October 23, 2013

Autumn Rainbow In The Garden

Autumn has arrived in the garden, bringing its own rainbow of colors to glow in the low slanting sun.  In the photo above violet asters contrast against the yellow fall foliage of Siberian iris.  Both of these plants came from my friend Kathy's garden.  

Columbine leaves give up on green and turn to purple instead.  Splotches of grey mildew dot many garden plants by this time of the year.

'Rozanne' geranium looks especially blue in the cooler temperatures.  Or maybe it's the October light that emphasizes the blue in blue-violet flowers.

'Victoria' rhubarb is still sporting some green, though you see the edges of the giant leaves are changing.  This mound calls to mind the skirt of a ball gown, puffed out against the ground. 

Large leaves add punctuation to the garden.  I also grow Darmera, Astilboides and Rodgersia for their big leaves.  Surprisingly, this year rhubarb stole the show. 

The green and orange combo of the rhubarb is echoed in the smaller leaves of 'Totally Tangerine' geum, above.

'Stella d'Oro' has the best fall color of any of my daylilies.  These pretty leaves give me plenty of reason to procrastinate fall cleanup. 

Herbaceous peonies add to the autumn exuberance.  Tree and intersectional peonies keep their green foliage long after other plants have changed colors and dropped their leaves.

'Royal Raindrops' crabapple trees are gorgeous right now, with fiery orange and yellow leaves taking over from maroon, plus clusters of little red crabapples.

My roses are still producing red-tinged new growth.  Too bad the buds will freeze and die before opening into another flush of blooms.

'Heartthrob' Korean dogwoods shade from green to red to maroon.  By today the remaining leaves are just brown.

Koreanspice viburnum is tied with the RR crabapple trees for the best fall color in my garden.  A collage of green, yellow, orange and red covers this shrub right now, plus it promises spicy-sweet flowers next spring.
I have piles of bulbs to plant, perennials to cut back and leaves to rake.  The fall cleanup helps me look forward to winter and a vacation from gardening.  But I'll be refreshed and very ready for another growing season before spring comes around again.

October 16, 2013

Drama from Dark Coleus at Temple Square

Dark-leaved coleus (Solenostemon) were used to great effect in many of the annual gardens at Temple Square.  In this garden outside the historic Assemby Hall, burgundy coleus mixed with magenta geraniums, pink impatiens, lavender nierembergia, lavender salvia and coral fuschias.

Another view of the area shows a great variety of annuals that are tied together with the repeating dark coleus. 

A shady area with cafe seating featured this dark coleus brushing up against the large leaves of caladiums in a sea of white and red impatiens.  Coleus are known as shade plants, but I also saw them growing happily in areas that received intense high altitude sun during much of the day. 

I loved the way the brownish tones of the coleus echoed this brown pavilion.  These gardens felt connected to the surrounding architecture.

Above you can see how well the texture of the purple fountain grass (Pennisetum) plays off the bold leaves of the coleus.  Several types of coleus play nice together as they echo some colors and change up others from plant to plant.  Various impatiens, annual vinca and nierembergia show up at the edges of the shot. 

A 'Black Lace' elderberry (Sambucus) adds more dark drama to this corner of the flower bed, along with more coleus, pink begonias and ornamental grass in the bottom right corner.  These gardens are an inspiring example of how to use foliage and flowers together to create some magic. 

October 8, 2013

Terracotta Color Scheme at Temple Square

One of the most inspiring color schemes at the Temple Square gardens was this area highlighted by terracotta colored concrete.  Maybe I liked it so much because it surprised me - terracotta isn't my favorite material in the garden.  But the flower and foliage colors came together beautifully with the red-orange edging.  Above you can see salmon-pink petunias mingled with magenta petunias, purple verbena, violet salvia, orange snapdragons and purple fountain grass (Pennisetum). 

This area is located directly east of the temple.  Just inside my front door, I have a framed photo by Robert Boyd showing this door and one of the nearby cherry trees in bloom.  It was nice to see the rest of the scene during my visit.

Here is the view turning slightly farther to the north.  Most of the stone and concrete around temple square is grey.  I imagine this area was inspired by the red rock areas of southern Utah. 

You catch a glimpse of the nearby mountains when looking directly north.

Here is the view looking directly south. Even though there are lots of large flower beds, there is enough green to keep the area feeling serene. Later in the day I saw several couples using this area for wedding photos. 

I think this space would have looked better with black sweet potato vine carrying the color scheme instead of chartreuse.  You can see some shrubs continuing the dark-leaved theme across the top of the grassy area.  The lovely trees add so much beauty - I am looking forward to when our young trees at the Spokane Temple mature.

I plan to use these colors in the northwest streetside bed at the Spokane Temple next year.  The purple fountain grass, orange snapdragons and violet salvia should work fine in that area.  Unfortunately we can't use petunias because of the deer and rabbits, so I'm considering African daisies (Osteospermum), zinnias, diascia, foxgloves, ageratum, cleome and salvia to fill out the flower bed.  Although some types of verbena have proven irresistible to our deer, I think 'Homestead Purple' will be deer resistant.  I suppose we'll find out in time, eh?

October 1, 2013

Fall Floral Arrangements

Recently I made a few arrangements from the fall flush of English roses and other fall bloomers in my garden.  The vase above includes 'Teasing Georgia' English roses (more apricot than yellow in fall), dark rose buds from 'Invincibelle Spirit' hydrangeas, green 'Limelight' hydrangeas, pale pink berries from 'Scarlet Pearl' snowberry, cream spikes of 'Autumn Bride' heuchera, plus willow stems, parsley and lady's mantle for greenery. 

So many of the floral arrangements in stores feel static and stiff.  I love the softness of these flowers together.  Next time I do an arrangement like this, I'll substitute more muted greenery for the bright green parsley - probably some lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), which adds a nice scent.  I also need to plant some Queen Anne's lace, then keep it from taking over the whole yard.  Its fluffy white umbel flowers would work great in arrangments like this one. 

Here is another arrangement with cream 'Crocus Rose' and mauve 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh' English roses added to the same filler flowers and greenery as the first vase.  Oh, plus some pink spikes of Veronica.  The 'Scarlet Pearl' snowberries are supposed to be a deeper pink, but the shrubs are newly planted this year so maybe they'll produce better color next year when they're more established. 

These colors don't shout Autumn, but gardeners know the hydrangeas and berries wouldn't be around for June arrangements.  'Charles Rennie Mackintosh' hasn't made a nice looking shrub for me - it only gets part sun and hasn't ever received enough water - but the flowers are really nice in arrangements.  I hooked up a drip line to give this rose more water next year, so hopefully it will finally get to thrive.   

This arrangement includes 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh' English roses, 'Lady Emily' Japanese anemones, 'Little Lime' hydrangeas, snowberries, 'Thumbelina Leigh' lavender, 'Farmington' Michaelmas daisy, spikes from 'Big Blue' lilyturf, and 'Frizelliae' fern.

I've been trying to grow Japanese anemones for several years but have struggled to get them enough water and sun to bloom well.  It's nice to finally have some flowers to cut.  All of these arrangements were shared with friends, which is more fun than keeping them myself.  Happy fall!