February 7, 2011

Visions for the 2011 Season

After a large remodeling/relandscaping project in the front yard last spring, I'm planning to take a break from big projects this year and just let things grow. As you can see above, there is plenty of dirt showing in the beds that should be filled in by plants eventually. Then the eye will view groups of plants as flowing masses instead of polka-dots on a brown background. Alas, I'm afraid my 'Otto Luyken' laurels (the dark green shrubs in the photo) are going to be a lot smaller after I prune away the parts that died back this winter.

Here is a 'before' photo of the front, before we added took down the railing, added steps and more beds, and built a stone-based column at the corner. This year I'm not ordering any annuals to fill in, which I'm hoping will help the beds to look less cluttered (but the shrubs and perennials just need to GROW!). I've got hardy 'Blue Moon' wisteria planted at both front corners of the house, and someday it will be big and gorgeous - though probably not this year, sigh. But the 500+ spring bulbs - crocus, tulips, hyacinths, chionodoxa, scilla, and mini-daffodils should put on a great show soon.

Here is the flagstone path on the west side of the house in midsummer 2010. Hopefully by this summer there will be a lot less dirt showing. There are three climbing roses to add some height, though I don't expect them to grow too much this year. Our growing season is just so short that plants take a long time to get big. At least the 'Elfin' thyme is filling in nicely between the flagstones.

Here is one of those climbing roses - 'Teasing Georgia' - along with lavender catmint and golden 'Early Sunrise' coreopsis. I posted a lot of close-up shots of flowers last year. The photo above shows three plants, so I guess it counts as a mid-range shot. But I'm not too excited about any of the wider shots in this post - they just don't look that great. My goal for next year is to take more wider-view shots and have them turn out nicely.

Do you remember how all the 'Pagan Purple' delphiniums (in the rear of the photo above) blew over last year? I bought a bunch of hoop supports and am hoping that they'll provide enough support to keep the delphs upright this year. The hoops aren't as good (or as time consuming) as staking individual stalks, so we'll see if they work very well or not.

Of course I've ordered a few new plants already. I received my 'Jarradale' grey-blue pumpkin seeds in the mail this week (Johnny's Select Seeds), and I fell for the 'Double Click Cranberries' cosmos seeds as well (Park Seed). I can't wait to see the cranberry color. If they don't get sold out, I'll get three 'Medallion' super poppies in the mail (Burpee's), which are a lavender-mauve color. So far I've managed NOT to order a pink 'Woodside Romance' daylily since I'm hoping that my local nursery will have it (but White Flower Farm convinced me that I really need this plant), and maybe I'll get white 'Sunday Gloves' as well. Good thing I have a few new beds to fill in.

Also from Burpee's, I ordered a couple of 'Victoria' rhubarbs. I'm not a big rhubarb fan, though my dad likes it in pies (and I make pies, so he'll like me better now that I'm going to grow rhubarb). My real reason for ordering was that it has such BIG leaves and can handle full sun and zone 5 winters! Our summer air is too dry for most hostas to grow in the sun, and many other large-leaved plants are tropical in origin and not hardy here. I feel pretty clever about this solution to the 'little leaf' syndrome in my backyard beds, and I plan to include it in the designed beds when we finally get the backyard in order.

You remember that my backyard (pictured in these last four shots) is currently a hodge-podge, where I'm trying out lots of plants to find which ones are worth including in the final design in a few years. I'm freely adding to the hodge-podge this year, with three new siberian iris from JPW Flowers: blue 'Over the River', turquoise 'Mister Peacock', and deep violet 'Trim the Velvet'. I also ordered white 'Snow Queen' siberian iris from Bluestone Perennials (can you ever have enough siberian iris? apparently not), along with 'Blue Paradise' phlox, Filipendula 'Flore Pleno', and Campanula 'Birch Hybrids'. And that's all for this year . . . probably.


  1. The contrast of the purple and the limey acid green flowers in the second to last photo looks fantastic! Great combination.

  2. Hi VW,

    I think your garden looks wonderful and know how easy it is to be blinded by the negative aspects, especially when posting photos online.
    Sometimes when I look back on photos of borders I too think are bare or boring I'm pleasantly surprised just how full and lush they did in fact look. Just in my mind they were boring, and there were too many patches of bare soil.

  3. Your gardens are beautiful...love the colors as they pop...they are wonderful and when they grow in I hope you will post again...they will be stunning...

  4. Your flagstone pathway is really nice. A little bit of dirt showing isn't a bad thing, I wouldn't fret about it.
    Your dad will like you better if you are growing rhubarb? You are funny.

  5. Your entry way looks so pretty. Your plants will fill in more space as they grow this summer. Plus with all those new ones you will be adding. LOL! We always have to add more every year. I love your flagstone pathway. Just gorgeous!

  6. You are making me laugh so hard! I think you're ready for spring, but alas, this winter weather is still plaguing us. Love all the pictures of your gardens.

  7. You make me laugh too. "That's all...probably." You're a gal after my own heart--such good intentions. Well your garden looked fabulous last summer and will look even better this year, no doubt about it. I'm intrigued by the double click cranberry cosmos too. Let's compare notes in July. :)

  8. I think your gardens are already looking splendid...waiting for things to fill in is so difficult! I love that you're using rhubarb as a foliage specimen...they are so under-appreciated as an ornamental.

  9. VW, What a treat to see all that gorgeous color at this time of year! I'm planning to experiment with a new staking system for some of my delphinium this year. You'll have to let me know how your hoops work. (I have Pagan Purple in my garden, too.) -Jean

  10. Your gardens were beautiful last year and it's fun to hear your plans for this year. I'm curious about your hoops for the delphiniums.. we have strong winds that blow through our gardens that take their tole on mine.

  11. So happy to have discovered your blog today. Absolutely beautiful photos! I love that second to last photo. Phenomenal combo!

  12. Hi VW
    Thanks for your comments. Yes, I can imagine how difficult to find Japanese food in Spokane thought I have not been there but have spent a number of years in other parts of America many years ago.

    BTW, your flowers and pictures are to drool over, they are absolutely gorgeous.

  13. I discover your blog and it's a real pleasure to admire your garden..
    You are ready for spring. It's clean and gorgeous!!!
    sophie, from france.


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