February 24, 2014

West Garden Through the Year

The robins returned to our neighborhood last week so I had high hopes for spring arriving soon, but it has been snowing again the past few days.  The west garden, pictured above, looks empty.  I dug out a few photos from last year showing the progression of this garden through the seasons.

In March the small bulbs begin adding some color and the other plants send up green shoots.  It's still kind of bare, though, isn't it?  When the evergreen 'Wee Willie' boxwoods mature to 2' tall and wide, they will give a little more structure to the space in winter and spring. 

By the end of April, the larger bulbs and 'Axcent Blue' Aubrieta are blooming while fresh green growth begins to fill in the area.

Here is the garden in May, as the last 'Blue Spike' Muscari bulbs finish up and the big show is about to start.

June is the best month for this garden, with plenty of color and lush growth.  I didn't get a photo of the garden in July, but the upright lilies and daylilies bloomed during the first part of that month.  My 'Lady Emma Hamilton' English rose also had its main flush of bloom in early July last year. 

In August there is less color, though the 'Walker's Low' catmint and 'May Night' salvia have been cut back and are now on their second flush of bloom.  I am planning to transplant several divisions of deep rose 'Dazzleberry' sedum to this garden to provide more late-summer color.  One year I planted a bunch of petunias here that bloomed hard in late summer, but I don't want to have to coddle annuals while their roots get established each year.  Perennials and shrubs are more sturdy.

By the end of August, the 'Teasing Georgia' climbing rose began another flush of flowers.  You can see the violet salvia looks gangly by this point, but it provides a little color along with the catmint.  To the right is a newly planted 'Fine Line' Rhamnus (buckthorn).  There are two of these shrubs in the garden that should grow to 5-7' tall and 3' wide at maturity.  They will give height to this narrow garden along with the climbing roses and one honey locust tree. 

Some years we don't make it very far into October before a hard freeze turns everything brown.  Here the 'Stella d'Oro' daylily leaves put on a pretty fall show at the south end of the path.

This photo was taken at the beginning of November, when winter began in earnest.  Spokane winters are long, but this one is almost over.  If we get a few warmer days to melt the snow and warm the soil, the earliest crocuses will start blooming soon.  Until then I'll just be glad to be warm inside instead of fluffing my feathers on a frozen branch with the poor robins. 

February 14, 2014

Willow Heart Arrangements for Valentine's Day

Nothing is blooming in my garden, but I put together several floral arrangements for Valentine's Day by using materials from the grocery store.  The red spray roses soften the stiffness of the pink hybrid tea roses.

I fiddled around with loops of willow twigs from my dwarf Arctic willow shrub and noticed they made a heart when I included two.  Perfect for Valentine's Day!

My daughters will help me deliver these to a few friends later this afternoon. 

There isn't any fragrance, and my spearmint and peppermint plants are completely dormant in pots outside.  I should have visited the herb section at the grocery store and bought a bunch of mint to add a little scent to the bouquets. 

Despite their lack of fragrance, the bold colors make great eye candy. 

Seeded eucalyptus is a bargain when I ask the florist to sell me a whole bunch that hasn't been mixed with other greens.  This bunch offered some rosy shades to blend with the red and pink roses.

This is the back view of the willow heart.  It's fun to add an unexpected touch to an otherwise run-of-the-mill arrangement and include something from my own garden to share with friends.