(click images to enlarge)
I like flowers, just like the rest of us. It often seems I post so much about installation issues and designs in landscaping I often miss those delights everyone else is so eager to feature. But make no mistake – I adore blooming things and I crave using them in landscapes. The fact is, I do a ton of it.
Living in Vancouver, British Columbia offered an incredibly rich supply of blooming things from Cherry trees and ornamentals to fascinating mixes of Exbury Hybrid Azaleas and Rhododendrons.
This was all well and good but when I moved to Reno, Nevada I found the alkaline soils and the concerns over water usage restricted me far more in terms of adding color to landscapes. It was then that I began studying more options to make a landscape an interesting and appealing place to enjoy. Naturally, I studied rocks and structural things. And much of this was owing to not only a less urban area than Vancouver but also because of the space one had to fill in the typically larger lots of Reno.
Since the constant wind caused so many problems with blowing the mulches I had gotten so familiar with in Vancouver and Portland, I began to look closer at rock mulches and then naturally to filling those areas as well with ground covers and other growing things. I mention this as a segue into the world of Perennials. Annuals in Reno face the water issues which they require so desperately and I began omitting them from design considerations. Sure, Summers can find Geraniums and Petunias all over but hardly to the extent one finds in the North West with its abundant water. The perennial search served as an attractive and fascinating angle of approach and I began using them increasingly. Incidentally, I also include roses in this category, although I did concentrate on those easiest to maintain and rely upon.The red Meidiland Roses are my own particular fave. Here, in the picture below, taken on a dark day, the highlights of the crimson shades stand out, I think impressively. That deep red gives depth and it gives an optimistic sort of background among the wide variety of foliage there and serves to provide a consistent backdrop.
In other applications, perennials of all types, including Sedges and Grasses have served my needs perfectly.
Anyway, I did develop some real favorite plants, in all this. Here are some pictures I took of some of these:
(I’m real big on Evening Primrose [Oenothera Biennis]……..)
(This below was a little “starter kit” of Evening Primrose with those typical Meidiland Reds on the rocks around this ‘pondless waterfall we installed off someone’s patio…..for the record, these are taken here soon after planting……they have gotten huge since)
Penstemons are my ultimate favroite, I think. Here is a dry climate version of an almost “native” one:
When a Penstemon gets to a full size, they are spectacular. Notice the variety of them in this picture:
This one is a bit sparse-looking now but it grew into an impressive area next to our paver driveway and patio:
And here is a completely gratuitous – but related! – picture of some Clematis at one of the homes above:
Naturally, no bloom pictures will be complete without some rhodies, these from Vancouver and a project there:
Embarrassing and as unprofessional as it may be, the hose in the foreground below has to prove I was the photographer! This one was true fun to do. Watching this property develop as time went on has provided some serious joy for me and re-emphasized the utter rightness of using perennials in landscapes:
Who knew a Sumac could be so pretty?
Or be so lush?
Or the old Smoke Tree?
The Cotinus is an old Favorite……………and not a perennial but I couldn’t resist.
I could go on……….. In fact, I just may. Everyone likes unique looks at the same old stuff. Flowers, after all, never get old, do they?