A Tour of the Trees and Plants in our Backyard Garden | Thrifty Decor Chick

A tour of the trees and plants in our backyard garden!

They are my “babies” and I’m happy to oblige! This is my favorite time of the summer — the spring rain has made everything full and lush, and the dryness and heat of later summer hasn’t quite hit yet. 

Our plants and trees are thriving right now, so it’s a perfect time for a tour!: 

Before I start, I should note that our growing zone is 5b/6a. 

The blooming plants

Hydrangeas (in the foreground in that pic above) have always been my favorites, but over the years peonies have tied them as my number one flowering plant. 

You can see two of our peony plants behind the hydrangea there, and I’m sad to say I didn’t get any pics of my blooms this year. (I have since cut off the dead flowers.) 

Here’s a pic from last year (notice my hand in the corner for scale!)

Pink peony blooms

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Every year it surprises me how long it take them to bloom. All of ours (all kinds of varieties) are just now starting to bloom, but we’ll have flowers well into the fall:

concrete bird bath with hydrangea
Speaking of, I think our limelight hydrangeas are the absolute prettiest in the fall: 

fall limelight hydrangeas

After the peonies bloom and before the hydrangeas, these gorgeous reddish pink Mystic Fairy knockout roses flower and add a punch of beautiful, bright color to our landscape:

mystic fairy knockout roses

They are so full and lovely right now!

These were one of my mid-summer sale finds that I mentioned in my saving on garden plants post. I found these the summer we had our patio poured (four years ago).

Look at how tiny it was shortly after planting!:

long patio with umbrella

That’s why I almost exclusively buy our plants on clearance — with a little TLC they look amazing in no time!

I got this Knockout rose bush at the same time, and it’s even bigger than the other one! They are slightly different — this one is the same color but the blooms are smaller: 

red mystic fairy knockout roses

If you love roses but don’t want the upkeep, these Knockout varieties are a great option. You can literally ignore them and they’ll look great, although I did cut all of ours back this spring for the first time in years. 

Last summer I picked up two of these metal arbors for between the trees around our fire pit (more about those trees in a bit): 
metal arbors with flowers
I absolutely love them! You can’t see it here, but I wrapped these solar fairy lights around them and they are SO pretty at night!

My dream has been to have vines and flowers cascading around the arbors, so I planted two Clematis plants last year. 

Only one made it (barely). So I gave it another try this year and this one (the Sarah Elizabeth Clematis) was thriving!: 

clematis on metal arbor

Two days after I took this picture, a bunny (or deer?) nibbled the vines right in half…and now we’re left with some sticks in the ground yet again. 😂

If you have any recommendations for beautiful, flowering vines, please share them with me!

Evergreens and trees

I have a bit of an obsession with evergreen plants and trees. They add year-round fullness and lush green that are much needed during our drab winter months.

If I’m going to pay for a tree, I want it to look good all year! 

When we had the patio put in, we had a circular fire pit added (see how to safely add a fire pit to patio). We wanted to add some trees for privacy and these arborvitae trees were perfect: 
circular fire pit with chairs

Our fire pit area measures 15 feet across.

These particular evergreens are coniferous and called Thuja Green Giant Arborvitae. They are AWESOME. 

Now there are a lot of arborvitae varieties, so if you want quick privacy, don’t make the mistake we did and plant the Emerald Green Arborvitae instead: 

emerald green arborvitae privacy

We had these put in with the patio. They are great, but are verrrrry slow growers. I mean…molasses slow.

They are still awesome for privacy, and would also be great in a long line or tucked into corners around the house. 

But the star is really the green giant version. We had these planted only two years ago, and look how small they were then compared to now!: 

circle fire pit with lights
round fire pit with trees

Crazy! These trees grow to 50-60 feet tall and get anywhere from 12 to 20 wide! So eventually we’ll have to do some grooming or just move the arbors, but we’re good for awhile. 😉 

They are by far the best plant I’ve found for the buck — they aren’t horribly expensive if you buy them smaller. Believe me, they will grow FAST. 

Also, they are much easier to grow than more “traditional” evergreens like the pine tree. Those seem to be more finicky — the arborvitae is extremely low maintenance: 

My plan has always been to layer the landscaping here around the fire pit area — so I plan to add some flowering bushes or ground cover in front of the trees someday.

I lucked out last year I found these Sea Green Junipers on clearance for $6 each: 

evergreens around fire pit

(They’re to the left behind the chairs.)

These are supposed to grow fairly fast (they get up to six feet tall and eight feet wide!) but ours are not. They’re still bitty little guys, but maybe I just am underestimating how small they were when we got them: 

round fire pit patio

They provide another layer of year-round green that I love. 🙂 

As I mentioned, I do plan to add some color over here eventually. The best part of gardening is seeing how your plants grow and thrive, but it takes some patience! 

The only other trees we have in our backyard so far are the beautiful Rivers Purple Beech trees I got on clearance a few years back. 

We planted that one in this corner on the left: 

And I loved it so much, we got another one for the other side of the patio: 

small River Purple Beech tree

I LOVE the dark, plumy color of their leaves year round. I was drawn to the fact that they have branches from the top to the very bottom (again, great for privacy). 

These eventually get large, but but they are very slow growers. 

This Beech tree blooms super late in the spring — I think it was June before ours had all of their leaves! But they are a beautiful tree that adds a some great color to your landscape. 

There you go! I hope that answers any questions about the plants in our backyard landscaping. This year I’m focused on adding smaller perennials for added color around the patio. 

If I missed something you’re wondering about, please let me know! Happy summer! 🙂 

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