August 19, 2014

'Double Click Cranberry' Cosmos in a Vase

Here is a recent vase of 'Double Click Cranberry' cosmos, spearmint, 'Ogon' spirea and 'Autumn Bride' heuchera leaves.


August 12, 2014

August Backyard Tour - One Year Old Landscape


It has been just over a year since we landscaped the backyard.  The trees and a few shrubs were planted several years before that time, but everything else was newly planted or transplanted in spring 2013.  For a comparison of how things looked last August, click here.  In the photo above, you can see that this part is not maturing very quickly.  This area has been the hardest part of the backyard to get working, but I have made a few adjustments and just need to be patient.

This is a view of the area right inside the gate.  The contorted filbert on the bottom left hasn't made much obvious growth.  I'm hoping that its roots have been growing vigorously and the top growth will follow in a year or two.  With the trees and shrubs in place, now I need to work on filling in the edges of the path with masses of small perennials.

Here is another view of the northwest corner garden.  Obviously my trio of 'William Shakespeare 2000' English roses have not yet grown into one dramatically large shrub.  Four Russian sages (Peroskvia) are planted along the top of the mound and should be large and pretty by this time next year.  I plan to move some perennials and add four more 'Soft Touch' Compact Holly shrubs to the two already planted on this mound.  Their leaves have a similar appearance to the various boxwoods that form the skeleton of my landscape, but the hollies have a low dome shape that should work well on the mound. 
This is the view from the path looking west.  You can see my vigorous willow shrub on the right behind an Itoh peony and a false spirea (Sorbaria 'Sem').  I have had a few moments this year when I felt panicked that I had made a big, expensive mess of the backyard.  Not everything is working well together, so I'm making adjustments here and there.  Removing some plants, dividing and replanting others.  By this point I can see that the basic structure is going to work, so I just need to keep fine tuning.

The honeysuckle is making its way up the sides of the swing set, and the 'Shademaster' honey locust trees have put on nearly two feet of growth this year.  To see the growth that has occurred since spring, check out this post.  I like to come out and sit on this bench in the morning to consider what looks good in the yard and what needs to be reworked.

This is the same northeast corner when viewed from the path.  When taking these photos, I didn't have to squat so low to avoid filling each shot with bare ground and stark white fence, because plants are spreading and growing taller

Here is a third view of that corner looking north from around the corner on the path.  When the Korean spice viburnum at bottom center reaches its full size of six feet, you won't be able to see the back corner from this angle.  Often visitors step through the gate, look around with one sweeping glance, and don't feel the need to go any father since they've already seen it all.  A landscape is more interesting when you can't see everything at first and need to explore a bit.

This is the white garden near the southeast corner of the yard.  Last year this area looked very washed out with a bunch of pale leaves.  This year many of the perennials are better established and are a healthier, darker green.  It also helped to add a black bird bath and a 'Scallywag' holly shrub (bottom left), which has dark green leaves all year.

This is a view from southeast corner looking north.  Even though gardens mature more slowly in Spokane than in areas with longer growing seasons, the amount of growth the plants have made in just one year is exciting to me.

This is a final photo of the southeast part of the yard.  Even though I get most excited about flowers, I am trying to pay attention to the big picture.  Flowers in a garden don't look so good without a green backdrop of shrubs.  If you want a garden that feels great and looks pretty, then large shrubs and trees are an important part of the plan.

August 4, 2014

Snapdragons, Verbena and Zinnias in a Vibrant Bed

Snapdragons - some planted, some volunteers - are blooming cheerfully among zinnias, verbena and African daisies (Osteospermum) in the northwest corner garden at the Spokane Temple.  Last year the flowers in this area were kind of blah - I can say that since I made the design - but this year we used more colors, watering issues were solved, and the area looks better.

Tall salmon-colored 'Senora' zinnias (above) and shorter 'Zahara' Cherry zinnias are happy about the hot summer we've been having.  In cool years zinnias don't grow as well.

'Magenta Ribbon' snapdragons reseeded last year and were welcome surprises this year.  'Arrow Orange' snapdragons are the main filler in the bed.  I love their sunset shades.

'Imagination' verbena provides the purple color you see above.  This area experiences deer pressure, so we are limited in what we can plant.  Last year voles ate many of the plants, but this year we've avoided that damage so far.  Sometimes rabbits nibble here as well.  Deer seem to leave geraniums alone, but we learned a couple of years ago that rabbits seem to like them.  So there aren't any geraniums in the mix this year.

'Purple Prince' fountain grass (Pennisetum) adds some linear texture toward the back of the bed.  I was hoping for a darker purple grass, but this is what the grower had.  Designing flower beds at the temple always involves last-minute substitutions when requested plants aren't available.

We planted a bunch of vibrant orange African daisies, which made a great addition to the color scheme, but they stopped blooming right after planting and many haven't started again.   You can't see any in the shot above.  I know they don't enjoy hot temperatures, so perhaps they will perk up and start blooming again in September.

Here is a last shot taken just before sunset.  I don't plant hardly any annuals in my home garden - just cosmos ('Cranberry Double Click') and laceflower (Ammi visnaga) this year - so it's really fun to get to work with annuals at the temple.  I have more photos of this year's annual beds to post over the next few weeks.