Take a Walk Through the Garden: Front Entrance and "Alley"

This will be a pretty long page and full of graphics, so I hope you didn't have to wait forever for it to load! Hopefully, you can browse pictures above the parts that aren't finished and it won't be too painful! I have taken so many photos of the garden from the beginning, that it was hard to decide what to put in. Unfortunately, I didn't know I was going to use them for a website, do didn't take as many long shots of the yard. While you are browsing the garden, you'll need to suspend your sense of reality a bit and disregard changes in time and season. You won't mind too much, I hope! I just wanted to give you an idea of where things are so that in the future, you'll have a reference point when certain beds or areas are mentioned. Be careful...there are strange forms of wildlife in our garden!

Not exactly the usual raccoons, deer and pheasant we see, but still worthy of notice! This self-portrait composite was done by our second son, Robert Miller. To see more of his artwork, set your monitor to thousands of colors (if you can) and go to his web page, Robert Miller Design.

If not...continue on to the garden!

[Robert's Ducklings Photo]

We'll start our walking tour from the front yard and work our way around the house...

This first bed (that I'm standing in while taking this photo) used to be the driveway when we bought the house. You drove in next to the west side of the house and came in the back door (south). Only guests who'd walk in off the street would come to the front door. There used to be a sidewalk leading from the center of the house (as you see it here...and where the front door used to be) to the road. As you walked out to the mailbox, you would pass two white birch seedlings on your left, a Douglas Fir to the right, and pass between two holly bushes...one male and the other female. The only thing remaining of those now are the birch seen here and the Douglas Fir tree which needs to be removed. It was wonderful for years as the only provider of shade in the whole yard, but now it is getting dangerous and unsightly. Many branches have been damaged by heavy snowfall. The low birch limb that is getting in your way of seeing the house in the photo below, has since been removed!

[Front Yard Looking Toward House]

View of House taken from from yard...see old photo to compare! The rhododendrons in the foreground are: R 'Van Nes Sensation' (left) and R. 'Odee Wright.'

From here, we will proceed to the northeast corner of the house, where a sidewalk used to lead from the front porch to the east side of the house. What you can't see here, by design, is the mess in our carport. It is just to the left of the sidewalk and as I recall, there was an ugly orange wheelbarrow there when I took the photo. That's what cropping tools are for. The carport is one of the major eyesores of the place with all the stuff in there from working on cars, etc. My husband and oldest boy, Michael, are really into cars and there's always something being fixed or torn apart there. I admit, that there are some pots, bags of soil amendments and gardening tools as well, but they don't bother me as much! (Ha!) Between the driveway and the barn, which is in the upper field, it appears that we are raising automobiles. At present, we probably have about eight of them that can be seen. There are some more inside the barn also...waiting for the day when they can be restored. All but two of the outside cars are functional and those two need to go this year! We have five (almost six) drivers in the family and they all go their separate ways on many occasions. Anyway...ONWARD to the garden!

[Front East Bed]

I love the rich colors in this photo. The soft green leaves belong to the Japanese Maple you saw on the "Evolution of the Garden" page when it was much smaller. The rhododendron to the right is R. 'Hurricane.' In the background is the Clematis montana rubens from the Alley Bed "Jungle" and to its right is a pink flowering dogwood. The dogwood is to our right when we come out the front door. The planting pictured here is at the northeast corner of the house, right near the previous site of the house fire we had in 1982.

You have just walked through the path above, crossed the sidewalk in front of the porch and are ready to proceed through the "Alley Bed" which is planted between the house and carport. It's pretty crowded here, so you must be careful not to step on anything!


You are now entering into the Alley Bed Jungle. The plantings force you to travel with care (unless you are a child or a dog!) and pause along the way to enjoy the flora.


[Alley Bed Jungle]


[Iris setosa purple]

Just past the flowering dogwood tree we see a clump of graceful purple flowers. This beautiful bloom belongs to Iris setosa. The plant I purchased at the nursery (where I worked) showed a flower that was white with attractive purple veining. I was so disappointed when it opened completely purple...silly me! I love this iris, now that I have accepted that it wasn't what I'd bought (although it is the right species).



[Iris Setosa with white and veining]

(R.I.P. - This disappeared in the year of '98 and I don't know what happened to it. Drat! I'm leaving it up because it's such a pretty flower.)

[Daylilies along Alley path]


I've added this photo to show what the same path looks like in July and August. The dayliles reach out and grab you on your way to the back yard, but I don't really want to move them. The varieties shown here are (left to right) 'Cool Streams' and 'Cape Cod.' They were purchased from Wild's of Missouri.



Rhododendron seedling R. 'Fabia' X R. 'Unique.' I played with hybridizing when I was in my twenties and this is one of the babies (NO...I wasn't talking about the kids!). The plant habit is not better than 'Unique' but the flowers are quite pretty.


[Rhododendron Cross, 'Fabia' X 'Unique']


[Tree Frog in Daylily Closeup]

Every so often, if you are observant, you will find these little frogs resting inside the daylilies. They have been found in rose blossoms also. Once I gave a friend a full blown bloom of Rosa 'Fragrant Cloud' to sniff as she accompanied me around the yard. She had it in her hands for several minutes before the little froggie stowaway bailed out. You should have heard her yell! This plant is to the left as you exit the Alley Bed and proceed into the back yard. The variety is 'Prairie Belle.'


Looking back at the alley bed in early spring, before it becomes a complete tangle. Clematis montana rubens blooms in the upper right corner of photo (wish you could smell it!).



[Alley Bed '97]

You can either sit on that bench and rest a bit or continue...

©Unless otherwise specified, all materials and photos on this website are the property of Kathy Miller and are not to be used for web or commercial purposes without permission. If you want to print out the site for personal reference or use photo images on greeting cards or personal craft items that are not for sale...that is perfectly okay with me!
Olympic Views logo designed by our son, Robert Miller.