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Garden Photo of the Day

California Sunshine

A flower-filled paradise in Northern California

Bearded iris (Iris germanica, Zones 3 - 10) catch the morning sun, while two of Mary's cats keep an eye on things.

Mary Morgan sent in these photos that will make all of us gardening in colder climates green with jealousy. She writes,

“I live in the Sierra Nevada foothills in northern California. I was a happy weekend gardener until I retired.

Several years ago I added several packets of California poppy seeds and spread throughout the garden. They come back every year. The long iris border is my resting place for my deceased beloved pets. I will take a rhizome of each whenever I move.”

Golden California poppies (Eschscholzia californica, annual) seed themselves every year and weave through the garden.
A view through the flowery garden to the magestic landscape beyond.
The memorial row of bearded irises, the final resting place for Mary’s beloved pets.
A path through the flower-filled garden.

Have a garden you’d like to share? Email 5-10 high-resolution photos (there is no need to reduce photo sizing before sending—simply point, shoot and send the photos our way) and a brief story about your garden to GPOD@taunton.com. Please include where you’re located!

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View Comments


  1. Jeff Goodearth 02/20/2018

    What a feast for the eyes!

  2. user-7017435 02/20/2018

    Good morning Ms. Morgan, Every photo of your naturalized garden is absolutely beautiful. From the view thru your garden to the distant hills to the peaceful memorial walk it all blends together harmoniously.
    Thank you for this terrific start to the day, good luck, Joe

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/20/2018

    It is all amazing but I have to say that for pic 3 there are no adjectives that are adequate to describe how beautiful!

  4. Garden1953 02/20/2018

    Stunning! And what truly amazes me is that it looks this way right now in Feb.!

  5. Maggieat11 02/20/2018

    Absolutely beautiful! Great views also. How much property do you have? A huge dose of "eye candy" today!

    1. user-7024427 02/20/2018

      Thank you. I have 10 acres. These pictures are part of my backyard.
      Mary Morgan

      1. Schatzi 02/20/2018

        Beautiful, beautiful! Great antidote to snow...

  6. rosemamainva 02/20/2018

    As Jeff put it: a feast for the eyes! What a great way to start the week. Note to self -- put some irises in this year! We're dealing with fluctuating weather here in Northern Virginia -- snow on Saturday and close to 70 degrees today. Spring is coming, spring is coming...I think if I repeat it enough times it will happen faster.

    1. Schatzi 02/20/2018

      70 sounds good. Winter has decided to assert itself here in the PNW - 6" of snow cover my blooming hellebores and snow drops. Spring will come eventually.

  7. Sonya Peel 02/20/2018

    Lovely combinations of bearded iris and California poppies. You have created a beautiful natural garden for you and your beloved pets.

  8. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 02/20/2018

    Good morning, Mary. Your curved line of multi colored tall bearded irises is spectacular. If fact, looking at it from a bit of a distance when the stalks are all topped with their blooms, it's probably like having your own personal rainbow. Have you included any of the repeat fall flowering ones? I have gotten partial to that kind because it's so fun to have the reappearance of a spring favorite in Oct.
    Are you now a full time happy gardener now that you have retired? You have such a beautiful property.

    1. user-7024427 02/20/2018

      Thank you. Yes, I have many reblooming Irises. It feels like a real gift to see them bloom twice! The garden is pretty self sufficient now. The poppies come back every year. There are 1500 bulbs (daffodils, Dutch iris's, crocuses and gladiolus) throughout this backyard garden. The poppies help discourage weeds. The day lilies and peonies fill in and keep the colors vibrant. I put irises on the memorial curved bed to honor my beloved pets so I could take an iris rhizome of each if I move.

  9. Cheryl A 02/20/2018

    Mary, your gardens and photos of it are breathtaking! I love the golds and blues together. I am curious as to the identity of the low growing magenta/purple plant to the right of your pelican(?). It sure is a wonderful contrast to its neighbors! I'd like to see if it is something I could grow here in the hot humid Midwest.

    1. user-7024427 02/20/2018

      Hello Cheryl,
      Thank you. It is called verbena ground cover. This one is magenta. I started with a small 6 pack for a couple of dollars. It grows in zones 7-11 and has been very hardy and flowers for a long time. Every now and then I sprinkle a little bit of garden soil over it so it stays lush. It puts out more roots that way and when I want some in another place I can just grab a shovel full.

  10. Sheila_Schultz 02/20/2018

    Wow! Acres of simple beauty. You've created your own bit of heaven, Mary.

  11. User avater
    gringopeligroso 02/20/2018

    Ms, Morgan!!
    WHAT a great idea!! I wish I had known of this several years ago!
    We, too, have many whiskered ones (rescues) as family members who share our time in our gardens. The living Iris memorials are sheer brilliance as well as beautiful for the eyes and for the Heart! This explains the brightness I sometimes see from the far West in the Spring....y'all's smiles at colourful memories!!
    You've a beautiful strolling garden to explore this stormy morning, as I'm also appreciative for the rains...it's been TOOO long. I'm doubly blessed!!
    In your frame with the parasols (great feature, by the way!) there's a "hedgey-groundcover" marching down the slope in the background. Is that Rosemary?? If so: Be still, My heart!!
    Thanx for sharing! jesse

    1. user-7024427 02/20/2018

      Hello Jesse.
      Thank you. You are right. It is Rosemary. It is very happy in that spot.
      I also rescue older cats and dogs. When they pass I pick out a special Iris for each of them. That is why there is the rainbow of colors on the curved Iris bed.

  12. BTucker9675 02/20/2018

    Wow, wow, wow...

  13. greengenes 02/20/2018

    Beautiful, Mary! Just beautiful! I can almost see a bear strolling down the path though. What a wonderful, quiet and woodsey place to live! Your iris are so nice and those california poppies really pop! They come in so many cool shades too. Do you have deer trou le there? Your gardens have been an inspiration to me on this cold febuary day here in the pacific northwest! Thanks!

    1. user-7024427 02/20/2018

      Thank you. I had to stop growing apples because the bears were coming into the garden. I do have herds of deer. Most of what I plant is deer resistant. I plant several sections of garlic around things I know the deer will ear --like roses. The garlic works most of the time.

  14. User avater
    Linda on Whidbey 02/20/2018

    Good morning, Mary. CA poppies are a favorite where we live, too, and they grace the roads, cemeteries and our garden but it will be a few months before we see them. You have an amazing spot to garden and you’ve used it beautifully.

  15. JoannaAtGinghamGardens 02/20/2018

    Mary, your gardens are gorgeous! I would love to come take a stroll through them.

  16. Chris N 02/20/2018

    I'll just ditto everything said above. Wonderful garden with a wonderful view. Thanks for sharing.

  17. User avater
    Kevin Kelly 02/20/2018

    Lovely gardens, Mary. I am particularly smitten by the borrowed view in the 3rd photo. I am quite envious of that view.

  18. User avater
    bellarosa009 02/21/2018

    Mary, your garden is like paradise! Can I ask you what is the name of the beautiful blue and white iris in the first pic?
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden with us - helps with the Winter doldrums here in Illinois, zone 5b.

    1. user-7024427 02/21/2018

      Thank you. That Iris was given to me by a neighbor. She said it was Edith Wolford. Dave's Garden shows the Edith Wolford closest to mine but a Google image search would show Edith Wolford more yellow and lavender. I do not remove the seed pods so it might have crossed with one of my other irises. I grow over 200 varieties of bearded irises just for the pleasure of seeing them bloom.

      1. User avater
        bellarosa009 02/22/2018

        Hi Mary, thanks for the plant ID. Your garden is really beautiful. After seeing your pics, I have to add more irises!

  19. sspicker 02/21/2018

    There are no words adequate for me to describe the beauty of your gardens! I'll just say that it took my breath away viewing your pictures. Your location is heaven on earth, and your use of color and plant diversity are perfection. It's a spot I'd love to spend a lot of time in just soaking up the wonderful beauty! I can see why you love it so much. The irises in remembrance of your beloved pets makes it even more special to me. --So inspirational and amazing!! I'm in love with it--thank you for sharing such beauty!

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