The Grass Is Always Greener In Portland

By Mary H. Dyer | March 16, 2021
Image by Erik Sotelo
by Mary H. Dyer
March 16, 2021

I live in Oregon’s high desert where winters are cold, summers are hot and dry, and trees are scarce. I love this Big Sky country where I can literally see for miles and miles. 

I tend to feel a little claustrophobic when I spend too much time in western Oregon, but I sometimes feel a little envious of my friend’s shady, peaceful garden in Portland. 

Gardening in Portland

Her woodland garden consists of pathways wandering through Douglas fir, cedars, oakleaf hydrangea, azaleas, rhododendrons, yellow lupine, and hidden woodland gems like trillium. Her garden is cool and soothing on a hot day. It looks completely natural, and much of it is. (Douglas firs don’t spring up overnight). 

I lived in Portland for 18 years. It’s easier to grow things there, and the growing season is much longer. I didn’t have a lot of growing space, but I grew ferns, hosta, fuchsia, and bleeding heart in my little courtyard– plants I can’t grow here because I have no shade. 

My friend is a published writer, and it’s apparent she has an artist’s eye. (One more reason to envy her!) It’s also obvious that she and her husband have worked on their garden for several years. It’s been a labor of love for both of them.

Garden Design

Her husband has a hand in the design of the garden, and his contribution is easy to recognize by the simple, more masculine atmosphere, and the interesting sculptures, many made by him. I think you could say it has a rather “zen“ feel. Those areas are every bit as lovely, but not as “pretty.”

It’s mid-February as I write this, and we’re in the midst of a mini-blizzard — cold, snowy, and windy. My friend has daffodils showing their heads. We won’t see that for another month. I’m really not jealous of my friend because I love it here, where I am. Let’s just say I’m filled with admiration for what they’ve accomplished. 

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