I don’t know about you, but I always feel that my garden isn’t quite ready to be seen.  I see all the things that need to be done instead of being able to appreciate how far we have come.

This 'river' is 7' deep, varies between 5'-10' wide and was almost 140' long.
This ‘river’ is 7′ deep, varies between 5′-10′ wide and was almost 140′ long.

We were pretty happy with our 10 years of landscaping. January of 2009, Mother Nature called for a do over in the form of a flood and landslide coming off the mountain across the street.  Many areas of our landscape are still suffering.   In one section that we haven’t rehabbed yet, the weeds, mostly alder trees are taller than I am.  That’s pretty overwhelming.   Every once in a while I venture into that area to rescue some botanical treasure that has been buried by the weeds.  I don’t know if we will get to that area, this year or next.

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A few front yard photos.

All these rocks…. where do you even start?

We’ve all heard it… when mother nature gives you lemons, make lemonade.  Well, we have been, but it’s a lot of hard work.

We started by trying to rescue the lawn.

Re-landscaping…   As difficult as all the rebuilding has been, it is better than it was before.   OMG -We used to buy landscape rock, but Mother Nature delivered all sort of wonderful rocks.  Sizes varied from small boulders to sand.   We were able to fill the huge whole in the driveway without bringing in rock.  We ‘shop’ around the property for rocks to define pathways.  So many plants washed away or died over the next year from the trauma, since we weren’t able to un-earth every plant right away.  The flooding also had some interesting side effects.  We keep finding special plants in places that we didn’t put them.  Flood waters distributed things in interesting places.  There is also a new distribution of weeds.  We never had stinging nettles on our property before, but they are here now.  I want to learn to cook with them, but they scare me.  I still remember exactly how much the stinging hurt from my childhood misadventures running into stinging nettles in the woods.

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entry area garden, after the flood and now

Since so much soil washed away, while we had the track hoe here, we had him dig a large hole that will become a pond.  We used the soil to build new gardens and hopefully will build the pond in the next few years.   It will be our biggest most challenging landscape project.

My takeaway from all this has been…

  • be grateful for what you have, things can always be worse.
  • enjoy the planning and process, not just the end result.
  • work together
  • keep shopping for plants 😉  there is always room for another
  • a glass of Bailey’s Irish Cream and a long soak in a Jacuzzi tub is a great way to recover from a hard days work in the garden. ( My husband would prefer a cold beer.)

It’s going to be hot today, so I’m going to go out and work in the garden before  the sun comes over the mountain.  I’m planning to work hard and I’m already looking forward to the Bailey’s and a bath.

Have a great day, appreciate what you have!


Rhododendron ‘ruby parasol’

It’s funny how many times you can walk past something then one day you actually SEE it.  That’s what happened when I walked through the garden today.   Rhododendron ‘ruby parasol’ is an attractive little background shrub in our garden.  We’ve had it for several years, but admittedly, I have never really paid attention to it, it was just there.  This year it has distinguished itself and made me notice why we selected it and the very reason it was named ‘ruby parasol’.

Rhododendron 'ruby parasol'
Rhododendron ‘ruby parasol’

This is a very young plant, as rhodies go.  It has put on a lot of new growth this year and that is what makes it so interesting.  The new growth emerges with  a thick coating of gray velvety hairs and a blush of ruby color,  before it fades to

a typical rhododendron leaf, later in the season.  It’s a subtle evergreen beauty.  I think the flowers are a medium pink, but I honestly don’t remember for sure.  While writing this post, I searched it online and couldn’t find this particular variety.  I don’t remember where we bought it.  It’s been about 3 years ago and I can’t always remember what I had for breakfast.  😉

It’s one of the ‘bones’ of the garden, quietly giving structure, shape and character to the garden all year.  Today, it’s my favorite.


tiny leaf mazus ‘radicans’

Mazus ‘radicans’ is a really cool, low-growing perennial in the lopseed family, Phrymaceae.  This plant is generally found in damp habitats in lowland or mountain regions of China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.  (The previous info courtesy of Wikipedia)  I don’t really know much about this plant except how it has preformed in my garden.  I have never heard a nickname for it.  In my garden it is in a pot that sits in the ground because it is so small, I was afraid it would get lost.

mazus 'radicans' in bloom
mazus ‘radicans’ in bloom

I first bought this in a 3″ pot, two years ago.  It has the cutest little fuzzy stems and bronze spotted leaves.  This is the first year that it has bloomed.  The flowers are purple and white and more than double the size of the leaves.

I keep a cage over it because the bunnies find it very attractive.

In my garden it gets some sun mid to late in the day.  It gets watered when it rains (in the pacific northwest it rains a lot).   It’s not unusual to get down to 8 degrees  f. around here in the winter, and it seems to come though that just fine.

It is considered to be a ‘steppable’, but it will not be used that way in our garden.  It has the teeny tiniest leaf perennial in our garden.  It would be a great, though slow growing perennial ground cover.

I love having it in my garden.  Today… it’s my favorite.  😉

Beautiful Late Spring Primrose – Primula bulleyana

Primula bulleyana
Primula bulleyana

Primula bulleyana is a species of flowering plant in the family Primulaceae, native to hillsides in China.

In our garden this grows in a place with no direct sunlight, but bright shade most of the day.  The ground stays pretty moist most of the time.  We haven’t ever fertilized this bed.  Weeds are such a problem here that we put bark down.  Slugs don’t seem to like bark so we have not had to bait at all.  Rabbits, deer, elk, squirrels, and chipmunks all seem to leave them alone.   This is really a stunning primula!


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rheum tanguticum, with bloom spike over 6 feet tall
sunrise coming over the mountain
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back yard south west side garden that borders the woods
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back yard north west side garden that borders the woods
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front gardens, closest to the house
back - epimediums, hydrangeas
small bed bordering the woods, featuring epimediums, hydrangeas, hellebores and an un-named rhododendron that we brought from our last house
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back border garden that peeks into a small garden room behind a fallen log, that features a large birdbath and 3 vertical growing yews
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part of the front entry area garden
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back, south west woodland border garden, featuring blue hostas, all gold Japanese forest grass, brunnera ‘jack frost’, unknown pulmonaria, primula, dogwood, Japanese maples, dove tree, toad lily and more
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back yard south west woodland border garden features brunnera – ‘hadspen cream, dawson’s white, macrophylla, climbing hydrangea, astillbes, fernleaf buckthorn, Japanese maple.
monarda ‘raspberry wine’, black lace elderberry, white phlox
mountain view from the back yard
autumn north side
north garden in the autumn
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back garden perennial path
autumn front
front garden around that old growth spruce, in the autumn
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back garden, ferns, hydrangeas, astilbe, hostas, pulmonaria
autumn back
back garden red leaf maple in autumn
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north side shade garden, hostas and ferns
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back bed shade garden, primulas, hostas, hydrangeas
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shade path, ligularias, ferns podophyllums
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black lace elderberry, hosta ‘sum & substance’
north side
north side shade garden
back yard
back yard, red maple, hosta ‘strip tease’
autumn, stewartia monodelpha
autumn, stewartia monadelpha
garden tour
autumn in the front yard