Today we’re visiting Nicki’s beautiful garden.
I have been gardening my whole life and in my current suburban Chicago location for 25 years. These photos show a long planting bed along the west side of my backyard.
When we moved here in 1996, the garden was a narrow strip along the fence with a few sedate plants in it. Over the next few years I expanded the boundaries and added plants, but it became clear that the heavy clay soil needed some serious work. On one glorious day about 15 years ago, most of my extended family came over and helped us dig out almost every plant in the bed, shovel in a truckload of composted manure I had delivered to our driveway, and replant. Some people even brought gifts from their own gardens. Thanks to my family’s incredible generosity (and willingness to get very, very dirty), my garden got a new lease on life.
The garden has evolved steadily in the years since then to accommodate increasingly shady conditions as well as new plants and new ideas. Even now, I know there are a lot of plants in it that would prefer more sun. But that’s a project for another year.
Front layer: hardy Geranium, Heuchera, Hosta, and Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra, Zones 5–9). Middle layer: iris (Iris hybrid, bearded group, Zones 3–9), daylilies (Hemerocallis hybrid, Zones 4–9), daffodil (Narcissus sp.) foliage, nodding onion foliage (Allium cernuum, Zones 4–8), peonies (Paeonia hybrid, Zones 3–8), Phlox, and a tricolor beech in the foreground. In the back is a Japanese maple (Acer palmatum, Zones 5–9) and a climbing rose (Rosa hybrid, possibly the variety ‘Dr. Huey’, Zones 5–9).
In this closer view of the bed, the Japanese maple and climbing rose take the limelight.
The daylilies look great against the dark leaves of the Japanese maple, especially joined by the bloom flowers of speedwell (Veronica spicata, Zones 3–8).
As betony blooms with balloon flowers (Platycodon grandiflorus, Zones 3–8), the nodding onions are just starting to show their flower buds.
Have a garden you’d like to share?
Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!
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