Last month we had a review of the Spokane Temple grounds by leaders from the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, UT. The church has high standards for the upkeep of temples and checks regularly to make sure each of them are in good order. I was happy (and relieved) to hear that the leaders were very pleased with the beauty of the temple grounds here in Spokane.
Apparently most smaller temples like ours have mostly green landscaping with just a few small flower beds. At the Spokane Temple we have many areas for perennial and annual flowers. This creates more work for volunteers, but it is a labor of love and makes a beautiful display for the many visitors. These first two photos show annual flowers outside the front gates in July, including 'Blackie' sweet potato vine, 'Opera Lilac Supreme' petunias, 'Zaraha Double Cherry' zinnias, 'Evolution' salvia, 'Serena Blue' angelonia, dusty miller and sweet alyssum.
Marilyn is the landscaping director at the temple, and she does an amazing job of organizing volunteer groups from all the congregations in the area. Thousands of hours of work have been contributed this year by church members to pull weeds, deadhead flowers, spread bark, rake leaves, trim groundcover, plant bulbs and perennials, water, and do anything else that needs to be done. The photo above shows the lavender flowers of perennial 'Rozanne' geranium with the striped foliage of Iris pallida variegata.
I moved to this area five years ago, just as the temple grounds were being relandscaped. I was asked to serve on the landscaping committee the next year and was sad to see that the new plants were still small enough that the grounds looked very sparse. This year the groundcovers and shrubs were finally large enough enough to look full and lush. Of course the trees need a few more years (decades?) to look really good, especially since we had to replant fifteen trees this spring. The photo above shows 'Blue Gown' campanula with 'Hummingbird' clethra.
It has been great to watch the temple grounds mature and become more beautiful over the past few years. One of our big considerations on the landscaping committee is making the grounds photo-friendly for weddings. Unfortunately that has not been the case at the Spokane temple, but I think it will become better for photos as the shrubs and trees continue to fill out to make better backdrops. In the next month we'll be working to get 5,000 spring-flowering bulbs planted at the temple. Marilyn asked me to plan the bulbs this year, which has been great fun. One of my main goals was getting more flowers earlier in the spring, so we'll be planting hundreds of crocus that will start blooming in February. The entrances will feature fancy tulips and fragrant hyacinths in bold colors to celebrate spring. I also included several hundred of my favorite mini-daffodils ('Tete-a-Tete'). English bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) and windflowers (Anemone blanda) will be new additions to the show. I'll be sure to post photos in the spring. Above are 'Wave' petunias in pink, white, and bicolor.