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Re: PCN: douglasiana (143ex)

From: "Patterson, Dallas" <nye@mail.fidalgo.net>

Actually, the distance is 120.2 miles as the Yahoo! flys, so to speak. The 
Yahoo! maps use a route along the I-5 through Seattle and Tacoma. The Great 
Circle Route is somewhat less of course <g>. You're very close to Heaths and 
Heathers. We wanted to buy some heather at their sale in September, but we 
were grounded by last hour attacks of a virus. Maybe next year....

The lowest temperatures we've experienced around here since we arrived in 
January 1996 has been about 14 degrees F., and seldom anywhere near that low.

The day we arrived here on the move from Southern California, we traveled 
through one of the century's worst blizzards in the region. We brought many of 
the iris bare root in the back of our own van, while many of the potted plants 
traveled by the mover's vans. We ended up traveling non-stop from the Los 
Angeles area to keep the computer stuff and iris from getting too cold. This 
almost became futile when I-5 was closed to traffic near the California-Oregon 
border. We detoured inland by Mount Shasta to go around the road closure, but 
found each of the highways were being shutdown in front of us in Oregon. As 
the snow began to fall, we were told a good road was open towards the west 
across the mountains. Our maps were not very clear, so we took the advice and 
only route open to us. The advice was wrong!

As soon as we left town, we found ourselves on a snowpacked road surrounded by 
ten and twelve foot snow banks. There was no place to turn around. We 
continued on. The road became narrower and more primitive. Backing up was not 
an option on the treacherous banks. Later, we learned that we were on a forest 
highway in the mountains, and we spent the next six hours in the early 
night slowly climbing up and down more than a hundred miles of snowy and 
mountainous forest roads as the heavy snowstorm threatened at times to bury 
the road in front of us. Our typical speed was 5 to 10 miles per hour. On one 
occasion we were moving at 0 to 1 mph around a descending curve, and the van 
began to slip and spin right off of the road towards the snowbank on the 
outside shoulder. This hairpin curve was above a chasm where it was too deep 
to see the bottom in the snowstorm. All this time, the temperature in the van 
continued to fall despite the efforts of the heater.

Finally, we made it out of the mountains and back to the I-5, where it was 
raining and not snowing. But this didn't last. By morning, we were in 
Portland, Oregon and an even worse blizzard than the night before. As we made 
our way past Longview and up to Centralia, the highway patrol closed the 
on-ramps to I-5. It was seldom possible to see where the edges of the pavement 
were located under the snow and ice. Time and again cars tried to pass us at 
30 to 35 mph, and they went spinning around out of control in front of us and 
the tractor-trailers, splashing violently into the snowdrifts of the median 
strip. Some of them went in so deep, the car or SUV were all but completely 
buried in the snow. We didn't dare move slower than 15 mph or faster than 20 
to 25 mph. Blinding curtains of snow alternated with sleet and freezing rain 
to obscure the windshield and turn the snowpack into perfect skating 
conditions. It was not possible to climb or descend an off-ramp until well 
north of Seattle.

When we arrived at our new home after two days of non-stop travel through the 
rain and snowstorms, we found one of the moving vans had arrived a little 
earlier. They wanted to unload immediately (sigh). So, the unloading 
commenced, and the potted Iris japonicas sat outside in the cold air as the 
temperature dropped to 16 degrees F. By the time the movers finished, the 
garage was closed, and the heating was taking effect; the I. japonica plants 
had changed from their beautiful and healthy looking green to a sad and 
wilted dark green. 

Despite the ordeal, the Iris japonica and most of the other iris generally 
survived the trip to Washington and are once more flowering. The Iris 
douglasiana and other PCN are thriving better here than in the heat of Los 
Angeles County. This was very encouraging. The other half of the plants ended 
up being detoured by the moving company on the second moving van through 
Montana and the low January temperatures there for another week. They survived 

It was the weather here last December which proved to be a killer. A few 
plants which had survived earlier winters died after an abrupt cold wave 
following an extrordinary warm period. Plants which were killed included 
everything from the tender Rosemary varieties to many local and hardy native 
plants. Aside from the extraordinary exceptions, I must agree with you. 
Fidalgo Island seems to enjoy more moderate weather than surrounding areas. 
Driving only 15 miles towards the Cascade Mountains east of us takes you from 
USDA Zone 8 to Zone 7. We can see the practical reality everytime we shop in 
Mount Vernon. It's hotter in the summer and colder in the winter. They also 
get much more rain than we do, because we're partially within the Olympic 
Mountains rain shadow.

(TB) Immortality is still blooming here, but the past two weeks of cold fog 
and rain have left its leaves in a shambles. Many of the Shasta Daisies and 
Rudbeckia are continuing to bloom. The Garden mums have faded away. The 
Gaillardia and Coreopsis are blooming, although declining. Cetranthus ruber 
albiflorous is blooming very happily.

We're awaiting the imminent delivery of our new PCN, and wishing for more 
'sunny breaks.'

Dallas Patterson

Mike00Rita@aol.com wrote:
> From: Mike00Rita@aol.com
> Hi Dallas
>      We have been experiencing some weird things with our computer and since
> I'm rather illiterate with this toy, it is taking me some time to catch up.
>      Perhaps we'll meet, and trade a couple PCI. My I. Doug. is more pink
> than anything else and is in a fairly dry summer location, which is like it
> grows in the wild.
>      I have no real way of knowing the # designation, but I'll ask around.
>      I think your winters are actually milder than ours, I'm about 60-70
> miles south of you I think. No rebloom this year at all even at our club
> "Point Defiance Park" garden.
>      Looking forward to hearing from you again. Ask me again about the # in a
> month or two, just to keep my mind on track.
> Rita B
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