Peeking over the fence #1

Sometimes I see cool plants in other people’s yards. Sometimes I wish they were mine – like this gorgeous Witch Hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia). It’s bright, lemony yellow flowers make me pretty sure this is the variety called ‘Arnold’s Promise’.


Isn’t it stunning!?


Here’s another variety. I think this is ‘Diane’ but it could be ‘Jelena’.

Witch Hazels bloom during January and February and have great fall color.


Now, I do have a Coral Bark Maple in my yard, but unfortunately mine doesn’t have a peek-a-boo view of Puget Sound in the background like this one. (It’s hard to tell because it was so cloudy when I took the picture, but that gray area visible beyond the Firs, along the first story of the house – that’s water. The darker gray separating the light gray is an island.) Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’ is the most common variety of this Japanese maple, but ‘Beni Kawa’ is becoming increasingly popular. It reportedly retains it’s red color on older branches better than ‘Sango Kaku’.

The vine in the foreground looks like a climbing Hydrangea. It’s being trained up a light pole.


Helleborus and black Mondo grass (ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’) fill the beds in front of the house. You can see the Coral Bark Maple in the background.

(I don’t make it a habit to go into stranger’s yards. This house is on the market so I didn’t feel like I was trespassing.)


This Madrone tree just cracked me up! I’d like to know how the owners fill that suet feeder hanging from the middle. Do they shimmy up the trunk?

Madrones (Arbutus menziesii) are native evergreen trees with exfoliating bark that remind me of the Eucalyptus trees I grew up with in San Diego County. They don’t transplant well so about the only way to have them in the yard is if they were on the property in the first place, and the developer didn’t cut them down. They shed leaves all the time and can be rather messy, but I still wish I had one.


In almost every way, this Rhododendron is quite ordinary. Medium sized shrub with light pink flowers. (yawn). Pink Rhodies are so common in the Pacific Northwest, if this was blooming in May, I wouldn’t even bother to take a picture; but this is the first Rhody to bloom around here. It’s called ‘Christmas Cheer’.

‘Spring Cheer’ would be more appropriate. When these go into bloom, we know spring is just around the corner.


These pictures were taken in King and Pierce County, Washington.

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