October 24, 2012

Fall Planting for Spring Surprises

Fall planting in my garden is finally finished after getting several hundred bulbs and a few bareroot perennials in the ground.  Now there's just all the fall cleanup to do - cutting back dead perennials and cleaning leaves out of the garden.  Most of the color is gone from the garden, but the little lavender fall Crocus speciosus are still blooming in the front yard (above). 

I planted fifty 'White Splendor' Anemone blanda around the trees and roses in the front yard.  Last fall I planted some but forgot to soak them first, and none came up in the spring.  This year I dutifully covered them with lukewarm water and let them plump up overnight before planting.  Before soaking they looked like dried doggy poo.  After soaking they looked like fresh doggy poo (above).

I also added more crocus:  early yellow 'Golden Bunch' and later violet 'Grande Maitre', above.  Newly planted tulips include more 'Salmon Impression', more pale yellow 'Jaap Groot', and white 'Maureen' which blooms at the very end of tulip season.  One hundred more of my favorite 'Tete a Tete' mini daffodils came from John Scheepers, and I really should have taken a photo of the giant bulb clusters.  Many of the bulbs were 4-nosed, meaning four bulbs were hooked together at the base to be counted as one bulb.  Wow!  That will make a lot of flowers in the spring.  In past years I have planted bulbs in clusters around the yard, but this year I tried to extend the clusters into sinuous lines.  We'll see how it works when they come up in spring. 

I found a place in the front yard for another 'Coral Supreme' peony (above) from Swenson Gardens to match the other two.  This new one will take a few years to catch up to the others, which should bloom heavily next spring since it will be their third year in the ground (in their first year peonies sleep, in the second they creep, and in their third they leap).  I also added a third 'Capital Red' tree peony from Cricket Hill Garden in the backyard.  This spring one of the tree peonies I planted last fall died back at the end of the main stem and looked like it was completely dead.  Cricket Hill was ready to send me a replacement (great customer service!), but then the peony leafed out from lower on the stem and started growing happily.    

After trying twice before to order 'Heartbeat' super poppies (Papaver) and having the nursery run out before filling my order, I finally received four poppy roots from White Flower Farm this fall.  I had only ordered three, so I'm not sure if the extra one tucked in there was a mistake or if one of them was too small to count.  No complaints, though!  I've been excited for a long time to see how these burgundy, twice-blooming poppies do in my garden.  I love the orange-red poppies in other gardens but don't want that color in my scheme, so I'm happy to find what I think will be the perfect shade.    

October 9, 2012

A Good Review for the Spokane Temple Grounds

Last month we had a review of the Spokane Temple grounds by leaders from the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, UT.  The church has high standards for the upkeep of temples and checks regularly to make sure each of them are in good order.  I was happy (and relieved) to hear that the leaders were very pleased with the beauty of the temple grounds here in Spokane.

Apparently most smaller temples like ours have mostly green landscaping with just a few small flower beds.  At the Spokane Temple we have many areas for perennial and annual flowers.  This creates more work for volunteers, but it is a labor of love and makes a beautiful display for the many visitors.  These first two photos show annual flowers outside the front gates in July, including 'Blackie' sweet potato vine, 'Opera Lilac Supreme' petunias, 'Zaraha Double Cherry' zinnias, 'Evolution' salvia, 'Serena Blue' angelonia, dusty miller and sweet alyssum.

Marilyn is the landscaping director at the temple, and she does an amazing job of organizing volunteer groups from all the congregations in the area.  Thousands of hours of work have been contributed this year by church members to pull weeds, deadhead flowers, spread bark, rake leaves, trim groundcover, plant bulbs and perennials, water, and do anything else that needs to be done.  The photo above shows the lavender flowers of perennial 'Rozanne' geranium with the striped foliage of Iris pallida variegata.

I moved to this area five years ago, just as the temple grounds were being relandscaped.  I was asked to serve on the landscaping committee the next year and was sad to see that the new plants were still small enough that the grounds looked very sparse.  This year the groundcovers and shrubs were finally large enough enough to look full and lush.  Of course the trees need a few more years (decades?) to look really good, especially since we had to replant fifteen trees this spring.  The photo above shows 'Blue Gown' campanula with 'Hummingbird' clethra.

It has been great to watch the temple grounds mature and become more beautiful over the past few years.  One of our big considerations on the landscaping committee is making the grounds photo-friendly for weddings.  Unfortunately that has not been the case at the Spokane temple, but I think it will become better for photos as the shrubs and trees continue to fill out to make better backdrops. 
In the next month we'll be working to get 5,000 spring-flowering bulbs planted at the temple.  Marilyn asked me to plan the bulbs this year, which has been great fun.  One of my main goals was getting more flowers earlier in the spring, so we'll be planting hundreds of crocus that will start blooming in February.  The entrances will feature fancy tulips and fragrant hyacinths in bold colors to celebrate spring.  I also included several hundred of my favorite mini-daffodils ('Tete-a-Tete').  English bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) and windflowers (Anemone blanda) will be new additions to the show.  I'll be sure to post photos in the spring.  Above are 'Wave' petunias in pink, white, and bicolor.