We are back from our trip to southern Oregon, and I’m taking
a few days to get organized and packed up for the Pacific Northwest Perfumers’ Salon
at Tigerlily Perfumery
in San Francisco, which will take place from
6:00-9:00 PM on Thursday, July 17. Tigerlily is located at 973 Valencia Street
in the Mission district of San Francisco. It’s free, there will be special
cocktails, and a 10% discount on all of Tigerlily’s stock, so it’s definitely worth
checking out if you’re in the bay area.
It was refreshing to spend a few days in a place where it’s
really hot. I know most people would not think of 100F/38C heat as refreshing,
but after years of dank chilling in Seattle, it is a pleasure to bake in the
dry heat during the day and not have to wear a jacket at night. There’s
something liberating about being warm 24 hours a day.
Most of the time was spent in Ashland and the surrounding
area, doing town things, searching for sagebrush and other interesting plants
in the hills, and visiting wineries and hot springs. The bottom line is that
sagebrush doesn’t grow in the Ashland area, so we need to look closer to home.
However, there were all sorts of small aromatic plants that I haven’t seen
before, including a lot of things in the mint family.
The other interesting thing is that Jackson Hot Springs
which has a small hot pool and a large swimming pool, “purifies” the water to
remove the sulfur smell that is characteristic of hot springs. Having been to
natural hot springs where the water comes straight out of the ground steaming
and smelling of sulfur, I thought the commercialization and “cleaning-up” of
the water was an odd thing to do because it removed part of what seems like the
“atmosphere” of places where volcanoes make their presence known in benign
ways. We were there in the evening, so I think there may have been some "natural" pools that we missed.
It’s always reassuring to visit a winery and actually see
grapes growing. All too often the winery just buys grapes from growers at some
remote location and is basically just a factory that processes them. The Belle Fiore Winery
just outside Ashland is actually surrounded by extensive vineyards (and their wine is good, too).
I was happy to see that they were pruning their grape vines at this time of
year, which is what I’ve been doing too, in an attempt to control the ridiculously
vigorous growth of new canes and leaves so that they can put more of their
energy into producing fruit.
The vines at Belle Fiore had been trained to have
one large trunk that grows upright, then branches at the top, with the branches
trained upward between two wires. This is the model for how I’m going to train
our grape vines next year. It’s too late for this year since the bunches of
grapes are already developing, but I think that next spring I can do some
retro-training to improve their growth habit even though they got off to an
unruly start. Training the new growth upward between the wires and pruning
often to keep the vines compact seems to be key.
[All photos are mine, taken on the trip, except the one from the Jackson Hot Springs website. The sunset was one of the most incredible I've ever seen.]