"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Front garden in December.

Squish, squish is what you'll hear if you're walking through our garden now.  We had quite a thunderstorm this morning and the rain just poured.  I know that we're officially in our wettest month here in the Seattle area, and the forecast calls for more rain.  This time of year I don't think they need to change the forecast much - in fact this whole year felt like they could have left the raindrop symbol under most of the days of the week.  I am so hoping next year brings more sun to us!
Between the weather and getting ready for Christmas I haven't been out in the garden much.  But, there is one thing that got accomplished.  I decided to take down the dead Japanese Maple about a week ago.  It was easier than I expected because so many of the branches were already so dry and dead.  Once it was down the excitement of what to do with this space started.

 I didn't want it to be empty so I dragged the very heavy bird bath over.  I think I like it here and will probably leave it.  I added a new hummingbird feeder, it was discovered by them about a day later.
After the spring bulbs bloom I plan to dig just about everything out (except the Hydrangeas) and start over.  Most of what is in here will go back, but I've already got a growing list of what I want to add in.  The front area gets a lot of sun so I'm hoping I may be able to add in a smaller David Austin rose, maybe even another 'Lady Emma Hamilton'.  I also plan to add geranium 'Rozanne' which I fell in love with over the past year, it blooms from early spring to the first freeze.

 The front of the house doesn't look too different with the maple gone, maybe a little more open at the entry.  Most of what I counted on for "winter interest" was done in by the snow and freezing weather we had a couple of weeks ago.  

 This might look like a bunch of dead flowers to some, but to the birds it's been a feast.  They love the Liatris, Echinacea, Aster, Agastache, Rudbeckia and Verbena bonariensis seed heads.  I just read that the birds also love the seed heads on Monarda, too bad I already cut them back.  We've had so many pretty bird visitors here lately.  It seems that they all like to come together around the same time - first they hit the front yard for seeds, then around the back to the pond and bird baths.

 Seeing the buds on Pieris japonica 'Purity' made me happy since there aren't many signs of life right now.  I couldn't find any flowers blooming right now, not even a Viola.

 Wait, I forgot!  This Lady's Mantle has been blooming all year and is still going.  I can't wait until I have so many flowers to choose from that I have to limit myself.

I know many of us won't be seeing a whole lot going on in our gardens for awhile, but if you want a taste of summer and flowers that are blooming right now, visit Driftwood Ramblings which is a blog out of South Africa.  I'm counting on Desiree's posts to help me through the rest of fall and winter.

I also wanted to add that Anna from the great blog Flowergardengirl has started a great new garden blog directory called "Best Garden Blogs".  I always love finding places with new garden blogs, especially this time of year.  (There is also a Facebook page for it.)
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  1. I see some Christmas decorations too. This is the time of the year to dream of re-doing some gardens. My neighbors probably wonder I don't cut back all the brown stuff in my gardens..we could use some rain here....it has been way cold for this time of the year. I love all of your blue!

  2. Beautiful Catherine..there is always so much to see in your garden..gorgeous..the lady's mantle is lovely! Love that blue color backdrop..you are lucky!
    I havent blogged alot with gardneing this year..but I always enjoy visiting your magical space and catching up!
    Happy Upcoming holidays and all the best to you and your family!

  3. Oh new planting space always exciting. I hsd one of those dreams last night when i came up with a fantastic design and planting plan for my front garden and I had completely forgotten about it until I read the post about your front garden!! Thank you

  4. Hi Catherine, Oh the excitement of a new garden space. It's still such a shame the poor J. maple didn't make it but it'll be a nice place to add something different. Can't wait to see what comes of it. Enjoy getting ready for Christmas. I'm working on the same thing but I do so wish to be in the garden.

  5. So love your garden & the bird bath. What fun you will have adding & rearranging things.

    Have a beautiful winters eve ~
    TTFN ~ Marydon

  6. RIP Japanese Maple! That said, I really love how open that area is now with the maple gone. I hope you don't try another tree there, even a smallish one. The blue of the pot on the steps and the bird bath go really well with the house.

    I second your recommendation of Driftwood Ramblings, I love looking at that blog! I'm planning to use it to get my garden fix in the winter too.

  7. What fun planning the space again. Glad to see you're leaving the seeds for the birds.

  8. I think the bird bath looks great there! Sad to see the tree go, but now there is an expectancy in the air about what will replace it.

  9. Catherine, you still look so green compared to us. We are expecting another snowstorm this weekend. I really like that area where you took out the maple, lots of possiblities.


  10. I like your front yard. I keep thinking I'm going to redo parts of mine, too, but don't get as extensive as I think I'm going to.

    You must have great conditions for lady's mantle. Mine doesn't bloom for that long. I have lots of seed heads for the birds, too.

    Your little girl with the watering can and critter is sweet.

  11. Although your maple is now gone, how exciting to get to plan what to do with the space in spring! I can't wait to see the results!

  12. How amazing that your lady's mantle is still blooming!

    Everything here is covered thickly with snow and ice. But I know that underneath, buds are forming already for the spring. Our Eucalyptus glaucescens was completely encased in ice, and festooned with icicles, but today it has melted a little, and I could smell the fragrance of eucalyptus in the sunshine!

  13. I like the blue bird bath in the place of the maple. Really nice.

  14. I want some of that rain. We didn't have enough. Yes you do feed the birds! They just returned to my feeders this week as the garden seeds ran out.

    Love you for the links and you ARE a best garden blog!

  15. Oh, my, Catherine! I've come by now to read YOUR newest post and feel so honoured to have been given such a hands-up by you! Thank you so much! You are a sweetie :)

    Now, on to YOUR garden - again, I absolutely love the colour of your home and your blue birdbath and blue container do match beautifully. That bed is going to require much photo-taking come Spring! I can't wait to see what you'll have done there!

    I think your plan to add another rosebush or two is excellent, especially since it's a sunny spot and roses adapt well to clay soils, so your choice would be spot on. To lift the clay (make it more friable) you do of course know to add compost, so, when you get round to digging your new planting holes, put plenty into them and then spread a nice layer on top of everything for the earthworms to feast on and convert into "black gold" for your flower bed. Also, use bark chips as a mulch. I do this everywhere - our soil type is also clay but I've been adding compost to it for years now and so it's improved hugely.

    I still find it incredible how your gardens are almost wiped out in winter. Ours become more or less dormant in that new growth is super sluggish for a month or two, but we always have green and some colour. Our lawn dies back, but that's about the worst of it. I cannot get over the transformation you enjoy come Spring and Summer. The difference is HUGE! Nature is even more miraculous where you are than where I am!

    It's wonderful that the birds still come visiting through your cold months - I can watch their antics for hours (can't really, there's always chores needing attention) - how much more enjoyable for you, though, when there's so little colour in the garden to have the birds come and entertain you and add joy to your days ;)

  16. You are so lucky having so many birds visit your garden, I like the bird back where you've put it. You mentioned before I think that your desk is near that window - will you ever get any work done watching the birds - I wouldn't. Christina

  17. Dear Catherine, The removal of the Maple has given that space in front of the house a whole new look and much prospect for new planting. I like the blue bird bath where you have placed it and feel that it picks up well on the house colour and should mix in well with the new plants you have planned for the area.

  18. I'm envious of your Lady's Mantle. It's too hot for it here. The birds really do appreciate seeds left in the garden. We get a lot of birds here too looking for seed.

    You must get a great view of the birds out of your windows.

  19. What a wonderful colour for a house. You must be very happy to live there!

    I am hacking back (and out) a huge Rambling Rector rose at present. It's taking ages and is sad work because I like it a lot. However, it's grown too big and destructive so it has to go.


  20. It certainly is dark days for us gardeners, and squishy days for us Wetcoasters. But spring will beckon soon, I hope, I am counting out the longest dark days...

    My poor garden, well enough said about that.

    Come and visit, I am having a giveaway from CSN.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  21. Catherine, I'm sorry you lost your maple but you know the old saying when God closes a door he opens a window. Looks like you'll have lots of fun designing and redesigning your front entry way bed. Can't wait to see what you do with it. I love Rozanne or her identical twin sister 'Jolly Bee' for that long bloom time. It will look fabulous with your house color.

    Try to stay dry... yeah right. LOL

  22. I love that you leave the seed heads for the birds!

  23. Hey Catherine, Thanks for stopping by! We have did have one day of rain mixed with big, wet snow flakes- then the sun came out. The snow is all gone from a week or so ago, and temps have gone back up. It will dip again though. I'm really loving the winter here- no more ever growing weeds as everything dies down. It makes spring magical!

    Happy holidays too you!

  24. Always sad when a tree dies but how exciting to plan something new! I can't wait to see what you do. I love geraniums. Birds here have also been eating the seed heads of perennial and annual sunflower, black-eyed susan, cones and monarda. Always fun to stop by your garden! (Love your bright little pots and the birdbath.)

  25. Ooh, all that blank space to fill in! You must be delighted. I like the choice of a small David Austin rose, can't go wrong there. Thanks for letting me know about the "Best Garden Blogs" link, too!

  26. The possibilities are endless when you have a garden and a lawn to tend to just like yours. In my case, that would not be a reality as we have no lawns on which to place even a bird feeder.

  27. I like the Lady's Mantle! I wonder if it'd grow in my area. :)

  28. Hi Catherine,
    I see lots of plants I'd like to try there. What is the weeping tree, a rosse? I also love G. 'Rozanne and want more under the oak trees, not too close. Love all your blues. Bet you like cobalt glass, too! Sue

  29. i have to giggle at the difference in gardens between winter and summer - us perennial gardeners have nothing but sticks and stones in the winter, yet so so so much to look forward to & enjoy come spring / summer.....thank you for sharing your garden pics & please come visit me over at Fishtail Cottage. I am always looking for more gardeners to befriend on blogging! Right now i am focusing on the inside while the outside is asleep. xoxo


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