Garden Photo of the Day

A Mother’s Garden

An English gardener in the Northwest

Back in October, we featured Liz Sanborn’s garden. Today she’s sharing her mother’s lovely garden. Clearly gardening runs in their blood!

Here is what Liz had to say:

I was visiting my mom today in Normandy Park, Washington—just southwest of Sea Tac Airport—and took some photos. My mom, Marian Floyd, is English, and her garden is a reflection of her ability to get anything to grow to enormous sizes. Her plants reseed themselves abundantly, and it is gorgeous. She is a few blocks from Puget Sound and gets the cool morning air that comes off the water. The house is a beautiful brick Craftsman that my husband built for her.

The walk up to Marian’s house, built by her son-in-law, is flanked by lush plantings. There is no doubt a very talented gardener lives here!

Big masses of Johnny-jump-up (Viola tricolor, Zones 3–9) self-sow in masses in the garden. There are two things required for plants to self-sow abundantly like this in a garden. First, the plants need to be very happy and well suited to the climate and conditions. Second, they need to have space in which to seed themselves that isn’t completely filled with other plants or covered with thick mulch.

Another plant that will often self-sow when happy is scarlet flax (Linum grandiflorum, annual).

White and blue are a perfect combination, always cool and sophisticated. Here, white star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum, Zones 4–9) blooms through self-sowing blue forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica, Zones 3–8). As beautiful as this combination is, be warned that star-of-Bethlehem can be invasive in some climates.

Another view of blue-and-white perfection.

The garden isn’t just self-sowing annuals! Here shrubs provide color and structure, with a doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum Zones 4–8) covered with white, hydrangea-like blooms, surrounded by other shrubs with a variety of colored and textured leaves.

Plants in the genus Ceaonothus go by the common name of California lilac. But I’ve got to admit, they blow every lilac I’ve ever seen right out of the water. This spectacular specimen is a cloud of rich blue flowers. Native along the west coast of North America, the blue-flowered species are poor performers in most other parts of the country. There are species native to eastern North America that are easy to grow in a wide range of climates, but they all have much less impressive white flowers.


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View Comments


  1. flowerladydi 05/21/2018

    Absolutely Lovely Liz!!,,,,, and I am sure your Mom is so happy that you posted these!,, you are so right in saying that ' there is no doubt that a very talented gardener lives there ',,, just lovely!!

  2. sheila_schultz 05/21/2018

    Your mother’s gorgeous and lush garden beds set the perfect framework for her beautiful craftsman home. She is not the only talent in your family... your husband does beautiful work as well!

  3. user-7017435 05/21/2018

    G.ood morning, Thank you for sharing your Mother's terrific cottage garden this morning. I believe Christopher LLoyd himself would have admired your your Mom's gardens.
    Every photo is perfect, good luck to you both, Joe

  4. mjensen 05/21/2018

    this is so beautiful,love Johnny jump ups and forget me nots

  5. Maggieat11 05/21/2018

    Very beautiful.... the home as well! I am wondering if the "California Lilac" has a fragrance? Thanks for sharing!

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/21/2018

    Wow, just wow...I am drooling over the picture of the lush plantings (showing such good manners) as they line the impeccably maintained walkway leading to the oh, so charming house. Yes, indeed, there can be no doubt that a hugely gifted and accomplished gardener lives there. Thanks for sharing these pictures, Liz. It must delight your mom no end that you, also, are such a passionate gardener.

  7. User avater
    treasuresmom 05/21/2018

    Ok, I defy anyone to come up with adequate words to describe this garden of absolute beauty!

  8. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 05/21/2018

    My compliments to your, mum, Liz. This is a beautiful NW garden.

  9. btucker9675 05/21/2018

    Wow, wow, wow... a wonderfully beautiful garden that perfectly complement a lovely home. What talent runs in your family!

  10. Cenepk10 05/22/2018

    Absolutely MAGNIFICENT

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