Garden in Bloom: June 2014

Garden in Bloom: June 2014 via

Garden in Bloom: June 2014 via

Aside from my birthday month of April, I think June is one of my favorite months. The whole garden bursts into bloom and it’s such a joy to watch it unfolding every day. This garden needs a little attention. Some things have died off and others taken over. Some of the perennials need dividing. So it’s not in as full of glory as it was a couple of years ago. But it’s okay. It’s still a cheerful burst of color to enjoy.

The weather this year has been unusual to me. It’s been warmer and wetter than I remember from previous years. Muggy and overcast isn’t the most common condition where I live. Overcast, sure, but then rainy and [Read more…]

All the Roses

Lady Bank's Rose via

Cottage Rose via

Every Spring, about the end of April, I start watching for the roses to bloom. The first one to go is always the Lady Bank’s rose that’s on the site gate arbor. After that, the rose hedge starts to go, and then about now, all of the rest of the roses join in. It’s my favorite.

This year is especially exciting because I have several new roses that were given to me by a friend before she moved to California, and so my rose collection effectively doubled instantly. The roses smell AMAZING. I haven’t brought any inside yet because I can’t bear to take them out of the garden, but as good as they smell, it’s only a matter of time before I succumb.

The most fragrant of the roses is one that’s new to me, Variegata di Bologna. It has a clean, fresh scent that’s just intoxicating. I’ve never had a striped rose before and I probably would have never bought one because I would have thought I wouldn’t like it. But I loooove it, and not just because of how it smells. It’s so pretty!

Variegata di Bologna
Variegata di Bologna Rose via

The other new rose that’s blooming is one that I have photographed in rose gardens over and over and over again because it’s just that perfect. It’s called “Cottage Rose” and it’s a beautiful pink cabbage rose. I don’t have a picture of the gorgeous quartered bloom, but trust me, it’s stunning. And also smells fantastic. I am so thankful to have been given this rose.

Cottage Rose
Cottage Rose Cabbage Rose via

Another fragrant rose that I brought with me from my old house is this beautiful Rugosa rose called “Hansa.” It’s been transplanted half a dozen times (eeep) and still is going strong. I just love Rugosa roses for this reason.

Hansa Rugosa Rose via

The house also came with this mystery rose that grows on the back fence. It surprises me every year because it’s huge and it grows and blooms in nearly full shade. I suspect it may be a Dr. Huey growing from a rootstock. It grows from the other side of the chain link fence, and the neighbor (who is also a Master Gardener) has tried to get rid of it, but it just keeps growing. Now it’s all on my side, and the roots are under the hedge, so I think we’re stuck with it. There are worse fates. You can see it even better in the pictures I posted last year of it blooming.

Dr. Huey (?)
Dr. Huey Rose via

The first rose I bought and planted myself is the Lady Bank’s rose that’s on the arbor gate. It blooms early, and only once, and when it’s done that’s it for the year. But it’s worth it to see the cascades of little yellow flowers coming down. There’s a clematis on there with it, too, so it will give us purple flowers as the season continues.

Lady Banks
Lady Bank's Rose via

The most traffic-stopping roses I have planted by far are the roses in the rose hedge. I’ve been gradually adding a couple of plants each year, bought either on clearance or bareroot at the beginning of the season, and eventually they will stretch across the entire front of my front garden along the fence. The first six I got for $2 each on clearance and I didn’t know what colors they were. They’re Knock Out roses, and I have a mix of the regular bright bright double pink ones and the slightly lighter medium pink double ones. These roses are amazing. They bloom like nobody’s business and you can cut them with hedge clippers in Spring to keep their shape. They don’t get any blackspot (a plague in my region) and just go and go and go. They’re not fancy, but they’re great for what I’m using them for. My only wish is that I had all medium pink ones beause the bright ones are SO BRIGHT, but really, I’m lucky to have so many roses blooming without maintenance, so I won’t complain.

Knock Out
Knock Out Rose Hedge via

I’ve started underplanting the hedge with catmint (this is “Walker’s Low”). I started with one plant and divide it every year. Soon I’ll have enough to stretch the whole way along with the roses. I love how the purple and pink look together. Plus it keeps the deer out of my garden.

Here, you can see how the catmint only is on the first section so far:

Knock Out Rose Hedge via

It’s always a process! 🙂 I’m hoping this year is my year, though, to finish this front border. I’ll have to wait on the roses, but I have been able to scrounge up the fence posts and I have lots of catmint. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find some of the roses on clearance this fall.

Meanwhile, there are still a few more roses crammed into my garden, but none of them are blooming yet this year. I’ll let you know when they do!

Do you have any roses in your garden?

~Angela :-)

Garden in Bloom: May 2013

Spring Blooms via

Spring Blooms via

I am sometimes amazed at how different the garden looks now from when I first moved here. I mean, I don’t know why, really. I’ve worked on it for hours upon hours and made so many changes. But for some reason, at each given moment in time it seems like things are just going to stay that way forever. That you’re never going to get where you want to go. And yet, in the nearly six years we’ve lived here, things have changed so much.

When we first moved here there was grass, barkdust and a few overgrown rhododendrons. Nothing else. The end. I worked and worked and worked at it and it didn’t seem to get any better. I never thought I’d ever have anything pretty at all. But guess what? A few years later and all that work starts to accumulate and there’s little bits of cottage garden goodness all over the place.

Here’s some of the things that are blooming right now in my garden.

Lady Banks Rose
Spring Blooms via

Cottage Rose
Spring Blooms via

Knockout Rose Hedge and Catmint “Walker’s Low”
Spring Blooms via

Spanish Lavender
Spring Blooms via

“Shirley” Poppies & Foxgloves
Spring Blooms via

Red Valerian & Clematis
Spring Blooms via

“Superstition” Bearded Iris
Spring Blooms via

Spring Blooms via

Is there anything blooming right now in your garden?

~Angela :-)

P.S. Linking up to May Dreams Gardens and An Oregon Cottage.

How Far We’ve Come: The Front Garden

Knockout Rose Hedge and Rock Edge in Progress

Rock Edge in Progress

After sharing the progress on the rock edging yesterday, I thought it might be nice to share how the front garden has changed since we bought the house.

Then I realized, it’s been almost exactly five years since we bought our house! Almost to the day. Can you believe that?

I thought it would be fun to take a quick look back and see how far we’ve come. I’ll start with the front garden, since that’s where this conversation started.

When we bought the house, one of the things I liked about it was that the garden was a completely blank slate. The only thing here, besides the pear tree, was grass, barkdust and overgrown rhododendrons. We later learned that the previous owners had not wanted to garden, so had everything taken out. All I had to do was clear the overgrown bushes and start from scratch.

This is what the house looked like the day we bought it.
Front of House at Purchase

The first thing I did in the front is rip out all the overgrown rhododendrons and prickly evergreens.
Front of House After Clearing Garden

Today it looks like this — still a work in progress.
Front of House Currently

When we bought the house, the right side of the front garden disappeared in a tangle of overgrown bushes.
Right Front Garden at Purchase

Today it’s still a bit of a jungle, but it has a gate and evolving landscaping.
Right Front Garden Currently

On the left side of the house, there was just grass and more rhododendrons.
Left Front Garden at Purchase

We added a fence, and gate and lots of other things, and this is what it looks like today. Still working on it!
Left Front Garden Currently

Walking up to the front door, this is the view when we bought the house. Lots and lots of prickly evergreens!
Center Front Garden at Purchase

Right now it’s a mess because I’m changing the way it’s landscaped, but once the rocks and evergreens are in, it should look muuuuch nicer.
Center Front Garden Currently

I’m not sure it’s actually possible to see how different it is in these pictures, or how much work has been done. It seems dramatic to me, standing there in person, but there’s still so much of a mess, I’m not sure it’s showing yet in the photos. I feel good about the progress we’re making, though, and I’m sure that once all the beds are in we can add the rest of the fence, the brick path, the arbor, and then all the details to the house itself, the change will be obvious even in pictures.

Does your front garden look different than it did five years ago?


~Angela :-)

Just Like That, It’s Summer

June Blooms in the Bird and Butterfly Garden

Blooming Ditch Lily

Remember last week when I showed you the foxgloves and roses, but said the “next wave” was coming? Well, it’s here! The new flowers are starting to come into bloom, bringing brighter and wilder colors.

The first thing that always appears is the orange ditch lilies. It’s funny, because every Spring I’m so in love with the pinks and blues and I swear I’m going to tear out all the orange and yellow that’s coming down the pike, but as soon as summer starts and the orange and fuschia and purple and indigo take over, I fall in love with the brighter colors all over again.

I wish I could take credit for all this, but I didn’t really do it. I mean, yes, I built this bed and planted these plants (there was nothing here when I moved in five years ago). But it was mostly just a matter of answering two questions. First, “What didI bring with me from the old garden that attracts butterflies?”, and second (to be repeated several times each season), “What do I have on hand that I stuff in that bare spot?”

This bed evolves every year. I add things, things die. It’s a great bed for tinkering.

Bird and Butterfly Garden in June Bloom

Verbena bonariensis and Catmint

I love how the orange mixes with the pink and blue as summer starts to heat up.

Blooms of Ditch Lilies - Hemerocallis fulva

This adorable little rose is an Apothecary’s rose, and is a recent gift from a friend. I have them in the herb bed right now, but this fall I will move them to a better home. They’re going to get way too huge and swamp my cooking herbs! The little blooms are so pretty, aren’t they?

Bloom of Apothecary's Rose - Rosa gallica var. officinalis

The gazebo “thing” is right in the corner, between the butterfly garden and the not-yet-defined-bed-that-I-haven’t-figured-out-but-is-full-of-foxgloves garden. I do love the foxgloves. I’m going to have to transplant a bunch of them, though, because I’m going to have to fix that bed one of these days.

Gazebo in Corner of Garden

OH yes, and lest you think I am some kind of superwoman who can keep her garden picked up at all times, I will remind you that I do, indeed, have children.

Children's Toys on the Back Garden Lawn

While there’s still gray skies more often than not here in the Pacific Northwest, summer is definitely here.

What about you? Do your gardens change their colors for summer?


~Angela :-)

P.S. For the fellow plant enthusiasts, here’s the main things pictured:
Ditch Lilies: Hemerocallis fulva
Rose Campion: Lychnis coronaria
Yarrow: Achillea millefolium ‘Cerise Queen’
Catmint: Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’
Brazilian Verbena: Verbena bonariensis
Apothecary’s Rose: Rosa gallica var. officinalis
Foxgloves: Digitalis purpurea

P.P.S. Linking up to Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage.

Foxgloves and Roses, Oh My

Foxgloves and Roses around Gazebo

Bloom on New Dawn Climbing Rose

Every evening when I walk into my office, I walk past this window that looks out over the gazebo thing in my garden. And of course I take a peek on my way to the computer to see what’s blooming, how many weeds have grown since yesterday, how much of a raggedy mess the lawn is, that sort of thing. Sometimes I’m so compelled by what I see, I have to get my camera and go try to get a few pictures before the sun goes down. Tonight was definitely one of those nights. What an explosion of flowers!

I mean, I knew they were blooming, I walk past that window every day. But I hadn’t really realized just how much they were blooming. It kind of just stopped me in my tracks. When we moved here, that corner was a chemically stripped barren wasteland, and it seemed like it would never be pretty. So it still kind of surprises me when I notice that it is.

(We’ll just pretend we don’t see the shaggy lawn and the billion-and-two weeds, okay?)

Of course, I had to sit in my chairs there and enjoy being surrounded by flowers.

Foxgloves and Wild Roses

June Blooms

On the fence behind the gazebo thing I have a New Dawn climbing rose. It’s just starting to bloom now, and the blooms smell fantastic. I can’t wait until the clematis joins in, there’s just loads of buds on it. I never thought all the shades of pink would make me so happy, with the different roses and foxgloves, but they do.

Blossom on New Dawn Climbing Rose

A Jumble of Roses and Foxgloves

Foxgloves Close Up

Coming down the path from the gate it’s a shaggy, lush mess of flowers. I like it, shag and all.

Path to Gazebo

But if you turn a bit to the left, you can see that the next wave is already coming. See the bit of orange?

Butterfly Garden

Summer Blooms Just Starting

New colors are coming, you can see them starting to show! Right now, the weather is still cool and lovely, and all the pinks and blues are so pretty. But very soon the son will be hot and bright, and the pink would seem washed out. Right about then, the brighter colors take over, and the garden becomes a bright, cheerful riot of color. I like that, too.

What’s blooming in your garden?


~Angela :-)

Linking up to: Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, June 2102 and Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage.

Rose Garden, Plan

I am so proud of myself. I actually drew a to-scale plan for the future rose garden. I am usually a garden-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person, but lately I’ve been craving a bit more organization. I’m tired of having a plant ghetto, for one thing. But also I’d like this garden to have some underlying structure and symmetry, and for that I felt that a drawing was the best option.

Plan Detail of Shed and Grape Arbor

At the bottom of the garden is the shed, which I hope to make into a summer house / planting shed / getaway of some time. But it cuts the corner out of the space, so I filled in next to it with a large grape arbor, which both provides a great feature (both for the grapes and the arbor), and also then creates a boundary forming a nearly square area in the center of the space.

Rose Parterre Plan

And in the center, a parterre of raised beds with an weeping willow-leaf pear as a center focal point (Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’). I already have this tree and I’m excited to give it a good home. Poor thing has been moved about a dozen times. I’ve got peaches in the corners, and the rest will be roses, herbs and perennials. I’ve got room for 12 roses and 8 climbers. I’m so happy!

Of course, I can’t afford to put this all in at once. But I can chip away at it. First step is to get the pear tree settled asap, before it leafs out. Oh yes, and figure how to organize the roses. I have a list of roses started, thanks to all of you (thank you!). I’m going with all pinks (both light and dark) and yellows/apricots for colors. But do I mix them all up? Do blocks of a color family together? I’ve got the corners and the climbers and I want something that’s harmonious and soothing. Hmmmm….

~Angela :-)

P.S. For those of you wondering about my Saturday Survey, yes, I’m still doing it. And I am taking pictures every Saturday. But there’s not a whole lot different in a week, so I’ll post an update on the first Saturday of each month. Feel free to join in! 🙂

The Shed Garden, Before

Pear Tree Canopy

One of the things I’ve promised myself at my new house is a rose garden. And by that, I don’t mean neat rows of hybrid teas. I mean a romantic, lush, dripping-with-blooms-of-all-kinds garden. You know: roses, perennials, the whole smash. This is the place I want to put it, and what it looked like when we bought the house. It looks about the same now, just darker because it’s winter.

Shed From Under Pear Tree

This part of the yard has great southern exposure, so I think the roses will do well.

Rest of Yard From Under Pear Tree

On the whole, it’s a pretty blank slate.

Garden Shed

The house came with this shed, which I’m hoping to convert to some kind of fair-weather getaway, since all my garden tools are in the vegetable garden anyway.

Path From Yard

And of course there must be arbors and secret pathways and all of that.

I’ve been working on a plan, so I’ll share that soon. But meanwhile, I’m daydreaming about roses! Climbing ones, English ones, fragrant ones… I’m looking for romantic colors and an unfussy nature. Any favorites?

~Angela :-)

Garden in Bloom: December 2008

December Rose Blooms<

Can you believe these roses blooming in the middle of December? The neighbor told me she's had roses from the garden on her table for Christmas, and I wasn't sure I believed her. Now I do. If it hadn't been for the freak snowstorm we had, these would have been on my table Christmas day. This mystery rose has been blooming non-stop since June, if you can believe that.


Several other roses are also blooming, and there’s stragglers on the hydrangeas. This hebe is also throwing off a few blooms, too (Hebe ‘Ritt’).

But as remarkable as the flowers are, this time of year I’m most excited about all of the foliage and berry color…

Palace Purple Heuchera

…like the leaves of this coral bell (Heuchera ‘Can Can’)….

Ornamental Purple Kale

…or this purple ornamental kale.

Mourning Widow Geranium Phaeum

I also love the bright splashes of color in this variegated mourning widow geranium (Geranium phaeum ‘Variegatum’). I’ve been propogating it all over the shady parts of my garden.

Autumn Color Azalea Foliage

I was really surprised by the color in this azalea. It was a freebie from a friend who was digging it out. I don’t even know what color it blooms yet. But the winter color is lovely.

Parney Cotoneaster

Of course, one of my favorite winter interest plants is cotoneaster, and I brought several with me from the other house. This one, Parney cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lacteus) is great for training onto (or into) a wall, with big leathery leaves and a stunning amount of berries when mature.

PeeGee Hydrangea

My PeeGee hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’) has lovely brown mopheads, dried on the plant. I left them on for interest, so I’ll have to be careful when I prune this Spring so I don’t lop off the new buds.

Buds on Fruit Tree

But speaking of buds, here’s my most favorite thing to see this time of year. Buds on the trees. This is a plum tree from my veg garden, and it just makes me so happy! Spring is coming! I know, not for months.

But it’s coming!

What about you? What’s your favorite thing to see in your winter garden?

~Angela :-)

This post is a part of the DecemberGarden Bloggers Bloom Day, sponsored each month by May Dreams Gardens.

Garden in Bloom: November 2008

Fall Zelkova Serrata Foliage

Sunny days are a rarity here in the Pacific Northwest, so I appreciate each precious one. The bright blue sky looks so beautiful behind the fall colors on this “Green Vase” Japanese Zelkova tree (Zelkova serrata ‘Green Vase’) I planted last fall. I planted three of these across the front of my property as street trees, and I can’t wait for them to grow.

Japanese Maple Seedling<

I also planted this teeny tiny unnamed japanese maple. Isn't it adorable? It's not one of the weeping types, it's a tall, vase-shaped tree that I planted outside my living room window. I can just imagine how pretty it will be when it's big.

Old Pear Tree

The one pre-existing tree is the namesake of my home, Pear Tree Cottage. I love these gnarled old trunks and how the tree is centered on our family room window for a year-round view.

November Blooms

The rest of the garden continues to amaze me with late season blooms. Especially the roses, I’m astounded by the roses. My neighbor has told me that she has had bouquets of home-grown roses on her Christmas table, and I’m starting to believe her.

Some of things still going are:

1. Mystery rose
2. Brazilian sage (Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’)
3. “Tutti Frutti” Hummingbird Mint (Agastache x ‘Tutti Frutti’)
4. Hebe ‘Patty’s Purple’
5. Mystery hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
6. Mystery, volunteer sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
7. Bacopa (Sutera cordata, not sure of the variety)
8. Pincushion flower (Scabiosa caucasica)
9. Black stem hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nigra’)

What about you? Do you have a favorite tree? Have you planted any or were they already there?

~Angela :-)

This post is a part of the November Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, sponsored each month by May Dreams Gardens.