comments: 79


This is Cornell Farms, my favorite nursery, in Portland's west hills. If you go on a cloudy day, everything sort of shimmers and glows with spring.


It's all just starting.


The season obviously comes early in the Northwest, but it's none too soon for me. Once I get over my whole "snow, please snow!" thing (in early January), I'm thoroughly and immediately ready for winter to be over. One of the first buds to bloom is the camellia, queen of the yard, in all her soapy-petaled perfection.


Cornell Farms is gorgeous. Tucked onto the side of a hill, it is an artfully organized, beautifully displayed collection of the best spring has to offer here. On Monday, we were two of only a small handful of people browsing, and I felt like I was in a private wonderland.


It feels like the way being in an art-supply store feels, your brain massaged by endless rows of color, phalanxes of pure pigment, and the potential inherent in all those tools. You could create a masterpiece, you know. It's all there.


But you have to remember to water. I can't seem to remember to water as I should, but I hear it's important. . . .


I like sedums. I think they are absolutely adorable. Whenever I see a table full of them, I can't resist patting them gently, to feel their plump, waxy faces. They make me smile every time.


And primroses are ubiquitous here (these are only 59 cents a piece), but no less bush-ily, crink-ily wonderful for that.


I'm a big fan of shamrocks. There's something so simple and naively optimistic about them. I have big clumps of big green ones all over my parkway, and they make these fabulous green domes. But these bi-colored sweeties are cute, too.


This is their little motorcar, which transports plants about the place. I think it's so cute. It reminds me of something I'd drive around Busytown (where I've always wanted to live).


Hellebores have an ethereal but poignant sort of quality, like angels.


Don't they?


Goodness me.






Thank you for this. I live in such a snowy snowy world that this is good for my soul. I used to live literally next door to a huge nursery in Victoria, BC and I'd whisk (wisk?) over there often and feel my soul get all the nourishment it ever needed.

These photos are so lovely to look at!! I love your "Busytown" comment on that motorcar, it surely does look like it belongs there!

I was holding my breath while reading/gazing at this. Not sure why, except... breath didn't really seem necessary in the face of such beautiful photographs and all. Wow!

Thanks for the tour. What a sight itching-for-spring eyes! Brin

I was holding my breath while reading/gazing at this. Not sure why, except... breath didn't really seem necessary in the face of such beautiful photographs and all. Wow!

Thanks for the tour. What a sight for itching-for-spring eyes! Brin

Love the Camellia, and what a beautiful photo...Perfection !! Thanks for the view.

Mmmm - such dreamy flowers in that misty-moisty atmosphere of beautiful Oregon. And such wonderful colours and pictures - thank you. I'm in San Diego (dry, dry, dry!) and my daughter is at the Evergreen State College, just up the road from you in Olympia WA. She says Portland is her favourite city in the whole of the US. Now, after reading your blog over the past few weeks, I can see why.

Hi Alicia! Thanks so much for this post... spring is still sort of lagging over here, and I've been just dying to see flowers to no end. That camillia photo is pure perfection. I can almost smell it. :)

Chris Howardq says: March 22, 2007 at 09:59 AM


OOO now I wish I lived in Portland. Look at all the things that GROW there. Alas, I will have to enjoy from my xeriscaped yard in the desert... Lovely pictures...

I want to live there... or busytown. :) Those pics are amazing. Thanks for sharing!

Ohmygoodness. Thank you for the tour. The colors are so beautiful. I was hoping you had the photos on flickr so I could go crazy making favorites!

Weeeeeee - Spring is sprung(ing).
Beautiful shots - there is something about the tight organized beauty of renunculas that deeply satisfies me. But the blowsy decadence of the peony (not until June:( !?) that really revs me up.
Yay flowers.
Yay Alicia!

OMG! I LOVE your photos! The colors - the lush petals, and green greens. Heavenly! That camellia reminds me of the row of pink and white (alternating) camellia bushes we had in a row (behind the white picket fence) when I was growing up in a pink house in Milwaukie - a suburb of Portland back in the 60's. Gosh, I loved those camellias. I loved their delicate pastel layers and glossy leaves. Wish we could grow them in Montana. But no. Hydrangas and no camellias don't like the winters here. Thanks for the memories.

Beautiful post! Portland is so wonderfully lush and it's lovely to see those blooms when everything's still brown here in the Midwest.

I love sedum, too. I know just what you mean about all the colors making you feel you could create a masterpiece. :o)

ooh, ranunculus time! I recently fell in love with hellebores, I love the touch of Addams family about them.

OMG!!!! Everybody seems determined to torture me!!!!! I LOVE the pretty, pretty flowers that everybody keeps showing off, but they're really making me sick of the snow that we've got. And not only were we nowhere near melting point for the snow already on the ground, but it started snowing again last night, and is still snowing this morning.

*sigh* I just want spring to come!

Thanks for posting the pretty pictures of the lovely flower-angels & all the paraphanilia that goes with them.

Pretty ... I have to feast my eyes on pictures of Spring at this time of year because Montreal is still grey and slushy and leafless and will be for several more weeks. But I'm always ready for Spring in March!

Gorgeous photographs. Cornell Farms is our favorite nursery. You've capture the beauty there perfectly!

I could look at your pictures of flowers for hours - spring is a long time off on the east coast of Canada, so thanks for all your photos and keep them coming!

Oh wow, what a fabulous place to visit! I'd go crazy there :) How kind of you to only pat the sedums, I like to squish them. I can't resist their plumpness.

So beautiful! You found perfect, perfect flowers for the photos--a masterpiece indeed.

Alicia =^..^=

Such a beautiful post ... of your gorgeous day.
. :: I am in Heaven just Looking :: .

Next time I am in Portland I must find and visit this nursery! Perhaps ... bring my lunch and stay awhile under the Hellobores. I could indeed get lost there among the beauty.

And primroses for 59-cents? ::WoW:: If they hit 99-cents here ::POOF:: they are snatched and gone before I can get even one. I would have the pathways under the trees to the cottage door thick with them were it possible.

You know ... Faeries will not pass through the primroses for fear of being seen ... and so it is the perfect deterrent to keep the mischievous sprites at bay ::smile:: I am certain it must be fae that keep moving my keys so I cannot find them ...

So lovely stopping by to find you in the garden today, Alicia. Have a wonderful time (I know you did not go home empty handed.) Make tea. Sit. Inhale.

Kiss Auds for me?
=^..^= love, zU

these pictures just made me heave a big sigh and put an even larger dopey grin on my face. you know, the kind you would have while flipping through the pages of tiger beat when you were twelve? that one. could you please tell me the name of the white bush/tree on the right side of the second photo?

This makes me want to run out to my nursery! Today we're having a very nice spring day, so hopefully it'll stay around.

wow that camilia is soo beautiful. The kids and I were at the nursery today too and it was such a great way to spend the morning.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at