A SoCal Gardener in the Pacific Northwest Leave a comment

Hi GPODers! Today we’re in the garden of Jo Ann, and seeing how she’s faring after a move from sunny SoCal to the lush Pacific Northwest:

My name is Jo Ann Sarlese. My husband and I moved to this lovely property in Brown’s Point, Northeast Tacoma, Washington, four years ago from Orange County in Southern California. I considered myself a fairly knowledgeable gardener, but not up here in Washington. I’ve had a lot to learn. I have never seen many of the plants in our new yard, so I have relied a lot on plant apps and friends to identify what is here.

As the spring gave way to summer, I realized how overgrown the yard was. We hired a crew to clean up and clear out the yard. Then we began to give the garden some structure. Like all gardens, it’s an ongoing project.

tulips and flowering shrubs in a shady gardenThis area is along the waterfall area. The lovely orange tulip with the picot edged petals is the longest lasting tulip in the yard. Purple azaleas and sword fern (Polystichum munitum, Zones 4–9) are in the foreground, and from left to right in the background are dwarf Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Gracilis’, Zones 4–8), ‘Emperor One’ (red) maple (Acer palmatum ‘Emperor 1’, Zones 5–9), laceleaf maple, fernleaf full-moon maple (Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’, Zones 4–8), and pasqueflower (Pulsatilla patens, Zones 3–7).

large shrub with pink foliageForest Flame Japanese pieris (Pieris ‘Forest Flame’, Zones 5–8) with its vibrant display and cascading flowers, is a welcome sight to see after a long rainy winter and spring.

close up of cascading flowers on colorful shrubIf you’re going to give up valuable garden real estate to a large shrub, make sure its one that serves more than just one purpose. The fabulous foliage of Forest Flame Japanese pieris is compelling in and of itself, but the cascading flowers take it to the next level!

close up of Jack-in-the-pulpit plantJack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum, Zones 4–9) keeps itself well hidden under the large trillium-like leaves and also lasts a very long time.

stone garden patio and pond surrounded by plants andThis is the center of the yard and my favorite place to just sit and gaze. We added the flagstone and the smokeless firepit. The tree, which is the last to get its leaves, is an Acer ‘Paper Bark Maple’. The pond is surrounded with sword fern and Oregon wood sorrel (Oxalis oregana, Zones 7–9). Above is Japanese waterfall maple (Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Waterfall’, Zones 5–8), an orange rhododendron, and a Japanese snowbell tree (Styrax japonicus, Zones 5–8).

stone path leading to small treeAt the entrance to the garden is a laceleaf Japanese maple, with wild violets (Viola sororia, Zones 3–7) around the base. Flanking the gate is forsythia (Forsythia spp. and cvs., Zones 4–9), and to the right is an azalea. In the foreground are assorted irises.

flowering trees and shrubs in the gardenThis side yard is up near the house. In the foreground is a flame azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum, Zones 5–7) surrounded by a hosta, calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica, Zones 8–10), and daylilies. In back are White Knight’ weigela (Weigela florida ‘White Knight’, Zones 5–9) and exbury azalea, and above are cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus, Zones 5–7) and flowering cherry plum tree (Prunus cerasifera, Zones 4–8).

garden in spring with scattered bloomsThe slender tree is ‘Fastigiata’ golden rain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata ‘Fastigiata’, Zones 5–9). Also present are red peony, assorted irises, calla lilies, and Paeonia ‘Mons Jules Elie’. In the background are Mexican orange blossom (Choisya ternata, Zones 7–10) and pink exbury azalea.

wooden garden arbor leading to garden with lots of stoneworkThe archway is covered with clematis that will soon be full of deep purple flowers. A white azalea is to the left.


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