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.