Marla Morgan shared this look-back at the last growing season in her garden.
We garden in Idaho Falls, Idaho. We fell in love with this town lot about 15 years ago because of the astonishingly large number of trees (at least 30) packed into such a small area. We have had to cut down several sick aspens and a 30-year-old giant birch, but we constantly plant new trees of all varieties. I’m rather impulsive, so sometimes we plant them too close together. But we run with it and let things evolve. These pictures are some highlights of my last growing season, spring through fall.
Our backyard in spring. The aspens (Populus tremuloides, Zones 1–6) don’t do so well in our climate, and we sometimes lose a battle and cut one down, but we love them. We let some of the suckers grow, so these are a combination of new young ones and a few of the remaining original ones.
The backyard gets very wild by midsummer, with self-sown poppies that come and go in number, purple salvia that spreads all over, columbine that evolve in color over the years, and iris that were given to me some years back. The bright yellow is creeping jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, Zones 4–8), which is slightly aggressive but is held back fairly well by the cold winters here. I have a terrible problem with quack grass throughout my border garden, and I don’t use weed killer because we have too many pets. We try to weed a lot in the spring but usually give up by this time of year and let it get covered up by overcrowded plants.
These poppies (Papaver rhoeas, annual) were here in the “weed patch” when we moved in. I cultivated them each year, but some years ago they disappeared because I weeded too many out one year. Last year, I happily found one single blossom and got them going again. My salvia and purple coneflowers spread like crazy also, although they haven’t quite bloomed in this photo.
Our may tree (Crataegus sp.) in the center of the front yard blooms every year in May with white aromatic blossoms. They are an old Idaho Falls favorite, and you can always count on them blooming all over town at the beginning of May each year. Creeping thyme, iris, daylilies, and hosta line the front walk.
The bright yellow is Euphorbia polychroma (cushion spurge, Zones 4–8), which our hard winters keep in check, along with heavy weeding in the spring. It turns a lovely red in the fall.
A mid-May view out our living room window of the crab apple tree (Malus sp.). Pink and white in the spring, green in the summer, bright orange in the fall, this tree creates a LOT OF WORK with dropped crab apples in the late fall.
We managed to find a sunny spot in the backyard to grow some food this year: beets, sunflowers, peas, and beans.
Fall color with the mountain ash (Sorbus sp.) in the front yard. The birds love the red berries this time of year, and we get flocks of different kinds coming through. Mountain ash holds onto its fruit through the winter until it is mostly eaten.
The may tree in its lovely winter form. The purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3–9) are in the foreground.
This red tree is the purple ash (Fraxinus americana ‘Autumn Purple’, Zones 3–9) when it changes color. Once we have a hard freeze, it drops its leaves almost overnight, so the color has to be enjoyed quickly.
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