I saw what I thought was a particularly nice parking strip garden in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle recently. On a sunny weekend day at the tail end of winter, it provided a pleasing mix of colors, textures, heights and foliage types that also looked pretty low-maintenance.
Several coral-bark maples were the focal point for colorful winter interest. I priced these guys at the nursery lately, even tiny specimens are a fortune but I want one (or two?) anyway.
While I was taking pictures a neighbor boy stopped by on his bike to ask me what I was doing. He said he had a tree just like these ones in his backyard. We agreed that we are tired of winter and are looking forward to warmer weather (he, for swimming and me, for gardening).
An underplanting of silvery-leaved foliage and later-blooming lavender makes good, easy water-wise sense. The entire strip is raised a bit from the sidewalk (for better drainage and to avoid the compaction issue?), as you can see in the background of this next shot – flagsone steps lead up to a path for access to the street. This has the added effect of channeling foot traffic to a desired walkway and discourages plant trampling.
A mature hebe survived our hellish winter. I’m thinking it might be a ‘Red edge’ like mine, just a bit further along.
This small, red-stemmed euphorbia was growing between the stones edging the raised garden.
Crazy tasseled shrub. Any guesses? It reminded me of an Andy Goldsworthy piece, so puzzle-like.
Any glimpse of color at this time of year is appreciated. Flower bulbs are finally feeling confident enough to emerge, but this gardener hadn’t included any, instead relying, at least in this season, on bark and foliage for color, and texture and rhythm for added eye-candy. Artfully simple, and simply artful – something I could really stand to take a lesson from.