Whenever I go for a site visit, I like to look around the neighborhood to see what’s growing. This gives me a sense of the area and also helps me identify plants that might thrive, especially with regard to deer. This lovely garden is at the edge of a long driveway on a very wooded lot. I was surprised to see the host looking so good, but you never know what route deer will take as they pass through. Maybe the proximity of the hellebores acts as a deterrent? I don’t know, but I enjoyed seeing it.
A couple years ago a family in our neighborhood was leaving for a trip on Christmas Day, so they put their tree out on the curb. As you can imagine, it didn’t stay there for long. A group of guys got together and set it back up on the family’s lawn, complete with tinsel and whatever tacky decorations they could get together. The thing is, though, that people loved it! Little kids, random dog walkers, people driving by, they all got a kick out of it, so last year we decided to put up outdoor trees as a deliberate decorating decision. Some people were frustrated by the number of times their tree blew over, but others of us are hooked and have decided it’s a new tradition. Ours is a bird theme, complete with bird seed and these pre-lit cardinals that I think are the cutest thing ever. (Yes, I have a kitschy streak.)
How’s your decorating going? Have fun, don’t stress, do your own thing.
If you’re looking for specimen trees, Susanna Farm Nursery is a great destination. It feels more like an arboretum than a trade nursery, and you can easily spend an hour or two strolling through the grounds. I was looking for some good-sized maples to use as accents in a client’s back garden, but I also came across some wonderful willow standards for another project. Well worth the trip for the beauty and inspiration and just a relaxing afternoon out.
I finally made it to the Bloedel Reserve. We had a wonderful time walking the paths and enjoying the quiet. There are no signs or plant labels to read- one simply wanders through. It was a truly relaxing experience and I would gladly go back. Anyone who lives locally can buy an annual pass and walk the grounds as a regular activity. Delightful.
One of my goals for our new sunny front is to create a cutting garden. I’ve added the usual suspects like Coneflowers and Black-Eyed Susan, but I’m trying to bring in more subtle choices like Black & Blue Salvia, Veronica, and colorful herbs. These ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea actually grow along the back fence in a shady area I don’t see every day, so they’re perfect for bringing indoors.
I’m so excited that these new yellow rhododendrons are opening up in my garden. They’re supposed to be a “compact” variety, which I hope means I won’t need to prune them back much. I don’t normally plant rhodies or azaleas in small gardens because I don’t really like their form over time, but the pale yellow of these felt like daffodils so I thought I’d give them a try. So far, so good, but if they get big and leggy, they’re moving to the back garden!
Yes, this is the perfect time to plant. The weather is mild, you don’t need to break the bank with the water bill, and plants get a chance to winter over before bursting back to life in the spring. Head to the garden center to find your inspiration!