Friday, September 9, 2011

Dry, golden, mellow

We're living through the last glorious days of summer. Like a misbehaving guest who arrived embarrassingly late to the party, it now refuses to leave, trying to make up for the mistake by showing just how charming it can be... It has been hot and balmy, with temperatures raising over 80/25 degrees for days; I find it difficult to fathom that autumn with its ubiquitous rainproof jackets is lurching just around the corner.  
The sky is bright and high, and lawns start to turn brown. This August, Seattle got only 0.13 inches/0.33 cm of rain, and September still hasn't seen its first drops. Surprisingly, nature here does not seem to be especially bothered by the lack of water. Due to the cold and wet spring, trees and shrubs carry a heavy coat of greenery, but despite all dry days, they still look great, showing no stress or signs of thirst at least by the coast. I'm not sure how they manage, but maybe they just are used to this yearly cycle of wet and dry, as most of the rain Seattle is so famous for really only falls between the months of October and May. 

There are no water restrictions, so I've been watering my garden, even if most of it would probably do quite well without my help. In the front garden, a fraction of which is pictured above, long drifts of Spanish lavender alternate with Sedums which are now in full bloom. Both species mingle with five large stone boulders, groups of evergreens like dwarf English laurels, burning bushes (Euonymus alatus) and five Magnolia grandifloras, just to mention a few. This autumn, I'm thinking of adding some Alliums to send up their little fireworks between the dwarf laurels next spring.
The western side of the front garden needs some work, too. The skeleton is fine, with burning bushes, dark purple smoke bushes and groupings of Viburnum davidii forming soft mounds, all of which are amazingly drought tolerant and hardy. But then, several azaleas were planted in this area, which is completely insane as it faces full west, with no shade during the whole day. Quite expected, many of them have died, leaving screaming cavities behind. I've always found this planting too shrubby, so now I can soften it up and breathe some life and movement into this area. I've been looking at tall grasses, like Stipa giganteas or Molinia caeruleas, to be planted plant in large wavy bands between the shrubs. Then, I'm thinking of adding some spiky perennials like Perowskias and Agastaches, and accent bulbs, maybe Alliums or even Eremurus between the grasses and lower shrubs. We'll see. But until any work can be done, the rains need to start, so it seems that I still have some time for planning...


Fairegarden said...

Lovely gardens and the grasses you name sound perfect for movement and texture.


Ruben said...

Wow, vilka tuvor med fransk lavendel!!! Vad imponerad jag blir!! Du måste visa mer från din trädgård, jag kan inte minnas att jag sett så mycket av den tidigare. Vi har haft lite Seattle-väder här också, men bara nästan. I Mälardalen kommer regnen i regel på hösten och vintern. (Visst ja, du känner ju redan till vårt klimat från Saltsjöbaden).
Ha det gott1
PS Tack för "ubiquitous". Nu har jag lärt mig ett nytt ord, men jag får nog vricka tungan ett par gånger till innan det sätter sig!

Ruben said...

Hej igen!
När du skriver Agastache, vilken tänker du på då? Så en riktigt vacker i Chicago Botanical Garden, och faktiskt även i Milleniumparken. Agastache 'Tutti-Frutti' Googlade litet på den, och någon trodde att den inte gick att föröka från frö (jag har några i min ficka), vet du något om detta?


The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Thanks Frances! I'm thinking of growing the grasses from seeds as I need quite a large amount of plants; we'll see how that goes. Exciting, everything grows so fast here.

Hej Ruben, visst är det fint med mina lavendel, jag älskar dem och bina med... Jag hade tänkt på Agastache Firebird, som har lite mjukt orange-koppar-lila toner på blommor. Den blir ca 90 cm hög och jag tror att den skulle kunna plocka upp lila från lavendel och sedan passa fint med smokebush (Cotinus Royal purple) andra mörka toner. Och bli fin med gräs och alliums. Jag håller på att ta reda på var jag kan köpa frö, och återkommer! Den ska vara lätt att så även utomhus här, säger de som kan...