This is my first spring in eastern Oregon. I've been coming to this valley for twelve years, but I've never been here at this particular time of year. Here in the foothills of the Wallowa Mountains, spring seems like an impossible magic trick. Four weeks ago there was ice on my walkway and snow on my eves. Now the days are growing long and the whole world smells like river water, warm pine needles, lilac, and cut grass. Daffodils and Tulips were an overnight fireworks show in flashy primary colors. And just this week, every tree limb has gone pink and white and purple with fruit blossoms. It's astonishing.

My own yard mostly consists of grass, dandelions, eight towering pine trees, and a few horrible rogue Elm trees. I've been strategizing about what, if anything, I might like to plant. The house, which is a traditional craftsman, screams "cottage garden", but with so much shade from the trees and the acidic soil from the pine needles, a cottage garden isn't really possible. So I've been researching forest bed foliage. I'd love to try a lush shade garden!

It turns out that hydrangea do pretty well in acidic soil and can tolerate low light situations. So I've decided to plant some in the front of the house. And this weekend a couple of neighbors gifted me some transplants: Fiddlehead Ferns, Lily of the Valley, Silver Dollar Plants and two Lilac saplings. I also got my hands on some Day Lilies for a sunny spot along the front fence. I'm so grateful for my generous neighbors and this new opportunity to start a garden on my own. Everything in this valley grows so beautifully, I think it will be much easier than my garden adventures in Texas. Wish me luck!