April 25, 2016

Peak Spring Bloom: Part I

It has been a gloriously colorful spring here in the garden.  I have been especially excited to see some beautiful scenes in the backyard, as we landscaped it in 2013 and have been patiently (or not) waiting for plants to grow.  Nothing is mature yet, but things are well on their way.  Above is a view of 'Negrita' tulips in front of a 'Red Dragon' contorted filbert (Corylus avellana) at the center of the main sunny bed.

Moving back a few feet brings a 'Royal Raindrops' crabapple tree into view (Malus 'Royal Raindrops').  The buds open magenta and fade to almost white before falling, so this is about half way through the progression.

Here is the whole northwest corner.  The bench under the arbor continues to be a favorite spot for the children and I when we want a few quiet minutes in the garden.

The other stars in the backyard have been the eight 'Spring Snow' crabapple trees (Malus).  The one above has lost about half of its petals which coat the ground.  You'll notice its nice columnar shape, which is unique among crabapples.  It doesn't produce any messy fruit, and large bumblebees love clambering through its petals.  For a week or two the backyard has been filled with a sweet fragrance from these trees.

My six fragrant 'Katherine Havemeyer' lilac shrubs are also blooming now.  Even though it creates unity through the landscape to have so many of the same type, I wish I had planted different colors here and there.  I did find a corner to squeeze in a dark reddish-purple 'Charles Joly' lilac this spring, but the tiny thing doesn't have any blooms yet.

This was the view from the arbor bench last week.  The spot of pink at left is creeping phlox (Phlox subulata).  Small clusters of lavender woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata) are blooming along the right of the path.

'Spring Snow' is definitely the right name for these trees.  All of these white petals will turn brown eventually, but for now they look magical.  We just need a bride to walk down the path.

Here is one more shot of the petal-strewn path and the pink crabapples in the corner.

The double tulips in this small bed by the patio continue to boom each spring.  I didn't expect these tulips to return well - often the fancy types only bloom well for one season.  But light pink 'Foxtrot,' deeper pink 'Pink Star,' and purple 'Blue Spectacle' have all perennialized happily in the well-drained soil.

In the southeast corner of the yard, a white double Lenten Rose (Helleborus) blooms in front of blue 'Jack Frost' Brunnera in the white garden.

I'll end with this view from an upstairs window looking down at a white flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) on the east of the house.  The front yard has also been full of blooms, which I plan to share next week.

April 18, 2016

Fragrant Spring Bouquet

Today I put together my first garden bouquet of the year.  With temperatures in the mid-80's Fahrenheit this week the blooms won't last long outside, so I might as well bring some indoors.

'Apricot Parrot' tulips are the stars of the bouquet.  Their coloring is peachy coral in bud and turns to cool pink as the flower matures.

Double flowering 'Pink Star' tulips arc toward one side of the vase while stems of purple honeysuckle meander around nearby.

Nodding green flowers of a double flowered Lenten rose (Hellebore) provide filler in the arrangement.  Before adding any flowers I made a grid of peony leaves at the base to hold everything in place.  The leaves in this shot are from a bleeding heart, however.

Stems of white bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba') add sweetness to the mix.  My kids love to pull the flowers apart to find slippers, bunny ears and a sword.

Fragrance comes from puffs of Korean spice Viburnum (V. carlesii).  After blooming this classic shrub features glossy leaves in summer and a kaleidoscope of color in fall.
The garden continues to race through spring with our much warmer than normal temperatures.  I have to spend extra time out there enjoying it each day since nothing lasts long in the heat.  I have no complaints about spending extra time in the garden, of course!

April 11, 2016

Deer Resistant Perennials for Spokane - Zone 5

Since many of my friends around here live with deer in their yards, I'm posting about deer resistant perennials for zone 5 today.  As I mentioned in my post about deer resistant shrubs for zone 5, deer will eat almost anything when they're hungry enough.  But the plants listed here are less likely to be damaged.
Not everything in the photo above is deer resistant, but the lavender 'Walker's Low' catmint (Nepeta, hardy in zones 3-9, 2.5' tall by 3' wide, sun) is recommended for gardens with deer problems.  Plants with silvery leaves like catmint are less likely to be browsed by deer.  The deep violet 'May Night' sage (Salvia, zones 4-9, 1.5 to 2' tall and wide, sun) at the center of the photo is also deer resistant.  Even though many daylilies are not deer resistant, I have seen golden yellow 'Stella d'Oro' daylily (Hemerocallis, zones 4-11, 1.5 to 2' tall and wide, sun/part shade) growing and flowering well in many landscapes with deer.

 Peonies, including herbaceous, Itoh and tree types, are on the deer resistant list.  Above is 'Coral Supreme' (Paeonia, zones 3-8, 3' tall and wide, sun/part shade).

Oriental poppies (Papaver, zones 3-8, 1.5 to 2' tall and wide, sun) like the orange ones above are deer resistant.  Globe alliums like mauve-purple 'Ambassador' (zones 4-8, 3-4' tall, sun) make the list, as do the purple spikes of 'Caradonna' sage (Salvia, zones 4-9, 1.5' tall and wide, sun).

Rosy-orange 'Totally Tangerine' geum (Geum, zones 4-8, 2' tall and wide, sun/part shade) also withstands deer well.

Grassy clumps of violet Siberian iris (Iris siberica 'Caesar's Brother', zones 3-8, 3' tall by 2' wide, sun) are not appealing to deer.

'Emerald Blue' creeping phlox (Phlox subulata, zones 3-6, .5' tall by 3' wide, sun/part shade) are safe from deer.  In the background above you can see a clump of catmint and the 'Coral Supreme' peony  about to bloom.

Tulips are not deer resistant but spring color can be had with 'Basket of Gold' (Alyssum saxatilis, zones 4-8, 1.5' tall and side, sun) above.  Also visible are deer resistant low mounds of purple 'Axcent Blue' Aubretia (zones 4-9, 4" tall by 1' wide, sun).

Spring-blooming Lenten rose (Hellebore, zones 4-9, 1.5' tall/wide, partial shade) is deer resistant.

The sprays of tiny chartreuse flowers above come from deer resistant lady's mantle (Alchimella mollis, zones 3-9, 1.5' tall/wide, part shade).

White 'Bridal Veil' Astilbe (zones 4-9, 2' tall/wide, part shade/shade) brightens shady corners but doesn't attract deer.  Astilbe come in many shades of pink, red, coral and violet.

Midsummer deer resistant plants include 'Golden Sunrise' tickseed (Coreopsis, zones 5-10, 1.5' tall/wide, sun) and all types of coneflowers including coral 'Guava Ice' at left (Echinacea, zones 5-9, 2' tall/wide, sun).

Yarrow attracts butterflies but not deer.  Above is 'Peachy Seduction' (Achilla, zones 4-8, 1.5' tall/wide, sun).  A spike of 'Buzz Purple' butterfly bush is at upper left and is also deer resistant.

Spikes of midsummer mauve Liatris (zones 3-8, 2-4' tall by 1.5' wide, sun) also draw butterflies but are ignored by deer.

'Dazzleberry' (zones 4-9, 6" tall by 1.5' wide, sun) and other types of sedum are deer resistant and bloom in late summer or fall.  The butterflies like these as well.

Fall blooming 'Farmington' Aster (zones 3-9, 2' tall by 1.5' wide, sun) is rarely browsed by deer.

Russian sage (Peroskvia, zones 4-9, 3-4' tall/wide, sun) also avoids the deer with its late summer/fall blooms.

Ethereal Japanese anemones (Anemone robustissima, zones 4-8, 4' tall by 2' wide, part sun) escape the deer but may escape your control as well with their aggressive spreading.  Their flowers are especially welcome in fall.
Hopefully this list gives my deer-afflicted friends a few ideas of what to plant.

April 7, 2016

'Harmony' Iris and Hellebores on the East Side

Last fall I planted clusters of 'Harmony' Iris reticulata (Zones 5-8, sun or part shade) along the path on the east side of our home, and last week I was rewarded with these lovely deep blue flowers.

Mounds of perennial plant leaves are popping up all over the area and it's nice to have some color among all the green.

Other than the mini iris, there are also two Lenten roses (Helleborus) blooming in this part of the garden.  'Berry Swirl' is pictured above.

This 'Double Queen' hellebore is greenish-cream with speckles inside.  Both of these hellebores have been in bloom for over a month by now and will continue for quite a while longer.

Here is a shot of the entire area.  Spring is early again this year with no complaints from this gardener.  Soon the chartreuse leaves of 'Mellow Yellow' spirea, 'Lime Rickey' heuchera, and 'Sum and Substance' hosta will be brightening up purple 'Negrita' tulips, pink creeping phlox and 'Asao' clematis while 'Katherine Havemeyer' lilacs and white 'Spring Snow' crabapple trees bloom above.