November 17, 2021

Midsummer Wedding Flowers


In August I arranged flowers for a wedding reception.  I used purchased roses and garland, but the rest of the flowers came from my garden.  My dahlias were going strong and provided most of the color.  The photo above includes 'Cafe au Lait,' 'White Onesta,' 'Labyrinth' and 'Linda's Baby' dahlias.

In the small centerpieces I included roses, 'Labyrinth' dahlias, 'Ruffled Swan' anemones, 'Little Lime' hydrangeas, 'Dalmation Peach' foxgloves, peach hypericum berries, 'White Glitter' sea holly, 'Autumn Bride' heuchera, parsley seed heads, scented pelargonium leaves, mint stems and honeysuckle.

This vase for the guest sign-in table used most of the flowers listed above plus some 'Little Quick Fire' hydrangeas.  I was delighted with the dainty white anemone flowers.  I have 'White Swan,' 'Dreaming Swan,' and 'Ruffled Swan' anemones in my garden, and they are all vigorous bloomers from midsummer to frost.  'Ruffled Swan' flowers are the most substantial and my favorite for arranging.

I grew four 'Labyrinth' dahlia plants this year, and they were highly productive.  No wonder this dahlia is so popular with flower arrangers.  The twisting petals combine peach and rose shades so they blend well with many color schemes.

Here's another shot of the centerpieces en masse.  I ordered the glass cylinder vases in bulk from Amazon.

I made two of these large arrangements with a giant 'Penhill Watermelon' dahlia as the focal point of each.  

Here are the large arrangements next to the disassembled arch.  For the arch I used a garland of honeysuckle, salal and bear grass that was ordered from, plus more flowers from my garden.  I had never created a floral arch before, so it was fun to stretch my skills.  I have no plans to become a professional wedding florist, but it has been enjoyable to help a friend or two with reception flowers each summer.

June 11, 2021

Mid May Garden


I am finally posting these photos from mid-May, with 'Purple Sensation' alliums and 'Excelsior' Spanish bluebells in bloom above.

By the middle of May the 'Royal Raindrops' crabapple trees had dropped their petals and taken up their summer maroon color.

'Early Emperor' alliums in the foreground were a lovely contrast with the chartreuse leaves of a 'Sutherland Gold' elderberry at left and the 'Red Dragon' contorted filbert at right.

This chair has been a favorite place to sit and take in the view down both sides of the path.

The last of the tulips included 'Blue Spectacle,' 'Black Hero' and these unknown coral-red lily tulips.

In the white garden, 'Spring Green' viridiflora tulips bloomed along with the 'Popcorn' viburnum at back right.

The west garden was full of leaves if not color, with a few clematis flowers opening on the trellis.

May 18, 2021

Tulip Time in Early May

 These photos of the backyard are from early May when the tulips were in full bloom along with the 'Royal Raindrops' crabapple trees.

'Margarita' pink double tulips were blooming at front along with lily-flowered 'Merlot,' 'Orange Princess,' 'Negrita' and 'Black Hero.' 

As the 'Spring Snow' crabapple trees finished blooming, white petals covered the ground.   

These double red 'Palmyra' tulips might have been my favorite this year.  In the background you can see one of two newly planted 'Primo' dwarf arborvitaes.  Eventually they should grow four feet tall by one foot wide to add beautiful evergreen structure to this main sunny bed.

A shot looking west shows the back northwest bed.  I've been giving extra water and love to the two 'Green Tower' boxwoods at right.  We transplanted them out from the very back of the bed last year, and they're still a little stressed.

Speaking of stressed plants, my two 'Thoweil' false cypress shrubs (just left of center and far left) are both struggling.  I'm not sure if they have tip blight or if they just got too dried out last winter, but they've had a lot of dieback and just don't look good.  I have been making sure the soil is moist at their bases and have treated them with fungicide.  Every time I walk by I send them good thoughts for recovery.

The tulips in this area came back nicely for a second year, including pink 'Aveyron' and creamy 'Verona.'  Newly planted 'Bowles Golden' carex echoes the chartreuse blooms of cushion spurge.

In my tiny white garden, the 'Exotic Emperor' tulips have multiplied over several years to make a good showing along with variegated white aubretia and the 'Spring Snow' crabapple.

This photo doesn't do them justice, but the 'Exotic Emperor' tulips have interesting green flames coming up their sides and lovely full blooms.  

A view of the east back garden reveals the new hot tub at far right.  We bought it for my husband and I swore I would rarely get in, but it turns out that I use it more than anyone else in the family, especially after a long day of gardening.

This is the view from the best seat in the hot tub.  It has become another way to enjoy the garden!

March 4, 2021

West Garden Progression 2020

I have a final series of season progression photos to share, this time from the west garden path.  The shot above shows everything waking up for spring in March 2020.  The 'Elfin' thyme surrounding the flagstones is mostly evergreen, though its color is more muted in winter.

By May 1 the area looked very different.  I could fill the space with more evergreens that would look nice in winter, but then I'd have less room for the flowering plants I really love.  The evergreens that grow well here don't have beautiful blooms.

The 'Walker's Low' catmint was in its full glory by the end of May.  It is one of my favorite plants in the garden, and it's a favorite of the bees as well.

I didn't get a midsummer shot from 2020, so this is July 2019.  The 'Royal Sunset' lilies, 'Hush Lil Baby' daylilies, and 'Early Sunrise' coreopsis added warmth to the color scheme.

This scene from September featured the long-blooming 'Kickin' Purple' asters as well as 'Mickey' hardy chrysanthemums.  The 'Dazzleberry' sedums aren't visible from this angle, but they were a beautiful addition in August/September.

After some light frosts in October, the daylilies died back but the asters and mums continued to bloom.  Very cold temperatures came quickly afterward, so we didn't get to enjoy much fall color from the leaves on shrubs and trees before they turned brown.

I had to go back a few years to find a snow shot of the area.  Winter interest was provided by the four 'Wee Willie' boxwoods, flagstone path, basalt pillar, birdbath, trellises and stone facing on the house.

In June we took some family photos in the garden, and I particularly liked this one with my favorite garden helper in the west garden.

February 25, 2021

East Arch Garden Progression 2020

This Essex arch (from Gardener's Supply) was a new addition to my east backyard garden in the fall of 2019.  I didn't take many photos from this perspective before installing it, but the arch made the area much more photogenic.  So in 2020 I took regular photos to show the season's progression in this part of the garden, beginning with the shot above from March.

At the beginning of May the spring green was filling in while the 'Spring Snow' crabapple trees, 'Katherine Havemeyer' lilac, 'White Emperor' tulips, variegated aubretia and candytuft were in bloom.  My husband had just removed a large lilac from the center of the shot, which gave me space for a transplanted 'Golden Spirit' smoke bush and 'Invincibelle Blush' hydrangea.  He removed two of our six 'Katherine Havemeyer' lilacs in 2020, as their endless suckering was becoming overwhelming and I wanted places for other plants.

By the end of May the perennial foliage was full and lush and the 'Stellar Pink' dogwood at right was in bloom.  I planted a white clematis vine at the right of the arch, but it didn't put on much top growth in 2020.  Hopefully it was busy growing roots so it can grow farther up the arch in 2021.

In July the 'Meidilland White' rose was in full bloom at right with 'Alba' Astrantia flowering at left.  I added a trellis to a bare spot on the fence at left, gently pulled down a white clematis that was growing up the crabapple tree, and retrained the vine on the new trellis.

Fewer flowers were blooming in this area by August, but the chartreuse leaves of 'Orange Marmalade' and 'Sum and Substance' hostas contrasted nicely with the darker foliage of a 'Green Tower' boxwood and the contorted filbert at the end of the path.

In October the 'Ruffled Swan' anemones and 'White Onesta' dahlias were blooming just before the first frost hit.  Unfortunately I discovered that the contorted filbert - which made such a lovely focal point at the end of the path - was covered with lesions from Eastern Filbert Blight, which doesn't have a cure.  We had to remove it and now I'm trying to decide what to plant there instead.

We added another design twist when we installed a small hot tub in the corner in December 2020.  It's great for sore gardener muscles but it's not the most beautiful addition to the garden!  I'm thinking that some small evergreen shrubs would help camouflage it, and perhaps we can build flagstone steps instead of the plastic ones.  I have considered adding a second arch closer to the hot tub, but I'm not sure if I like that idea.  So we'll see what works out in coming months.  

This photo from May 2019 shows the area before the arch was added.  It was nice but lacked something, don't you think?  It's interesting how a lovely structure (I'm thinking of the arch, not the hot tub) can finish off a garden space.

February 17, 2021

Main Sunny Bed 2020 Progression

Last year I tried to take more regular pictures of the same view throughout the gardening season.  Here are some progression photos of my main sunny bed, beginning with this photo from March when the bulb foliage was just starting to appear.

In April the 'Royal Raindrops' crabapple trees bloomed beautifully along with various tulips and Euphorbia polychroma.

The 'Medallion' Oriental poppies were the stars in May with Caesar's Brother Siberian iris plus various Alliums and Salvias.

By June my favorite 'Gladiator' Alliums were in peak bloom above the 'April Night' (which obviously didn't bloom in April here) and 'Caradonna' salvia. In future years the newly installed teepee supports will be covered by deep red 'Florentina' climbing roses, which should bloom about this time.

July featured vigorous 'Arabian Night' and 'Purple Haze' dahlias on either side of the quick-growing 'Royal Purple' smoke bush.  I cut it almost to the ground at the end of the season to keep it a manageable size for this area.  In this shot 'Millenium' allium and 'Blue Paradise' phlox were beginning to open.

The 'Berry Awesome' hardy hibiscus at center bloomed in August, with the dahlias continuing their long bloom season and 'Miss Molly' and 'Blue Chip' butterfly bushes adding color as well.  Russian sage and 'Jeanne' phlox are difficult to see in this shot but they were in bloom as well.

Apparently I didn't get a photo from September, but this is the scene in mid-October, a week before an early snowstorm hit.  Because of the quick drop in temperatures, we didn't see much fall color from the trees last year.

I'll end with this view on October 23, 2020, when heavy snow blanketed Spokane before many deciduous trees had time to drop their leaves.  The storm caused widespread damage across town because leafy branches held onto so much snow and many broke.  I was grateful my only broken branches were on a dogwood tree in the southeast corner of my yard.  

As usual, I have plans for changes to this area.  I hope to remove a little more grass across the front to make room for a few more plants - 'Cats's Pajamas' catmint, 'Plum Perfect' roses and more 'Berry Awesome' hibiscus.  I'm also planning to transplant a 'Royal Jubilee' rose to the middle of the bed behind the smoke bush.  'Mini Mauvette' hydrangeas that were planted in 2018 and 'Galaxy Blue' agapanthus planted in 2019 should make a bigger impact in 2021.  It will be exciting to see the progression this coming year as the bed continues to change and mature.