Garden Photo of the Day

A Secret Side Garden

A shady corner filled with flowers

Welcome to Leila Alhusaini’s beautiful garden in Kentucky.

When my husband and I moved into our Richmond, Kentucky, home there was no landscaping unless you count the weeds and wild honeysuckle that grew in abundance! We began wrestling the property into my idea of a “resort at home” about 10 years ago. I try to use colors that please me, and I love a lot of texture. I’m particularly pleased with this shady area that is hidden near the sunny entrance to our home. I’ve been lucky to be mentored by friends and neighbors with more experience than I have, and I have learned many lessons through trial and error.

Bearded iris (Iris germanica, Zones 3–8) and coreopsis get just enough sun to thrive.

An unknown bearded iris surrounded by ‘William Guiness’ columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris ‘William Guiness’, Zones 3–8), ‘Lemon Chiffon’ heuchera (Heuchera ‘Lemon Chiffon’, Zones 4–9), and a Japanese maple (Acer palmatum, Zones 6–9).

An overview of the little secret side garden.

A close-up of the corner, with the dark fence and foliage making a high-contrast backdrop for lighter leaves and flowers.

The view from the sunny porch, with containers full of flowering annuals.

The garden behind the fence boasts some azalea, ‘Butterfly Blue’ scabiosa (Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’, Zones 5–9), and reblooming bearded iris.

Detail of the scabiosa flowering in front of a flower-covered azalea.

Gold threadleaf cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Filifera Aurea’, Zones 4–8) and ‘Discovery’ Dutch iris (Iris hollandica ‘Discovery’, Zones 6–9).


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  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/05/2019

    Love that scabiosa.

    1. User avater
      lollygardens 06/05/2019

      I do too! It blooms profusely in the spring / early summer and gives a second bloom later in the season.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/05/2019

    Your shade garden is very appealing and the handsome fencing gives it an intimate it is your private resort you were aiming for. I appreciated that you included some over view shots because it's always interesting to see how things tie together. Congrats on vanquishing the weeds and wild honeysuckle and giving yourself something to be proud of and enjoyed.

    1. User avater
      lollygardens 06/05/2019

      Thank you! That is so nice of you to say. We haven't completely vanquished the weeds, but I think we're finally winning that battle! We do enjoy the garden so much.

  3. User avater
    simplesue 06/05/2019

    Beautiful the way you mixed the perennials with the larger shrubs and pots of annuals, which gives the garden a nice structure. The way you described transforming the garden from "weeds and overgrown honeysuckle" into your vision of a "resort home" is such a nice idea, to create a home and garden you do not need a vacation from, but a lifestyle you wake up to daily! That's my goal too. Thanks for sharing your garden with us!

    1. User avater
      lollygardens 06/05/2019

      Thank you! We do enjoy our stay-cations, and spend them mostly in the garden! I highly recommend it and wish you best of luck in achieving it! It is so much hard, enjoyable work, but the reward is immeasurable.

  4. btucker9675 06/05/2019

    Love all of your irises especially - you've created such a inviting, peaceful space!

    1. User avater
      lollygardens 06/05/2019

      Thank you!

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