Garden Photo of the Day

A Special Hospice Garden in MD

By Kim Charles


Joe Koller brings us up to date with his special garden.

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"The attached photos are an update on the Hospice garden we started last fall as well, as several other areas in my yard. I tried to incorporate a lot of suggestions from GPOD'ers in the Hospice Garden but quite a few were no shows.  I think it was a combination of a very wet May & in one case very poor quality plants from one of the online nurseries. I believe the Tree Hydrangea Limelight came threw well in this garden. The  gardens with the Heuchera & the Gentiana were started in July & I have high hopes for them next season. All things considered this was a really good gardening season in central Maryland. Judging from the posts on GPOD everyone had a good year. Good luck to all of you."


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  1. frankgreenhalgh 11/30/2016

    G'day Joe - mate, you have done an outstanding job with your new garden - another ripper effort! That tree hydrangea is spectacular. Do the birds use those nesting boxes? Good luck to you as well. Cheers from Oz.

    1. user-3565112 11/30/2016

      Good morning Frank, The birds use the nesting boxes in the back of the photo. The one near the pond is a Christmas present that I did'nt set up until July. I hope you are enjoying your spring down under. Good luck, Joe

      1. frankgreenhalgh 11/30/2016

        Joe, lovely to have birds nesting in your garden. Our spring has been cooler than normal, which has delayed flowering a little. However, there has been some really crazy stuff e.g. a 100F day out the blue, and the thunderstorm asthma event was a tragedy (8 deaths; 8,500 hospitalised in Melbourne).

        1. user-3565112 11/30/2016

          Frank ,You guys seem to have your own unique weather patterns. Looking at your country on Google earth it looks like a green ring on the coast surrounding deserts, mountains & a reddish area similar to iron ore.

          1. frankgreenhalgh 11/30/2016

            Right on, Joe.

  2. user-4691082 11/30/2016

    Good morning Joe (and Frank!). The gardens are so peaceful Joe, a fitting tribute to hospice. That hosta guacamole is my favorite. It's difficult to choose them from catalogs, or tiny specimens from nurseries. The planter you have placed it in is beautiful, and really sets it off. It seems to glow in the photo. You are very brave to plant anything in July! Hope this rain really helps all of us...

    1. user-3565112 11/30/2016

      Thank you Rhonda, Either you or Meander mentioned that hosta on this site & I got lucky with an online purchase (2). The planters they are in were a gift from my best friend since kindergarten. The photos of the new gardens were taken early November. I believe the Hyssop Rosie Posie failed because I believe the soil was too rich . Good luck this winter, Joe

    2. user-3565112 11/30/2016

      I hope you are having a good morning & I apologize for the typo & not saying good morning originally.. Where are my manners ? My friend mentioned below called ( we talk every morning ) & I guess I was distracted. Sorry about that, Joe

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/30/2016

    Everything is so peaceful. It is all looking very good. Nothing like lots of color to bring healing.

    1. user-3565112 11/30/2016

      Thank you, It was supposed to be mostly white but I added annual Vinca Pacifica to fill holes from plants that did'nt make.
      God luck, Joe

    2. user-3565112 11/30/2016

      I am getting back to you to wish you good morning & hope it is gong well for you.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/30/2016

    A particularly happy good mornin' to you, Joe ...I am in such a jazzed mood because it rained all night and is continuing now. Your 'Limelight' is gorgeous and any garden bed that showcases such a glorious specimen doesn't have to worry its pretty head too much if some of the supporting cast don't meet expectations. Did you do any spring pruning of your 'Limelight' to help it develop such a flower laden canopy? Love your hosta 'Guacamole' has become my favorite variety. I hope I don't jinx things by saying this aloud but it seems like the voracious voles in my garden leave it far.

    1. user-3565112 11/30/2016

      Thank you, The guacamole idea came from either you or Rhonda. The only pruning was removing the panicles last fall. I dried a bunch & they made a nice flower arrangement on the Thanksgiving table. My friend Allen Summers set that tree aside for me at Kingsdene Nurseries & this was the 1st full year in the garden. I hope those fires in the south did'nt come anywhere near you, Good luck, Joe

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 11/30/2016

        I will admit to being an indiscriminate evangelist for hosta 'Guacamole'...give me an opening and I will sing its praises but I can't remember if you were ever previously on the receiving end of my enthusiasm. Maybe Rhonda and I did a duet in recommending it.

        We have some distant views of the Smoky Mountains from where I live but were not affected by the fires that hit the resort town of Gatlinburg hard. Obviously, our local papers and news stations have been filled with pictures and videos and my heart goes out to those affected. Our area is so grateful for this heavy rain and the only thing better was if it had come 2 days earlier to have prevented the fires from building up their momentum.
        Thank you for your kind "good morning" and compliment about my "meandering" writing style!

        1. User avater
          LindaonWhidbey 11/30/2016

          Good to hear that you are not in the path of the fires, Michaela. I was thinking of you watching the devastation on the news last night and my heart goes out to all of those affected.

    2. user-3565112 11/30/2016

      Good morning Meander & I am glad your morning is "jazzed up" & going well for you. My apologies for not wishing you a good morning in my earlier response. Your responses to these posts are at times lyrical & I look forward to reading them in the morning. Joe

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/30/2016

    Good morning Joe! Wow! The gardens have continued to evolve and are looking great. Your use of containers is really nine and I am swooning over your muhly grass: that's a perfect use. Love it. Of course your hydrangea looks fantastic, too! Thanks for the update.

  6. user-3565112 11/30/2016

    Good morning Tim , The 2 guacamole hostas in matching planters serve as an entrance to a small woodland garden we are developing based on the one in the back corner of your garden. Of course the Huechera & Sambucus are also ideas from your post last spring.
    Maybe I should get signs for these 2 areas saying Vogt Springs & Vogt Gardens East. I store the Muhly containers next to the house & they came thru the winters fine. Thanks for the ideas& good luck, Joe

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/30/2016

      I've got a nice pot of seedling muhly grass that I'll set out in spring. I'm debating whether or not to put them in a container or in the ground, as I have lost them in the ground before, perhaps due to the heavy soil. But I'm also a zone colder than you. Thanks for the info! I've got a long winter to mull the muhly over.......

      1. user-3565112 11/30/2016

        Tim, Perhaps if you plant them pot & all next to the house & cover them they might do better for you. That works for me with canna lilies (without pots) Failing that in a shed or garage might work. Good luck with mulling your muhlies, Joe

  7. Chris_N 11/30/2016

    It looks like it all came out wonderfully. Love the pink muhly grass, the tree hydrangea and the hosta 'Guacamole'. I'm adding that hosta to my list of must haves. Those gentians are too much. If you have any close ups, you should post them. They really are true blue. My wife planted a spring white garden with white crocus, snowdrops, white grape hyacinths, white pushkinia, daffodil 'Stainless' and white tulips. Looked great the first year, but the squirrels evidently didn't like the monochromatic theme because the next year yellow and purple crocuses popped up as well!

    1. user-3565112 11/30/2016

      Good morning Chris, When I planted bulbs in the new garden in November I found quite a few chestnuts & wall nuts in the area.. This must have happened this fall because the entire area was built with about 2 yards of soil & compost. The birds & squirrels think they have the right to edit our gardens don't they I am going to try to attach a photo to this. Good luck, Joe

      1. User avater
        LindaonWhidbey 11/30/2016

        Thanks for the close up, Joe. Those gentians are on my list!

        1. user-3565112 11/30/2016

          You are welcome Jeanne. Mine were bought at of all places Ace Hardware sout of Annapolis I have seen them on the Bluestone Plant Nursery site & had very good luck with plants from them. Their plants come very well packaged in coir pots. I cut the pots &fold the sides down in the planting hole & it has worked well for me so far.
          Good luck, Joe

      2. Chris_N 12/01/2016

        Thanks for the photo, Joe! I've tried the 'True Blue' once and killed it. I will have to try again. That hardy plumbago is another beautiful blue fall flower that is underused. It is marginally hardy here in Wisconsin. We have some hanging on at work but it never looks really happy.

        1. user-3565112 12/01/2016

          Good morning Chris, This is the 1st. year for both plants in my garden. Possibly if you have a spot next to your house in full sun they might do better for you. When I think of Wi. I think of the Ice Bowl in 1967. Football was fun to watch at that time & both teams & the fans were tough. Good luck this winter, Joe

  8. greengenes 11/30/2016

    This turned out beautiful, Joe! I love how you framed the entrance with the muhly grass. Yes, the hosta! Beautiful color of green glowing. All the pictures are nice ...thanks for sharing!

    1. user-3565112 11/30/2016

      Good morning Jeanne, I am glad to hear you like what we've done. Compliments from the PNW gardeners (I believe that's where you live ) are high praise indeed.
      Thank you & good luck, Joe

  9. sheila_schultz 11/30/2016

    Your hospice garden is definitely spreading it's peaceful beauty to all that walk by your yard, Joe. It's lovely as are your other gardens... I mean, who doesn't love the ethereal vision of Muhly grass? Thanks for giving us all a smile this morning, our GPOD friend!

  10. user-3565112 11/30/2016

    Good morning Sheila, Thank you for your kind remarks. About 1/3 of the plants did not come up in the Hospice Garden & most of those came from 1 supplier. Hopefully this spring we will find a better source for Sedum Frosty Morn & Anemone Levellier. We planted divisions from the Muhly grass in my daughters garden this spring & it took off.
    Thank you & good luck, Joe

  11. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 11/30/2016

    Hi Joe, well you certainly have been busy. Those muhly grasses are beautiful. Mine is only a foot high since it was just planted this summer and trimmed heavily by rabbits before I caged it. We also share the Limelight hydrangea which I used to grow in WI and have just planted again.Yours is stunning with that blue in the background( lilacs?).
    Thanks for the update on your inspirational garden. It's easy to see that you put a lot of love into it.

  12. user-3565112 11/30/2016

    Good morning Linda, The limelight has proven to be a great addition to the garden. I have a smaller one "Bobo" in the conifer garden that has also done very well. These seem to be a very adaptable plant growing for you in Wi. & now in the PNW. The blue in the background is actually a purple Crape Myrtle Tonto or Tuscarora.( I believe) My wife saw that at Pikes nursery in Ga. & we hauled it up here 25 years ago in a Pontiac Firebird with the tee tops out.
    Thank you & good luck, Joe

    1. user-6536305 11/30/2016

      This sounds like a true act of a gardener who will bring a plant home regardless any difficulties and distance...Good Morning Joe, your Hospice garden is simply stunning!

      1. user-3565112 11/30/2016

        Good afternoon Linda, It was about a 700 mile trip & the plant was nearly exfoliated when we got it here. Despite that it has thrived and is very disease resistant. I am happy to hear you like the Hospice Garden. Hopefully as they say no garden is as nice as it will be next year.
        Good luck, Joe

        1. user-6536305 11/30/2016

          I really admire and respect your huge effort and work to plant and maintain such a beautiful garden! Do you get any budget? I volunteer at a long term care facility in Vancouver with Master Gardeners. We normally bring plants from our own gardens.

          1. user-3565112 11/30/2016

            I know your volunteer garden work is greatly appreciated by the folks in the long term facility. My mother in law was in a facility in Suwanee Ga. ,loved their gardens, and on my last visit she was planning to plant a rose bush from her garden in a spot outside her window. She knew she did not have long to live but was still planning her new garden. She passed away several days later at 93 years of age.
            Bless you, Joe

          2. User avater
            meander_michaele 11/30/2016

            I love reading that your mother-in-law's gardening spirit stayed strong until her end of time. I hope someone will have that recollection of me to share many years in the future.

          3. user-3565112 12/01/2016

            Hi Lillian, Regarding the budget question I have spent some money on the garden since my wife passed away June 2013. However I do not take expensive vacations , I drive a 17 yr. old pickup(I love it) & have no expensive hobbies. Hopefully starting next spring I will be dividing plants & trading with members of a garden club I recently joined. In short until now I had never set a budget.

  13. user-7007498 11/30/2016

    Hi, Joe. The garden is really coming along. I was looking at your previous post earlier today. 'Limelight' is certainly the star of the photos you submitted. I love that Hydrangea. The great thing about all H. paniculata's is that it blooms on new wood. Thus, no loss of flowering buds in our winters, and you can easily control the size by pruning in earlier spring.

    Your muhly grass is so beautiful. I have killed it multiple times over the years, and have given up in my garden. Seeing it in yours, makes me itching to try again.

    You mentioned that you had trouble with mail order. I mail order quite a bit and used to lose plants in the first year until I changed my routine. Any plant I receive that is not well rooted in a 1 gallon container (and most are in much smaller pots), gets re-potted into a 1 gallon container with a high quality potting soil. If, by October, the roots have nicely spread in the new pot, then I will plant it in the garden about 6-8 weeks before the ground freezes. If I do not see roots at the edges of the 1 gallon pot by October, then I will overwinter it in the pot rather the garden, and keep it in the pot for an additional growing season. After I started this method, I no longer lose any mail order plants.

    1. user-3565112 11/30/2016

      Good afternoon Kevin , Thank you for the advice re: repotting mail order plants & the hydrangea pruning. I am going to use that method from now on. I take it you plant the pots in the ground during R&R I have it in the ground 20 ft. from those & they are 1/2 the size. I overwinter these on the s.e. side of the house out of the prevailing n.w. winds. I am about 80miles from you in zone 7.
      Good luck this winter, Joe

  14. user-7007498 11/30/2016

    It's been raining all day today (day 2 of a nice slow steady rain). Very happy in PA.

  15. Meelianthus 11/30/2016

    Hello Joe ~ Your gardens are as lovely as I remembered them. Such a beautiful job you have done and I love the composition of the last photo, looks like you have a small pond there which I'm sure the birds all enjoy. I too have Guacamole hosta, one of my favorites as the slugs don't like it. It becomes so large that I have to cut it in half every Fall - and the flowers are beautifully fragrant. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work.

    1. user-3565112 11/30/2016

      Good afternoon, Thank you for the warm compliments. The pond is about 150 s.f. & has been there for about 30 years. The azalea on the left side was brought here by my mother-in-law about that time & is the most beautiful I've seen. I'd like to attach a photo of it from several years ago if you don't mind. Itt's good to know about the Guacamole & slugs because the are a real problem around here. Thank you & good luck, Joe

      1. Meelianthus 12/01/2016

        Thank you for sending the beautiful azalea photo Joe. You must look forward to those blooms every Spring. Lovely.

        1. user-3565112 12/01/2016

          Good morning, I am glad you like the azalea . The waterfall runs under its & it must like the humidity because it has thrived there for 30 yrs. Good luck this winter, Joe

  16. schatzi 12/01/2016

    Beautiful job, Joe. Guacamole is a favorite of mine too. I also like Fire and Ice hosta. The red crepe myrtle is a stunner. Likewise the gentian. What a blue! Lovely garden. Enjoy.

  17. user-3565112 12/01/2016

    Good morning Shirley, The Guacamole is a beauty for sure & was suggested by either Rhonda or Meander last fall. I am glad to hear you like our garden I am going to look for fire & ice in the spring. I hope to plant a woodland path with the potted guacamole serving as an entrance. Thank you & good luck ,Joe

  18. foxglove12 12/01/2016

    Loving that hydrangea and the sweet bird houses.

    1. user-3565112 12/01/2016

      Good afternoon, I am glad you like the tree & the houses. The birdhouses were built by my grandson when he was a little guy. He was so proud of them
      Thank you & good luck, Joe

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