Furry Trees?

Do you see a "Green Man's" face in this mossy tree?

Do you see a “Green Man’s” face in this mossy tree growing in the garden surrounding the aquarium in Newport, Oregon?


I fell in love with Oregon during my first visit back in 2006. 

That visit allowed us to explore the beautiful Willamette Valley from Eugene in central Oregon north to Washington’s Puget Sound.

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Abundant rainfall and mild temperatures make this a nearly perfect region for growing gargantuan, gorgeous plants of all types.

Newport Aquarium garden.

Newport Aquarium garden.


Farms and orchards here are prolific.  Vivid flowers bloom through a long season late into autumn.


Curbside planting in Lincoln City, OR.

Curbside planting in Lincoln City, OR.


Fields, forests, and vineyards form a patchwork of green across the hills and valleys.


A foggy mid-day along the coast on Highway 101.

A foggy mid-day along the coast on Highway 101.


And nearly all of the trees are “furry.”


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It was an early spring visit, a few years later, which highlighted Oregon’s “furry trees.”

Hardwood branches grow cloaked in several varieties of moss and fern.


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High humidity and frequent rain showers encourages lush moss to grow along trunk and branches.

(Actually, lush Oregon moss grows on wood, stone, brick, concrete…  buildings…  One dare not sit still outside for too long, if you get my meaning….)


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Some trees grow dressed in several different sorts of mosses, lichens, and also have walking ferns growing along their horizontal branches.

It is an unusually beautiful sight!


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This summer’s heat and drought has taken a toll on the usually lush and green landscape.  Nearly the entire state, even along the coast, has experienced a drought over the last year.

However, I still found some “furry trees” in the lovingly tended gardens at the aquarium in Newport.


Ferns in the gardens at the aquarium in Newport.

Ferns in the gardens at the aquarium in Newport.


Now that I’m back home in Virginia, rain has returned to the Pacific Northwest.  It is raining there today, as it is here, along much of the Atlantic coast.

The Earth is renewed with this welcome moisture.

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Before the rain…. Oregon’s drought.

I hope the ferns and mosses are soaking up this rain and will bounce back, green and vibrant, lush and beautiful;  all thoughts of drought washed away in the autumn rain.

My own garden is responding to today’s rain, and I expect the “furry trees” of Oregon are loving it as well!

Oregon's beautiful coast, just south of Depoe Bay.

Oregon’s beautiful coast, just south of Depoe Bay.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014



About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

9 responses to “Furry Trees?

  1. Mary says it really isn’t that bad, once you get used to the rain. She says it is a well-kept secret that they get plenty of sun. I think this is a delusion on her part! What really struck me is how adapted to the constant rain the PNWers are. We saw children, in rain gear, playing at recess in the schoolyard. Mary confessed that if they didn’t play in the rain, they would never get to go outside at recess. Her sons played sports, in the rain. She said she had never had such a collection of coats in her life until moving there. They have since, after 16 years in WA, moved to Denver. She has gone from that lush, humid environment to that parched Colorado climate. Talk about an adjustment.

    • Such irony! I hope they are enjoying the mountains, and have adjusted to the altitude.
      My daughter, raised in sunny VA Beach, chose to make her home in OR and somehow adjusted to the weather. She isn’t crazy about all of the rain, but patiently explains to me that she has adjusted to the climate as she runs around without sleeves much of the time. It is mild, so the temperature rain doesn’t vary that much month to month. It is the storms in off the Pacific with high winds that really make you pay attention. My partner still loves cool rainy days, after spending the first few decades of his life in the PNW. I’m bundled up in long jeans, sweater, and coat, and he is in T shirt and shorts…. On another note, may I assume that you are aware of the long history of hyacinth bean at Monticello? My first seeds were a gift from their gift shop, brought back by my sister. Hope you are enjoying this rainy day, WG

  2. Good morning, WG. My sister lived for many years just over the Columbia River in Washington state. We would take walks in the forests near her house and I was always so entranced by the furry trees. Gorgeous photos, as usual.

    • Good morning, Barbara 😉 You have been on my mind a lot these days. An email will eventually come your way 😉 Your sister chose such a beautiful (and fun!) area in which to live! We have friends on Whidbey, and they have taken us for a hike through old growth forest still on the island. What an experience! The trees are huge, and everywhere life! The mosses and ferns covering everything, including the trees, is just endlessly fascinating for an addict like me 😉 Could you live there, Barbara? Could you deal with the lack of sunshine? Eliza raises an interesting point. Best wishes, WG

  3. Awesome, thank you for sharing 🙂

  4. It sounds so beautiful – I love your last picture of the surf. I’m of two minds about the PNW: I love all the lush plant life, but I don’t think I could take the lack of sun. Gardening would be awesome, but I need to see the sun A LOT!
    We took a trip there a few years ago and it rained every day – I thought I would go mad!

    • Well, Eliza, it is a rain forest…. Last time we went we had a week that looked like that last photo… or worse… and 2 days of sunshine at the end of the visit. But oh, the plants love it! WG

      • Yes, of course, I knew that, with something like 150 inches of rain a year! I guess what I mean is that for me, it a beautiful place to visit, but I don’t think I personally could live there. I have a lot of admiration for the folks who do live in that climate! 🙂

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