People often express surprise when I tell them that the temperatures in Portland, Oregon stay within about the same range as those in mid to northern Florida. Our growing zone is just one step “colder” than Tampa!

Now, the duration of warm or cold is very different between the two. Portland does get lots of cold, dreary, wet days in the fall and winter, and our hot spells usually only last a couple of days at a time. But as to the coldest and warmest we get, we are very temperate.

One nice thing about this is that, from our floating home, I can usually see flowers on the river bank any time of year. Different plants bloom in winter than in summer, but there is always some color to be seen.

Last year about this time we bought two mixed potted flowers, with primroses around the edges and hyacinths in the middle. I had never owned primroses before, but they were pretty and the hyacinth smelled amazing. Over time, the hyacinth did its thing, blooming, fading, and eventually dying back, to wait the year for its next spring. To my surprise, however, the primroses never stopped blooming all year. They have had constant blooms coming and going and brightening our deck even on the darkest and rainiest days.

Now that spring is back, the hyacinths are again sharing their hypnotic fragrance. The neighborhood’s daffodils are blooming, and some of the trees are starting to bud. Yes, we might still have another freeze, but the signs of spring are definitely here already in the Pacific Northwest!