Garden Metamorphosis & Evolution

christinmk z5b eastern WAFebruary 26, 2014

I'm kind of bored right now. Plus the "spring itch" (not to be confused with the lingering itch of winter psoriasis, LOL!) is starting to creep up on me with increasing speed. So I figured it would be fun to start a thread with lots of colorful and inspiring garden pics. Maybe we can coax a few GW peeps from hiding in the process ;-)

Please post "before & after" pics of your garden or specific beds/areas. You may also post pictures of your garden as it is now and explain (or show) what changes you plan to make come spring.

I shall get the ball rolling....

Here is a shot from 2007 of the shade garden and newly made "patio garden".

patio garden 2013 (excuse the weeds infiltrating the patio, lol):

Shade garden 2007

Shade garden 2013 (I've come to the realization I take crap photos, lol):

"Bean Bed" newly constructed 2010

Bean bed 2013

&

Main Garden 2008

Main Garden 2013

YOUR TURN!!
CMK

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christinmk z5b eastern WA

In this post I shall chatter excessively about my plans for the evolution of the garden come spring...;-)

Red Arrow: there used to be a peony here until I decided to move it forward so I could plant something taller in its place. I put a Sambucus 'Black Tower' there (where arrow points), but am not sure I like it. Its too "leafy" if you know what I mean. Thinking I may move it and put some sort of weeping conifer there to break up the textures.

Blue & Orange Arrows: the blue arrow points to a Knock Out rose. I suppose saying so makes me a snob, but KO roses are so common- you see them everywhere. I'm kind of disturbed by the faming hot pink color too, lol. Going to take that out in spring/when I find an interesting replacement plant. Not sure what though!
The orange arrow is where a DA rose ('Windermere') is planted. It isn't vigorous and the flowers shatter easily. Going to put something else there eventually.

Yellow Arrow: points to a place I need some more structure. Need to find either a substantial and "bushy" perennial or an actual shrub. Something like a 'Sky Pencil' holly, or something similar without being quite so tall.

Second Pic

This shows the major renovations I did in this area in the summer. Raspberries were planted from the large urn planter to the sidewalk. I planted the peony (where red arrow is in above pic) to beside the carex. I planted a few things there already (naturally, lol). Can't wait to fill it up more this year!
CMK

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 4:01PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Great idea for a thread....

I like your shade garden picture best - I'm a sucker for shade :-) It took me a minute to 'get' the 'bean garden' - my first thought was 'where are the beans?!' but I finally realized it was like my 'teardrop' bed.

I think the most dramatic change here was the development of the alley gardens, particularly the north alley. The north alley is 8' wide by 50' long. We didn't get around to doing anything about it until we had been here 6 years. We had been asked in late summer 2005 to be a host garden on the local garden tour for 2006 so I frantically got to work in fall 2005 to get rid of the grass and make something more ornamental in the space, plus make a new fence and gate across the end of the alley to replace the falling-to-pieces one that was there. We had to fill in with some annuals for 2006 but it was a huge improvement over what was there and the north alley garden has gone on to be one of my favorite spaces in the garden.

Sept. 2005 looking down the alley towards the backyard:

Two weeks later looking in the other direction:

I don't seem to have a picture from the tour date in July 2006 but this one from September shows the extent of the transformation I think:

Looking up the alley in May 2013:

Same view a month later:

The gate in July:

In this view also from July you can see the neighbour's door into their garage. The neighbours are gardeners too and our gardens are sort of merging across the fence in places in that we consider each other's views when we plant.

Looking down the alley in August (pardon the laundry in the picture!):

These pictures make me so anxious for spring! On my to-do list for this year is replacing the 'Harlequin' honeysuckle on the north fence - I did a 'rejuvenation' pruning in 2013 that killed it! I'm going to try adding a 'Betty Corning' clematis - and perhaps an 'Issai' kiwi if the one that has been languishing for years near the 'wet corner' survives the winter and can be moved there.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 5:45PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-woody, LOL! I actually did grow some beans up those poles (before pic) first year. Although I named the bed that because it looks like a big ole' kidney bean when I was done with it! ;-D

Nice! That area is so much more inviting with the plants instead of lawn.

I'm with you on that. I adore shade gardens and shade-loving plants! Your Astilboides are incredible. Do you have to do any maintenance to keep them from creeping into your path? Is that an 'Autumn Brilliance' fern in your 5th pic?
CMK

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 6:10PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

CMK - I love those astilboides too! Water is their #1 need - there is a pipe that runs under the path to deliver rainwater from the downspout at the back corner of the house. The neighbour also directs water from a downspout to them. Even with the water though they have not crept into the path at all in the 7 years they've been there. Elsewhere in the garden I have another one that does not have access to additional water and is only ever gets leaves of maybe 1/4 the size of the ones in the north alley! So astilboides has been well-behaved for me and I'd recommend it for a smallish damp spot because I doubt it'd ever expand beyond where the moisture is optimal for its needs. At the end of a downspout would be ideal.

The fern is an Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) but I don't think it has a variety name. They are great ferns - well worth a place in the shade garden.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 6:29PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-woody, I may have to consider getting an Astilboides. I'm kind of a sucker for "Jurassic Park" plants with big leaves. Maybe I could keep it in a large planter next to my beloved ornamental rhubarb. ;-)

I think I may have tried that Dryopteris years ago...and promptly killed it, lol. Funny, since most Dryopteris are so easy to grow...
CMK

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 4:02PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

CMK - yeah, I'm a sucker for big-leafed plants too :-) Ornamental rhubarb is something I'd like to have but have not found a source of around here. I also love edible rhubarb but have not succeeded in getting it to grow for me - I'm going to try it in a pot this year so I can control soil and light, and hope it will overwinter in the garage until it gets old enough to produce a crop! In the big-leafed plants category I assume you must have Rodgersia aesculifolia? That's my other favorite big-leafed one that I have in a number of locations.

Do you have a 'Ghost' fern or two? That's my favorite fern - it's much taller with better 'presence' than the Japanese Painted Fern in its parentage. A couple of years ago I added several 'Branford Beauty' ferns which are also a cross between JPF and Lady Fern. So far they've been wimpier that 'Ghost' but I'll give them another year or two to mature before I pass final judgement on them! It'll be interesting to see if they survive this winter.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 5:06PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Last year I almost picked up a Rodgersia, but decided against since I really wanted a variety with reddish/pink flowers. Would love to find a R. 'Bronze Peacock'. I can't remember...was it you or mxk3 that said they lop the flowers off??

I don't have any 'Ghost' ferns. I did pick up a tiny A. 'Ocean's Fury' some years ago. Interestingly enough, it is also a cross between a JPF and a (crested form) Lady Fern. It has been one of the weakest plants I have ever planted, LOL. It should be 3ft around, but is barely more than 3 inches!!

How do you use your 'Ghost' plants in the garden? Mixed in your blue hosta/white garden? I've always been a bit unsure of how to use it in my own garden...it seems their pure, silvery leaves would clash/be washed out amongst my (probably garish) mix of brighter shade plants.

Do you think there is any particular reason rhubarb doesn't grow well for you? A GW member I had the pleasure of trading with said a specific fungus kept killing hers...

Ps. love seeing your Aruncus. Your pictures last year of it inspired me to pick one up at work. I was so excited to see it sprouting up last week. So is that a male or female plant in your pic?
CMK

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 7:13PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I lop the flowers off the Astilboides because they flop and detract from the leaves, but I do leave the flowers on the Rodgersias until they start to fade.

One thing I've noticed about my Rodgersias is that the ones in brighter light, like the ones below the front porch in the picture, have ssmaller, thicker leaves while the ones in fairly heavy shade have bigger, thinner leaves.

I find the 'Ghost' fern more of a silvery-green than aggressively silver so it goes well with just about anything. Here are pictures of two of them with a variety of companions:


The 'Branford Beauty' newer hybrid is more silvery so I've got it paired to highlight that. Here it is with 'Jack Frost' brunnera and 'El Nino' hosta - hopefully it'll eventually turn into something more substantial that it is in this picture!

I think my rhubarb problem is a combination of soil and light - where the soil is half-decent, there isn't enough sun ad where the sun is good, the soil is lousy! :-) Putting it in a pot hopefully will allow me to give it good soil in full sun.

The Aruncus across from the Astilboides is actually Aruncus aethusifolius, although it doesn't look too much like it in that picture. It is self-fertile - as attested to by the gazillion of seedlings that appear if I'm too slow to deadhead!

Are we somehow scaring off other participants....? Come on folks, throw in some pictures to give us garden-starved crazies something more to talk about! :-)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 8:38PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Great pics to brighten a cold winter day!

I really like how you've transformed the alley area. A lot of people treat that sort of area or behind the garage as a dumping ground or leave the space barren or blah, thinking no one will see it (although yours had a tidy strip of grass). I see that sort of space as a "hidden garden" area! I did the same thing at my other house, and while it was a work in progress, I made a lovely shade garden in that area behind the garage way in the back of the yard that previously was a junk pile :0)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 12:09PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

This is a difficult task, since I don't seem to have photos that show the same section of the same bed at the same time of year. In this series, at least the tip of the same twisted trellis is visible in all the photos.

June 2010: The bed was about 1 1/2 years old, looking east.
From June 2010

Here's the same bed, but looking west, spring 2013.
From June 21, 2013

Here's a smaller view of the left part of the first photo in June 2013:

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:18PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

I enjoy seeing the evolution of gardens. I think Woody's side garden example is particularly dramatic since her photos begin from a blank slate.

Here are some more photos of the opposite side of the same garden bed as above. In each of these, you can see at least part of the same plants bracketing each end, with a blue spruce on the left (just a couple branches in the second photo) along with a daylily, and a bamboo on the right(just a few leaves in the first photo.) In the first photo, the tiny sprigs near the edge on each side are blooming shrubs (reddish-pink rhodies) in the second photo.
From June 2010

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 10:22PM
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junco1102(5b)

I have posted these before, but thought some folks who had not seen them might enjoy the metamorphosis.

Here is the before:

A few months later that year

As with all gardens, it is continuing to evolve and looks different every year.

Junco

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 9:09AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

CMK - I keep forgetting to ask.... what is the pretty peachy rose in the 'bean' bed? Interestingly KO roses don't seem to be that common around here and when I do see them I find them rather startlingly vivid but quite pretty.

mxk3 - since we have a two-car garage but only one car now, all the misc. junk that might normally be banished to behind-the-garage is inside the garage :-) That allows me to garden every bit of this property!

nhbabs - how I envy you the conditions suitable for rhodos! Conditions here are too dry and not acid so I've given up trying but I WANT one of those!

Junco - that's quite a transformation indeed! That must give you a great sense of satisfaction to turn that bland grassy slope into something so beautiful.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:38AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Junco - Wow! :0)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 2:13PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Junco - Another total transformation! I love the way you worked with the natural slope to transform an incredibly boring yard into a spectacular garden.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 2:20PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-Junco, holey smokes!! That is a lot of work you put into your garden...what a stellar transformation.

Your pond is crystal clear. What do you use?

Ps. love your web name. We have Oregon Juncos around here and I adore them. I call them the little 'hangman' birds cuz' of their black hooded heads. lol ;-)

-woody, it is a DA rose, 'Carding Mill'. A bit slow, but lovely. Peach/apricot roses are my favorite. Interesting KO roses aren't that common in your area. Are they advertised a lot in Canadian nurseries/garden centers? For awhile there it seemed KO's were the ONLY roses to buy for low-maintenance purposes over here.
CMK

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 6:56PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

CMK - the Knock Outs are in nurseries if you look for them but I don't remember ever seeing them featured in a big way. I've only occasionally seen them in gardens on the local garden tour and haven't seen any at all in gardens of houses in our neighbourhood! Actually, there are not a whole lot of roses in our neighbourhood - period. I'm not sure why, although perhaps it's because this is an older neighbourhood with lots of trees and shade so sunny gardens suitable for roses are in short supply :-)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 7:14PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Well, I've also come to the decision that my garden could use a few more "bones". I sorely feel the lack of evergreens in the landscape at this time of year.

I'm thinking of putting one of these bad boys (Picea glauca 'Pendula') where the obelisk is in this pic.
CMK

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 11:08PM
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junco1102(5b)

Thank you everyone for your kind words. Had my husband and I known more about gardening when we started our project, we would have done many things differently, including amending the soil before planting. My experience as an Iowa farm girl was that we lived in an area with rich black dirt. I didn't realize that when they built the homes in our subdivision they scrapped off the good top soil and sold it, leaving a lot of compacted clay instead of rich top soil.

I really hate the thought of digging the whole garden up to amend it at this point and since many plants actually do quite well in the clay, I just keep putting chopped leaves on top in the fall and adding compost as I put in new plants or move things around.

My husband is the pond person, but I can tell you, the pond is not always clear. The upper pond serves as a filter and that seems to work pretty good, but there are times when we have a lot of algae. We keep about a dozen koi in the pond which are so relaxing to watch.

Junco

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 2:51PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Beautiful pictures everyone! Christin, I'm also trying to convince myself to add more evergreens, but unless I order now the thought will be completely lost once May arrives. I feel like the form of your p. glauca pendula will be hard to mix in. What do you think? Personally I love that tree, a group of 3 or 5 would be my dream, but someone here hates the droopy look, and based on her reaction to my lilac plantings (she's a perfume hater too) I'm a little nervous about stepping into this one.
Junco, I love the pond. I'm trying to figure out where I could fit a huge one in here :)
I love seeing real life transformations into real gardens, so much better than the disposable makeovers that get so much TV time.
Here's my front border, spring 2009 after I dug up some of it the year before and planted annuals.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 10:55AM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Sorry but I only do the single photo uploads :)
Here's that summer... I've probably never had it mulched as neatly ever again. Still heavy on the annuals.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 11:01AM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

This is summer 2014. The perennials have filled in but last spring I did quite a bit of ripping out and adding annuals again for the color. Sorry about the brown grass, it was a long dry summer here, and I can't be bothered to put all that extra water on the lawn.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 11:07AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

see my response in the post at the link

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 11:09AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

1999

2013

1999

2013

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 11:24AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

And the back gully...a gully is a great place for a garden, actually, if you can control flooding.
2000

2005

2005

  1. It's all grown some since then, don't have the most recent shot.

what a long road it has been!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 11:41AM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Oh good! More posts & pics ;-)

-hoovb, O.M.G. That is an absolutely amazing transformation. I'm in love with your front design. So many textures. I'm surprised your garden isn't on the cover of a magazine ;-) Ps. much improved taking those bulky blue shutters off your house!

-kato, I think the color of the Picea might be difficult. I've long debated whether a blue (even a "mild" blue) might end up looking odd because I tend to go more for gold or green evergreens. Although I have decided to take a 'Gold Coast' Juniper out in that area (you can kinda see it in the Main Garden 2008 pic). It is old and getting too big. Plus it makes me itch whenever I brush up against it, lol.

I tend to really like the look of weeping evergreens and trees in general. I thought it would look pretty good there, but am open to suggestions if you have any. ;-)

Ha ha. Funny your SO doesn't like the weeping look. Until I started working at the nursery I didn't realized how polarized opinions of weepers are. People either love or hate them. One customer even said they were "depressing" looking. LOL.

Ps. is that an Arundo donax at the end of your bed?? What did you end up ripping out in that area and what annuals do you plan as replacements?
CMK

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 2:23PM
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