Garden Photo of the Day

A Garden on the Move

Relocating a much-loved garden

My name is Tammy Sudtelgte, and I am from LeMars, Iowa, the “Ice Cream Capital of the World.” I’m including photos to share the story of my “old” new garden.

In the spring of 2019, my husband and I purchased an empty lot to build a new home. The thought of leaving my garden behind never once crossed my mind. Like my love of gardening, many of my perennials came from grandparents and even great-grandparents over the years—trusted favorites such as New England aster, Autumn Joy sedum, miniature iris, coral bells, and numerous hosta. The day that we broke ground for the new home, my mother and I began the process of digging up most of my garden and bringing it about 3 miles across town. I found an out-of-the-way corner of the new property to serve as a safe temporary plot during the construction. The generous rainfall in 2019 was great for plants! Nearly everything survived and thrived, although it made for significant amounts of mud and delays in home building!

After finishing the final grading and a stone retaining wall in late September, we moved my garden one more time. It was a joy to be able to divide and arrange familiar plants in my new garden space, visualizing color combinations, size and texture, and places for spring/summer bulbs. It was truly a blank canvas! Bright annuals added in the spring of 2020 complemented the green fullness of the perennials, giving ever changing views and opportunities for cut arrangements. Bees, butterflies, and neighbors alike really seemed to enjoy our new garden as a bright spot in the neighborhood.

Just 12 months after being established in its new home, the transplanted garden is exploding with autumn bloom and cheer.

temporary gardenThis was the temporary home for the plants before they got moved to their permanent homes.

empty garden bedRaw potential in the new garden!

plants coming up in springTransplanted plants coming into growth in spring mark the first signs of success.

early stages of gardenPlants beginning to fill in nicely.

miniature irisGreat-grandma’s miniature iris.

spring perennialsLate spring perennials in bloom.

Midsummer gardenMidsummer beauty as dahlias and gladiolus join in the flower display.

Annuals and perennials mix freely to ensure a long display of color.

zinniaButterflies love visiting the zinnia (Zinnia elegans, annual) flowers.

fall gardenFall glory in the garden.

red eyelash sageSpectacular salvia—red eyelash sage (Salvia blepharophylla, Zones 7–9 or as an annual) and blue mealy sage (Salvia farinacea, Zones 8–10 or as annual)


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/04/2020

    Thank you for sharing the birth of a new garden. Everything is just so lovely.

  2. blondie3 11/04/2020

    Beautiful, well arranged, satisfying I’m sure.

  3. User avater
    user-7007816 11/04/2020

    What an amazing piece of work. Your border is spectacular!

  4. Cenepk10 11/04/2020

    So gorgeous!!! And always fun to create a new garden. Really enjoyed your photos documenting the process. Thank you for sharing!

  5. nwphillygardener 11/04/2020

    Tammy, that's a gloriously showy hot color border!!! Do you know which hardiness zone you are in ? Is that red salvia one of the perennials you salvaged from your previous home? It appears to be quite abundant in that bed. I'm also curious if you are planting into that stone retaining wall. I saw a few plants there and realized the opportunity it presents. I can only imagine how much more beautiful it may become in a few years.

  6. alicefleurkens 11/04/2020

    Dear Tammy
    A new garden is such wonderful opportunity, and you know how to do it. Looks great. Alice

  7. User avater
    simplesue 11/04/2020

    I'm so impressed with how you saved your plants and brought them with you, such as your great grannies purple Iris! And your temporary bed to store them was even an amazing accomplishment and a great holding place for them. I look back at the plants I brought with me from the garden I had to move away from and mine were crammed into temporary pots.
    And Wowwwww, the finished garden is such an amazing display of perennials and annuals- I can just imagine how great it smells and all the butterflies and hummingbirds you must attract! I also love the big evergreen background of bushes in your garden. I know how much work it is moving house and garden and you did a great job!

  8. Rebeccazone7 11/04/2020

    What struck me was the determination it took and the love of gardening that followed it through. I also was struck by the contrast of the dark mulch in the garden and the color of the stone. It really made a strong impact. How lovely and creative. Impressive.

  9. dadeo1 11/04/2020

    As a fellow gardener, taking treasured plants along to their new home is just what you do. Such a beautiful, well planned out result. I really like the idea of the gravel path at the top of the retaining wall, that's just the right thing !

  10. Sunshine111 11/04/2020

    What a labor of love! You’ve done an amazing job in a very short amount of time which is most impressive. I have to say that I have never seen a miniature iris like that and I am a bit envious! 😊

  11. Plants_in_Power 11/04/2020

    Wonderful - I love the hard-scape to define your bed and boarder and especially use of orange, red and blue! Your photo of the Monarch is wonderful and reminds me of living in California! Here in the North Cascade we have the beautiful Swallowtail, but I do miss the Monarchs.

  12. btucker9675 11/04/2020

    Love, love, love your new/old garden - what an amazing job you've done. The beautiful blend of colors and textures are so artistic. Thanks for sharing your obvious talent with us!

  13. Maggieat11 11/04/2020

    Fabulous job!

  14. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 11/04/2020

    Great border! Thanks for sharing

  15. carolineyoungwilliams 11/05/2020

    Tammy, before I even clicked on...Read More...I was in love with your garden. Your use of bright colors and their combinations are absolutely beautiful. I also enjoyed the step-by-step process leading up to this beautiful haven. Thank you so much for sharing. I look forward to seeing more from your garden. Blessings to you.

  16. User avater
    TravisRoy 11/07/2020

    What a lovely garden.

  17. user-5117752 11/08/2020

    What a labor of love!!! What a truly beautiful transition!!! What a marvelous plan!!! What a splendid resolution!!! But, I think that retaining wall is simply smashing!!!!! How very, very clever!!!!!

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