Ailene Radcliffe in Kingston, Tennessee, sent in these photos of a wonderful project. I’m happy to share them on New Year’s Eve. I know they’ve inspired me to add something to my list of New Year’s resolutions.
I’ve heard that to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. It was a difficult time when my sister, Linda, moved into a care facility after her latest hospital stay. She is in a good 24-hour-care facility at the Harriman Care and Rehab Center in Harriman, Tennessee. I can’t say enough about how hard everyone works at the facility to help and enrich the souls who live there. I wanted to do something to give back.
I noticed they had a courtyard with a nice gazebo, but it was barren of any plants or bushes. There wasn’t anything living or colorful to rest your eyes on or smell when you wanted to go outside and feel the sun on your face or the wind in your hair. The connection to nature was missing. These people have serious health concerns and don’t know what tomorrow brings. Getting outside in a beautiful garden gives them hope.
I decided to get my Harriman Garden Club and Master Gardener friends into action. There was no budget, but my Garden Club had a little in the treasury that they were willing to donate. We planted lots of perennials that we propagated from our own gardens. We purchased knockout roses, drift roses, and hydrangeas from our local nursery. We weeded, put down mulch, and purchased annuals during plant sales. Everyone who worked on the project was 70 years old or older! We are in planting Zone 6b/7a. Here are some before and after pictures from when we started the project in May 2019 through the end of the season this month.
The gazebo before.
Another before shot.
And after. We planted forsythias, Knock Out roses, and daylilies. We have two containers with seasonal plants or for other arrangements.
Enjoying the sights and smells.
Perennials starting to fill in a new space.
Roses and a crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia, Zone 6–9) tree.
Tall queen lime red zinnia (Zinnia elegans ‘Queen Lime Red’, annual) from seed, zahara fire zinnia (Zinnia × marylandica ‘Zahara Fire’, annual), and blue jean baby Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Blue Jean Baby’ Zone 5–9).
Daylilies, Russian sage, zahara yellow and dreamland yellow zinnia (Zinnia × marylandica, annual).
Winter interest container.
We can’t wait to see how the gardens look next year when all the daylilies are blooming. We have many more projects we want to do, including a handicap-accessible vegetable garden. We had so much fun with this project doing what we love and giving back to our community. Get your hands dirty; it’s good for you.
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 GPOD@finegardening.com 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.
You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!
Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.
Get our latest tips, how-to articles, and instructional videos sent to your inbox.