November 8, 2017

Fall Floral Warm and Deep

Last week I used a combination of purchased flowers and homegrown fillers to create some fall floral arrangements.  The shot above features roses, alstroemeria and purple kale from the grocery store, plus foliage from garden baptisia, scented pelargonium, purple honeysuckle, and curly willow.  I also used seed pods from 'Coral Charm' peonies and cimicifuga. 

This larger arrangement consisted of the same flowers above, but arranged for viewing from all sides instead of just from the front.

Aren't the sunset colors of these roses pretty?  I only grow old-style David Austin roses at home, but sometimes it's fun to work with regular hybrid tea roses.

Another arrangement made use of a vase from my grandmother, who was also a gardener.  It used to seem very out of style to me, but now gold is coming back.

A short centerpiece consisted of purchased mums and kale mixed with garden asters, lemon sage, and more peony seed pods and honeysuckle. 

October 30, 2017

The Colors of October

This fall has been a good one for fiery color in the garden.  Some years we get hard frosts so early that the colors don't develop well, so I'm always glad for a good year.  In the photo above you see the orange-red fall color of the 'Royal Raindrops' crabapple trees across the back, with yellow leaves of 'Caesar's Brother' Siberian iris down below.  The 'Fine Line' buckthorns at center are slower to change color, though they'll turn gold before shedding their leaves next month.

This photo from a week or two earlier showcases the yellow color of the neighbor's aspen trees.

The violet and lavender asters stand out  against the yellowing foliage of the Siberian irises.

I almost pulled this aster out a few years ago because it was spreading too quickly, but the bees are glad I just moved it to denser soil instead.  This plant has been covered with bees ever since it started blooming.

I bought this 'Popcorn' viburnum for its hydrangea-like flowers in spring and compact size (compared to other Viburnums), and the fall color is a bonus.

The fall color superstar is my Korean spice viburnum, though.  Fragrant flowers in spring are followed by glossy green foliage in summer and a carnival of color in October.

'Stella d'Oro' daylily leaves add some nice straw-yellow before collapsing.  These plants even put out a few more flowers this fall.

This shot of the honey locusts is from early October.  I wish they didn't drop their leaves so early, but at least they put on a nice show of true yellow shifting to golden-orange before dropping their little leaves.  Their color contrasts nicely with the deep purple color of the 'Hall's Purple' honeysuckle on the swing set.

September 26, 2017

Early Fall Fullness

Recently my husband and I spent a couple of days on the western side of Washington, and I felt so happy in the lush forests that I came home wanting to plant more trees in my eastern Washington backyard.  But after taking the photos for this post, I realized I probably already have plenty of trees (my husband is sighing in relief since he digs the tree holes).

It has only been four and a half years since our newly landscaped backyard looked like the photo above.

Now this shot from a similar angle shows the growth.
I'm not done planting, though.  There is room for many little filler plants among the large trees and shrubs.

This is so much better than plain lawn.

In another view of the same bench as the previous photo, you can see the new post of our patio cover.  In a couple of years it will be covered with a climbing hydrangea (H. anomala petiolaris).

This shot from the second floor shows my efforts in using different foliage colors for contrast when few flowers are blooming.  Baby 'Boulder Blue' fescues at bottom left look like polka dots now but should fill in well next year.  'Obsidian' heucheras were also planted this year to bring maroon leaves down to ground level and echo the 'Royal Purple' smoke bush at center and the 'Royal Raindrops' crabapple trees at top.

Some foliage colors are unintentional, like the iron deficient hydrangeas above.  I'm about ready to give up on these unblooming 'Let's Dance Big Easy' hydrangeas.  After a rough winter and long spring with plenty of late frosts, not a single bloom appeared on my six bushes.  Our late frosts just don't mix well with mophead hydrangeas.

Because of those late frosts, all of my butterfly bushes had to be cut down nearly to the ground in spring.  You see at the right of this photo that they bounced back just fine.  Tall, showy 'Ava' agastache is visible at the top center.

In this picture 'Shasta' doublefile viburnum in the northeast corner is just starting to turn maroon for fall.  Last weekend I fought a battle with aspen roots in this corner.  During the landscaping project years ago, we had a 5' deep Plexiglass barrier installed in the ground to keep the neighbor's aspen tree roots out of my garden, but we piled the bark too high last spring and the roots jumped right over the barrier and colonized all the way out into the lawn.  My son and I have been working to pull out the shallow roots and move the bark away to uncover the top of the barrier.

In the opposite corner, the foliage of 'Caesar's Brother' Siberian irises is very dramatic this time of year.

The whole corner is filled with a sweet fragrance from the 'Black Negligee' cimicifuga plants in bloom at center right.

The west side of the backyard is filling in so you can't see all the neighboring houses very much anymore.

At the base of these crabapples I've planted more plants with interesting foliage, including 'Diane's Gold' brunnera, 'Eola Sapphire' hostas, 'Dicksen's Gold' bellflower, 'Chocholic' cimicifuga, and 'Evergold' carex.

I'm going backwards today, as this is the view of the backyard as you enter through the gate.  The contorted filbert at right put on a lot of new growth this year.

I'll end with this photo of the front yard.  You see it's the time of year for 'octopus arms' on the roses.  Soon the fall colors will be on display before another long Spokane winter, so I'm soaking up the green views while I can.