Wednesday, January 15, 2020

garden changes, looking back on a bitter cold January day



Today is a cold, January day in the PNW.  We had 11 degrees this morning, and yes, that is in Fahrenheit!  With the windchill from the NE wind, it was -9!  So what a better way to beat the cold but to think of spring and summer!

We added a new garden last year. I had been wanting to add a pink Kousa Dogwood for a few years but my husband wasn't on board with a new tree.  He had a "parts" tractor that he wanted to use as "yard art."  So together the idea became a tractor garden... As you can see, the tractor is also a climbing space for the littles!




I tried to collect before and after pictures from similar angles.  We started the garden in the early spring in a spot that you can see as you come out of the door to our house.  I picked plants for spring, summer and fall interest.  Originally I was thinking of a red, white and blue group of colors due to the red tractor.



But in reality it is a bit more of a pink, blue and white garden... with a red tractor!  Although I transplanted a white shrub rose and two peonies, the other plantings are all new.

I spent a lot of time and research planning this garden.  Each plant was picked for color, height and bloom time.  This fall I even planted a swath of 100 pink tulips in three shades!  Spring should be pretty glorious show this year!



The dogwood is hard to see but in the photo above it is behind the delphiniums... in the photo below you can see it just in front of the rear tractor tire.  I purchased the dogwood, delphinium, a lithodora, hosta and hardy hibiscus from a local nursery.  The other plants were purchased online directly from Proven Winners... a first for me.  I've purchased bulbs, tubers, seeds and even peonies online but never actual plants!  The plants were packaged so well and everything arrived safe and sound.  We even used all the cardboard by putting it under the tractor for weed suppression... since we were adding mulch to the new garden we just spread the mulch right over that flattened cardboard!



The photo above is from the south side of the garden.  Most of this garden is in full sun all day with just a bit of shade from the neighbors giant shrubby plant at the end of the day.  You can see the dogwood and delphinium.  The three plants to the left are Beyond Midnight Bluebeard (Caryopteris), there are three Pardon My Cerise Bee Balm (Monarda) and tucked just beyond is a Stand By Me Clematis... I so wish I had an up close picture as it is amazing!  Pretty blue upside down flowers and doesn't need a trellis.  The front tire and metal structure of the tractor should hold it up as it grows.  The little wire baskets were a desperate attempt to save my Low Scape Mound Aronia from the bunnies.  It was a picked for it's slight spread and mounding habit and big show of autumn color... unfortunately the bunnies liked the tender new leaves!

Below you can see four peonies, two new and two moved.  The front two are new from a local peony farm, Pure Peonies in Everson, WA.  The tiny plants are an additional monarda and two more aronias.  The beat up plant by the back tire of the wagon (aka manure spreader) is the shrub rose that was moved.  Unfortunately the bunnies liked it too but I think it will make it.



This side view was from late in the summer, even early fall.  We added a chunk of wood for the littles to climb on to reach the tractor, as well as a rock path to keep them on.  You can see how well the monarda did.  The spreading plant is the new lithodora which spread like crazy!



And a final north end view looking back toward the road and our old walnut tree.  You can see I added a hanging basket.  The flowers are a Supertunia Vosta in the color Silverberry (white with a pink center and veining) and this was just two plants!  It was a trial to see how it would do.  I liked the cascading effect and may try to grow some Wave type petunias from seed to go here this year.

Hope you enjoyed this little change in our garden... it is fun on this bitter, snowy, windy January day to look back at color and flowers!

Looking forward to spring,

Chris at Red Gate Farm