A tour of the trees and plants in our backyard garden!
They are my “babies” and I’m happy to oblige! This is my favorite time of the summer — the spring rain has made everything full and lush, and the dryness and heat of later summer hasn’t quite hit yet.
Our plants and trees are thriving right now, so it’s a perfect time for a tour!:
Before I start, I should note that our growing zone is 5b/6a.
The blooming plants
Hydrangeas (in the foreground in that pic above) have always been my favorites, but over the years peonies have tied them as my number one flowering plant.
You can see two of our peony plants behind the hydrangea there, and I’m sad to say I didn’t get any pics of my blooms this year. (I have since cut off the dead flowers.)
Here’s a pic from last year (notice my hand in the corner for scale!)
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Every year it surprises me how long it take them to bloom. All of ours (all kinds of varieties) are just now starting to bloom, but we’ll have flowers well into the fall:
After the peonies bloom and before the hydrangeas, these gorgeous reddish pink Mystic Fairy knockout roses flower and add a punch of beautiful, bright color to our landscape:
They are so full and lovely right now!
Look at how tiny it was shortly after planting!:
That’s why I almost exclusively buy our plants on clearance — with a little TLC they look amazing in no time!
I got this Knockout rose bush at the same time, and it’s even bigger than the other one! They are slightly different — this one is the same color but the blooms are smaller:
If you love roses but don’t want the upkeep, these Knockout varieties are a great option. You can literally ignore them and they’ll look great, although I did cut all of ours back this spring for the first time in years.
My dream has been to have vines and flowers cascading around the arbors, so I planted two Clematis plants last year.
Only one made it (barely). So I gave it another try this year and this one (the Sarah Elizabeth Clematis) was thriving!:
Two days after I took this picture, a bunny (or deer?) nibbled the vines right in half…and now we’re left with some sticks in the ground yet again. 😂
If you have any recommendations for beautiful, flowering vines, please share them with me!
Evergreens and trees
I have a bit of an obsession with evergreen plants and trees. They add year-round fullness and lush green that are much needed during our drab winter months.
If I’m going to pay for a tree, I want it to look good all year!
Our fire pit area measures 15 feet across.
These particular evergreens are coniferous and called Thuja Green Giant Arborvitae. They are AWESOME.
Now there are a lot of arborvitae varieties, so if you want quick privacy, don’t make the mistake we did and plant the Emerald Green Arborvitae instead:
We had these put in with the patio. They are great, but are verrrrry slow growers. I mean…molasses slow.
They are still awesome for privacy, and would also be great in a long line or tucked into corners around the house.
But the star is really the green giant version. We had these planted only two years ago, and look how small they were then compared to now!:
Crazy! These trees grow to 50-60 feet tall and get anywhere from 12 to 20 wide! So eventually we’ll have to do some grooming or just move the arbors, but we’re good for awhile. 😉
They are by far the best plant I’ve found for the buck — they aren’t horribly expensive if you buy them smaller. Believe me, they will grow FAST.
Also, they are much easier to grow than more “traditional” evergreens like the pine tree. Those seem to be more finicky — the arborvitae is extremely low maintenance:
My plan has always been to layer the landscaping here around the fire pit area — so I plan to add some flowering bushes or ground cover in front of the trees someday.
I lucked out last year I found these Sea Green Junipers on clearance for $6 each:
(They’re to the left behind the chairs.)
These are supposed to grow fairly fast (they get up to six feet tall and eight feet wide!) but ours are not. They’re still bitty little guys, but maybe I just am underestimating how small they were when we got them:
They provide another layer of year-round green that I love. 🙂
As I mentioned, I do plan to add some color over here eventually. The best part of gardening is seeing how your plants grow and thrive, but it takes some patience!
The only other trees we have in our backyard so far are the beautiful Rivers Purple Beech trees I got on clearance a few years back.
We planted that one in this corner on the left:
And I loved it so much, we got another one for the other side of the patio:
I LOVE the dark, plumy color of their leaves year round. I was drawn to the fact that they have branches from the top to the very bottom (again, great for privacy).
These eventually get large, but but they are very slow growers.
This Beech tree blooms super late in the spring — I think it was June before ours had all of their leaves! But they are a beautiful tree that adds a some great color to your landscape.
There you go! I hope that answers any questions about the plants in our backyard landscaping. This year I’m focused on adding smaller perennials for added color around the patio.
If I missed something you’re wondering about, please let me know! Happy summer! 🙂