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Please welcome new members here and if you have not introduced yourself yet, take a minute to let people know a little bit about yourself.

Welcome Steve in Brookings

Postby Steve in Brookings » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:49 pm

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Steve in Brookings
Cloudforest Expert
 
Posts: 297
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:16 pm
Climate Zone: SSZ 5/17 - USDA 9b
I'm Steve and have, for the past 10 years, lived in Brookings, Oregon which is right where California, Oregon and the Pacific Ocean all come together. As my climate is transitional between PNW and northern coastal California climate types, I've been lurking on both the Cafe and the PNW sides of the forum for several years. I generally consider my climate to be Sunset Zone "5b," a hypothetical zone with some characteristics of both SSZ 5 and SSZ 17. I can grow most plants that are recommended for the SSZ 15-17 group, but those recommended only for Zone 17 (and not 15), may be a bit too tender, and those recommended only for Zone 15 (and not 17) may not get enough heat here. I am never short on chill hours. Winter, though mild, lasts quite a bit longer here than in the Bay Area.

My main interest is in "exotic look" ornamental horticulture for a cool maritime climate. Trees ferns, cool-growing palms, rhododendrons, bromeliads, bulbs, flowering shrubs and vines are just a few of the plant groups that captivate me. My interest in tropicalia undoubtedly stems from the many trips I made to Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil and Argentina in my 20's. My gardening interests are not as strictly limited to the tropical kick as it is for some others, though. I came to Oregon from Arizona 20 years ago and have an equal appreciation for dry, lean landscapes as for lush, green ones. Coming from a desert background, my interest in ornamental plants is eclectic and many plants that are "boring temperate-zone crap" to my fellow PNW gardeners are exciting to me.

I also have an interest in food plants, both ordinary and unusual. To my way of thinking, "unusual fruit" can just as easily come from temperate climates as more tropical ones. I'm enthusiastic about berries of all kinds. I'm looking at apples, pears and stone fruit that might do well very near the ocean and am starting to experiment with different varieties of Actinidia arguta. I also have a few small citrus that are not yet of bearing age and some cherimoya seedlings in the greenhouse. There are many different kinds of fruit trees that will succeed vegetatively here, but getting acceptable fruit quality is another issue altogether. This is just as much of a problem with temperate-zone fruit as it is with subtropical types (sometimes more). I'm also interested in permaculture and other approaches to small-scale sustainable agriculture.

I do most of my gardening on a half-acre site about a half-mile from the ocean, but actually live in another house just a few hundred feet from the beach. Since I don't live there on a permanent basis, my main garden suffers greatly from the predations of deer, mollusks and pocket gophers. At my full-time residence, I have a small greenhouse where I mostly grow orchids and store a few sensitive outdoor container plants during exceptional cold snaps.

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