Saturday, April 28, 2007

This Evening's Walk

When family or friends join us for an evening walk in the garden, I will point out "this is one of my favorite trees". The only problem with that statement is we have planted about 60 specimens over the years, and each was selected because of a particular feature or habit which we found especially appealing. This time of year a spectacular tree happens to be the flowering crabapple, (Malus 'Priarifire').

The photos do some justice to the actual blossom…unmatched beauty in color, and when I see the tree in full bloom, all I can think of is ‘HOT’!

As we start down the path the blue and purple Columbine (Aquilegia) which have freely seeded, cover the area beneath one of our birch trees. Do enjoy the fragance of the lilac while stopping for a moment to look at the rich purple red foliage of this great maple, Acer Platanoides 'Crimson King'.

The sloping field below is home for the three Malus 'Prairifire'. These 15-20’ trees, rounded in habit, requiring little or no maintenance, do not drop their fruit, and clearly are quite the showstopper this time of year, a beautiful addition to any garden.

April brings forth their “fire” to the landscape, summer yields reddish green foliage, the fall transforms it into red and orange, and the red berries of fall and winter offer the birds a feast...the bark, a glossy dark reddish brown.

As we approach the bottom of the path let us turn right. The towering Cedrus Deodara can be seen in the distance, while the Ligustrum x vicaryi aurea (privet) nestles beneath the Malus.

A closer look says these two may have something going on. :)

Shall we walk beyond the Cedrus Deodara and then turn back for yet another view and a wonderful surprise, Sequoiadendron giganteum 'Pendulum'. Don't you just love the weeping whimsical stature of this Sequoia? Reminds me of Dr. Seuss.

We hope you have found something to enjoy during this evening's walk. Thank you for coming to see us.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Time to be Outside

This morning a hummingbird was gyrating outside my studio window, as if trying to tell me he had finally arrived and it was time, time to be outside. Perhaps he sensed the 77 degrees forecast for today and a similar outlook for tomorrow as those colder temperatures seem now tucked away until later in the year.

Trees, shrubs, vines, and ground covers have also made winter an afterthought as their color, size, foliage and fragrances respond to the increasing warmth of the season. I tried to capture more of those blossoms to share with you before they evolve into their summer’s form.

Overshadowing the heirloom rose, which will begin its display within the next month, is this delicate early blooming Clematis macropetala 'Blue Bird'. Two mourning doves have professed squatter's rights in the upper right hand of the trellis.

At the left foot of the structure is blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens), an evergreen ornamental grass, and looking beyond you can see the somewhat towering Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca', the Blue Atlas cedar.

Walk on through the tellis and observe how somehow nature always does its thing, as one of the branches of the cedar reaches down to gracefully touch the Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' which rests upon the carpet of good ole mother of thyme.

The sparkle of the Common Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Dart's Gold') accents that space.

Come take a walk with me tomorrow to see one of our favorite trees, for now it is time to be outside and meet my husband for our evening stroll in the garden.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Valley View

The valley view is ever changing from our perspective. Quite extraordinary is watching the storms roll in from the west and southwest.

The finely textured yellow foliage of the honey locust (Gleditisia triacanthos 'Sunburst' ) is seen through my favorite lilac, deep purple in color and wonderfully fragrant... it must be time to cut a few for inside the house.
(click photo to enlarge)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Many Faces of Spring

What would spring be like without a reminder that we need to pay attention, that anything can happen this time of year?

With the yet cool nights, alternating rain and sun and increasing warmth of the days, the many faces of spring change almost on a daily basis.

The following photos are reflective of temperatures having ranged
from 30 degree evenings to a 78 degree day high, a return to the normal high 50's, to 70, and back again within just a several week span. The products of these fluctuations have produced many faces in the garden.

The hail occurred a few days ago.

Yet nature's palette is filled with vibrant colors and a variety of groundcovers and azaleas throughout the garden.

This afternoon the fragrance from this white Syringa vulgaris, common lilac, fills the evening air as we go for our evening walk in the garden.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Prunus x yedoensis

Our specimen Yoshino cherry tree has been in full bloom for over a week, but tonight I fear the stunning pink blossom clouds will be short lived as temperatures are supposed to drop into the 20’s. In a few days the high should reach 70 degrees again. Go figure! It’s that time of year.

Adapting to most soils, this beauty with its upright branching structure appears quite uniform and symmetrical in shape, can grow 30-45 feet, and basks in full sun.

Wildflowers, Pacific Northwest

When I see the naturalized Trillium ovatum (western wake robin) in our garden here in the northwest, I am reminded of my wonderful seventh and eighth grade science teacher who introduced me to wildflowers and the larger Trillium grandiflorum in the east. Each year we would study and learn the botanical names, make our annual spring trip to the arboretum, and then some of us were selected to compete with other junior high school students in the outlying counties in identifying wildflowers at the local university. Okay... I won two years in a row, and the prize was the same each time, Wild Flower Guide, Northeastern and Midland United States. I do believe my teacher felt he had won when I gave him the prize the second year.

This one has turned pink with age.

Erythronium oreganum, also known as dog’s tooth violet, fawn lily or trout lily, has lovely nodding heads of creamy white to yellow which seem to arise abruptly from their mottled-leaf.

Also in the garden this time of year (but not native) are several varieties of Helleborus x hybridus, sometimes referred to as Lenten Rose and Christmas Rose, although they are not in the rose family. A beautiful and relatively carefree plant, it loves well-draining fertile soil. For more information on these plants, you might visit

Sunday, April 1, 2007

That Time of Year

It is that time of year when life around us transforms from earth tone shades of grays and browns to living Technicolor! There is so much excitement in our garden today as things begin to emerge from the soil, fragrance and color abound and fill our senses, and the mourning doves perched atop a trellis tell us of their delight.

Is it not appropriate that this resurrection and renewal occurs at what is this Easter season?

(click photo to enlarge)