Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Flora Fervor

"No work is more important than teaching the children that the
God-given beauty of Oregon is their Heritage."
We were staying at Jessie Honeyman Oregon State Park, lush and beautiful, and huge, the size of a small town tucked into a lush coastal forest.    Quiet prevailed!  Just a whisper of wind along with distant soft sounds from a smattering of other campers.  As we sat in front of our camp fire, in contemplative moods, the threatening rain  arrived.  Scrambling, we retreated to Thistle and our newest addiction, Dominoes. 

 Several dunes removed from the ocean the plantings are lush and beautiful, towering over our 11 foot van.   Close to the park roads the shrubs and trees have been sheared from the ground up as high as a maintenance person can reach.   Hedges so thick one cannot see into the forest, have turned the roads into tunnels of green.  Visiting in the spring with the Rhododendrons and Western Azaleas bowering over the roadways, colorful and fragrant, must be glorious.

On the road to the shore, just south of Florence, the plants are striking in their adaptation to harsh conditions.  On the west side of the road there are sea grass covered dunes, with a scattering of scotch broom.  The broom, looking sheared, is no taller than the grass, beat down by the incessant wind. 

 On the east side of the road there is the oft seen Oregon forest blend of plants, molded into a thick quilt of rich green textures, undulating over the dunes, at a height of about 4 or 5 feet.     The wind has been a persistent pruner, shearing all the foliage into well manicured hedges.

The shore, dominated with sea grasses, is surprisingly intertwined, despite the harsh conditions, with the more sensitive forest plants.   On the pathway leading to the sea we observed numerous large banana slugs, a creature sensitive to salt.  But there they were in these hostile seashore conditions in this narrow line between the sand dunes and the coastal forest.

The edges seem crisp but it's deceptive as the species curiously intermingle.

Early October the forests were vibrant green after the recent rains.  From dried remains in late September, as we headed south, the Licorice Fern were now leaping into existence.  We were treated to new green fronds peeking from cracks in walls, gracing road cuts and sprouting from the mosses on  forest trees.   There were mushrooms galore.  Witnessing the season rejuvenation from the rains was like our beloved northwest was seducing us home again.


"The greatest wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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