Garden Photo of the Day

A Garden Through the Seasons

Cindy shares her garden in all its guises

Today’s photos come from Cindy Reiss, who shares how beautiful her garden is every time of the year. She gardens in Rochester, New York, and while she’s been gardening for 20 years, she took over this garden just four years ago. When she arrived, it was a collection of 50-year-old neglected shrubs and every invasive plant from the region! How did she transform that neglected space into a garden?

I started with the unpleasant task of digging up, eliminating, thinning, and moving shrubs and plants that were overgrown or improperly sited one section at a time and then adding in new, refreshing plants that contribute texture and color. I’m still working on creating that “grand sweeping view”!

Where does she get her ideas?

Honestly, I pour over my Fine Gardening mags for inspiration, since I am not a natural designer. Given that, patience is my number one gardening tool! I try to imagine how plants will go together, and I read planting guides, but trial and error is my best governess. I may move plants several times before they land in the right spot.

Winter. That’s what a lot of our gardens are starting to look like right now! So much promise is buried under that snow.

There is great beauty in the winter, such as these bare trees against a delicately colored sunrise.

Spring! Sheets of blue forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica, Zones 5–9) with the white flowers of fothergilla (Forthergilla gardeniiZones 4–8) in the background.

More spring color from a white azalea.

Here’s a spot to sit and enjoy the garden, backed by a flowering rhododendron, with the bold foliage of yellow wax-bells (Kirengeshoma palmata, Zones 5–8) to the right. Those leaves will be topped with yellow bell-shaped flowers in the late summer. Cindy says that she’s moved that plant four different times to find just the right spot. That’s a great lesson for gardeners—if you don’t like where something is, move it until you’re happy!

Can you believe that Cindy says she’s not a natural designer? I love this planting! Purple petunias in the background echo the color of the veronica (Veronica spicata, Zones 3–8) in the front, both of which contrast with the white flowers of foxglove penstemon (Penstemon digitalis, Zones 3–8).

It’s high summer in the garden, with colorful coneflowers (Echinacea spp. and hybrids, Zones 3–9) stealing the show. Cindy grows several varieties of coneflowers, including ‘Tiki Torch’, ‘Pow Wow Wild Berry’, and ‘Big Kahuna’.

More of the garden in full summer bloom.

And now we come full circle, with the first snowfall mixing with the bright gold of autumn leaves.


What does your garden look like through the gardening seasons? Send us some photos! We all need an escape and inspiration as winter sets in for real.


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.

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View Comments


  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 12/03/2018

    Congrats, Cindy, on being so successful in taking on the challenge of a complete garden/landscape redo over these past 4 years. Your yard thanks you for making it a four season beauty. I certainly agree that the photo with the petunias and veronica presents a lovely vignette and I love how the interesting urn is nestled against the softening ammonia foliage.

  2. user-7056816 12/03/2018

    Thank you - the "urn" is a light fixture's glass globe that reminds me of a beehive; companion plant is Arkansas blue star.

    1. User avater
      meander_michaele 12/03/2018

      Wow, I wouldn't have guessed that the "urn" was a light fixture's glass globe. I'll bet it looks particularly pretty when the rays of a low sun illuminate it.
      And, rats, autocorrect for spelling made me look like a dummy...I had typed out amsonia as the soft foliaged companion plant and it got changed to "ammonia". I half laugh, half get annoyed when that happens.

  3. Chris_N 12/03/2018

    Beautiful garden, Cindy! You've done a lot in four years. Thanks for sharing.

  4. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/03/2018

    I just don't know what to say! I love every bit of it!

  5. arboretum 12/03/2018

    As to plant moving ( a constant thought in my 45 years of gardening) i have a fav. quote from Fred McGourty, one of the 21st c.'s most knowledgeable and talented plant people :

    ---"If my plants had travel points, they would have been around the world many times by now. " !!


  6. btucker9675 12/03/2018

    Love that quote from Fred McGourty! It took me awhile to really get comfortable moving plants around to find their best homes. Still amazes me when one that has been moping in one spot suddenly springs to life when moved to the "just right" place. Part of the joy of gardening - nothing is ever really finished!

    This garden is lovely in all seasons.

  7. [email protected] 12/03/2018

    Great garden- I really like the fothergilla, and think I need to try it!

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