June 21, 2017

June Peonies in a Vase

Last week I created this arrangement of pink peonies for a friend.  I'm still waiting for my darker peonies to mature enough to produce buckets of blooms, but for now I can enjoy plenty of the lighter pinks.

The draping greenery is from one of my contorted filberts (Corylus avellana 'Contorta').  I used astilbe leaves to create a grid to hold other greenery in place, then filled in with Baptisia, variegated Solomon's Seal and hosta leaves.

I used the small flowers of pink 'Roma' and lighter 'Buckland' astrantia (above).  A rosy-tipped stem of snowberry (Symphoricarpos) arches at the left.

 Of course twisting honeysuckle stems were included.  The honeysuckle is blooming right now, filling an entire corner of the backyard with fragrance.

Buds from my 'Eola Sapphire' hostas also added interest.  I don't like the actual flowers enough to use them in arrangements, but the buds are really cool.
The last peonies to bloom are finishing up this week, then it will be another year before peony flowers make their appearance.

June 6, 2017

Early June Scenes 2017


The garden changes daily at this time of year, with many blooms opening overnight to surprise me the next morning.  The photo above, though, highlights dark foliage that lasts longer than flowers.  I've been struggling with this main sunny bed since I created it, but adding six 'Obsisian' heuchera plants has helped it look more finished.  The maroon leaves of the heucheras tie into the similarly colored leaves of the 'Royal Purple' smoke bush (Cotinus) to the left and the 'Royal Purple' crabapple trees (Malus) to the top right.

I love the maroon leaves with ethereal 'Twilight Blues' baptisia and balls of 'Globemaster' allium.

This northeast area of the backyard ties into that northwest main sunny bed with dark leaves from my 'Red Dragon' contorted filbert (Corylus).  A 'Kopper Kettle' Itoh peony blooms at center left.

 A little further along the path, a 'Black Lace' elderberry (Sambucus) continues the dark-leaved theme.  'Early Emperor' alliums are done blooming but the seed heads still provide interest.

I shared photos of the orange poppies last week, but I can't resist another one.

'Caesar's Brother' Siberian iris and 'Totally Tangerine' geum are good neighbors.  The geum blooms three or four times as long as the iris, though.

'Ambassador' allium (top)  is my favorite allium for its deep purple color, though I really appreciate 'Early Emperor' (at center, finished blooming) for its early show of color.  Now that the 'Caradonna' salvia and 'Caesar's Brother' Siberian iris are blooming, the three shades of violet-purple are really pretty against the orange geum.

 In the backyard garden east of the house, the leaves of a 'June' hosta blend peacefully with chartreuse and green leaves on other hostas, heuchera, and spirea.

Here in the east back garden my pink 'Helsinki University' rhododendrons and more alliums are providing the flower color for now.  Last year I transplanted several 'Jack Frost' and 'King's Ransom' brunnera plants to this area (you can see a blurry one at center), and their silvery leaves provide interest even when the blue flowers aren't visible.

The west path garden is recovering from the trauma of being smashed by heavy equipment during our remodel.  The 'Elfin' creeping thyme is slowly starting to reappear around the stones at the top of the path.  My 'Teasing Georgia' rose (not shown because it's ugly right now) survived, barely, and is starting to leaf out but still looks sad.  Next year it should be pretty again.

In the front yard 'Coral Sunset' peonies demonstrate the reason for their name with many shades of pink and cream on the same plant.  In the front yard I also grow 'Coral Charm,' which blooms a little later and makes a much better cut flower.  I've learned that 'Coral Sunset' starts to turn brown the next day if I cut it fully open, and it doesn't open if I cut it earlier.  'Coral Charm' does better in a vase.

June 1, 2017

Vivid Colors at Spring's End

On the first of June, colorful scenes are cropping up in the garden.  The photo above shows the bird bath on the west side of the home where spikes of violet 'May Night' salvia and lavender 'Walker's Low' catmint mingle with 'Pure as Gold' iris.

The view looking north through the gate shows the back garden looking much more full than it did at the beginning of May.  A month ago the fence panel to the right of the gate was still disassembled after our long kitchen remodel/addition.  It feels really good finally have things back in place inside and outside.

The west side of the backyard path features edgings of pink 'Dusseldorf Pride' armeria and golden orange 'Firestorm' geum with 'Red Charm' peonies blooming at right.  IIf you look closely you'll see little bursts of chartreuse from the leaves of baby 'Diane's Gold' brunnera, 'Dicksen's Gold' campanula and 'Everillo' sedge.

Unknown orange poppies really pop against violet 'Caesar's Brother' Siberian iris and 'Buckeye Belle' peonies in the background.

A pink 'Rivida' peony is about to open in front with a rainbow of poppies, allium, Siberian iris, geum, salvia and astrantia in the background.
My favorite camera lens (Canon 50 mm EF f/1.4 USM) is finally repaired and the garden is ready for photographs, so I hope to post more regularly.

Later in the day 'Rivida' opened a little more, leading to this view.  Scrumptious!

May 15, 2017

Mid May Flowers - GBBD 2017

The backyard is slowly starting to show color.  I read in a recent article that Washington is the only state in the nation to have a cooler than average spring.  But the 'Millstream Daphne' creeping phlox and 'Gloria' aubrieta groundcovers are finally in full bloom above.

In this photo one of the 'Royal Raindrops' crabapple trees echoes the blooms of a 'Velvet Lips' hellebore below.

From this angle you can see the almost finished addition on the back of our home.  Eight months into our 2.5 month project, we're nearly done!  And yes, it went over budget as well.  That's just construction, I guess.

This photo shows the three 'Royal Raindrops' crabapple trees with buds fully open.  Green leaves are filling in the garden below.

A shot of the southeast corner of the backyard reveals a 'Spring Snow' crabapple that has dropped most of its petals by this point.  The 'Katherine Havemeyer' lilacs don't have as many blooms this year as last year, but there have been plenty for me to cut and share with neighbors.

The path directly east of the house features chartreuse leaves against mauve and sky blue flowers.  The crabapple petals cover the ground like snow.

Last summer I transplanted several 'Jack Frost' and 'King's Ransom' brunnera plants to this area, and their true blue blooms are a welcome addition to the color palate.  Brunnera is one of my favorite plants for shade with beautiful leaves that sparkle after the flowers fade.  A few 'Negrita' tulips are reblooming this spring after being planted a couple of years ago, and a 'June' hosta is colorful at bottom left.

A final shot of the east path includes 'Lime Rickey' heuchera, 'Red Sensation' aubrieta and a mauve creeping phlox whose name is forgotten.  It's an exciting time of year in the garden, as many more flowers will open in the next few weeks.  Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day to help us document our flowers each month.

May 3, 2017

Tulip Season

The tulips are in peak bloom right now in the front yard.  I have a few later blooming types, but not as many as the 'Salmon Impression' and 'Jaap Groot' above.

A couple of weeks ago the front yard looked like this - turning green, but not very colorful.

This week it's full of color from the tulips and the 'Emerald Blue' creeping phlox.

I recently divided and transplanted several more 'Pink Tea Cup' Lenton roses (Helleborus) around the front flower beds.  They're at the end of their bloom season now.

Also blooming now are fluffy mounds of 'White Splendor' windflower (Anemone blanda).

A new 'Little Devil' ninebark (Physocarpus) adds maroon color to the scene.  I also planted several 'Mahogany' coral bells (Heuchera) around the front beds.  I like the way these plants connect the home to the yard by echoing the color of the shutters.

The 'Coral Supreme' peonies are lovely in leaf at the back of this photo, and in a couple of weeks they'll start adding their own bright color to the view.

April 18, 2017

Rainbow Tulip Scenes from Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah

Here are a few mores shots of the bulbs in bloom on Temple Square.

The bright red looks so lovely with a violet underplanting.

Many areas felt more formal, but this bed had the feel of a meadow.

Complementary gold and violet worked well together along with some airy white daffodils.

These tulips are accurately named 'Giant Orange Sunrise,' and they were the biggest tulips I'd ever seen.  Very impressive.

Here in Spokane the bloom season is a few weeks behind Temple Square, so I'm still looking forward to seeing the tulips bloom at the Spokane Temple and in my garden.

April 11, 2017

Pastel Tulip Scenes from Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah

We traveled to Utah last week and visited Temple Square in Salt Lake City to see the spring bulbs in full bloom.

I didn't have my good camera with me, so these shots are all from my cell phone.  I'm posting them anyway since I don't know when I'll be back to take better pictures.

The different displays just kept going and going.  We had limited time to stay, so I hurried around with a big grin on my face, madly snapping photos.

I liked how this area echoed the rusty-orange concrete with orange tulips in the bed.

Wall planters were filled with pansies and bulbs in colors that coordinated with the beds nearby.

The spicy-sweet fragrance of hyacinths wafted through the area.  What a lovely experience!
Next week I'll post pictures of the deeper rainbow hues.

March 25, 2017

Little March Beauties

It finally feels like spring with small bulbs blooming all over the front yard.  The photo above includes 'Golden Bunch' and 'Grand Maitre' crocus flowers, a 'Pink Tea Cup' Lenten Rose (Helleborus), and striped foliage from 'Jaap Groot' tulips.

The afternoon light shining through the petals makes a pretty scene.  Emerging daylily foliage creates a nice green backdrop for the violet flowers.

This winter wasn't the harshest one we've seen here in Spokane, but it was a lot colder and snowier than the past few years.  Seeing color in the garden again feels fabulous.

In the backyard east of the house, clusters of 'Harmony' miniature iris are blooming for the second spring since planting.  The drawback to these bulbs is that their leaves keep growing to reach over a foot long, so they are more noticeable as they die back.  But their gorgeous cobalt blue color and reblooming ability make them keepers in my garden.

'Ruby Glow' Crocus are a warm violet next to the blue iris.  I purposefully left leaf litter in this area to see if I can handle the disarray as it decomposes naturally and enriches the soil.

Nearby a 'Berry Swirl' Lenten Rose is starting its long bloom season.  It's a happy time of year as the sun regains some strength and the garden reawakens.