Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Looking Back at Summer 09 and Looking Forward to Winter

This winter Camilla has just started to bloom! It's so nice to see when everything else is looking brown and dead. Here are a few of my favorite winter bloomers:
1. WhichHazel (either Jelena or Arnold's Promise). Blooms end of Jan - February with bright yellow fringed flowers. The Jelena has great Fall color too.
2. Sarcaccoca: evergreen low shrub that blooms in February with SUPER fragrant vanilla scented white flowers. Mine is planted by the front door so that I can smell it when I come in and out.
3. Camillia, Yule Tide (pictured above). This is one of my favorites of the winter blooming Camillas as it blooms right around Christmas time. Mine has just started blooming so not sure if it will still be going at Christmas time or not. Stay tuned...
4. Cabbage and Kale: Great winter annuals for their color and form. If you're lucky they will last from year to year. Mine actually survived last year's snow storm so they must be pretty hardy.

Since most of my garden is looking dead and lifeless this time of year, I usually take this opportunity to reflect on what worked and what didn't in the garden and it's also when I dream up all my lofty plans for next Spring. I usually end up with a long list plants I want to take out or move (I rearrange plants like they're furniture). The Cherry tree is on the chopping block. We might just have to wait until after it's bloomed this Spring though. We planted it to block out the rooftops in front of us. Who knew it was going to get SO big?? (see pict above) Now it's blocking our water view and since Cherries really don't like being pruned, it's got to come out. I try to just think of it as a new opportunity. Maybe we'll plant dwarf maple or Whichhazel in its place.

This year we planted an Arizona Blue Cypress (back left) in the NorthWest corner of the yard. It will eventually block our view of the neighbor's back deck. One thing I love about it is the light blue/green cones it gets. I plan on decorating with some this season.

We are slowly building what I call the backbone of the garden. Evergreen trees and shrubs make a great backdrop for the garden not only because they give privacy but they also set off plants in front of them. The trick is to plants things that one, don't block out all the light and two, don't get to be enormous giants that end up taking over your back yard. One shrub I love is called Azara Microfilia Varigatta. (It's sort of in the middle of the picture above.) It's got tiny variated leaves and an open habit that creates privacy yet doesn't block out all the sun. It's also easy to prune and doesn't get enormous.

This picture was taken a couple weeks back. The geraniums are just getting to the end of their bloom time. If I was a better gardener I'd take them inside to overwinter. I'm lazy though. I'll just buy more next Spring.

Love the fall color on this red leaf maple.

Front garden was a success. Lots of color all summer. My favorite annuals were the white petunia starts I bought (25 cents each and they grew into giant plants that just stopped blooming about a week ago.) Quite a return on investment! I wish I'd planted more. Next year...

Slowly but surely, we are building up a privacy screen on the north side of the house. This is a very narrow planting bed (about 1.5 feet deep). I've espaliered dwarf Little Gem magnolia trees mixed with Yuletide Camillias. They are underplanted with sedge grasses which look good year round. One day we will be able to look out the kitchen and bedroom window and just see blooming trees and shrubs. It's hard to be patient!

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