Corners in the garden - May 2010 photos

jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)May 22, 2010

My garden looks best April - June, I think. Should we ever sell our house, it will have to be this time of year, when the nasturtiums and poppies are in a dazzling technicolor show, LOL.

One of the things I read about Japanese gardens is the philosophy that wherever you stop and look, there should be a new 'vista' before you. IOW, seeing a scene from different angles should present something visually new each time. When I started organizing these photos, it occurred to me they mostly showed various corners of the garden; hence the title of 'corners' for these shots.

Hope everyone enjoys the show.


When we walk out the front door, the silver Dusty Miller is putting up flower buds but the shrub roses and pelargoniums are in full bloom:

A closeup of that trailing pelargonium. Its in a tall planter that helped it survive the winter, and really took off a few weeks ago:

On the opposite side, the yellow Lavatera olba 'Aureum' is still a couple of weeks away from full lavender-flowered glory. The bearded iris and Loropetalum chinense have just finished flowering. The Meyer lemon is in bloom, though, and even in the chilly spring air you can smell the wonderful fragrance! The glads should be opening in another week or two as well:

As you face the house, here's a close-up of some of the flowers that border the sidewalk. When the nasturtiums and poppies fade, however, it will be fairly blank. I've had a hard time filling this corner with color, as it dries out the fastest in summer, but in winter gets the coldest drafts:

Again on the left side facing the house, standing in my neighbor's driveway and looking downwards, a side view of the front yard bed:

A close-up of the red salvia and orange CA poppies shown in the above photo:

Further down my neighbor's driveway, you see the start of my shaded, north-facing bed. The callas are fading now, so I rely on foliage interest and a few hydrangeas, along with that spectacular 'Emperor 1' Japanese maple, to keep it looking interesting all year long:

At the foot of the 'Emperor 1' maple, these two variegated plants mingle very nicely together. Alstroemeria and Plectranthus groundcover:

Continuing to walk downwards, this same north-facing bed is divided into two halves. It looks quite different when you're looking upwards, instead of downwards! The 'Emperor 1' maple can barely be seen on the RH side. The tree in this half of the bed is a 'Sango Kaku' coralbark JMaple, which took off like gangbusters when I finally moved it from a large planter into the ground:

Standing in the same spot as the photo above, but turning around to face downwards again, here's the beginning of our backyard. The shed is original to the property. We restored it in 2003 as 1/3 dry storage and 2/3 shaded seating area.

Close-up of the thriving Coleonema and pelargoniums from the photo above. These live entirely upon run-off.

Continue walking down the pathway that curves off to your right. When you get to the bottom of the stairs and turn to face the house, you see this modest vista. On the left is a vigorous Meyer lemon, and on the right is a trailing lantana that has bloomed almost continuously since its 2003 installation.

Keep walking back down the hill  yes, gardening is real exercise on this lot! The furthest part of the backyard is terraced into a second patio, where two big existing trees were surrounded by curving block beds. The nasturtiums really love it down here, as the trees leaf out to shade the soil and keep it cool. TheyÂll often last all the way through July in these two beds. Bed 1, when looking across at the neighborÂs house:

Turning around to look at the very end of our lot. In front of that green schoolyard fence, see the top of a dark brown fence slanting downwards? That fence marks our property boundary, and itÂs a full 6Â tall! The slope here is around 30% - short and steep. The nasturtiums are surrounding a Tagetes lemonnii:

Close-up of the far corner of that above bed, showing a red oleander just starting to bloom, nasturtiums, and a variegated erysimum:

Almost done - now weÂre going to start again from the front! But this time weÂll walk down the sunny southern side (RH side when youÂre facing the house). This is where I grow my sun-lovers, like roses and passiflora. At the bottom of my driveway, when you turn to look upwards, you can tell by the nasturtiums that we park our cars on the street, not in the attached garage, LOL. They spill out onto the concrete and I have to fight to keep them from smothering the daylilies and alstroemeria:

Standing in the same spot but looking across at my neighbor, I have a ÂGingersnap rose in what is really a terrible place  not enough sun and my coral passiflora keeps trying to reach out and strangle it. But the sun hits this rose just right to make it look amazingly luminous, so I refuse to move it:

Walking around the corner of the house, these two beds are extremely narrow  barely 2 on the left and 12" on the right. IÂm always whacking plants back or tying them up  bondage, CA-style! On the left, the ÂJackmanni clematis is blooming against a variegated euonymous, and ÂDelany SisterÂs rose is putting on the big show. On the right, the cannas are just starting to bloom again:

A nice close-up of ÂDelany SistersÂ, with its rounded, peony-like petals:

As you walk down this sunny south path, you see this spirea starting to bloom. I thought I had yanked it out two years ago, but it persisted in coming back, to my surprise:

At the end of the house, if you turn around to look back up the path, it looks quite different, doesnÂt it? Yet itÂs barely 35 long. On the LH side, a white ÂSister Mary Agnes oleander standard has curved over to tangle itself with the ÂJosephÂs Coat climber rose to form a natural arbor. JCoat has the most fearsome thorns, but I love the varied colors and this year itÂs really put on a show:

Final photo: a closeup of JosephÂs Coat. Sometimes IÂll get a pale cream rose, or very rarely, a true purple bloom:

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Wow! It looks amazing! I love to see all the different plants, and combinations. i'm still really new to gardening, so I'm learning new plants all the time.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 5:27PM
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Beautiful Jkom! Love it all. Thank you for sharing!
I'll be stopping by again tomorrow.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 5:32PM
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Those are so beautiful! I'll bet the hummingbirds love your garden. I especially love the Joseph's coat rose, and the nasturniums.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 6:19PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Thanks for the photos- I will look at them again and again. I love how you have filled every space.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 6:28PM
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neverenoughflowers(6 SEPA Downingtown)

Thank you for such a beautiful garden tour. I really felt like I was walking around with you and enjoying the many beautiful plantings. Your gardens are absolutely wonderful.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 7:42PM
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carrieburgess3(5 NS, Canada)

Lovely garden. I especially like the roses, that wonderful path and your gorgeous stone steps. Thank you for sharing.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 8:10PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

But wait!! I need more!! LOL!! Your garden is so beautiful and so full of color. Holy cow! I love the way you took narrow alleyways and loaded them up with plants. That must be a bit of work to keep them all in check but oh my it's so worth it!

I love the way you took us on a tour of your whole yard. I would love to see a close-up shot of the shed seating area. Beautiful!!!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 8:26PM
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Gorgeous. I love the walkway up to your house.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 10:14PM
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OK, so if you ever sell your house, I'll buy it.

Is it possible to buy just the gardens and not the house? Can we draw up a contract like that? I'll live in the restored eating shed. You did say it's dry, after all.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 10:21PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I just love all the explosion of color everwhere. I love the way you use lots of annuals to fill in everywere so there are no bare spots showing. It just all works together so well. Your gardens are just beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 11:09PM
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So beautiful! You have such a wonderful garden to stroll through it each day.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 8:40AM
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Just fantastic, it gets better and better every year. You have a magical garden. c

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 9:33AM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)


All just amazing. I would love to do the sides of my house like that. My house faces north, with 6ft. fence, and a 2 story house on each side, so neither side gets a lot of sun. How many feet between the house and the fence?

My Joseph's coat died back and now I have the Dr. Huey root stock.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 9:34AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Absolutely lovely - jam packed, exuberant planting, beds as big as you can make them and not an inch of soil or mulch showing. I really don't like to see visible mulch. Little fussy beds with blobby plants and mulch always look like a pet cemetery to me!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 10:36AM
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jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

Plantmaven, side setbacks between houses in my neighborhood are minimum 8'. So not very much room - it's always hard to find tall skinny plants, LOL.

Here's an older picture of the inside of the shed. The storage area starts at the RH wall, where there is a locking door. The 2003 remodel sheetrocked the seating area and put in the door. The reason I need a new photo is that late last year, we had a handyman built a storage cabinet underneath the open wall on the LH side, out of rough redwood. I needed it for more garden workspace/material storage, but haven't taken an updated photo yet.

2003 remodel:

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 2:39PM
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Wow! That's some real California dreamin'! I'll be dreamin' about it all day! What kind of nasturtiums are those in the picture with the tagetes?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 3:08PM
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hosta_house(IL 6)

Love your gardens!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 3:19PM
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Awesome gardens,nice way to spend my sunday afternoon,looking at what all of you have done.TFS

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 7:02PM
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oh my, what wonderful colors!!! Its so bright and cheery, I just love it - GREAT JOB! :)


    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 8:27PM
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Just spectacular. Colors are remarkable. How divine - makes me want a California garden. :)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 9:47PM
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jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

shropshire_lad, the nasturtiums have reseeded themselves ever since we first landscaped this area in 2005. I just bought several packets of nasturtium seeds in different colors and scattered them around. Now they're wildly intermingled!

Naturally, the two I like most - the dark red nasturtiums and the variegated Alaska series - are the least vigorous. The dark red, in fact, never returns for me although I've spread seeds at least three times....oh well, guess I'll have to stick with orange, yellow, and cream, LOL.

BTW, I gave the wrong info above to plantmaven about our sideyard setbacks. I believe code calls for 10' setbacks for new construction, but that's total width - so 5' each for my house and the neighbor's house, side by side. The fence on the south side actually sits a little inside our property line by a few inches, so it's a tight space to have double plantings bordering the walkway! I have more room on the north side because my neighbor lets us use her concrete walkway, so I have one big bed that both of us can enjoy.

In fact, when you face my house, part of that left-hand side front yard bed is actually my neighbor's property. I got her permission to landscape it together with my plantings, rather than putting up a fence that would divide her 3' side from my larger area. If you look at Photo #5, the 'Yellow Wave' phormium is smack on the borderline between her property and mine. So actually, those poppies and red salvia are trespassing. But she doesn't mind at all!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 10:45PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

What beautiful gardens; such great use of color combinations you've used and it all works! Pat yourself on the deserve it! Just Beautiful!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 3:14AM
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The nasturtiums... the black lamp post... the colors... all is beautiful.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 11:39PM
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fluffyflowers(z8 GA)

Utterly delightful and inspiring!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 6:29AM
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What a delightful stroll through your gardens this morning - I enjoyed every single picture and will stroll again and again. I especially love the wild abandonment of the nastursiums and how they mingle and entertwine throughout the gardens - mine reseed freely also but I don't have near the amount you do - this gives me some ideas tho for more. Thanks for sharing your place with us - I think I will sit in your seating area with a cup of coffee and just relax :) ......


    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 11:14AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Thanks for the tour! Your gardens are so LUSH. Everything seems to be bursting with health and color. Love the side garden shots with the tall narrow plants. You are also very effective in using orange to grab attention but in a complementary way rather than just loud and obnoxious as orange can often be.

Love it!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 7:14AM
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Oh jkom!

I am definitely California Dreamin'! I swooned when I saw the foothills in the distance. How I miss those arid hills.
When Mother comes over, I will show her your Photos. She will probably cry. Mother grew most of those same plants. I loved her geraniums. They get so big growing in the ground year round. I used to love the trailing ones best for some reason. I miss the smell of geraniums in the garden in summer. Their smell gets into the soil after awhile. And the volcanic soil there smells so wonderful in the mornings and after a rain shower.
What a beautiful home and breathtakingly handsome gardens!
Oh...thank you so much.

I have taken the tour four times now, and just have to keep going back to drink it it in again and again.
Everything is outstandingly beautiful!


    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 11:40PM
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