Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Documenting the Progress on My Planting -- Part I

I'm almost caught up on my planting, finally! I've been to several plant sales this Spring (more are coming up), and bought lots of new plants, but was having trouble getting them planted because of our cold, rainy weather. I don't mind gardening in the rain, as long as it isn't torrential rain. Most of the time our Spring rain is a misty rain, although we have had some real crazy rain in the past few weeks.  Rain, hail, snow, fog (I heard there was thunder and lightning in Seattle) -- all in the span of 24 hours. The temp gets down just below freezing nearly every night, and there is frost on the grass almost every morning.

Finally last weekend the sun came out, and the temps finally rose above 50. I had three days of playing in the dirt.

Except for two blueberry bushes, this is all that's left waiting to be either planted or potted up.
A daylily, a pot of spearmint (that's staying in its pot), three Anemones, a Clematis (Rosemoor), some blue oat grass, and a handful of stuff started from seed last year, that made it through the winter (now sprouting again and in need of potting up)

So I thought I would document my beds at this stage, for my records.

The front foundation bed:

This is the bed that has the now severely pruned Escallonia in it. I'm still trying to decide whether to keep it. If I remove it, that bed will no longer have any of the shrubs that were in it when we moved here a year and a half ago. I posted last year about pulling an overgrown sun rose out of this bed. It left a lot of space, which I filled with a variety of things. A Magic Carpet Spirea, a couple of summer-blooming heathers, some Ballerina Geraniums, a couple of Peach Flambe Heucheras, and a Clematis tubulosa. And a handful of bulbs. I guess my solution was to throw everything at it to see what would stick.

Here's a picture of it when we first moved in.

Around the corner from that:
A Wine and Roses Weigela and some Red Hunter Tulips. I haven't given much thought to what else I want to put here. But I surely will, I can't leave all that open soil unplanted.

To the right of that bed is another bed that I don't think I've shown before. When we first moved in, it looked like this:

Now it looks like this:

The large, mostly brown shrub on the far right is a mostly dead Viburnum tinus. As soon as the weather warms up again and I get my bypass pruners out, it's going the same way as the Escallonia. Although I think even if I find signs of life, it is coming all the way out, no reprieve.
In this bed are also planted a purple smoke tree, a Physocarpus 'Diablo', Heucheras, daylilies, hardy Geraniums, some shasta daisies, some Salvia 'East Friesland', a Phlox 'StarFire', and some lily bulbs bought at the NWFGS. They are just starting to poke their heads out.

Connected to that bed is a long bed running the length of the front yard, to the right of the house.

I'd like to get rid of almost all the shrubs growing here at some point. Besides the mostly dead Viburnum tinus, there is a Vitex, a rose of sharon, a stinky boxwood, a privet, and a sour cherry that grew from the roots of a grafted sweet cherry (the previous owners left it because it worked as a cross-pollinator).  I'm thinking I might remove the sweet cherry tree, it's in a pretty crappy state. Last year all the fruit and leaves had fallen off by about August (a consequence of our wet, cold Spring, I think), and it has been topped and is absolutely hemorrhaging sap.

Well, onward to the back garden.

Most of my order from Annie's Annuals went here. There's a Verbascum 'Southern Charm', Collinsia, Clarkia concinna 'Pink Ribbons', Phacelia viscida, Cerinthe retorta, and two Agastache 'Golden Jubilee' (from Santa Rosa gardens).

This little bed is in the shade from our porch on the northeast corner of the house.

It used to have a Camella Yuletide in it. But it didn't flower this year, so I thought maybe it wasn't getting enough sun. I moved it out and put a Mahonia X meadia 'Charity' in its place. The Mahonia was planted in too much sun, and dropped a lot of its leaves after I planted it last year. It is basically a dry shade bed, since I often forgot to water it last year. Now it has Cyclamen coum, Cyclamen hederifolium, Arum italicum 'Jack Sprat', Cryptotaenia japonica atropurpurea, and Epimedium 'Pink Elf'. It also has an oakleaf Hydrangea, Hellebores, Primroses, black mondo grass, Brunnera 'Jack Frost', sword ferns, a yellow Epimedium, some Heucheras, lady's mantle, a Geranium 'Rozanne', a toad lily, and an Ajuga 'Black Scallop.'

Here it is from another angle.
When we first moved in here, there was no garden bed here. 

Just this, now gone after being posted and snapped up on craigslist.

This little triangular bed is at the back, near the fence, under some Douglas firs. Another mostly shade bed, although it does get some late afternoon sun -- when the sun is out, that is.

It's another bed with a wide variety planted in it. Some new plants here include soft shield fern, variegated shield fern, Primula elatior and Primula moupiensis, Anemone nemorosa, Hepatica nobilis, Corydalis flexuosa 'Purple Leaf', and Corydalis 'Berry Exciting'.

Here is that same bed from another angle.
Here there are also Dicentra formosa, Tolmiea menziesii, Tiarellas, Pulmonaria, lots of different columbines from seed, autumn fern, some Heucheras (I plant them everywhere, don't I?), Jack-in-the-pulpit and hosta.

When we first moved in there was a bed here, but the only thing growing in it was a Portuguese laurel.

I was planning to continue, but I think I'll stop. Part II will cover the mostly native bed in a separate post.


  1. Everything looks great, Alison. Lots of great areas for plants and beautiful surroundings too.

  2. Wow you have a lot of beds to fill! No wonder you have been buying plants like crazy. I can't wait to see the photos later on this summer. You sure have a good start. I like all of the bright leaves. Even with all of the rain, I bet you've had fun deciding where to put stuff. Happy planting.

  3. I just love getting a chance to see more of your yard. Funny that you are slowly but surely getting rid of the plants that were there when you moved in. Our front yard only has the Dogwood that was here when we moved in.
    You have so many pretty plants and it's going to be even nicer as the weather warms and everything gets a chance to fill in. It absolutely poured here today. All the kids outdoor sports were canceled because all of the fields were a wet mess.

  4. Look at all of your lovely flower beds! Oh, I am so jealous of all the pretty Alison!
    I can relate to Catherine's comment too..funny how you slowly rid yourself of many of the plants that came with the home and then really showcase your own personal style with plants that resonate with you! It's going to be fun to see how it all fills in, I really like so many of your plant selections :) Cheers, Jenni

  5. What great progress, love the rearranging and reorganizing of the plants. The photos will be a great reference during the growing season and next.

  6. I'm glad I came back here for the tour. I sure enjoyed it. If Larry gets his way, the flower bed where the tree used to be will be like that square one in your before photo. If I get my way, it will be close to the size of your after. I just think the square in the middle of the area would look silly.

  7. Oh my! How many plants you have! I have an ugly split cherry that blooms at different times--and I hate it! I want to rip it out, but.... you just taught me it could be a cross pollinator for the other 2 cherry trees I LOVE. Oh... this is a terrible dillema.


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