May 30, 2020
The garden looked very peaceful on this cloudy morning, so I caught some broad views of the landscape. In this view I like the contrasting foliage of the maroon Little Devil ninebark and Blue Star junipers along with all the green.
It's always hard to photograph this southeast corner of our yard since there are electrical boxes in the foreground and trash cans in the background, but it looked pretty today with the Coral Supreme peony, Walker's Low catmint and Heartthrob Korean dogwood tree in bloom.
My Eglantyne rose is ready to burst into bloom next week, but meanwhile the different foliage textures and colors carry the day.
The west garden invites you further into the backyard. The Fine Line buckthorn on the right looks odd after being weighed down with sprinkler water, but it will pull together as it dries out.
Thunder showers are expected this evening, but for now the backyard garden is calm and soothing.
Here is the west side of the backyard with newly limbed-up lilac shrubs in between the crabapple trees.
The main sunny bed is just about to get started on its big June burst of flowering.
Soon the many salvias will come into full bloom, but meanwhile the Globemaster alliums are the stars.
The rose Medallion Oriental poppies are a softer color echo of the maroon leaves of the Royal Purple smoke bush.
The view of the center north side of the backyard will improve as the various shrubs and trees continue to mature.
I made the mistake of pruning the honeysuckle too hard in late winter and it experienced a lot of die back when cold temps shocked the newly-pruned stems. The right side has recovered much better then the left.
This chair in the northeast corner provides a nice view down the path toward the maroon crabapple trees.
The white garden is taking a blooming break after the tulips have finished and before perennials get going.
I requested a Lacy Hearts Chinese hydrangea vine from the local nursery to train on this arch, but I don't know if they'll be able to find one for me. It looks a little bare for now.
This view of the back of the house will soon be framed by the Starlight dogwood at right and the Stellar Pink dogwood at left. Just a few more years to wait as they grow . . .
We've been out on the patio enjoying the warm weather this week. My patio pots were all planted from perennials from the garden this year and they've finally filled out nicely.
Recently I've felt discouraged by the challenges in my garden: vigorous aspen roots/suckers from the neighbors' yard, suckers from my lilacs and flowering cherry tree, tulip virus, root weevils, apple scab fungus, leaf rollers on my trees and roses, scale on shrubs, blackspot on my hellebores, earwigs, boxwood blight, and the endless aphids, thrips and slugs. I've had a harder time keeping up with needed chores thanks to tendinitis in both my hands, though my husband and kids have been generous to help me. I have to take a deep breath and remind myself that nothing worthwhile is easy, right? Peaceful mornings like today help me regain enthusiasm.
May 13, 2020
The tulips are finishing up and the Royal Raindrops crabapple trees have passed their peak. Although I've been enjoying the cheerful yellow of the cushion spurge (Euphorbia polychroma), looking at this photo makes me wonder if they don't look out of place with the other colors. Perhaps I could transplant the spurge elsewhere.
We've been picking thousands of baby crabapple seedlings. They just keep coming.
I sure love the pink flowers, though, and the birds love the tiny crabapples. This spring we've had more songbirds in the backyard than ever before. We've delighted in the robins and several types of finches. Pine siskin finches built a nest in the dead honeysuckle twigs on the swing set, but we saw one of the parents get eaten by a hawk. Peeking into the nest revealed a lone egg which might never hatch. So sad.
Some of the poppies and peonies have fat buds that will open soon, depending on the temperatures. Highs in the 60's and rain are showing in the forecast for the next week.
The last of the tulips are blooming in shades of purple and deep pink as the Purple Sensation alliums begin to open. Lily flowered Merlot has remained in bloom for a long time.
A pair of windstorms knocked the heads off seven or eight of the Blue Spectacle tulips, but the ones that survived are looking gorgeous with Merlot.
Black Hero and Menton Exotic join Merlot, Blue Spectacle and Margarita in this shot.
This view looks different from last year since my husband graciously dug out one of the giant Katherine Havemeyer lilacs. It was quickly replaced other shrubs from overcrowded positions. Although I love lilacs, my six KH lilacs send out endless suckers up to ten feet away from the original shrubs. They require a lot of pruning to remove dead wood, and their form is messy. The two weeks while they're in bloom is glorious, but I'm happy to have more room for other plants in my small garden.
The slightly crooked broken fountain is planted with Pacific Ice sempervivum (hens and chicks) this year. It's been difficult to keep other plants watered in its shallow bowl during the past few summers, so I'm hoping the hens and chicks will require less supplemental watering.
Although shrubs and perennials are still in the process of leafing out for spring, there's a lot more green in this shot than there was a few weeks ago.
I've been dreaming up new projects and figuring out how to squeeze more plants, especially new evergreen shrubs, into the landscape. But projects will have to wait as I gave myself tendinitis in my hand after pruning too much. Gardening teaches patience in many ways, eh?
May 4, 2020
The backyard tulips have been in peak bloom for the past week, and the blend of dark pink, purple, deep red and rosy-orange has felt bold and exciting.
It has been fun to see the mix of different shapes. This tulip at front might be 'Purple Pride,' and it has matured into this vase shape right before dropping its petals.
Double pink Margarita is a great performer for me. The bulbs from two years ago have multiplied and rebloomed well this spring, and the blooms last a long time on their tall, sturdy stems. Lily-shaped Merlot is blooming at right of Margarita. It is supposed to be a good perennializer as well.
Double Orange Princess has also come back for a second spring of bloom. I wish I had done a better job of planting it at the front of the bed, as its short stature is sometimes blocked when it's growing behind taller tulips. Single purple Negrita was planted perhaps five years ago and continues to bloom each spring.
Palmyra is a big favorite, and it has come back well for the second spring. I didn't catch a good shot of the blooms of double Uncle Tom, but that tulip is even darker than Palmyra and blooms earlier than Black Hero.
Here's another cluster of Margarita tulips . They're so fluffy and pretty!
Margarita with Merlot at the base. A windstorm last weekend snapped the heads off several of my Blue Spectacle double tulips, but Margarita was unharmed.
Here is a final view of the bed, with yellow cushion spurge (Euphorbia polychroma) happily blooming along with the passionate tulips.