October 22, 2021

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Turning a Problem Into a Feature

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Today we’re visiting Kathleen Hooper’s garden.

When my family and I moved from two acres in Connecticut to our Winnetka, Illinois (near Chicago) house, I inherited a small landscaped yard. My plan was to turn the space into a garden where my family and friends could enjoy sitting around the fire and dining outdoors. There was hardscaping I could work with, but there was also a fake wishing well that I planned to remove. With too much to do in the first year, I decided removing the wishing well would have to wait, and so I used it as a planter.

Seven years later, that problem has turned into a fun part of the garden that divides the two areas, making the space feel bigger and more lush. With lots of mature shade trees, the water well is in partial shade, and I filled it with well-draining potting soil.

Over the years I’ve planted many combinations of plants. This year is one of my favorites, with a purple/green/white color scheme featuring Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’ (Zones 8–11 or as an annual), Lysimachia nummularia (Zones 3–9), Hosta ‘Curly Fries’ (Zones 3–9), Begonia semperflorens (Zones 10–11 or as an annual), Strobilanthes dyerianus (Zones 8–10 or as an annual), Tradescantia pallida (Zones 7–10 or as an annual), and Alternanthera ficoidea (Zone 10 or as an annual).

Throughout the season there has been interest. As the Colocasia established, the Hosta bloomed with lovely purple and white-striped flowers. The Lysimachia overwintered in the water well and returned falling over the stone and softening it. I love the way the Tradescantia pokes through the Lysimachia contrasting with texture and color. I like to have art on my garden, and I thought the ceramic green birdhouse was a fun addition.

What started as a problem has turned into a much-loved part of my garden!

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc BlogsThe wishing well now overflows with golden Lysimachia!

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc BlogsI love the way the Lysimachia foliage glows in contrast to the surrounding foliage and dark patio furniture.

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc BlogsColocasia ‘Black Magic’ living up to the name with wonderfully richly colored leaves.

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc BlogsDark and golden foliage growing together is always a winning combination.

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc BlogsHosta ‘Curly Fries’ has narrow, waved foliage.

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc BlogsThis wide view shows how the wishing-well-turned-planter fits into the larger, beautiful, landscape.

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc BlogsHostas are usually grown for the foliage, but many varieties have beautiful flowers as well. These are very elegant.

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc BlogsThe whole planter, with all the tropicals at their summer peak, looks stunning.

If you want to see more of Kathleen’s garden, check out her instagram: @Kat.b.lou.garden

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!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

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