Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Happy Spring!

The first currant I planted

Year 2 currant

Most people will tell you they love spring here in the Pacific Northwest. Not me. It starts somewhere in February with flowering plum and daffodils and doesn't end until July 4th. This year it's late which should please me but for some reason doesn't. Because winter was long and wet, I am ready for warm and dry right now. I do not want to go out and garden in the rain.

But Nature isn't stopping for me. Plants like ribes sanguine, red-flowering currant, are blooming. I planted these natives in different areas of the yard over three years. And they've become an interesting study in how minor differences in environment can have big effects. 

The two in the backyard are 10 feet apart. They receive the same amount of sun. One is in front of a large Douglas fir. The other is in front of the oceanspray. The one by the Douglas fir was from my first batch and the only one of that year to survive, so it bloomed first and was much bigger than the others. 

Last summer this big currant felt the long dry season. Its leaves curled and browned by August. The leaves dropped before the end of September. The other? Leaves stayed green until winter and held on until January. 

This year the younger plant continues to outperform. Its flowers are open while the other is still in bud. Perhaps the fir tree's bit more closeness robs the currant of water. I may have to break down and water it this summer.

It's March and that means it is the start of bracken season. I have seen any yet but they're out there. Oh, yes, they're out there.

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