Before and After

Last week Facebook kindly reminded me of pictures I posted that date nine years earlier. They were pics of my garden.

COLLAGE

Various angles of my front yard–click on any for larger image

So I went out that day–fortunately a nice day for taking pictures, unlike every day since–and tried to capture the same angles. I’m not the greatest photographer in the world, and with 9 years of growth I couldn’t even get into all the same spots, but here’s what things look like now.

Looking east from my front porch

There’s a lot I love about my front yard, especially the pond. (Two surviving goldfish are now 5″ long . ♥.) But one of the best aspects of the old garden is that mass of Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan). I haven’t been able to foster such a lovely patch since, and I’m not sure why. Still trying.

Looking west from the street.

Why am I not growing dahlias anymore? Surely they’re among the best sources of colour in the late summer-autumn garden.

House next door was torn down and rebuilt. New fence gives a lot more sun to the garden under the cedar trees.

Of course one expects trees and shrubs to put on a foot or so per year in vertical growth, so here’s the little Cryptomeria japonica ‘Cristata’:

Cryptomeria japonica ‘Cristata’. 30″ when I planted it and now about 14′

The previous pics all seem to show a fairly open yard, both old and current, lots of empty spaces, aka “negative spaces”. One of the reasons a lawn can be a good thing is to provide that restful space that creates a foil for the busier, more colourful areas.

Below you’ll see however that the garden is anything but “empty”. In fact it’s far too busy, and I’m planning to remove the red rose (right side pic) and a lot of that croscosmia (light green grassy clump). As I’ve said before, the larger the plant–perennial, shrub or tree–the more value it has to provide. And that red rose (‘William Shakespeare 2000′–a David Austin rose) just doesn’t provide enough value. It sprawls, it’s subject to black spot, the flowers, while stunning on dry days, turns to mush in the rain. I’ll miss the fragrance tho’!

 

Couldn’t get the same viewpoint because the rose (circled) and the smoke bush were too high to see over.

 

So this fall I’ll be doing a renovation in the back yard, but come next spring it’ll be time to make some changes here. Seeing these old pics really makes me want to get back to some of the look of the old garden–the rudbeckia, the dahlias, more open space, fewer shrubs (can hardly believe that’s me saying “fewer shrubs”!)

I’ll keep you posted…

 

 

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When Your Garden Surprises You

Yesterday we had a light sprinkling of rain, so I went out  later with my phone to see what I could see. And I was pretty surprised at what I did see. I’m always encouraging people to look at their gardens with fresh eyes, often with camera/phone in hand. And I do that myself. But when I see wonderful things, it’s always a revelation–how can the same old things look so…new?

There were so many pics I’ve collected them into collages. Click on any for an enlargement.

Aquilegia with subtle rhodo background

Aquilegia with subtle rhodo background. The pink blossom is about 1” diameter!

Clematis montana, possibly 'Rubra'? I think it looks better every year. It's climbing the neighbour's shed, as well as my plum and persimmon trees.

Clematis montana, possibly ‘Rubens’? (Hmmm, apparently I’ve left the label on a stick. That would be the white, possibly grandiflora, and not nearly as prolific as ‘Rubens’ .) I think it looks better every year. It’s climbing the neighbour’s shed, as well as my plum and persimmon trees.

Corylopsis platypetala. Later in the year the leaves reminds me of ketchup potato chips, which is a pity, because I love the tree and hate the chips

Corylopsis platypetala. Later in the year the leaves reminds me of ketchup potato chips, which is a pity, because I love the tree and hate the chips

This was the image that really sparked my observation. Keep a look out for the rain drops:

Hamamelis mollis.

Hamamelis mollis.

Now this is hardly believable! Is it really nature? The Euphorbia with the red petioles is 'Black Bird', and the one with the red stamens (?) is 'Ascot Rainbow'.

Now this is hardly believable! Is it really nature? The Euphorbia with the red petioles is ‘Black Bird’, and the one with the red petals is ‘Ascot Rainbow’.

Cryptomeria japonica 'Cristata'

Cryptomeria japonica ‘Cristata’. Speechless!

Heuchera, various cultivars that I don't know. But definitely my favourites.

Heuchera, various cultivars that I don’t know. But definitely my favourites.

Pinus strobus 'pendula'; Allium 'Purple Sensation', and Acorus calamus 'variegatus'

Pinus strobus ‘pendula’; Allium ‘Purple Sensation’, and Acorus calamus ‘variegatus’

Lilac 'Sensation' is the one with the white edging to each floret. The other is unfortunately unnamed--a runner from a much older tree.

Lilac ‘Sensation’ is the one with the white edging to each floret. The other is unfortunately unnamed–a runner from a much older tree.

My favourite combination: Adiantum venustum and Athyrium niponicum

My favourite combination: Adiantum venustum and Athyrium niponicum. Amazing magenta/burgundy ribs on the athyrium, and wiry black on the Adiantum.

Hypericum androsaemum 'Albury Purple'. Just look at the perfection of the hew growth!

Hypericum androsaemum ‘Albury Purple’.  Just look at the perfection of the new growth!

Dicentra spectabilis and polygonatum

Dicentra spectabilis and polygonatum look so pretty together, despite being so similar in habit.

Cerinthe, Erysimum, and Iberis. All of them hard to beat!

Cerinthe, Erysimum, and Iberis. All of them hard to beat.

And finally, a sea of Convallaria glowing in the morning sun:

Convallaria majalis. Does it look as fragrant in the picture as in person?

Convallaria majalis. Does it look as fragrant in the picture as in person?

 

Yes, it’s terribly aggressive, but it doesn’t really harm anything else around it, so I just keep digging holes and planting among the waves.