September 23, 2013
Blue-violet is my favorite color in the garden. It seems to work with every other color and adds serenity to the color scheme. In my garden it is the glue that holds various color schemes together and connects different areas of the landscape. The photos in this post feature gardens at Temple Square that go heavy on this great color. Above blue-violet petunias, verbena and purple African daisies rub shoulders with mini white zinnias and upright 'Karl Foerster' grass.
This mix of annuals and perennial grasses surrounded a large rectangular pool to the east of the temple. There are quite a few pools, fountains, and other water features around Temple Square.
Here is another shot of the annual/grass mixture around this pool. Upright 'Karl Foerster' contrasts with the softer fountain shape of Pennisetum grass. Orange and yellow zinnias add some pizazz to the soft shades of blue-violet.
Rose-like pink lisianthus fit into the mix well. The small flowers at the bottom right corner are nierembergia. I could remember most of the annual flower names but had forgotten that one.
At the west of the pool, this garden bed makes good use of chartreuse and black sweet potato vine foliage. The vine's bold texture contrasts well with the feathery fountain grass and linear spikes of Salvia farinacea. I love these areas where trees and statues add structure the lower annual plantings.
This view of the bed shows the black and chartreuse sweet potato vines, violet verbena and salvia, lavender petunias, deep pink geraniums and coral-pink zinnias.
A statue of Brigham Young is surrounded by pale pink annual vinca mixed into the pastel color scheme of violet-blue, green-yellow (chartreuse), and orange-red (coral). Those last three colors balance around the color wheel and work really well together in this bed. Green hydrangeas anchor the corner of the area.
Oakleaf hydrangeas in the upper right corner add bold texture and contrasting size to this composition. A few of the flower beds at Temple Square are seas of mounded annuals, and those seemed boring to me even if I liked the color scheme. I preferred the beds with differing textures and forms mixed together.
Here is a final shot of an area in front of the north visitor's center, to the west of the temple. Deep reddish-maroon coleus and magenta petunias add some drama to the color scheme seen in the previous photo. That dramatic deep color, the cheerful corals and the exuberance of the chartreuse sweet potato vine are held together by soft blue-violet. Gotta love that workhorse blue-violet.
September 16, 2013
This post features photos of bold-hued annual beds at Temple Square that were among my favorites. You know how some gardens just look like a bunch of flowers, but other gardens work together so well that they make you catch your breath? These areas made me catch my breath. Above you can see yellow Rudbeckia, deep red geraniums, coral-orange impatiens, coral geraniums, coral begonias, coral diascia, orange zinnias, violet heliotrope, and lavender browallia. There is enough repetition that it doesn't look chaotic, yet there is enough variety to keep it interesting.
These flower beds surrounded this walkway between some of the buildings east of the temple. This is the wide view looking south over the area.
Above is the wide view looking north. If I'd had more time, I would have enjoyed sitting on the benches and just taking it all in.
Isn't this color fabulous? There is plenty of green from the annual leaves and the overhanging trees to make all the bold colors pop. This bed includes many of the same flowers from the first photo, plus linear blue-violet Salvia farinacea and some pink impatiens and zinnias. The clump of perennial daylily leaves at the bottom right adds nice texture.
Beautiful trees provide structure to the roundy-moundy annual flowers below. Those deep red geraniums are just luscious. The funny thing is that I don't have any red in my own garden, and I keep saying I don't like orange flowers (I'm not sure if I believe myself anymore), but all these red and orange flowers really spoke to me. They worked well with all the other colors in this design.
After taking photos early Friday morning (well, not that early - you can see the sun getting too strong in some of these photos), Marilyn and I met with one of the head gardeners for several hours. Larry Tavenner has been working at Temple Square for 39 years and is retiring at the end of this month. I was happy to learn that he designed the gardens in these photos. He was remarkably humble and generous with his time.
To be a truly great garden designer, you have to have an eye for artistry and a brain that can remember long lists of plant characteristics, preferred growing conditions, etc. Many people have one or the other, but it's harder to find both in one person. It was amazing to hear Larry talk about his summer annual designs as well as his spring bulb/annual designs and realize how much information he carries around in his head. He talked about working on designs until they just felt right. These areas certainly felt right to me!
September 9, 2013
Last week Marilyn and I flew to Salt Lake City, Utah to study the gardens at Temple Square. Our goal was to learn about their designs and how they maintain the gardens so we can do a better job here at the Spokane Temple grounds. Knowing how much work it takes to maintain our 2 acre site with just a few flower beds, it was awe inspiring to study the extensive gardens at the 35 acre Temple Square site.
Above is just one of the many annual beds around Temple Square, and it's larger than all of our Spokane Temple annual beds combined. Temple Square receives around 5 million visitors each year. I have no idea how many visitors we have at the Spokane Temple, but it's not nearly that many! We just garden on a different scale here in Spokane. That's a good thing since we're all volunteer-staffed in Spokane, while at Temple Square there is a staff of full time gardeners.
Here is a shot of the south side of the temple grounds with perennial grasses, lavender shrubs, and 'Rozanne' geranium in the corner. The annual beds are beautiful and full of color, but it's also nice to see some serene gardens like this one.
Here is another annual bed farther to the south of the temple. I had so much fun studying the different color schemes in the gardens. This one is bold and cheerful. We use many of the same annual plants in Spokane, though in some areas we're limited by deer and rabbits. They aren't troubled by any of those pests here in downtown SLC, and they even have a pair of peregrine falcons that build their nest nearby each year and keep the area free from pigeons.
Here is a view of the temple from the northwest corner, showing the Tabernacle on the right. Large trees and areas of lawn contribute to a peaceful feeling. Since I arrived early in the morning to take photos before the light became harsh, there were few other people around.
My favorite trees at Temple Square are the old American Elm trees. Their elegant branches remind me of dancers - they might be even more beautiful in winter when their form is more visible. Back when Dutch Elm disease was tearing through this country, the elms at Temple Square and at BYU's campus were inoculated with an experimental treatment. I'm not sure if the treatment was ever approved for large scale use, but it saved these elms.
Here is a view of some of the annual beds running down the center of the walkway between the temple and tabernacle. I love the play of bold shades of red against deep purples and blues. Marilyn and I definitely want to use some purple fountain grass in our Spokane Temple gardens next year.
Here is one more view of beds between the temple and tabernacle, featuring giant coleus and impatiens. You can see the interesting hanging wall gardens along the top of the photo. I have many more photos of different gardens around the campus, including photos of the rooftop garden at the conference center. I'll be doing several more posts to share them.
September 3, 2013
A round of photos of the Spokane LDS Temple annual beds is a good chance for me to evaluate what worked well this year and what can be improved next year. These first two photos show what we call the 'Spiral Beds' near the front entrance on the west of the temple. Below you see one of the spiral topiaries that inspire the name.
Last year we had lime 'Marguerite' sweet potato vine planted here that had to be cut back regularly when it tried to take over the sidewalk. The lime 'Wasabi' coleus was a good change, since it grew upright instead of spreading. I think a few sweet potato vines dripping over the west lip of the bed (the back side in this photo) would be nice for next year.
We've had frequent questions this year about 'that cool tall spiky plant.' I think it's fun to include a few unusual plants along with the tried-and-true favorites, and the 'King Tut' papyrus has certainly caught a lot of attention this season. Papyrus is native to the riverbanks of the Nile, so it likes lots of water, heat, and plenty of sun. It didn't grow to its potential height of 6' for us, but did reach 4'. It's a nice replacement for spiky dracena.
Here is the annual bed at the street corner where you turn into the parking lot. This area struggled for the first part of summer because it wasn't getting enough water and some voles were tunneling around the roots. We are limited here to deer and rabbit-resistant plants. I think a fun change for next year would be to use some sunset-colored 'Sunny Sheila' African daisies (Osteospermum) in the mix. Click on the name to see a photo. Wouldn't those orangey flowers make an interesting combo? This area definitely needs a little more of something to make it pop.
Here is a closer view of that area. The bed is edged with perennial silver Snow-in-Summer (Cerastum tomentosum). This shot also shows 'Magenta Ribbon' snapdragons, '3D Purple' African daisies, 'Evolution' and 'Evolution White' salvia, 'Imagination' verbena, and magenta lobelia. More of the mauve 'Senorita Rosalita' cleomes are planted at the rear of the bed.
On the sun-baked south side of the temple we used bold rainbow-hued flowers. Above is violet 'Evolution' salvia, a bit of dark blue 'Marine' lobelia, lime 'Margeurite' sweet potato vine, 'Dakota Gold' helenium and 'Tango Red' and 'Tango Purple' (really they're magenta) geraniums. We were going to include orange nasturtiums in this area, but they weren't available from our grower.
Here is the area we call the South Arc. The golden helenium outgrew everything else this year, as you can see! Also in this bed are violet 'Aladdin' petunias and 'Imagination' verbena, Royal blue 'Marine' lobelia, a few lime sweet potato vines (some of them died on the left of the bed), 'Confetti' lantana that I thought would be orange but instead is more pink, and red and magenta geraniums. Next year it would be nice to add some orange and cherry pink zinnias and maybe some spikey red salvia. Asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri') would add feathery texture and is deer resistant, so we could also use it in the south pots outside the fence.
Above are the East Rectangle and East urns. The annuals here grew well, but I'm not excited about how the colors came together. Next year I'd like to go with a deeper color scheme. We need to keep golden yellow helenium in the mix to tie this bed to the surrounding 'Stella d'Oro' daylilies, and the lime 'Margerite' sweet potato vine is fun to have growing over the edges. Maybe I'll replace the 'Bubblegum Vista' supertunias with magenta 'Sangria Charm' supertunias, plant more of the orangey-plum 'Sedona' coleus so they don't get hidden by the other plants, and add some purple trailing wandering Jew (Tradescantia'). I've only seen wandering Jew as an indoor plant, but I think it would make a good annual. It would definitely fall into the unusual category.
'Vista Bubblegum' supertunia really is an amazing grower, but it might just be too . . . pink. I love pink. Maybe not this much of it, though. So next year this area will be dark and dramatic instead.
Here is a final shot of the east rectangle bed. A few violet 'Marine' heliotrope add fragrance to the mix of 'Bandana Light Yellow' lantana, lavender verbena (sorry I can't remember which), 'Dakota Gold' helenium, and of course the overpowering 'Vista Bubblegum' supertunias.
This month the temple grounds director (Marilyn) and I are flying to Salt Lake City to study the gardens at Temple Square. We'll have a tour from the head groundskeeper and get to ask lots of questions. It's exciting to think of how much we'll learn, and how much better we'll be able to care for the Spokane Temple grounds afterward. I'll take lots of photos and post them here soon.