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Garden Photo of the Day

Natives in New Jersey Shine in Autumn

Today’s GPOD comes from John Markowski.

“My garden in Zone 6B New Jersey is dominated by native perennials and ornamental grasses. This was originally borne out of necessity with poorly draining clay soil and endless visits from the deer and rabbits. I'm thrilled that I was forced in that direction. 

The garden peaks in the fall when the Panicum, Sorghastrum, and Miscanthus grasses display their blooms and eye-popping fall color. Combine them with Amsonia and the seedheads of Monarda, Rudbeckia and Echinacea along with the powerful autumn sunlight, and I can't take enough photos starting in early morning and extending to the last bit of sunlight in the late afternoon.” 

Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

‘Desert Plains’ fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Desert Plains') and the spent blooms of veronica (Veronica spp. and cvs.)

Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborascens), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii)

‘Henry’s Garnet’ Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet'), Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia), ‘Northwind’ switchgrass (Panicum virgatum 'Northwind')

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. user-4691082 11/14/2017

    Good morning John. Your garden looks so peaceful. It reminds me of when I’ve done a full days work and am laying my head on the pillow. It has performed dutifully for you all spring,summer, and fall and now has earned a rest. I’ve just got to get some amsonia and find a way to work that in! Thanks for sharing.

    1. jmarkowski 11/14/2017

      Amsonia is hands down my favorite perennial. YOU MUST GET!!!!

  2. user-7007816 11/14/2017

    Fall can be an especially beautiful time with native plants. Great job in a tough environment

    1. jmarkowski 11/14/2017

      Thank you Dale!

  3. Chris N 11/14/2017

    Good to see your garden again, John. Grasses are the soul of the fall garden and act as such graceful foils to the shrubs and perennials. Really like the first one with the weathered chair back. All your photos are wonderfully composed.

    1. jmarkowski 11/14/2017

      Thank you Chris! Grasses as foil is spot on.

  4. User avater
    Linda on Whidbey 11/14/2017

    Beautiful fall color, John. Great photos. Did you start your next book yet?

    1. jmarkowski 11/14/2017

      Book #2 is under way. It was going to be about grasses but I need more research and another run through the seasons to get where I want on that one. This book is more memoir-like. My garden origin story - from childhood until now. Thanks for asking!

  5. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 11/14/2017

    With the right companions and lighting, ducklings become swans...I'm talking to you, "spent blooms of veronica". Everything looks magical and mesmerizing, John, and there simply can't be enough pictures taken of such beauty.

    1. jmarkowski 11/14/2017

      Thank you, love the swan analogy. You nailed it!

  6. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/14/2017

    Looking Good, John. Your willingness to adapt is admirable and successful!

    1. jmarkowski 11/14/2017

      Thanks so much Tim!

  7. Cheryl A 11/14/2017

    John, thank you so much for sharing these wonderful pictures of your native grasses and gardens. I'm going to have to look into the pennisetum Desert Plains. It looks like a wonderful smaller scale grass. And is the physostegia in the same picture also the native? What a restful picture that is. Yes, your gardens seem to be moving toward a glorious and well deserved winter rest. Please send more pictures with frost or snow !

    1. jmarkowski 11/14/2017

      Cheryl - 'Desert Plains' is manageable for sure. No taller than three feet. And the foliage is just as great as those blooms. Frost and snow pics to follow soon. Took a bunch this morning.

  8. greengenes 11/14/2017

    What a wonderful direction! This is beautiful. Grass is such a wonderful plant to use in gardens and gives an intrest year round! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. jmarkowski 11/14/2017

      Thank you for the kind words Jeanne!

  9. user-7008735 11/14/2017

    Lovely photos, John! You've provided more evidence that grasses really come into their own in the fall and reminded me to go look at my little Amsonia to admire its golden fall colour. It has been so wet and windy for a few days that I haven't been out in the garden and I can't see the Amsonia from the windows.

    1. jmarkowski 11/14/2017

      Thank you so much Lorraine. Happy to see there is another Amsonia fan here!

  10. user-6536305 12/28/2017

    Great photos and nice garden. Thanks for sharing John!

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