Gardening where the sidewalk ends

February Gold February 24, 2010

No question about it, this has been the weirdest winter I can remember. Yes, I’m counting last year’s Snowpocalypse; this one is even odder. Spring came months earlier than usual this year – I’m confused, the trees are confused, the birds are confused. I just hope we get back to some semblance of normal next year or it’s going to start seeming like a pattern instead of a few anomalies strung together.

Anyone reading this from under a pile of snow on the roof is probably wondering what’s to complain about. Sunny days and 60 degrees in February? Well, it’s not typical, so it’s getting everything started sooner (including garden pests like aphids and popping weed, not to mention allergies!), which just seems wrong. I wonder things like, if the migratory hummingbirds come back and the flowers they are used to have all bloomed already, will they have enough to eat following their exhausting trip? If my roses leafed out too early and I didn’t cut them back until this week, will they still bloom? If the bumblebees are already out but it gets colder later, can they go back to sleep?

The upside of all of this, of course, is sun. Lovely, warming, spirit-lifting, unusually present sun. I can’t remember eating lunch outside at a cafe at this time of year before. Essential Baking was on my way home from an errand the other week and I couldn’t resist stopping in.

Essential Baking sign on sunny Seattle day

Their special soup was beet something, I can’t remember the other ingredients but it was heavenly, along with a salad of spring greens and some tasty flatbread. The sun made the soup look like was sparkling.

Sunny cafe lunch - outdoors in February!?!

The cafe has a nice little parking strip garden, with euphorbias and a cute, small witch hazel which was just glowing on this day.

Glowing witch hazel blossoms and euphorbia

Sunlit streetside euphorbia at Essential Baking

Some kind of eucalyptus (?) is planted in brick planters on the cafe side of the street. I liked the way the red-rimmed leaves softened the severity of the iron railing.

Eucalyptus leaves and iron railing

Outdoor dining in the dead of winter. What is this, California??


10 Responses to “February Gold”

  1. What I have always loved about our weather is that it is unpredictable. That sure hasn’t changed, but all of your points are well-taken. This year has been a head-scratcher, for sure.

  2. gardeningasylum Says:

    My daughter in Seattle has been rubbing in the blooming bulbs and sunshine, but I think after last year, maybe this even things up. Enjoy!

    • Jen Says:

      Oh man, thank god someone somewhere is enjoying the warmth of the sun at an outdoor cafe! If I ever did that, I certainly don’t remember. .. (and we’re supposed to get 6-12 more inches of snow tomorrow!) Sigh.

      Glad you got the package and hope it gives you some Happiness Project ideas 🙂

  3. Jane Says:

    Call it zonal denial, but I love the warmed-up weather. Earlier in the month I was worried that the cold would come back and smack the little buds, but as February is now in its 4th week, I’m not as concerned. I’m sure we’ll still have a few cold nights, but spring is inexorably advancing!
    I like the look of your lunch and its golden setting: bakeries make some of the best meals, I’ve found. How nice that this one also gardens for the benefit of the neighborhood!

  4. I remember the year we were house hunting here in Portland I was too hot in capri’s and a short sleeved sweater in February. Of course since it was our first February I thought they would all be like that, and I was wrong. You just never know what nature is going to through at you. Your pictures capture the afternoon perfectly, and that soup looks so good!

  5. Jane Says:

    My comments are regularly disappearing from your blog. Maybe your blog host hates Portland?
    Anyway, this looks like a delightful place to have lunch, with its tasty soups, bakery-fresh bread and greenwalks plantings. I’d like to ID the eucalyptus…

  6. Catherine Says:

    It’s been strange for sure. We’ve already gotten a few big projects done, things I thought wouldn’t happen until April. I’m enjoying the sun, but a little concerned about the same things you mentioned.
    I love EBC! They have the best bread.

  7. Grace Says:

    Hi Karen~~ I think nature has a way of handling the weather diversity. As a natural born worrier, who am I to talk? LOL Yesterday, [Friday] was a drencher and yet today, sunny and blue again and WARM. Life is good. Thank you El Nino!

    Your lunch looks good enough to eat!!! 🙂

  8. Kristi Says:

    Yum, that looks delicious.

  9. Megan Says:

    Every time there’s early warm weather I believe it’s going to be like this forever. It fuels the zone denial like crazy.

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