signs of waking.

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Elderberry, blue
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Huckleberry, red

It’s time to start looking for Spring.

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Chives
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Huckleberry, black

Container Gardens

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My concept for a garden was simple. Build decks that would add living and garden space. We built one deck this spring and adorned it with containers of mixed vegetables, herbs and flowers.

Due to previously mentioned woodrat mischief, it’s obvious that next year we need to build an enclosed mini-greenhouse, or cloche, to protect it from sharp little teeth. I have a bird net over the most vulnerable plants now and I bring the basil inside each night. Also, if we get the cloche completed before September, we can start kale, lettuce and a late-season garlic for winter (another reason to love the pacific northwest).

The wonderful thing about container gardens, is that each pot is its own little garden. When I go sit on the deck I am among my many gardens.

My biggest contains tomatoes, marigolds and nasturtiums. Another holds creeping rosemary and garlic. Sweet woodruff’s tiny white stars fill in between purple and white lavenders. Four varieties of thyme grow out the edges of a wooden wine cask, surrounding a dwarf sunflower. I love the look and smell of corsican mint spilling out of some smaller pots randomly placed on chunks of brick or marble. (We dumpster dive for marble and tile at countertop warehouses and shops. Bricks are occasionally free on Craigslist.)

Another reason container gardening rocks is the weeding and digging factor. I didn’t want to take part of this wild land, already abundant with life, and force it to grow what I wanted. Containers provide their own environment and can be moved around until a comfy spot is found.

I am not into matching pots and showy annuals. I like to grow plants I intend to use. I can dry the lavender for culinary or strewing purposes. I make and can pesto from the basil and nasturtiums leaves. Rosemary and dried thyme can season our soups all year.

It’s a small-scale operation, minuscule, really. But a little bit of gardening adds delicious flavor to a simple life.