One Word Photo Challenge: Dry

April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 634

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“Well, if it can be thought, it can be done,

a problem can be overcome,”
.

E.A. Bucchianeri

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one-word-photo-challenge-badge~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 481

 

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Back To My Garden

Siletz Bay, Oregon

Siletz Bay, Oregon

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I’m finally back to my own garden after a little more than a week enjoyed along the Oregon coast.

Arriving home this morning around 1 AM, I was delighted to find the Azaleas still vividly opening, the trees covered in bright new leaves, and the first of the golden bearded Iris in bloom.  Cannas have poked their first leaves up through the mulch, and the geraniums we brought out of winter storage just before I left have sprouted new leaves along their bare stems.

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"D" River State Park at sunset

“D” River State Park at sunset

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How wonderful to be back at home in my own garden!

The week in Oregon with family was a wonderful gift, and I enjoyed every minute of the trip.

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Siletz Bay, low tide

Siletz Bay, low tide

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Oregon is stunningly beautiful, especially along the coast.  This time, Ricki at Sprig to Twig  had tipped me off to visit the Connie Hanson Garden.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 647~

You will see many of the photos I took there over the next few days.  What a treasure of gorgeous Iris, Rhododendrons, ferns, Columbine, and countless other perennials, bulbs, trees, and shrubs gathered in a peaceful setting maintained by volunteers.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 639

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Some of you know the real reason for my trip, which centered on spending some extended quality time with a certain very little person who is happily learning to walk and do so many new things.

These precious first years are so special and fleeting.  Many of the photos I’ll share with you over the next few days were taken while also pushing a stroller and enjoying all of this amazing beauty with her.

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Granddaughter and I enjoyed the Connie Hanson gardens together.

Granddaughter and I enjoyed the Connie Hanson gardens together.

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This was my first trip to Oregon in April.  Oregon’s spring came early this year, after a very mild winter.  Still, the gardens along the coast are only a week or so ahead of ours at this point.  We’ve caught up quickly. 

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The garden across the street from our beach access stairs....

The garden across the street from our beach access stairs….

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Oregonians are tremendous gardeners.  The humblest little cottages have Rhododendrons and Callas, Azaleas, Iris, ferns and Rosemary in bloom in their tiny yards.  Abundant rain and a mild climate nurture such lush and vivid growth.  A simple drive to the grocery or the next town down the coast is filled with beautiful sights.

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Another gardener's garden along the way of our walks...

Another gardener’s garden along the way of our walks…

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A week with spotty Wi-Fi, a hand held tablet, and very full schedule precluded much posting to Forest Garden; but I checked in to read comments and see others’ blogs as I was able.  I wasn’t there long enough to adjust to PDT, and kept thinking (and living) dually in EDT and PDT.

Sleep wasn’t high on the agenda for the week.  But I watched every sunset and walked the beach every evening that weather permitted, fully aware that friends and family back in Virginia were approaching midnight as the last rays of daylight drained from the sky over the Pacific.

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Monday evening, at nearly 9 PM, but I was on the deck enjoying this sunset.

Monday evening, at nearly 9 PM, but I was on the deck enjoying this sunset.

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Bags unpacked, first dinner home cooked, cat groomed and photos downloaded; I’m settling in to home again.  My partner and I have admired the garden together, and my mental list of things to do in the garden keeps growing.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 418

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But a tender part of my heart remains on the Oregon coast, with a certain little someone who is blessed to live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 610~

She can hear seals barking to one another from the beach, see whales swimming off the coast, fall asleep listing to the calls of sea birds, and grow up among the beautiful forests which cling to the mountains near her home.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 443~

While away, I took about a hundred photos a day.  And my heart took more still.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 511

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One of the most beautiful sights, which no camera could capture, was a golden sunset streaming through the clouds as we approached ORD last evening.  It was cool and rainy on the ground.  But on the approach, a tremendous vertical rainbow appeared in the clouds; a column of vivid color where the sun’s rays illuminated the interior of the clouds.

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Along the walk to the kids' play area at the aquarium in Newport, OR.

Along the walk to the kids’ play area at the aquarium in Newport, OR.

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The week has been about light and shadow, growth, rain, and new beginnings.  I hope you will enjoy sharing a bit of it with me.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 662

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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?

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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.

September 17, 2014 Oregon 384

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!

 

September 17, 2014 Oregon 310

 

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.

September 17, 2014 Oregon 357

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

 

Aquatic Garden

September 17, 2014 Oregon 226

The rocky, barnacle encrusted beaches along the central Oregon coast harbor rich webs of life.

Various “sea weeds,” algae, and plankton provide food for many sorts of animals.

Many more plants grow along these Northwestern beaches than we normally find along the Atlantic beaches I have known so well.

 

September 17, 2014 Oregon 071

Every sea washed rock and tidal pool holds these beautiful aquatic plants.

Others grow directly from the sand.  Suspended and buoyed by the waves below the high tide mark, one finds them strangely flat and “deflated” when the tide recedes, leaving them behind.

September 17, 2014 Oregon 172

These beautiful aquatic plants come not only in different shades of rich green, but also in an autumnal set of shades ranging from reds to browns, golds and purples.

 

This photo was taken in a tidal pool exhibit at the Aquarium in Newport.  They still have healthy starfish in their exhibits.

This photo was taken in a tidal pool exhibit at the Aquarium in Newport. They still have healthy starfish in their exhibits.

 

Many are edible.  Sushi lovers already know Nori.

But there is a range of edible “sea weeds” many of us in North America have never explored.

A tidal pool along the beach at Lincoln City, Oregon.

A starfish still survives in this tidal pool along the beach at Lincoln City, Oregon.

 

So many different types of plants grow together along the Oregon beaches.

Long strands, pulled loose by forces under the sea, wash up along the beach with each tide.

 

An exhibit at the Newport Aquarium shows how fish interact with the natural sea weeds off the coast.

An exhibit at the Newport Aquarium shows how fish interact with the natural sea weeds off the coast.

We saw these as they normally grow in the Newport Aquarium.  They attract their own food chains of animals large and small which congregate around them.

Many plants cling to coastal rocks, below the high tide line, in a rich tapestry of life with mussels, barnacles, Sea Anemones, and other small animals.

 

September 17, 2014 Oregon 129

Schools of fish feed among them when the tide is in.

Gulls and other shore birds move in as the tide recedes.

September 17, 2014 Oregon 167

Birds feed from the rich banquet on the rocks, pulling tender flesh from their shells, until the tide returns and covers the rocks yet again.

 

September 17, 2014 Oregon 125

Many types of crabs, Starfish, Sea Cucumbers and Sea Urchins crawl around these shallow pools at low tide, live among the pilings of docks, and inhabit shallow bays.

 

An tidal pool exhibit at the Newport Aquarium where visitors may touch the animals.

An tidal pool exhibit at the Newport Aquarium where visitors may touch the animals.  the red patches here are an aquatic algae.  The purple creature is a Sea urchin. 

 

These bright, technicolor animals glow green and orange, purple, pink, gold, and red.

 

This hermit crab needs a new shell to protect him.  But, no shells were to be found on the beach.

This hermit crab needs a new shell to protect him. But, no shells were to be found on the beach.

I last visited the Oregon coast four years ago.  Thick clusters of starfish could be found on nearly every rock formation.

They were large and healthy.  Sea urchins crawled freely around the pools at low tide.

Green Sea Anenomes live in this natural tidal pool on the beach.

Green Sea Anemones live in this natural tidal pool on the beach.

The change in four short years amazed me on this visit. 

I found only one starfish living in the wild during an entire week of walks on the beach.

September 17, 2014 Oregon 120

Many factors, including warmer water and greater levels of acidity and pollution have reduced the animal populations.

These beautiful tidal areas no longer hold large numbers of animals as they once did.

 

September 17, 2014 Oregon 192

Clusters of mussels and barnacles also litter the sand at low tide.

 

September 17, 2014 Oregon 076

But these were the only shells I found.  No other species washed up with the tides.

I don’t know enough about climate and ocean chemistry to know whether these conditions can be reversed.

 

September 17, 2014 Oregon 182

I hope they can.  I saw clear evidence of life dieing out along these beautiful beaches.

 

September 17, 2014 Oregon 154

But finding so much plant life encouraged me, if only a little.

September 17, 2014 Oregon 264

So long as the plants remain, they continue to do their part to cleanse and oxygenate the water.

They provide food for many species.

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And they are beautiful.  I was endlessly fascinated with their many strange colors and forms.

Planted only by nature, these strange aquatic gardens filled me with wonder.

September 17, 2014 Oregon 247

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Photos from the Oregon coast and Newport Aquarium

 

September 17, 2014 Oregon 263

 

Seaweeds of the Pacific Northwest

One Word Photo Challenge: Cerulean

Siletz Bay, Oregon

Siletz Bay, Oregon

Jennifer picked the perfect color for her photo challenge this week:  Cerulean. 

 

Wildflowers growing in the outdoor display at the Newport Aquarium.

Wildflowers growing in the outdoor display at the Newport Aquarium.

 

I am just back from my visit to the Oregon coast.  After a week of living on a Pacific Ocean beach, I’ve returned with a huge cache of photos showing cerulean skies and the cerulean tinted ocean.

We were blessed with perfect September weather. 

 

The beach below my hotel along the Oregon coast.

The beach below my hotel along the Oregon coast.

While it rained nearly every day back here in Virginia; we had warm, sunny days along the northern West Coast.  I didn’t even see fog until Monday morning!

Of course I was taking lots of photos of the beauty of coastal Oregon.  I’ll show you a few of the best ones over the next few days.

 

Deep water tanks at the Newport Aquarium.

Deep water tanks at the Newport Aquarium.

 

And I was so happy to enjoy gardens both on land and in the sea!  There is so much plant life living on the rocky Oregon coast and in the tidal shallows.

“Forest Garden” will temporarily morph into “Seaside Garden.”

 

September 17, 2014 Oregon 363

And some of the most amazing photos come from Newport’s beautiful aquarium.  And that is where we are beginning, with a series of photos taken “under” the aquarium.

These deep water tanks feature tunnels for the human observers.  I felt like we were actually the entertainment, brought in to amuse the fish!

 

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One literally walks “through” the aquarium, safe and dry, while watching the fish swimming around and over top of you.  Which was fine, until we reached the shark tanks….

 

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These special tanks have openings to the sky above.  One sees the rays of sunlight shining down into the water, much as fish in the wild experience it.

The habitats are kept as natural as possible, and allow one to observe both the fish and plant life which live right along the coast.

I saw many of these same sea plants washed up on the beach during my daily walks.

 

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We enjoyed two visits to the Newport Aquarium during my time in Oregon, visiting with family.

The little one of the family had her first visit to the aquarium, and her first visit to the beach, while I was there!

What an honor to share that with her.

 

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And now,  there and back home again;  I am happy to share with you, Cerulean.

 

With appreciation to Jennifer Wells

For her One Word Photo Challenge:  Cerulean

 

September 17, 2014 Oregon 289

 

All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

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