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Some Evergreen Shrubs

Mahonia repens (Creeping Mahonia) I can never over-emphasize the importance of evergreen shrubs in the garden. Otherwise, you have nothing to look at during the winter months. Here are a few of my favorites. Talk about a carefree plant! The PNW native  Mahonia repens (Creeping Mahonia or Creeping Oregon Grape) requires nothing special and will even tolerate drought after it is established. I tend to think of this plant more as a groundcover but after many years (six to be exact - it was planted in April of 2017) it is beginning to look more like a low-growing shrub. The height is less than 2 feet tall. Growth tends to be more horizontal and it has spread 3-4 feet. Not a fast grower. Sun or part-shade. The leaves are an attractive blue-green and they become tinged with red and purple when the weather is cooler.  Flowers have been sporadic but every year they increase. It usually blooms around April - The flowers are then followed (around July) by the berries or "grapes" - Os

More snow and a cheese ball recipe

We woke up to a winter wonderland this morning despite the weather forecasters predicting that Clark County would get little to none. That seems to be the norm now and I've learned not to rely on their forecasts. There are so many variances and elevations here that it is extremely hard to predict.

Most of the snow had melted by the afternoon but snow flurries are falling again as I write this.

Last night was Oscar night and we had a nice spread of snacks and desserts. We had some friends over and they brought some goodies as well. This is a cheese ball recipe that is one of our favorites.

Pineapple Cheese Ball

2  8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup minced celery (optional! We don't include this)
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 tsp. minced onion
1  20 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped pecans

First, make sure the pineapple is well drained. I put it in a strainer and press the juice out. I then put it in a thick towel and wring it several times. 

In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, celery (if using), bell pepper, onion, and crushed pineapple. Divide the mixture in half and form two balls out of the mixture. Roll each ball in the pecans. Chill until ready to serve.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Your garden looks good with a coating of snow. All of the evergreens stand out being flocked. It is amazing how much every plant has grown in the short time you have been there. I like the rock wall across the top of the hill. Your garden has developed a great personality. MMMMMM that cheese ball sounds good. I will make it for a Euchre party we are having soon. I always like to make something different.

  2. Ugh! Let's hope that's the last of the snow. It does look very pretty, though.

  3. This white stuff may be pretty for a while, but I am ready for it to go away and for the days to warm up a bit. Garden projects are calling me... My favorite to win best actor won. Yay.


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