I have to say that overall I like the roundabouts, they are fun, they display art, they are not usually a problem to navigate. It was, however, a little boogling to see The Bulletin’s frontpage story on Wednesday about the proposed eight new roundabouts on Reed Market Road from 27th to Division. Good grief, you could get dizzy on a street like that. It is a bit like a cat chasing it’s tail, a mouse on a wheel,or a merry-go-round. But then I realize that maybe these roundabouts are circles of life, maybe Bend is building dozens and dozens of medicine wheels. Let’s hope the art in the centers will continue.
I am happy to report that I made the apple pies for Thanksgiving this year from the apples from my own tree. My son and family hosted and cooked the main meal, it was as always a stupendous feast.
The apples came from a tree that was a first year seedling, the year we moved here to our deserty abode in 1976. I nurtured this little seedling until it is now a 25 foot tree. I always heard that seedling apple trees rarely have tasty apples. There was a large seedling apple at my Mom’s place (long gone now) in Bend, just a block from the Third Street And Franklin Street Safeway and it lived up to the myths of not very tasty apples. But my tree’s apples are excellent, a yellow delicious type. They were not a total suprise, because I had one or two apples a while back. But after 29 years, this apple tree finally fully fulfiled her mission of reproduction and had a full crop of apples and made a delicious pie.
What a beautiful trip. That is one of my favorite drives, through Prineville and over the Ochochos through Mitchel, Picture Rock Canyon, Dayville, Mount Vernon and John Day. You can stop at the Painted Hills and Sheep Rock, sections of the John Day Fossel Beds for astounding views and great litte museums. John Day has the Kam Wah Chung museum, a tiny little Oriental outpost, home and office of Doc Hay, a famous Chinese doctor that practiced there for many years. We got quite a nice lunch at the Outpost in downtown John Day, and on the road to Canyonville, there are a couple of fun antique shops.
Glenna Lange and I are going to take a tour class there for Central Oregon Community Education Department. in May sometime. This was our pretrip. We will go on a bus and we will stop at Sheep Rock and John Day at the Kam Wha Chung museum. We will talk a lot about plants we see on the way, eating and healing with the wild plants. It will be fun.
I have another class coming up soon that I teach through COCC Community Education. On November 12, Saturday, 9 to 4 is Gardening Under Cover. Register with the COCC office.
The annual poppies are really getting into good bloom. They always seem so happy. There are a number of really good varieties that do well here in Central Oregon. They prefer to grow from seed sown outside in either fall or spring. Most do not like to be transplanted.
Iceland poppies are a weak perrenial, but in their good years they bloom all season, from spring to fall, and often self seed. They range in shades of yellow, orange and white.
The Shirley poppies have white-based petals and the blooms range from white to shades of pink, orange and red. They are annual and are easy to grow from seed. It is a cultivated version of the famous corn poppy of Flanders Field fame that is scarlet with a black center. As the Shirly poppies self-seed, they tend to revert to that variety.
The opium poppy, though it is supposed to be illegal to grow, I think, I have been seeing all over town, it’s ruffly and double and quite outstanding. It seeds it’s self happily and is true to type. I do not think that ruffuly cultivar could be the drug kind. This is the variety of seeds that are for culinary use.
California poppies are another bright, colorful poppy that self-seed and has the bonus of being a native flower.
There is a perrenial version of the poppy also. You will see them all arount town also, when they bloom in late May in brilliant oranges and some pink shades. These can be grown from seed or you may buy plants.
The late spring and early summer bloom all around Bend has been spectacular this year. I don’t remember seeing the lilacs, roses, and peonies ever being quite so lush. The peonies is my garden have certainly never bloomed better. What fun, Be sure to pay attention to the yards as you drive around.
Gray Groundsel, Senecio canus
Narrow-leafed phacelia, Phacelia lineris and Tidytips, Layia glandulosa
The wild flowers are just beginning to really go into show mode. It never ceases to amaze me that this terrain, this soil, that is just sand and for much of the year looks dead and barren, bursts into bloom in the spring. Life truly is wonderous.
Is this prairie rocket (Erysimum asperum) or western wallflower (Erysimum occidentale)?
Death Camas, Zygadenus venenosus
Bitterroot, Lewisia rediviva
The challenges of gardening out here on the high desert and at the foot of the Cascade Mountains are many, but to me, the worst and most frustrating are the frequent spring and summer frosts. We are on frost alert right now, full moon tonight, a risky time. This apple bloom time has been the mildest (in terms of few frosty nights) in my 29 years of living here on this property.. I have had one tree full of apples once, and maybe three times we had a couple apples. This year I am almost giddy, all four apple trees have fruit, as well as plum and pears trees are with babies. Now I say my prayers, because tiny, baby fruit can still be frozen off of the limbs.
Two nights ago it was 30 degrees on the thermoter in my front yard, but we had rain the night before and everything was wet, so not too much damage was done. I did, however notice a bunch of my strawberry blossoms blackened. Meanwhile, since there are not too many clouds this evening, I will carry in several dozen tender potted plants, I just do not trust it.
If we get through this crisis spot, we will maybe be safe again till mid-June when we often have frosts again. Watch out around the forth of July and mid August. Actually any night of the year can frost here in Central Oregon. I have seen snow fly around the forth of July several times. Our climate is warming, however, whether global warming or other causes or cycles, I might get apples this year and am for the third time having a lilac bloom.
The wild flower season is moving right along out here ten miles NW of the Badlands. The sand lilies are just finishing up, and the western wall flower, milk vetch and larkspur are in full swing. Just beginning, or in bud are the daisies, groundsel, bitter root and death camas. All around Central Oregon the bitterbrush is in full bloom and soo fragrant. It is a great time of year, the high desert at it’s finest.
Through the next month to month and a half is a really great time to visit the Badlands east of Bend, go Highway 20 to milepost 16 for the trailhead, the desert widl flowers are in their finest show.