We are enjoying some glorious weather here in Oregon this February. I feel guilty even saying that, with the unrelenting snow storms and record cold clobbering much of the Midwest and Eastern U.S. I’m moving past the guilt though, and relishing being able to walk sog-free, frost-free ground this week.
After a daily dose of rain for two straight weeks, with some tree toppling high winds tossed in there, I was hoping the wet would relent. And, it did. We are now in the middle of a predicted two week rain-free weather system. Temperatures are reaching the 50’s and 60’s. I had to take my coat off when working outside yesterday. Wow. While not usual, we have had ‘farming weather’ in February from time to time in years’ past. On Sunday morning, I noticed the parking lot at Al’s Garden Center in nearby Woodburn filling up with cars – the gardeners were out in droves. It was a lovely sight to see in the middle of winter. Everywhere we drove, we saw daffodils and crocus blooming. Our early variety peony plants are sprouting and the bearded iris are off to a quick start this year.
Yesterday I was able to plant a few bare root peonies that I had stored in bags of peat moss since fall. The soil was the perfect friable condition; a quick couple of shovels and it spaded ‘like butter’. The peonies will do fine; although, I don’t normally plant bare root in February, I will be able to see how these do in comparison with fall planted peonies. When we have mild winters, we have seen no difference in spring growth on peonies planted between September and January here in the Northwest.
We still have plenty of weeks left this winter and early spring, where we can get socked with a snow or ice storm. There will be a lot more rain and frost, to be sure; but, right now, our Willamette Valley weather is a gardener’s delight. I plan to make wise use of it, while it lasts.