Garden Photo of the Day

A Lively & Colorful Shade Garden in the Pacific Northwest

By Kim Charles

Linda Skyler gives us a glimpse into her Pacific NW garden wonderland

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px ‘Times New Roman’}
span.s1 {font-kerning: none}

"2016 was another wonderful year for Pacific NW gardeners. I live on an island in Puget Sound and garden on a small property in a zone 8 climate where I have been gardening for many decades. I happily do mostly shade gardening as the giant Fir trees have slowly blocked out a lot of the sun and changed the direction of my gardening. I love the wide variety of shade plants and the challenge of  finding the right plant combinations based on color and textural contrasts. Happy Fall to all."


Have a garden you'd like to share? Email 5-10 photos and a brief story about your garden to [email protected]. Please include where you are located!

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

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.

Follow us: @finegardening on Twitter | FineGardeningMagazine on Facebook @finegardening on Instagram


View Comments


  1. frankgreenhalgh 11/04/2016

    Hello there Linda - What stunning gardens you have shared with us today! Absolutely fantastic texture and colour tones featured with your shade plants. The decades have obviously been very kind to you in terms of gardening skills and execution. I particularly like the blue colouration in the 5th photo. after your feature pic. You will have to excuse the spelling Linda (we use the Queen's English here in Australia).

    Congratulations on a wonderful gardening effort. I really loved it!

    Cheers from Oz

    1. Chris_N 11/04/2016

      I think you may use the Queen's spelling there. As far as the Queen's English, you seem to use many phrases that I doubt are common elements in Her Majesty's lexicon. :)

      1. frankgreenhalgh 11/04/2016

        You are absolutely correct Chris - British spelling, but Aussie lingo. Have a good week-end.

    2. Meelianthus 11/04/2016

      Thanks Frank, I never tire of being in the gardens and in exchange the gardens have been very kind to me.

  2. jeffgoodearth 11/04/2016

    Linda your garden is always a treat and this visit is no exception. All so lush , full and green , , , just the way I like it! I spy a large and robust Rodgersia and I am jealous as it never ever grows for me here. It all looks GREAT

    1. Meelianthus 11/04/2016

      Thanks Jeff, I do love the Rodgersia and it loves my shade, sorry it doesn't grow for you - but I would sure trade it for some of your fantastic plantings! Happy Fall to you Jeff.

  3. sheila_schultz 11/04/2016

    What a delight to see your photos this morning on GPOD, Linda. You are definitely the Mistress of Texture in the shade garden. I could and will spend a lot of time this early morning looking at the bits and pieces of your garden images, they are filled to the brim with comfortable visual interest. I love all the details in your personal version of beauty. A happy fall to you, too!

    1. Meelianthus 11/04/2016

      Yes, there is a lot to see and I sometimes even find new things myself that I have forgotten were there which is always a pleasant surprise. So glad you enjoyed.

  4. user-7007498 11/04/2016

    Linda, what a great way to finish the week. You garden skills are so evident. Each photo is jammed packed with great plants. I will be looking closer throughout the weekend, since each photo deserves a long inspection. Love the photo with the blue pot, echoed by the blue hosta (and the Rodgersia in that photo is awesome). I also love the red pot in a couple of the pictures. The curving paths and restricted views tease us, and create excitement as we want to explore further. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Meelianthus 11/04/2016

      Yes, I think "jammed" is the key word here. I try to keep it 'sane' but it is difficult when I have so little room. I have to keep pulling the Rodgersia out as it comes up all over but I do love the leaves and the flowers are so fragrant. So glad you enjoyed.

  5. NCYarden 11/04/2016

    Exquisite as always, Linda, and envy-inducing as well. Love the collection (and the tasteful crowding) of plants and applaud your adaptation to changing conditions from your environment. I too deal with ever increasing shade from my woodland surroundings. keeps things interesting...and changing. Such a well managed garden...I'm forever in awe. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Meelianthus 11/04/2016

      Thanks NCY, shade gardening has become a real love for me. The plants are now endless at the nurseries, and unfortunately also in my gardens!

  6. wGardens 11/04/2016

    LOVE your gardens... great plants that work so well together~ the wonderful contrasts and textures... the moss is another lovely touch .... the pots/garden art just add more to a spectacular garden.

    1. Meelianthus 11/04/2016

      Thank you Margaret, glad you enjoyed.

  7. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/04/2016

    Totally jealous of that fall foliage. I only have pine straw falling here and that doesn't give the color I love.

    1. Meelianthus 11/04/2016

      Fall is a beautiful time and although I only have a couple of fall colored trees in my garden due to space, they are a wonderful sight.

  8. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/04/2016

    Yes, yes, and yes...such a beautiful and pleasing balance to the ying and yang of your garden, Linda. There is bold and colorful...subtle and textural...old favorites still thriving (the tree form of the hydrangea) things to notice and appreciate (ha, where to start with that category),

    Anyway, thanks so much for these views of your garden many have already admitted, your pictures will give continued inspiration throughout the weekend.

    1. Meelianthus 11/04/2016

      Thanks Meander, I think the photos will also give me inspiration as we have just had the wettest October on record here in the PNW and getting out has been almost impossible.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 11/04/2016

        Hmmm, a very wet October? Our local east TN lore/legend has it that moisture can fall out of the sky and that plants love it. I think it's called "rain". I personally have not seen any of this natural occurring liquid in quite a while. Wish we could do a trade on a daily basis and try to find some happy middle ground.

        1. Meelianthus 11/04/2016

          Wouldn't that be great! We had a long awaited day of sun yesterday and I will cherish it for weeks to come. Hope you too will get some of that strange moisture from the heavens soon.

  9. Chris_N 11/04/2016

    Always great wondering through your garden. In addition to everyone else's comments, I have to praise your last photo. You have a wonderful mix of finer textured plants at the base that are then all tied together by the elephant ear's broad leaves floating above.

    1. Meelianthus 11/04/2016

      Thank you Chris. I actually had no idea that the Elephant ears would do so well there AND spread in that garden. They even wintered over from last year. The herd is taking over!

      1. Chris_N 11/05/2016

        If Colocasia is happy, it tends to run. I don't have that problem (blessing?) here in Wisconsin.

  10. annek 11/04/2016

    I love the color and texture combinations that you've created, so lovely and pleasing to view. It's an art to be able to design such interesting and complex beds. Magnificent!

    1. Meelianthus 11/04/2016

      Thank you Annek, so glad you enjoyed. I think the complexity of the beds is not so much an art as the fact that I just can't stop stuffing things in - or as Tim calls it "cram and jam" !

  11. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/04/2016

    Spectacular, Linda. Always a treat to wander through a photo tour of your garden. There's always some new to see tucked among the beauties that look familiar. Sigh. I love your garden.
    In the fifth photo down, with the column with what looks like a potted Begonia boliviensis, what are the white or pale blue pendant flowers in the foreground? Is that Iris confusa toward the back?
    Your use of containers and other objects is restrained yet eye-popping and it looks like you are getting great fall color this year!!

    1. Meelianthus 11/05/2016

      Hi Tim ~ I thought I posted a response to your very nice post but now I don't see it so maybe I forgot to click on 'post'. Thank you for your always generous comments, and I did want to be sure you received my answer about the white flowers. That is a very old, miniature Rhody which is also very fragrant and I don't know the name of it. The Euphorbia is growing up thru it which wasn't really intentional but I like it so I just let it do it's thing. And yes, those are Iris Confusa (you have such a great eye!), I love them as they bloom for a long time during the summer. I do use a lot of containers as my whole property is so root bound from giant fir trees and not much I can do about that. Glad you enjoyed as I always LOVE seeing your gardens too.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/05/2016

        Thanks for your reply, Linda. I'm glad it came later because it served as a reminder to drool over your photos again. Iris confusa has been on my list for a long, long time. Patricia from Plant Lust is guilty of reminding me that I need it and that it should be hardy for me. It's pretty difficult to source. Often I find cultivars that are listed as much less hardy, but rarely the species.
        I think you commented to someone else that sometimes you stumble on something in the garden you've forgotten you have. One would think that in a small garden like mine, I wouldn't overlook something, but I do. That is what you get for shoehorning plants in!
        Happy Autumn!

  12. schatzi 11/04/2016

    Absolutely beautiful! Love it all. Are you up for a get together at the PNWFGS? I think Cherry is trying to organize it.

    1. Meelianthus 11/04/2016

      Yes, I think I would be Shirley, it would however be dependent on the day. Thanks

  13. user-4691082 11/04/2016

    What is the name of the hosta in the Blue container? Linda, your garden and zone are the envy of us all! Keep up the good work! I'm in the process of tearing out one garden and redoing it. How do you all resist the temptation to get rid of the old and purchase the new and improved?

    1. Meelianthus 11/04/2016

      I'm sorry I don't know the name of that much asked Hosta. I think I bought it at Costco one year long ago if you can believe it! I happily get rid of old, over crowded plantings to neighbors who have since become avid gardeners - much fun!

  14. Meelianthus 11/04/2016

    Thanks Diane and yes I am a real sucker for garden whimsy, keeps the garden lively!

  15. user-7007059 11/04/2016

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden, Linda!

    1. Meelianthus 11/05/2016

      My pleasure, thank you Peggy

  16. perenniallycrazy 11/04/2016

    We've missed you and your vibrant garden Linda. Glad you're back! I'll be looking at your photos to examine the details over the weekend for sure. So much to see and appreciate as always.

    1. Meelianthus 11/05/2016

      Thanks PC and enjoy your weekend!

  17. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 11/05/2016

    Linda, your garden is what I hope that ours will look like when it grows up. Like you, though, we also have many fir trees which provide great shade but also soak up much of the moisture which is scarce in the summer months. I like your use of planters to add color to the green palette and texture to make those green plants stand out from each other. After reading your comments, I'm happy that we were gone all of October as it sounds like it was miserable and it's raining again as I'm writing this. The upside is that the plants look happy:)

    1. Meelianthus 11/07/2016

      Glad you enjoyed Linda. Yes, October was a very wet and windy one - and it isn't even winter yet! Enjoy a little sun while you can and good luck with your gardens.

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest