As you can see below, spring is here in the Pacific Northwest. These pictures were taken yesterday in our yard. The first one of the clematis is really great to see. Last year, we planted 4 clematises - 2 on each side of our front entrance. We had hoped that the vines would grow up our porch columns. In order to help them along, I put up some nylon netting around the columns. One of the plants did very well last year. It's a late summer/fall blooming clematis that has little white flowers on it. It grew to half way up over the front door and I ended up pulling down the dead parts of the vine in February that had reached to the pinnacle of the arch as well as around the sides and into our gutters.
The other 3 did not do so well. In fact, we thought that we might have killed them. This spring, I took on the project of digging out the burning bush plants that were on either side of our steps and replaced them with the young rose trees. While digging up the burning bush on the right hand side of the steps, I found spillover concrete dumped by the home builder. I suspected that this was down there as A) other homes that we observed being built had similar issues and B) neither our burning bush nor our 2 clematises were doing well in this spot. There was so much concrete down there that it sealed in the plant roots, forming what was essentially a pot without any drainage holes. I dug out all of the dirt, putting it in a wheel barrel, and took a small hammer to the concrete, putting it into a 5 gallon bucket. When I had finishes, almost all of the concrete was removed (I left a little under the clematis as I didn't want to disturb their roots too much) as well as various construction debris (nails, gutter pieces, plastic cups). There were 2 five gallon buckets of debris. While there, I put down some fertilizer for the clematises and the rose tree, doing the same to the other side of the steps when I put in the second rose tree. The project has paid off already. Both of the clematises have bounced back very well and the new rose trees are getting the leaves. The close up of the clematis bloom comes from one of the vines that was sealed in by the concrete. It was the first to bloom and it already has 3 blooms on it. One of the clematises on the left hand side has blooms forming. I'll take a picture of it when it happens. Basically, we got one clematis on each side with spring blooms and one on each side with fall blooms.
The pansies pictured below were rogue plants left over from last year. Shawn bought a flat of pansies last year and put them along one border of our garden beds. They bloomed all summer and fall. Towards the end of summer, we had let the weeding go and the pansies were invaded by a lot of other grasses and weeds, yet their flowers were clearly visible. During the winter, we noticed that pansies began cropping up in our raised beds. They grew, bloomed, and multiplied. We had some many of them that, when it came time to work on the beds this spring, we decided to take out the old ones along with the weeds and transplant the new ones into the same border area. We ended up with a LOT more pansies than we needed. We gave away 30 pots of them (most with multiple plants per pot) to a co-worker of Shawn's for a church fund raiser. We also gave some to our next door neighbor for her yard. Finally, I ended up taking some of them and turning them over in the garden. I must have missed some because they re-rooted in the garden beds and are starting to grow again.
The black tulip picture is one of 2 that have grown up and bloomed this year. We have more, but they haven't bloomed yet (and may not, this late in the season). I think that they are not in a good location. They are in a pot by our front door and they may not get enough light. They are long gangly plants with beautiful blooms. Shawn's grandmother sent them to us one spring.
The begonia was planted by the landscapers for the house. We actually have 3 of them, but 2 are obscured by our weeping cherry tree. All are doing well, but we're going to have to find a new spot for those other 2. The one pictured has the most blooms.