We're at the time of year when the first cherry blossoms have come and gone, and the rhododendrons, dogwoods, magnolias, and lilacs are blooming all around the area. Our rhodie in the back yard and lilacs are very showy now. Some of our annuals are blossoming now, too (red flowering currant, columbine, blue star creeper) and our osmantus are at the tail end.
When we first moved into the house we didn't work on the landscaping for the first year or so for us to get a sense of what we had. We then got a landscape designer to draw up some plans to give us ideas of what we could do, and we've been working off of that ever since. Not that we're faithfully adhering to the plan, but it's been useful to help us know what plants would work well in what areas of the yard. We've been working mostly in the back, but have done some in the front, too.
We figured that by starting work in the back, we could gain more experience and then work our way to the front. It was a pretty daunting task since we ended up taking out some chain link fence, a lot of holly, and some photinia. These pictures also show that one of our rhodies as well as our lilacs are in bloom right now, which is what gave me the idea to post about some of the progress we've been making.
Here are some before (7/2003) and after (5/2009) pictures looking towards the northeast corner of our lot:
The very north part of our property was fenced off and we think it was a dog run. After the first year the whole area was overgrown with grass and weeds, not to mention several holly trees which kept propagating. All the hollies came out and we put chips down. What's harder to see in the 2009 picture is on the left we have blackcap raspberry, red flowering currant, and thimbleberry. Beyond the western hemlock are evergreen huckleberry and a lot of volunteer bulbs.
This part of the yard got quite a drastic makeover. We pulled a lot of low shrubs, a couple photinia, and some holly from this area, as well as the dogwood on the right. That dogwood never looked really good, although the last year or two before it came out it did start to flower. We decided to pull it out anyway since the foliage looked pretty bad and it was only flowering on one side. Under the birches we now have some evergreen huckleberry, columbine, and other annuals and groundcover. There's an Oregon-grape on the left side of the 2003 picture which we cut way down and let grow back. It blends in too well with what's around it to be able to really see it in the 2009 picture.
We haven't really done anything on this, the east side of the house, other than dig the grass away from the house and put in rocks for drainage. We've also put in a couple water barrels which work really well. You can see that the lilacs have gotten quite a bit larger, and right now have lots of blossoms. The plan is to put in hazelnuts close enough to make a hedge.
Manito Park Lilac Garden
Some of the most spectacular lilacs in Washington are at the Manito Park Lilac Garden. I have a picture of the lilacs on the Spokane page, but I've included more lilac photos below.