Friday, April 11, 2014

Every Blossom Girl

Paris maybe burning, but remember when I said that Portland was blooming? I was not kidding. For a city it has an amazing variety of flowers all over the place. People seem to take great pride in their blooming gardens and flowering trees. Each morning and afternoon as I'm walking around the neighborhoods, I see residents weeding, planting and chatting with neighbors about their flowers.

Definitely more of a vegetable garden kind of gal myself, all these flowerbeds still hold a lot of allure. Meandering in the streets of Portland has a special magic, with rhododendrons, Growing Blaze roses and magnolias reaching onto the sidewalk to grab your attention. I spent an entire afternoon zigzagging between 36th and 43rd, from Powell to Division, just photographing the blossoming wild.

There is this sticky lovely smell in the air, emanating from every yard, the trees that arch over the roads.  Countless bugs and butterflies buzz the flowers.

It seems like the ideal city for keeping bees, because at least in this season, there appears to be infinite forage (though bees need forage for the whole season), and I was a little puzzled by why I was seeing so few of them, until I came across a huge patch of rosemary on a one yard, literally crawling with bees, and realized that with such an abundance, they are simply as choosy as the next person when deciding where to eat here.

This spring I seem to be overly enamored, for the first time in a long time, with pink, so excuse me while I photograph every pink flower in sight.

And every red flower while we're at it.

I'm particularly obsessed with redbuds, bleeding hearts and the gorgeous, paper-y yellow flower shown here on the very top, identified by a friend as a "Kerria Japonica Pleniflora". Each morning I purposefully walk by the house one my way in who's yard it grows, and the owners much think I'm a mad stalker for stopping by their gate every day.

This abundance of flowers in the spring is something I do miss from city life, though I never lived in one as flower-full as Portland. In the country, the flowers, other than short-blooming fruit trees, come later, in the summer.

I remember when I first moved to London, where magnolias bloom around March, I was absolutely floored by their appearance, how they transformed the drabness of the buildings and the gray English weather completely.

Not that all the yards here are an absolute groomed display. There are plenty just run wild with dandelions and forget-me-nots. I walk by them equally in awe, thinking of the ease of dandelion wine making, and the crowns that one could weave.

It's just wonderful to see so much life in a place that's still mostly concrete and asphalt. And now I'm going to head out and do some more blossom-viewing, mug in hand, breakfast waiting at the end of some unknown street.

Life and beauty, intertwined completely...

Favorite spring flowers? 


  1. Oh, I'm so jealous! We're still waiting here in PA for everything to blossom. It's very slow-going this year. I think I look forward to the peonies the most, no matter their color.

    1. I'm so much more south than I usually am tho that I'm kinda dreading heading north. Peonies are one of my favorites too. <3 Card someday soon.

  2. Replies
    1. Aika ihkuu eikos? Suomalaistytolta menee TAJU kun huhtikuussa kukkaloisto ;)

  3. It's good to see you're enjoying your time in Portland. It is a great time of the year. We moved here six years ago and just love it. If Charlie every makes it down here with you I'd love to chat woodworking and tools with him over a pint (insert Portland cliché here). I wish the best of luck to him with Kestrel Tools.

    -Eric, who really needs to order one of those crooked knives

    1. I think we'll come in the summertime for a long weekend. I'm in town for a new bebeh and I imagine it won't be long before we want to see her again. If you want/can email me via my contact and I'll let you know when we're coming through. I'm sure he'd love to talk to a fellow wood working pal and hey-Portland cliches are cliches 'cos they work, right? I for one love em'.
      -Milla who just got a tattoo with a coffee in hand and is about to head out for a pint and pizza date with a Murakami book ;)

  4. I see you've been busy. I almost can't keep up with you, darlin'.
    The bleeding hearts have always done something for me.
    I see you're traipsing through the woods and that you turned over an owl card.
    Looking good out there, sister.
    Tra la la....

  5. oh portland! what a wonderful place to walk the streets, most especially in spring. <3

  6. so amazing! things are in bloom here too but not quite that abundant. all that rain is good for something! i think i love our lilac tree best of all. lucy kept smelling it over and over again today; i think it was kinda blowing her mind how good it smells, how we don't even have to try, it's just there for the enjoying, showering us with heaven.

    i look forward to i hope lots more details of your portland stay. what a cool city, even if it is becoming its own caricature. i don't even care. what makes it so, rules!

  7. Those are all gorgeous shots, so many flowers! There's still a foot of snow on the ground here, at least, so flowers are a long way away. Thanks for sharing! I love bleeding-hearts, they're such a unique and beautiful bloom.

  8. Having a hard time looking at these beautiful photos - I'm in the mid-East of Canada, and everything is so drab still. Mountains of grey and black snow in the yards that don't get as much sunlight, no buds on the trees, nothing green, and only a tiny speckling of crocuses in the yards with the most sun. It will be another 3-4 weeks before it's warm enough for anything at all to grow.
    But somehow it makes summer and spring and fall so much more exciting, because it's about 8 months of winter and 4 of the rest.