Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall Garden Shake Up

Side view of Willow gazebo
Front view of Willow gazebo
The yard has gone into a complete tail spin with the addition of my latest impulse buy: a willow gazebo. This meant transplanting one large cypress (Blue Ice) and replacing it with 3 smaller, skinnier ones which should create a nice evergreen backdrop. I also had to clear out a bunch of plants to make space for the 6'x6' footprint. The vision is to build a small hexagon deck so that it sits a couple steps up from the garden. Once the lattice roof, vines and lights are in place it should be a nice, shady spot to sit; just enough room for two chairs. 
Rock wall extension planted with Variegated Iris and Black Mondo Grass
Another revamp was extending the rock wall to span more the West planter bed which was like working a puzzle of large, heavy rocks. Finally, after a dozen different configurations, I achieved a nice, flat top. In front of the wall, I've planted Variegated Iris and black Mondo Grass. Mondo Grass is a tricky plant to work with as it easily disappears unless set off just right by another contrasting plant.

Clematis 'Snowdrift' is just starting to bloom
View of West bed above rock wall

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hell Strips

If you've never heard the term 'hell strip' before, it refers to the planting strip area between the street and the sidewalk. It's typically a spot with harsh conditions and hard to keep watered. More and more, I'm seeing raised veggie gardens go into these spots. Believe it or not, the city of Seattle used to require a permit to plant in this area but within the last year or so they decided to omit the permitting process and leave it to the homeowner's discretion. Good to know there's common sense somewhere in our governmental system!

It's such a delightful surprise to come across a well planted hell strip. It's like a little oasis amongst the concrete. I've been meaning to photograph these hell strips across from Lincoln Park since last winter. I finally got out today and did it. Hooray! The below photos are rockeries just off the sidewalk. Equally harsh conditions yet so lovely to look at.

The below photo is a close up of what I'm pretty sure is black elderberry except I can't see much a flower. It has light pink blooms this time of year which are a really nice contrast to the dark foliage.

And I believe this tall, impressive beauty is artichoke. Someone please call me out if I'm wrong on that.

I've tried and killed many a plant over the years but so far these have done well for me in our hell strip: lavender, crocosmia (see detail of flower just beginning to open), blue star creeper, thyme and a number of other ground covers. As you can probably guess, you want to look for plants that do well in exposed, windy areas and are draught tolerant.

These photos below represent what I call the 'show no dirt' philosophy. Unattended to, this approach can easily lead to a wild and overgrown garden but here I think it's really quite pretty.

And here's a clever way to plant tomatoes. I love the red stakes which display the variety.