The drive from North Carolina to Washington only served to reaffirm that impression, as much of the country looks like this:
Of course, there are many places I would love to visit all across the country that have spectacular natural beauty, the Pacific Northwest is always where I want to return.
Little did I know what awaited me at my parents' house. I am thrilled to be back in the Pacific Northwest and I feel more comfortable and content than I have in the past two years. That said, I have my work cut out for me getting my parents' garden back into shape. In fact, it hasn't just been cut out for me, it's been chopped up into itty bitty pieces and spread across the yard to grow more pieces. It's not all my parents' fault. I'm not the only one in my family who has had a rough time in the last few years and my parents simply haven't had time to keep the garden up in the face of numerous cans of worms on top of their jobs and life as usual. In the last year, things have settled a bit, but my parents were busy with multiple remodels to the interior and exterior of the house. I'm glad they were finally able to get these changes made, but again it meant the garden didn't get as much attention as it needed. On the plus side, some of the changes outside the house included a new patio, a substantial dry creek bed, and many new planting opportunities!
So that's my story. Maybe not necessary, but my personality drives me to explain things. Now let's get to the interesting part, the garden. The property is mostly covered by secondary Douglas fir forest with a young understory. As you'll see later, we have a LOT of western sword fern (Polystichum munitum), probably about 2 acres worth at least.
The first picture is an aerial view of part of my parents' 5 acre property. You can see what I meant by a substantial dry creek bed. It stretches for several hundred feet from the edge of the driveway, around the house, to the edge of the trees. I love this as well as the path that follows it around the end of the house and the new areas to plant (though the contractor put landscape fabric and even black plastic in most of those dark brown areas you can see, a big pet peeve of mine). As you can see, the yard is mostly a yard and not heavily landscaped or planted. Sometimes I envy gardeners with smaller properties because it is easier to decide where to begin. The boundaries are easier to fill. I redesigned the bed in the middle of the driveway as my high school culminating project (did anyone else have that requirement in high school?) and it has gone through at least one major overall (after the Phormium killing winters) and numerous tweaks. I always laugh when I look at it on Google Earth, because it looks like a bad graphic from a computer landscaping program. The acid green is lime thyme, a chartreuse variety that I swear looks much nicer in real life with the burgundy laceleaf Japanese maple in the center and 'Crimson Pygmy' Japanese barberry (though it needs some serious maintenance at the moment).
Since this blog started with my indoor plants, here are a few pictures of my indoor growing areas. I'm largely limited to two rooms because my parents' cat attacks most plants. So only things that she won't chew on grow outside those two rooms.
|My one south-facing window for plants is located in my bedroom. Notice the growing space has been extended with an elegant board and table cloth affair on top of an old desk.|
|The west-facing window in my room is also full of plants. Despite my mother's thinly-veiled criticism, I enjoy sleeping in a room filled with plants.|
|My other cat-free room. I had to close the blinds to take the picture because the room is dark but the view out the window was very bright.|
|One of the remodels is a pseudo bay window. This is prime future plant real estate.|
|A half-wall between the entry and living room also provides future plant space.|
|Terrariums, cryptanthus, and my Clivia miniata are usually safe from the cat, unless she gets moody.|
|Sansevierias and the Mandarin orange I started from seed are also safe from the malevolent hairball. |
The aspidistra has since been planted outside.
|From the house.|
|Here you can see the garage and part of the barn behind it.|
The bed has 3 dry creek beds radiating out from the center.
|All of the Rhododendron impeditum unfortunately took a big hit in thelast hard frost we experienced this winter. Does anyone know if these will resprout if the dead areas are pruned out?|
|Center stage is given to a red weeping laceleaf Japanese maple (Acer palmatum v. dissectum cultivar) that my parents purchased as a stick of a sapling shortly before they were wed, making this a very special tree in our family.|
|This is the source of the acid green color in the aerial photo: lime thyme. The new growth is bright green, but it matures to a lovely cool-toned chartreuse that contrasts dramatically with the burgundy of the maple and other plants.|
|Unfortunately winter this year (and I suspect a lack of adequate maintenance) has left most of it looking like this. It needs some serious cutting back and filling in of dead patches, which I've done before.|
- cut back and fill in dead areas of the lime thyme
- add soil under the maple or remove the top row of bricks
- remove Chamaecyparis
- Prune out the dead areas on the Rhododendron impeditum(s). Possibly remove them and replace with . . .
My next post will be a continuation of this tour through the garden and the things I need to fix. These are going to be some long posts. I hope you (and I) can handle them!
Until next time.