I love the many unique gardens of the Pacific Northwest. Here is a just a small sampling of those I have visited recently.
The centerpiece of Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC is the beautiful Sunken Garden, built in an abandoned limestone quarry a hundred years ago…..
RoozenGaarde in Mount Vernon has a glorious array of tulips and Mt Baker in the background.
In Sequim there are the lavender farms with fragrant fields of blooming lavender..
For roses, there is the International Test Garden in Portland where you can vote for your favorites during the Rose Festival…
And then there are the more humble gardens we call our own. Ours is a backyard forest garden, rustic and full of whimsy and surprise, where you never know what you may find…..
Recently while walking in my garden, quietly so as not to awaken the tree, I thought I saw something new…
Beyond, past the stream…
Around the corner, a bicycle stood in the ivy where none had been the day before..
Had it been there long? Had I missed it somehow? I sought out the garden curator and asked where the bike might have come from and what it might mean.
“I saw it standing just like that in a neighbor’s yard when I was out on my morning walk. It’s from the nineteen fifties. I asked to buy it. Do you like it?” he asked smiling and hopeful.
“Indeed I do,” I replied.
And so another story and another artifact added to the garden. Who knows what I will find tomorrow in my Northwest Garden of Whimsy?
If you read the ‘About’ section on this blog you will already know that I spent some time working in technology. I liked it. Maybe a lot. I was not a heavy-duty computer programmer. I didn’t do Cobol. (Do they still use that?) Or Unix, much. (Is that still around?) That was for the big guns not for me, a crossover from the accounting world. But I was a developer and a tester using software to modify and build new applications and programs in business technology. And so I got used to doing things in a ‘test environment’ which was a copy of “production” or the real world.
Design, build, test, modify, retest, deploy to production for the users to see, enjoy and experience. Hopefully the testing was robust enough to catch any bugs or problems the new software might introduce. Fortunately, that was usually the case. (Not always. Then the newly deployed program got yanked out of production in a hurry. Or worse yet, those problems remained undetected for a period of time and had to be fixed later. Ah, those were the days.)
This left me spoiled in some ways. Take this blog for instance. I have recently begun to use software that allows me to write and publish posts for free (thank you wordpress). For the most part it is straightforward and user friendly and I am very pleased with it. However, I miss having a true test environment. Oh I know there is the ‘Preview’ function which is very, very nice. But it does not allow me to do the kind of robust testing I am used to. And when you are not a risk taker, that is a bit uncomfortable. I have found for example, in ‘Preview’ mode everything might look exactly as I want but once I hit ‘Publish’ I realize I have overlooked something or my post doesn’t look as expected in every place. Still, these are minor things and I am learning the nuances of this software and am very happy with it.
But deeper than that. I have often thought how nice it would be to have a ‘test environment’ for Life. To be able to try out careers for a few weeks. Or find out how retirement might work out on a daily basis from all angles. Or how about being able to test those words and actions and how they might be received by a friend or stranger or loved one. (Oh! I will not deploy THAT to production!)
But we must live our lives speaking words and making choices in the real world without a test environment or even a preview mode, by faith if you will. I suppose that makes it all the more interesting. But it might also cause us to sometimes pause and weigh what we are about to do or say and the effect it may have on our future selves and others.
Maybe the real world is a test environment?
Sometimes when I am weary I go to my garden and just by being in the presence of green and color and life and fragrance I am cheered.
I especially love the lavender.
The bees love it too.
And then there are the strawberries. Tiger likes to drink from their leaves after the rain is over…
I like the glorious red of the sweet berries ..
I once had a conversation with my grandpa who told me he’d recently found himself saying “forty years ago… ” and he remembered back when he was younger how some older folks would also say “forty years ago” and wasn’t it curious that he now found himself saying the same thing and I remember him telling me this little tale in his slow grandpa voice about forty years ago…..
You keep to your space and I’ll keep to mine….
Off we go on another road trip down the beautiful West Coast (and best coast) of the USA, headed toward the majestic Coast Redwoods! We leave Seattle and after three days cross the border into California on Highway 101 enjoying the same awesome ocean views we had grown accustomed to in Oregon.
But now we move inland to take the scenic parkway through old growth forest gazing upward while we look for the tops of the giant beauties before us, the Coast Redwoods, the tallest living things on earth.
We hike deep into the woods through giant trees and ferns and moss-covered maples, then move on to the next roadside attraction, The Big Tree.
This beauty, estimated to be 1500 years old towers 304 feet over us. Some friendly travelers take our picture with the Tree and we return the favor.
Coast Redwoods grow in a narrow strip along the Pacific Coast of California and southwestern Oregon. Its cousin, the Giant Sequoia, grows only on the western slope of the Sierra Nevadas. The Coast Redwood is the taller of the two growing up to 380 ft high while the Sequoia is greater in total size growing up to 32 feet in diameter.
We continue to the Avenue of the Giants driving slowly through the majestic trees that dwarf the road below…
Stopping for an easy loop trail through Founders Grove where we see this beauty….(the tree I mean)
And continue around fallen ones leading us to ask the question, ‘if this tree fell in the forest and nobody was there to hear it would it make a sound?’ And the answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’
After two days in the land of the giants we say goodbye and head back to the coast on highway 1 where we are rewarded with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. We are still impressed.
I love living in the Pacific Northwest where we are surrounded by an incredible landscape of mountains, rivers, forests and seas. Within a couple of hours you can be at Mt Rainier
or Olympic National Park
or Columbia River Gorge.
Or you can opt for closer to home and still see some killer scenery in less than an hour.
One favorite local drive is to Tolt-MacDonald Park in the Snoqualmie Valley. Snoqualmie. Even the name is beautiful, don’t you think? The park showcases the river and a 500 ft suspension foot bridge that frames the surrounding views of rolling farmland and the Cascade foothills.
We visited the park on New Year’s day when it was crisp, cold and clear and perfect for a short drive. Even the grass was beautiful that day.
And on up the road is famous Snoqualmie Falls which is always worth a stop to view the falls from above
and to make the short trek to see them from the river below.
Of course today I am only dreaming of these places, as I look out the window at gray skies, light winds and intermittent rain. A typical Seattle Memorial Day weekend. ~ Susanne
Good Morning all. Tiger again. The first light of day has begun to dawn through the closed blinds and I must needs go out to hunt the small ones who reside in the bush. I hear them through the walls. I sense them in my whiskers.
Bob is up and Sue tosses. She is the one I must wake but though my eyes speak she doesn’t hear. I must resort to the mew, though she does not appreciate that, I have learned. But what can I do? The small ones will escape and I need the chase to release the energy stored up overnight in my limbs.
“Mew,” I say quietly so only she can hear. She stirs but does not rise.
“Mew,” I say again a bit louder but still there is nothing.
“Meow! Meeowww! ” I say again so she has no excuse to pretend she does not hear. Some movement but still the door remains closed. I hate when the door remains closed.
I begin to panic as I hear the small ones get away.
“Meow! Meowwwwww! Meowwwwww!”
“Oh Tiger!” she says and she is up and finally opens the door.
My day has begun.
~ Susanne & Tiger
Okay, so I like to sleep. It’s one of my favorite things. In fact, I don’t know what I like best, batting around the small rodents who dare to enter my kingdom; or stretching out on Sue’s bed with the room heated up to a toasty 74 degrees while TV provides the buzz that sends me to kitty lala land. On second thought, that’s the clear winner. Sleeping.
Sleeping – It’s what I do best. ~ Tiger
Is there any plant so cheerful or faithful as the herb? I stepped outside this evening when the rain was falling lightly and found my herbs all aglow..