Garden Design

Today’s photos are from Barbara Owen in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

I’ve been enjoying the submissions from many gardeners showing their “best in show” or “summer highlights.” As I reviewed my photos from the past gardening season, I was reminded of the surprises and lessons my garden had for me.

Sargent cherrySargent cherry (Prunus sargentii, Zones 4–7) is so beautiful for about three weeks. Take time to appreciate its beauty while it’s blooming.

HelleborusHellebores (Helleborus hybrid, Zones 4–9) are such workhorses, starting early in the season, blooming like this mid-April in Massachusetts. It’s wonderful to have plants blooming in the garden for early bees. Plant more!

snow covering lounge chairsWe had a snowstorm on April 16. Mother Nature is full of surprises. Gardeners live with a constant reminder to be resilient and able to adapt to whatever happens.

Self-seeding columbineSelf-seeding columbine (Aquilegia hybrid, Zones 3–8). These flowers grow where they choose, moving around the garden with occasional encouragement from me, sometimes surprising me with their choices. Sometimes the garden is best appreciated from a sitting-in-the-dirt level.

RhododendronRhododendron (Zones 5–9). As I listen to my California family count each raindrop, I’m extra appreciative of the rain that falls in my garden, even when it seems like more than necessary in one storm.

Daylily ‘Strawberry Candy’This is ‘Strawberry Candy’ daylily (Hemerocallis ‘Strawberry Candy’, Zones 3–9). I plant, sometimes it rains; often it’s sunny and this exuberance happens. I am so grateful for the joy of the garden flowers.

Garter snakeRemember to be appreciative of the visitors who appear.

Monarch butterflies on zinniasMonarch butterflies alight on zinnias (Zinnia elegans, annual) grown from collected seed. Monarchs, painted ladies, viceroys—all are welcome visitors. Next summer I’ll plant even more zinnias as well as other plants important to pollinators.

Garden borderSometimes the most carefully planned color schemes don’t work out. My “red” garden didn’t look right until I added some accents of purple and white. I think I needed to learn from the range of colors in the zinnias and build from that.

burgundy coleus, red-orange dahlia and red salviaI put a randomly purchased deep burgundy coleus (Coleus scutellarioides, Zones 10–11 or as an annual) in an out-of-the-way place behind a red-orange dahlia (Dahlia variabilis, Zones 8–10 or as a tender bulb) and zinnias bordered by red salvia (Salvia splendens, Zones 9–11 or as an annual). It decided to grow to have a major place in the color scheme, picking up the color of the dahlia leaves and contrasting with all the flowers. Sometimes the plants have their own message to share.

the garden is covered with a blanket of eight inches of snowToday the garden is covered with a blanket of 8 inches of snow, a reminder of the dramatic and beautiful changes in our New England landscape from one season to another.

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