Fishtail Cottage Garden 3/16/15

Just like decorating a house, taking one section of the garden at a time and only focusing on that specific area until you complete it is what I have found to be the most successful (for me). Even though the garden is always evolving and changing, a thought process of what you eventually want should always be in the forefront of you’re your mind. Sure you can always take plants out, move them around, add new ones and unfortunately you will have some that die or are not quite as happy as you had originally thought.  Keeping an open mind is essential too!

This past week, I’ve been focusing on the front of the house.  I think I’ve visited 8 nurseries sometimes twice in one day and still came home with nothing.  Why you ask? Because – just like decorating a house, sometimes you don’t know what you want until you see it!

I didn’t take any photo’s of before I started, but here is the after. I know you can’t see the full picture of what will be in this area, because the garden has just started to emerge.  But believe me it takes a lot of preparation for summer.  In these areas, you won’t be able to see the dirt in another couple months. But to get ready for that stage, having some color and plants while waiting is important to me. 


On the left side of the walkway, closest to house you can see that the leaves hydrangeas are started to bud out. Years ago I started to layer this area with smaller plants in the front (heuchra, hosta, lungwort). Then astilbe, hellebore, bleeding heart, columbine, solomon seal…intermixed with tulips, daffodils, crocus, fritillaria and other various bulbs for spring color.


The right side is mirrored to the left although there is a few more plants that I’ve planted on the far edge  because the afternoon sunshine in this area (such as a camellia, poppy, roses)


IMG_8811 I had some landscape help last fall and have seen several of my favorite plants that had been in my original ‘vision’ did not return this spring, how they removed those plants thinking they were a weed or a dead plant is beyond me ~ but I had to replace a few essential must haves like this specific hellebore “Ivory Prince” that went missing (5 out of six)! I love it because this particular area is a little dark and the lighter color helps brighten the walkway. Hellebore is one of my very favorite plants in the garden as it isn’t needy.  The only thing I have to do is cut off last years growth in early spring. 



IMG_8812I was happy to see this Fritillaria Meleagris return this year.  I purchased several at the end of their bloom season last year from a local grocery store.  I’m not shy about buying plants at throw away prices for next years garden.  They can always be tucked in just where you want them.  Just yesterday I brought home a whole flat of hyacinth for .75c from Home Depot.  planted and I know they will come back next year!  The great thing about doing this is they are just where they should be instead of guessing what their placement will look like next year had I planted them in the fall.

IMG_8815Another grocery store clearance plant that I just planted is this variety of Fritillaria Una Pulvis ~ I couldn’t find information on it (tag said sun and well drained soil), but because my “Fritillaria Meleagris” said wet feet and shade, I divided it and planted it in several areas of my garden(shade, sun, wet and dry soil)…I’ll decide for myself what conditions it prefers.  Although the wild (and fat) bunny that visited our garden the other day thoroughly enjoyed himself as he helped himself to several of these blooms.  I’ll have to wait till next year to see where this plant comes back.

The front two pots I decided to plant a Fairy Blush Camellia. I recently saw it at the Seattle Home and Garden Show and fell in love with it’s delicate blooms and smaller and more petite leaf.  Although, once I had set my mind on finding it, everywhere I called or visited said this plant comes into stock in fall. Which didn’t set well with me… I did find a tiny little nursery that had four in stock when I called.  So I rushed over to grab two of them and was sad when I found our how absolutely horrible they looked.  The base had cracks had a lot of the leaves had cold damage and the flowers had already come on gone.  The store owner offered them for 75% off and a fourteen month guarantee so with high hopes that I could nurture and revitalize what could be a beautiful plant in the garden I brought them home with me. Time will only tell what happens with them. The worst part of planting these was the fact that I tried adjusting these cement planters and the one on the left fell over and broke my rain chain and the plate on the french drain and I myself had to lift it three or four times to get it back on the pedestal…probably not the best idea because I can certainly feel it in my back and arms today!

   IMG_8803 (2)

Also in bloom this week are my row of Bradford Pear Trees on the street side of our fence~ so beautiful to see in bloom (photo’s just don’t do it justice) and hoping for more privacy this year from our neighbors!


Hope you are finding yourself enjoying your gardens this week?  xoxo, tracie


bj said…
It all looks so will be full and lush come more warm days.
here from Dedicated....
We're still under some snow Tracie but in a few weeks I'll be getting itching fingers to get outside. Pruning can be done now and I'll have to start moving on it soon.
I always enjoy your gardens and sought out a couple of plants in the past that you've shared.
Patty Marker said…
I've been procrastinating about getting the front perennial bed cleaned up and replanted but you have totally motivated me. Yours looked so fresh and full of promise!
ANNE said…
I'm so jealous that you've got buds and flowers and great weather! Enjoy!

Tracie your gardens look great already! I can't wait to get outside but the weather here in NY isn't cooperating lol!
Oh how pretty! I'm so jealous of all your early blooms!
I'm no stranger to buying clearance plants, either. I bought my very first fritillaria last week with just green leaves and spent blooms. Gives me something to look forward to next year. :)
Unknown said…
I'm so jealous that you can grow camellias - they are one of my favourites but won't survive our harsh winters.
Unknown said…
Your yard is beautiful, mine is a little new,the last few years before i retired they worked me too much at my job.I am experimenting and finding out what goes where and what i like and i love your yard.Here in Okla. it is raining,but my Bradford's are beautiful also.
Your gardens look all tidy and your early blooms are wonderful. Being it's the first day of spring, I just visited the local nursery and purchased some hellebores similar to yours. Now I am glad I did!!!
Tracie, in my plans to photograph my March garden today. My Pear is putting on quite a show as well. Your garden is always lovely. That is my favorite Hellebore. I have three, but only one of that one. I am seeing a few new babies pop up. Tiny, but still surprised to see them. I love the Fritillias! Wonder if they will grow here? I have been shopping for a Magnolia to add up on the hill where we are starting on the potting shed. No luck yet.

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