Green in Winter


Even after a week of hard freezes, when the ground did not thaw during the day, the Shungiku 春菊 are bright green and growing. I had no idea they were such a hardy winter vegetable. I nearly ripped out the bed of Shungiku at the end of the growing season, but now I’m glad I didn’t.


A tiny buttercup is in bloom. The daily deep freezes didn’t stop it. Rain and warmer weather has moved back in. It is still too cold for a bee to come visiting the flower.


The woods are in their winter hues. On sunny days, the trunks and branches glow. We’re not the only noticing that many trees are suffering from the hotter, drier summers. The problem is such that Washington State University (WSU) Extension Forestry will be holding a seminar on Wednesday about the issue:

“Dead and dying trees have proliferated throughout Skagit County and the rest of Western Washington,” a WSU news release states. “This year trees were particularly hard-hit, especially western red cedars, causing concern for many property owners.”
Learn what makes forests healthy or unhealthy and how to recognize when there’s a problem on your property. Topics include insects, diseases, and drought, including their environmental roles and the important interactions between them. Learn about what property owners should do (and not do) to increase tree resilience and mitigate impacts. The seminar will be taught by Kevin Zobrist, associate professor of forestry at WSU and author of the book Native Trees of Western Washington.
Admission is free, and no confirmation necessary.
The seminar will be held Wednesday, December 12th from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Mount Vernon City Library, 315 Snoqualmie St, Mount Vernon, WA 98273.


It is sobering to know that I am among the last generation to enjoy the lush, green, Pacific Northwest. Today’s children will grow up to a much different Pacific Northwest. They won’t be able to hike in the Cascades and feel the cold, refreshing air blowing off the glaciers. There may be no salmon swimming upstream to spawn. By then the oceans will be too warm for salmon to survive.

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