Gardens in Winter

Dear Liza,

With the shorter days and colder temperatures, I thought that gardens in Portland would sort of shut down in January…but I was so wrong! The color palette has shifted from pinks and yellows to mossy greens and soft browns, but the beauty goes on.

I love that people decorate their yards here with things that age well, and that they let them age. Concrete animals get darker and sprout moss, wooden fences go a little darker and tilt a bit.

There are still some flowers blooming, as well. Some hardy dahlias keep the camellias company, brightening up the moss and damp on even the darkest grey days. Snowdrops come up cheerfully,giving a concrete duck something to talk to.

I know it is still months until Spring, and that there will be days when I get tired of all the moss. But for now, I enjoy petting the wonderful velvet covered walls and stones as I go by.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Hoyt Arboretum, Part 2

Dear Liza,

The Hoyt Arboretum kept showing us things we didn’t expect.

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It’s Cold!!

Coming out of the forest, we saw a grove full of lacy bamboo with something…odd…hanging in it. We headed down stone steps and past a Japanese style gate to where we found this sculpture, called Basket of Air, by Ivan McClean. The sphere  is about 6 feet in diameter, and it is suspended over a creek by cables attached to three bamboo poles. The “basket” is made of steel but looks as light as a soap bubble. It was so surprising, I laughed out loud! I want to visit it at other seasons, to see how it looks different.

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          Basket of Air by Ivan McClean                                              Photo Credit Bridgett Spicer

We headed off to The Holly Loop, where all sorts of holly bushes are growing. From the top of the loop we could see Mt. St. Helens, a volcano only sixty four miles away from Portland. Maybe we will go visit it sometime.

When we had seen all the forest we wanted, we started back down.

But wait! There’s the Veteran’s Memorial! Grandpa Nelson and I hadn’t seen it, but Auntie Bridgett had. She sat down to draw while We walked around.

The memorial is in a large ‘bowl’ in the shape of a spiral, and near the top are plaques remembering the Oregonians who died in the Viet Nam War. The war went from the 1950s to 1973, when Grandpa Nelson and I were growing up. My brother Tim was in the war, and Grandpa Nelson would have been if his draft number had come up. This war always feels more personal than others.

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Viet Nam Veteran’s Memorial

The cold started to creep through our coats and gloves, and the sun on the moss was chillier. We picked up a very shivery Auntie Bridgett and headed home, for sure this time. Tea and hot cocoa, a rest, and then dinner, put us right.

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Cold Winter Sun Through Moss

Photo Credit Bridgett Spicer

Love,

Grandma Judy