Saturday, July 12, 2014
A Garden of Two Cities
Before the event got started, I decided to take a stroll through Northwest Portland. I used to work in the area and would walk through the neighborhoods on my lunch hour. As I looked for my favorite yards in this older part of Portland I just had to smile. I was surrounded by Texas.
I moved to Austin five years ago and have fallen in love with the city. Partly because it makes me feel so much like "home". No wonder, many of the same plants I had in my Portland garden are actually Texas natives and feature prominently in my Austin yard. Liatris, coreopsis, lipstick salvia, sunflowers, tradescantia, sweet potato vine, all peek through yards and planters. If it weren't for the hostas and rhododendrons I could be strolling through Hyde Park.
It makes me a little disoriented.
But there are many plants that don't grow in both places. One of my favorites is the 'Oregon Blue' Hydrangea. This variety went out of vogue when the vivid 'Nikko Blue' came on the market and now isn't even sold anymore. It starts out purple and ages to blue. The more acid the soil the deeper the purples. You can find it in the old neighborhoods and is cultivated by some in the wholesale flower trade. Then there are the ethereal forms of the lace-cap hydrangeas. I actually like them better than the mop-heads.
So as I prepare to see Portland again through a carefully planned itinerary, I am happy to report that my old haunts are as colorful as ever. And while I can pine away for things that I no longer grow, there is enough in common to keep me firmly planted in both Austin and Portland - even though they are 2,000 miles apart.