Garden Photo of the Day

A season in one border in Daniela’s Ohio garden

---May 26th---Click on the rest of the photos to see a full season in this border from April through October.

Today’s post FASCINATES me. It’s from Daniella Baloi in Hudson, Ohio. We’ve visited Daniela’s garden before (refresh your memory HERE and HERE), but she’s been hard at work making changes, and today she treats us to an entire season from one perspective.

—April 16th—
There are only a few blooms at this time: primulas, pulmonaria, grape hyacinths, and scilla. The borders are painted with fresh emerging foliage of astrantia, astilbes, brunnera, carex grass, creeping Jenny, pulmonaria, and various sedums. Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of Daniela Baloi

She says, “The borders lining the path entering our back yard have been a work in progress for 14 years and there was nothing there when we started. We had gravel on the house side and grass on the yard side. We removed the gravel and the grass little by little, spring after spring until it shaped into two long borders along the path.

—May 18th—
In only 30 days a complete make-over takes place just from spring’s mad growth. White and purple columbines, Doronicum orientale (the yellow daisy-like flowers to the left), candelabra Japanese primulas in shades of pink, cranesbill ‘Samobor’ (in burgundy), Myosotis sylvatica (forget-me-not) and Dicentra ‘Gold Heart’ are blooming at this time. The chartreuse foliage complements the dark green foliage and is given by little hosta ‘Friends’, Lysmachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ and Dicentra ‘Gold Heart’. The large area of blue flowers in the background are ajuga at their peak of their bloom.

“Eight years ago my hubby Nick and I decided that it is time to re-build our old brick patio and the path leading to it. I was happy with the plantings around it, but the 39-year-old rail tires holding the brick in place were collapsing, and the brick patio and alley were no longer leveled and grew lots of weeds so it was time to have it re-done.

—May 26th—
The left border is dominated by the large foliage of the hostas: ‘Sum and Substance’ and ‘Elegans’. The blooms from May 18th continue and the coral bells are starting to bloom.

“Early May 2006, instead of focusing on planting like in other seasons, I was pulling out all my plants from the beds around the patio and 2 feet on each side of the path. Nick built two new permanent garden beds to store the moving plants: one shade and one part sun bed which we placed strategically in the borders so that we could use them after this project was over. The roses were temporarily relocated to the vegetable garden raised beds. It was a lot of work (not that I didn’t have enough with a 9 month old and 3 year old). The contractor finished the install of the interlock concrete pavers path and patio by end of June that year, and during 4th of July holiday instead of relaxing and enjoying the new patio I was planting (wrong time of the year, I know!). It was a great opportunity to re-design and plant new varieties since we brought in new soil for beds with extremely good drainage.

—June 1st—
The right border is captured in sunlight (unfortunately) and the soft pink of astrantia clumps looks almost white surrounding my favorite hosta, ‘Great Expectations’. Geranium cantabrigiense ‘Karmina’ on the right is at peak bloom spilling over the path and some of the matching Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Mix’ are starting to bloom. The arbor at the far end of the view is covered with blooming Lonicera x heckrotii ‘Gold Flame’ and white Japanese iris, yellow flag iris, and purple Siberian iris are also blooming by the arbor.

“Today, looking at the pictures taken this year, I feel that I am done changing this border! We planted the borders with perennials for shade and part shade blooming from April to October and several plants even stay semi-evergreen through the winter (Carex brunnea ‘Variegata’, Sedum reflexum, and Sedum hispanicum minus).

—June 12th—
The garden was ready for over one thousand visitors brought by the Hudson Home and Garden tour this year. The borders look their best–additional blooms of astrantia, Astilbe ‘Peach Blossom’, more Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Mix’, pink Geranium cantabrigiense ‘Karmina’, and the purple Campanula glomerata ‘John Elliot’. Far by the arbor you notice a yellow-orange tall bloom of trollius.

“The design improvements I’ve made in the last three years focused on varying the textures, shapes, and colors of the foliage, and repetition of same or similar plants. These pictures capture the long path beds at about the same angle at different times of the growing season. This is how I see my path borders when I step outside into the back yard from the house. I am working on developing a similar set from the opposite end of the path, since it shows the borders differently.”

—June 21st—
Astilbe ‘Peach Blossom’ are at peak of their bloom. Astilbe ‘Ostrich Plume’ is starting to bloom. The red bloom in the border is Lychnis arkwrightii. The white taller bloom next to the lychnis is Pentstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’.

I cannot wait for the next set, Daniella! Gorgeous. It is HARD to have a garden look this good all season long. Like, almost impossible. BRAVO!!

—July 14th—
The borders get “stretched up” with the blooms of pink echinacea, near-white ‘Joan Senior’ daylily, the yellow blooms of Ligularia ‘The Rocket’, and the pink tall Filipendula ulmaria ‘Rubra’ at the back of the view. The blue flowers are Platycodon ‘Sentimental Blue’.

**** The push is still on–get outside and take some last minute shots, or compile a few you took earlier in the season. I’ll be eternally grateful…. Email them to [email protected]. Thanks! ****

—August 6th—
The borders get painted with the red blooms of the Lobelia cardinalis and ‘Fireball’ hardy hibiscus and the shorter Lobelia cardinalis ‘Ruby Slippers’. The yellow-orange bloom in the back view is Ligularia dentata ‘Britt-Marie Crawford’.
—August 30th—
The yellow Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’, the purple Lobelia gerardii ‘Vedrariensis’, and two large clumps of Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’ are now in bloom. The burgundy folliage is coleus ‘Mississippi Summer’.
—September 13th—
Various varieties of fall anemeones are starting to bloom. The white bloom on the arbor at the back of the view is Clematis terniflora surrounded by cleomes in white and pink that come back from seed every year.
—October 1st—
The white clumps are Boltonia asteroides, a native and a favorite for the month of October. The most floriferous fall anemone this year was the double pink Anemone X hybrida ‘Party Dress’. Nearby is the Tricyrtis hirta ‘Miyazaki’, another favorite for late fall due to the interesting orchid-like flowers.

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View Comments


  1. user-1020932 10/15/2013

    daniella, it all looks GREAT. i loved seeing the progression and i can't believe i have never done this sort of photo series. i'm envious of The Rocket but i am most envious of that beautiful black soil. all of your plants are so vibrant and brimming with health

  2. wGardens 10/15/2013

    What a splendid idea to take the progression photos! Looks fabulous and I also appreciate the captions! The garden area near the woods also looks great. What a delight for your garden guests.... both in person and those of us who visit via GPOD!

  3. flowerladydi 10/15/2013

    Danielle,,, it is Beautiful!!! Everything looks sooo healthy,,,, so lush!,,, I love love love the background of conifers and what appears to be woods!,,, it sets everything off so well,,, and balances it all!
    Your color repeat keeps the eye moving and again,, is done so well!

    Beautiful!!!! I would love to be meandering down your path!

  4. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/15/2013

    Amazing! It hurts my brain trying to imagine how to get that succession of blossum and foliage for an entire season. I am so impressed. Great idea to shoot photos from the same spot regularly. I bet that would really help to renovate garden beds, and it makes a great photo tour. Thanks! Now I'm going to try to stop wondering how anxiety-ridden I would be if I were to have 1000 people tromp through my yard....

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/15/2013

    Whew and Wow, my head is spinning (and in a good way)! I feel like I just took a master's course in outstanding perennial plantings at breakneck speed. It is almost impossible to believe that all that lush bloom filled abundance came form that somewhat empty stretch of soil back in April. It is all simply stunning. Thanks so much, Daniella, for showing us how it's done!

  6. mainer59 10/15/2013

    Fabulous. It is hard to believe that new flowers are waiting underneath once the garden gets going, but there they are full and lush in later shots. Each view from mid May on looks like a "complete" garden and yet there is more, and then more and more, to come. This is the joy of creating a perennial garden and you have done a fabulous job.

  7. lovemyyard 10/15/2013

    Damn! Downright amazing!

  8. SueLHommedieu 10/15/2013

    What a fabulous border! I'm lucky to see it in person often and can tell you that not only does the border look great, so does each individual plant in it! If a plant isn't performing to its full potential, she searches online for the reason and then moves it to a new location or improves the soil where it is. Congrats on creating such long-lasting beauty, Daniela.

  9. bee1nine 10/15/2013

    I need to jump onto the bandwagon to praise you as well, for
    this fabulous progression of photo's. ...and yes, wonderful
    design improvements as to how it's done. I love it all!
    A confession, somewhat with envy on how you can remember the
    botanical names to most of your perennials.- Found some very
    helpful, thank you!
    Truly favorably impressive, Daniela!!

  10. jagardener 10/15/2013

    I agree with Michelle, really fascinating to see the changes through the season. Must have taken a lot of hard work and planning but it really paid off. I envy Sue who gets to see it all.

  11. GardenersWK 10/15/2013

    Thanks Michelle for posting these! Organizing my thousands of pictures that I've been taking is quite a task. I usually do it late fall and winter when the kids are in school or in the late evenings, but then I always get sidetracked researching a plant, bug or disease and I can't believe that I pulled this sequence off myself before end of October! I had this idea in my head since last winter when I looked at the pictures and developed the list of to do for spring..It is then that I noticed that I am missing a few months of pictures of this border from the same angle so I made a mental note to take MORE pictures of all borders and plants this year. 70% of my recent improvements in the borders came from looking at the pictures that I take during the growing season. The rest of the changes happen on the spot when I need to squeeze something newly purchased in the borders and plants need to shuffle or find a new owner to make space.
    Thanks everyone for your compliments! Getting likes and positive comments from this group is the ultimate praise for me! I am blushing!

  12. Aarchman07030 10/15/2013

    Daniella--is there any chance that--when not gardening, renovating your house or raising children--you are a painter? Your eye for color and composition is SO impressive.

    I've got my Garden Notebook out, and will be spending some time this morning, wandering in your garden, taking notes on your cultivars and combinations. Brava!

  13. quinquek 10/15/2013

    I'm in awe. What an accomplishment! You don't rent yourself out do you...? Thanks for all the plant identifications. It really helps! Brava!

  14. GrannyMay 10/15/2013

    After seven years of hard work and eagle-eye attention to every single plant, yes, Daniella, you deserve to rest on your laurels and be proud of the result! Beautiful!

    Great photographs and captions as well. Very helpful. You could turn them into a book on garden design.

  15. BVogt 10/15/2013

    Lovely! I take a photo each day in my garden, then made an 18 month timelapse video:

  16. GardenersWK 10/15/2013

    bee1nine: I was asked many times this year, how do I remember the botanical names of my plants. The reality is that I don’t know more than 30%..I probably do know part of the name or the first letter...he he he. The past winter I realized that I now have so many plants that I don’t even know anymore where and what plants I have. So it was time to get organized. Since I temporarily stopped working two years ago, time became available to me so I started a spreadsheet (in Excel – I am an engineer by education) with only three columns (at the beginning). I entered Botanical name short, Botanical name long (with variety added) and Common name from all plant tags that I kept over the years in a bag in the laundry room. The rest of the plants I had to identify online or in gardening books. Painful process I know but I felt that I needed it for this summer garden tour. I didn't spend more that 1-hour at a time on this project because it gets tiring and boring but little by little (as the garden is built) I created a masterpiece with 450 varieties and 15 information fields that can be searched or easily filtered and sorted in many possible ways. It is like a mini personal catalog or database of plants. I normally keep the file sorted in Botanical name order but I got fancy and created a duplicate copy that is organized by garden bed…yeah I had to name my beds with this occasion. It is not complete with all information that I ultimately want to have at my fingertips but it is work in progress like everything else. When I need to write a caption with the flower name I only Copy from my spreadsheet and Paste.

  17. sheila_schultz 10/15/2013

    My post is late today, so I'm just going to join the ranks of the other GPOD'ers and say, 'Ditto' to every comment! You just added to my list of chores today... now I will be spending time re-looking at your photos and taking notes!

  18. NevadaSue 10/15/2013

    Just love what you have done with your garden. So beautiful in all the seasons. Thanks for sharing the progressing photos.

  19. user-1020932 10/15/2013

    daniela, i was impressed with your garden and your photography but after reading your description of creating your database, , well, what can i say?!?!?!? i need that here because it sometimes takes me a couple of days for the name to pop into my head. you rock

  20. terieLR 10/15/2013

    Hi Daniella, I just came back for a longer session with your wonderful borders. What a great project that you have completed and shared with us all! I am dazzled once again by how quickly perennial gardens change throughout the season ~ and in this case, every other week. Congratulations are in order. My garden hat is off to you. :)

  21. tractor1 10/15/2013

    In one word, Fantastic!

  22. cwheat000 10/15/2013

    You go girl! Now that is how to do a border! Some amazing thought and design skills are necessary to pull that off. I hope your blushing, because you deserve a ton of praise. I am even more impressed that you accomplished this with two little ones. I have just one 4 year old, and while she is a joy to have in the garden, it can be hard to get anything done. After seeing one of your last posts, I got six astrantia seedlings mail order. I hope they look as awesome as yours do next season. Thank you so much for going through the trouble to give us all the names. I may try a few more. SO BEAUTIFUL.

  23. GrannyMay 10/15/2013

    Daniella, I was happy to see that you document your individual plants too, and that I'm not the only one to want to have that information at my fingertips. I do it because my memory is terrible! Right now I only document my rhododendrons in one database and my roses in another. When I started gardening in my current location in 1992 I wanted to document the few things that were already there and then all my additional plants. I gave up maintaining that database three years later when it became too time-consuming, but I kept it. Now it is a record of all the plants I tried and killed in those early years!!

  24. RepublicGardens 10/15/2013

    The pathway is gorgeous!

  25. bee1nine 10/15/2013

    Daniela, I thank you for your reply, and for being so kind to
    share your botantical names secret! In truth, I'm one who tends to remember the common names more readily, for easier
    ID than to use botanical, which seem difficult to pronounce
    at times, if not to remember....but anyway, whatever works.
    Though the database idea you describe as having created, surely gives me a possible incentive to consider. A great idea, indeed.
    Thanks again!!

  26. Wife_Mother_Gardener 10/16/2013

    Beautiful succession planting! Great work! This is my favorite type of gardening for sure. :)

  27. peonylover 10/16/2013

    It is inspiring to see the plant development over the summer. That is what I try to do and usually fail. Then I'm back to moving and replanting. With the help of your photos I think I might be able to conquer the plan. Thank you for sharing.

  28. perenniallycrazy 10/16/2013

    Outstanding... simply outstanding! Can't wait to see more.

  29. annek 10/16/2013

    PS: I missed your blog site address...and I MUST see it. Could you repost? Thanks WonderWoman

  30. foxglove12 02/23/2014

    Love the before and after shots. Beautiful job.

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