My wife and I absolutely love the Oregon coast. Yes, I am referring to the entire 363 mile length from the Columbia River to the California border. We might even love the Oregon coast as much as we love conifers!
A few years ago we decided it was time to travel the entire length of the coast and stop at all the lighthouses along the way. We had a wonderful time and we met some great people along the way – we even met the daughter of one of our Mid-western friend’s elementary-aged child’s teacher!
Two of our very favorite destinations on the Oregon coast are the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a very large indoor and outdoor venue with great displays of our local coastal creatures. One of our favorite displays is the giant column shaped tank filled with jellyfish. We would sit and watch them for hours if we were allowed to set up our lawn chairs right there. The gentle, constant movements of these amazing creatures is very enjoyable to watch – much like a lava-lamp, but cooler!
The lighthouse itself at Yaquina Head is great, but some of the best times have been when we have timed our visit to the low tide, which reveals hundreds of tide pools, and the sea creatures that dwell within them. We will find sea stars, a few different species of Anemone, Mussels and one of my favorites, the Purple Sea Urchin, among many other fascinating sea critters. Perhaps coincidentally, one of my very favorite, dwarf, Eastern White Pines is also called ‘Sea Urchin.’
Pinus strobus ‘Sea Urchin’ was the first, dwarf, five-needle pine planted in one of my first conifer gardens, many years ago. I would love to see that old specimen today! ‘Sea Urchin’ appears somewhat like its namesake growing in a small, dense, globe-shaped form with spiky looking needles held out in all directions around the plant. With a growth rate of approximately one inch per year, this soft-needled, bluish-green pine will remain small in the garden for many, many years. This slow growing pine loves full sun and a very well-drained soil and is ideal for growing in a container on the patio, deck or balcony.
I love my ‘Sea Urchin’ at least as much as the real things that I see at the aquarium!