November 24, 2015

Snowy Garden

This morning we awoke to several inches of snow, and I caught a few photos before my children trampled it to mush.  At center above is the dwarf Arctic willow, whose lines are so pretty in winter.

Here is the same area from the other direction.  Substance is provided by evergreen boxwoods, lavender shrubs and deciduous butterfly bushes whose leave haven't fallen yet.

The sitting area at the Northwest arbor doesn't look very inviting right now.  Brrr!

The three contorted filberts (two green, one red-leaved) all look great in the snow.  This one has been in the ground for three growing seasons and hasn't gained much size, but maybe next year it will finally leap.

The honeysuckle on the swing set holds the snow beautifully, while the surrounding honey locust trees show off their elegant winter form.  This is just the sweet corner, eh?

The butterfly bushes leaf out late in spring, but they've held onto their leaves longer than any of the other deciduous shrubs.  In the spring I'll cut them down nearly to the ground to keep them dwarf.

Sadly, the view in the front yard is a little different after the big wind storm (up to 70 mph gusts) last week.  There should be a blue spruce in the background of this photo, but look what happened to it . . .

The spruce tree kept leaning farther toward our porch with each monumental gust of wind, so with the neighbors' encouragement, my husband tied a rope from the tree to his truck and pulled it over in the other direction.  It popped off at the base and has since been cut up and carried away.

Even if the tree had fallen, the damage would have been minimal compared to what many in Spokane experienced.  Hundreds of trees fell and many hit houses, cars, and even people.  Fences blew over, shingles flew away, and I watched a neighbor's metal shed somersault over their fence.  Power is still out in many areas.  This was the one time I was glad to live in a young neighborhood without mature trees.  Of course the damage would have been even worse a month ago when the deciduous trees had their leaves.  As it was, the toppled trees were mostly evergreens.  But on the bright side, many of us here are feeling sincerely grateful for blessings we often took for granted before, which is perfect for Thanksgiving week.
I am going to take a break from blogging until the new year, so I wish you happy holidays!

November 3, 2015

Last Gasp of Fall Color

After enjoying another warmer than normal October, temperatures are sinking and the last leaves are nearly gone.  This photo from a few weeks ago shows the beginning of fall color for my new Fothergilla 'Blue Mist' shrub.

This week it looks like this.  No wonder the employees of my local nursery kept recommending this shrub!  With icy blue leaves for the rest of the season and fragrant white blooms in spring, this shrub is definitely a keeper.

The linear leaves of my Siberian irises are at their peak of yellow coloring, as are the 'Fine Line' buckthorn (Rhamnus) shrubs shown at right.

Leaves on the 'Peach Sorbet' blueberries are a lovely reddish-pink right now.

The umbrella leaves on Darmera peltata have interesting coloring as well.

My three 'Tiny Tuff Stuff' hydrangeas had maroon edges last month, and now the tips have turned brighter red.

A few fragrant clusters of flowers on the Hall's Purple honeysuckle are blooming against the deep purple leaves.

My poor 'Kwanzan' flowering cherry tree, whose flower buds always seem to get zapped with frost before they can bloom, is at least boasting some nice fall color this year.

My goodness, this dogwood tree (Cornus florida) has been showing beautiful fall coloring for over six weeks by now.

A final shot of Creeping Jenny (Lysmachia nummularia) shows reddish leaves among the typical chartreuse color.

October 26, 2015

Pumpkin Vase on Monday

Recently I put together this pumpkin arrangement for a women's craft night demo.  First I held a vase up to the top of the pumpkin and drew a line around the edge with a marker.  Then I cut a hole in the top to fit the vase inside.  After filling the vase with water, I began adding foliage and flowers from my fall garden.

I draped several clusters of honeysuckle vines around the edges, then filled the center with lavender 'Farmington' asters.  The forked branches of the asters created a matrix to hold the rest of the stems in place.

I included several crimson 'William Shakespeare 2000' rose buds since I didn't have any blooms completely open.  Short spikes of 'Miss Molly' butterfly bush echoed the crimson color.

I really wish I would have had some 'Totally Tangerine' geum flowers blooming to echo the orange of the pumpkin, but there weren't any to find at this time of year.  However long spikes of violet 'Victoria' salvia contrasted well with the pumpkin color below.

Finally I finished it off with yellow umbels from my fennel plants.  I planted fennel in hopes of luring swallowtail butterflies to lay their eggs, but none of them complied.  I quite liked using the fennel flowers in arrangements, though.
This arrangement could be easily made with a mixed bouquet of flowers in fall colors from the grocery store.  Happy Halloween!
Posted as part of the 'In a Vase on Monday' meme from the 'Rambling in the Garden' blog.

October 20, 2015

English Rose Photos from 2015

I haven't shared many photos of my English roses from this season, but this post will make up for it.  Above is a fall shot of 'William Shakespeare 2000,' one of my very favorite roses that lasts well in a vase and smells divine.

Here is another shot of William with butterfly bushes (Buddleia) blooming in front and Russian sage (Peroskvia) behind.

In the front yard 'Abraham Darby' was a great bloomer this year.  I cut many, many roses from this shrub to bring inside.

Here is a close up shot of Abraham's gorgeous, large, fragrant blooms.

'Eglantyne' continues to do well in the front yard, and I continue to cut blooms for vases despite its awful thorns.

'The Countryman' was the first English rose I purchased back in California, and I still enjoy its vivid pink blooms.

Miniature 'Francine Austin' had a great flush of flowers in the spring with a few sprays blooming throughout the rest of the season.

'Lady of Shallot' is still getting established, so its pretty blooms were sparse this year.  But next year should be better.

'Sister Elizabeth' produced a heavy stream of delicate flowers this year.  Overall it was a good year for my roses, as they didn't mind the heat as long as they kept receiving water.

October 7, 2015

October Leaves

Evening light in October is especially pretty in the garden as the leaves start changing colors.  This view of the Northwest corner doesn't include many flowers, so the different foliage colors stand out.

An overhead view of the same area reveals that there is still plenty of growth needed to cover the ground.  This shot was taken in the morning, when the light had a cooler tone.  Our family continues to enjoy the little shady haven back in the corner.  I often find a kid reading out there.

And just for fun, here is a view of the area from spring with the 'Royal Raindrops' crabapple trees in bloom and 'Negrita' tulips below.

The Northeast corner boasts brilliant gold leaves on the 'Shademaster' honey locusts (Gleditsia).  In this shot the sunlight was at just the right angle to light up the corner tree while leaving the rest in shadow.

I love this cheerful yellow!

Underneath the corner honey locust tree is my 'Shasta' doublefile Viburnum, which turns orange and then deep maroon before the leaves fall.  My youngest son has enjoyed sitting here with me while we eat lunch and soak up some sun.  We like watching the honeybees up close on the Japanese anemones.

Some of the peonies show good fall color.  I believe the one above is 'Felix Supreme.'  At left is a 'Blue Angel' hosta, which will turn yellow before withering away.

This year both of my flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida), one pink and one white, have bright red berries forming.  I have never seen this before on these trees.  I guess it means that next spring we'll have many baby dogwoods sprouting around the yard along with all the baby crabapples.

My new 'Royal Purple' smoke bush (Cotinus) is settling into the spot where a 'Sem' Sorbaria used to grow.  The nursery told me to think of it as redecorating.  Don't the maroon leaves make a nice backdrop for the second flush of 'Thumbelina Leigh' lavender blooms?  I'll have to prune it hard each spring to keep it small enough to fit the space, and it will still grow vigorously enough for me to cut stems regularly for vases.

September 29, 2015

Roses and Crabapples in a Vase on Tuesday

In this recent fall arrangement I used branches from my 'Royal Raindrops' crabapple trees for the first time in a vase.  I intended to participate in Cathy's 'In a Vase on Monday' meme but didn't get around to posting until Tuesday.  That's just the way life goes around here.

The base of the arrangement was formed by crimson 'William Shakespeare 2000' and pink 'Royal Jubilee' English roses.  Black leaves from 'Chocoholic' Cimicifuga helped fill in around the flowers.  Spikes of 'Miss Molly' butterfly bush shot out from the right side.

I also included a few late-blooming stems of 'Moulin Rouge' Astrantia (masterwort, above) and 'Invincibelle Spirit' hydrangea (not shown).

Tiny crabapples contributed to the fall feel, and blushing stems from my 'Peach Sorbet' blueberry bushes added more interesting foliage.

Japanese Anemone (A. robustissima) arched above the cluster of larger flowers.

The anemones are so pretty they get a second photo.
Yesterday the temperature dropped to 31 degrees Fahrenheit in the early morning and froze the water in my bird bath.  The flowers escaped this time but the end is near!

September 21, 2015

Garden Views on a September Evening

As the season draws to a close, the backyard garden is looking fairly full, at least from some angles.  It is very soothing to spend a few minutes there in the evening.

The flowers are mostly shades of violet with a few reddish butterfly bushes in the mix.  Next year there will be more maroon leaves in this scene with the additions of a 'Red Dragon' contorted filbert and a 'Royal Purple' smoke bush.

Four Russian sage (Peroskvia) plants are especially lovely when a breeze waves their flower wands back and forth.

As you see, the honey locusts (Gleditsia 'Shademaster') are already turning yellow for fall.  Near the bottom of the photo the dark green leaves of 'Totally Tangerine' geum still look fresh despite a long, hot summer.  I didn't even cut them back after blooming; they're just sturdy.

'Farmington' double asters bloom next to the 'Buzz Purple' butterfly bush.  Pollinators love both of these plants.

The overgrown dwarf Arctic willow is kind of a thug but so graceful that I happily keep it around.  Next spring I need to use a shovel to cut back the roots as well as cutting the branches nearly back to the ground to help it stay smaller.  In the meantime I have to keep reminding my kids that they are NOT allowed to whip each other with the wiry stems.