September 15, 2014

Annual Gardens in South Arc and East Rectangle of Spokane Temple

Here are a few photos of the annual beds on the south and east sides of the Spokane Temple.  We use bold colors in the south arc because soft colors look washed out by the intense sun bouncing off the white granite walls of the temple.  Above is a 'Double Cherry Profusion' (or Zahara?) zinnia with a 'Big Green Leaf' begonia on the left and 'Dakota Gold' helenium on the right, plus a touch of parsley at the bottom right.  Marilyn and I noticed parsley in some of the annual gardens at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, so we decided to try it here.

This wide view of the south arc garden shows purple fountain grass (Pennisetum) reaching above the other annuals.  I had high hopes for these grasses but they didn't grow tall enough to create the effect I was imagining.  We had to buy two types of fountain grass to get enough for the different gardens, and the plain old Pennisetum purpureum that we used here didn't grow nearly as vigorously as the hybrid 'Prince' fountain grass in other beds.  Deep violet petunias, red zonal geraniums and single flowered orange 'Profusion' or 'Zahara' zinnias add to the mix. 

Marilyn and I have already submitted a list of requested plants to the grower for next year, and the plan for this area is to simplify a bit and use just the two colors of zinnias, violet supertunias, red geraniums and lime sweet potato vines. 

The south arc may not have turned out quite as good as planned, but the two pots outside the south gates turned out better than I imagined.  The 'Prince' purple fountain grasses here grew like mad.  You can't see it well from this angle, but a 'King Tut' papyrus is planted next to the grass and also did well.  Since we have deer and rabbit pressure out here, we used violet 'Imagination' verbena instead of petunias and some red Celosia and red ivy geraniums. 

Here is a final photo showing the east rectangle.  This little garden is completely surrounded by pale concrete, so I thought it would be nice to use dark, dramatic colors.  We keep the plantings here short since wedding photographers often pose groups on one side and shoot from the other side, and we don't want the plants in their way.  'Blackie' sweet potato vines and 'Dakota Gold' helenium did well in this area.  Unfortunately, we couldn't find the rusty-orange 'Sedona' coleus I had selected, so we used Persian shield instead and it turned out boring.  I had planned to use 'Sangria Charm' supertunias, but we couldn't get those either, and these trailing petunias didn't grow nearly as large as supertunias would have.  There are challenges each year with finding the right plants and that requires last minute adjustments, but that's just part of the adventure of gardening.  A plant combo that worked well one year could be a disaster the next year if weather conditions are very different.  You just hope for the best and wait to be surprised!

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