Spring Slump Solution!

The daffodils are a tangle of decaying foliage, the tulips are long since collapsed and the roses are still tight buds. What is holding your garden design together during this in-between stage?

You can bet that your two foliage divas have got this one down – it’s all about having a framework of trees, shrubs and perennials with great leaves – whether they bloom or not.

Here’s a photo from my garden taken a few days ago.


In March there was a haze of yellow daffodils at the base of each arbor post – an early spring highlight but those green leaves don’t offer much in this May scene. Instead almost all the color is from layers of foliage.

Here are the key players;



Forever Goldie arborvitae (Thuja plicata ‘Forever Goldie’)

Stunning evergreen conifer – one of my favorites for year round color




Fireglow Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Fireglow’)

Retains the deep red foliage well and takes full sun



Doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Mariesii’)

Tiers of luscious leaves AND spring flowers!


Double Play Gold spirea (Spiraea j. ‘Double Play Gold’)

We’ve told you about this beauty before.



Golden Ruby barberry (Berberis t. ‘Golden Ruby’)

It hasn’t developed its distinctive gold margin yet – but it will! A neat little dumpling of a barberry. (Barberry is invasive in some states but not in the Seattle area)

IMG_0505Blue Star juniper (Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’)

Reliable and tough – we both have this on our top ten list for color and performance.



Golden locust tree (Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’)

Our signature tree! I admit to having five in my garden – two in this border alone. (This may sucker in some areas but has never done so in my gardens)


So you want flowers too?

IMG_3633 IMG_2953


Well there are two blooming exbury azaleas strutting their stuff – but I bet you had to look twice to find them both!

A few extra tips;

Color – sunset tones dominate with just a little grey-blue for contrast

Maintenance – everything has to be deer resistant and drought tolerant (by its second year)

Maturity – this border was planted in 2012. Honestly!

IMG_8854This is only its third year – this photo was taken in March 2012 – use the Forever Goldie arborvitae as a reference point. Miracles do happen – if you pay attention to the FOLIAGE!

What’s  your favorite foliage to combat the spring slump?

Need even more foliage inspiration?

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4 thoughts on “Spring Slump Solution!

  1. Rosemary

    Your landscaping is really gorgeous. And I love that you included a plant list. Thank you for sharing. It really help you realize that every yard has so much potential.

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