Garden Photo of the Day

A Tranquil Transformation

By Kim Charles


Rita Rodenberg returns to her roots in her own backyard.

"After retiring from the teaching profession, I explored a number of hobbies and found my backyard calling to me.  You see, my roots were on an Iowa farm and I loved my rural upbringing.   So, to connect with my past, my goal became to transform my backyard, in central Wisconsin, into a place of tranquility and beauty.  I started out with a small hosta garden planted around a tree and then added small gardens each year until the perimeters of my backyard were full.  I left a small grass area in the middle for the grandchildren's play area. I would describe my gardens as country style gardens.  I try to have color in my gardens for the three seasons and to keep them full so there is little weeding.  I manage the over-growth of my gardens with a plant sale in the Spring.  With the money I make, I add new plants and yard art to my gardens.  I have returned to my roots…in my own backyard."

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  1. frankgreenhalgh 10/18/2016

    Well Rita - Your 'snazzy' (i.e. code for stylish and attractive) country style gardens are proof that you can take the girl out of the country, but you cannot take the country out of the girl! Cheers from down under

  2. user-7007960 10/18/2016

    Oh my goodness! Your Cup Runneth over! Lovely, nostalgic gardens.... You are task oriented with love and purpose. A plus!

  3. user-7007498 10/18/2016

    Great Video to share:

    Here is a link to a video from one of the Aussie gardeners (Barbara Wickes) who toured my garden last month. She has a 2+ acre property that was the feature of this TV segment. It is fabulous. Hope everyone enjoys it.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 10/18/2016

      Thanks Kev. I'm glad that Barbara communicated with you after her visit to your garden - i.e. with this video of her magnificent sub-tropical garden in SE Queensland. The segment is part of the Gardening Australia TV show of the Aust. Broadcasting Commission (ABC). Note that it appears that Barbara came from the State of Victoria (my State), which is the Garden State in Oz. Cheers, Frank

    2. wGardens 10/18/2016

      Kevin! Thank you! The video is wonderful.

  4. user-7007498 10/18/2016

    Rita, I love your cottage style garden. The explosion of colors from the perennials is so bright and cheery. The curving beds are terrific. Real joy to look at your photos. Love the birdhouse. Thanks for sharing.

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/18/2016

    Love your story, Rita, and love your gardens. The opening picture of the beguiling birdhouse and clematis combination stole my heart and the rest of your photos proves you have made a fulfilling choice of hobby for your least during spring, summer and fall. Ha, winter is still up for grabs or, at least, until all the dreamy nursery mail order catalogues start pouring in starting in Feb.

  6. wGardens 10/18/2016

    I enjoyed reading your story... and enjoyed your photos as well! Love the birdhouse/clematis photo especially!

  7. VikkiVA 10/18/2016

    Love all your flowers. I have many of the same in my Virginia garden. Packing in the plants makes a stunning statement as well as keeping the weeds down. The clematis/bee balm combination is so pretty. Thanks for sharing your garden. Vikki in VA

  8. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/18/2016

    Love all the fullness and color. I agree with you that the more you can cram in the less you have to weed.

  9. Sunshine111 10/18/2016

    Lovely and whimsical!

  10. thevioletfern 10/18/2016

    Well, I for one am certainly glad you returned to your roots Rita! Just beautiful. For some reason I am drawn to shade gardens and just love the Hostas and whoa, so much more planted around your tree. Was wondering if your tree has a name since he or she seems to have a little personality? I also love the jackmanii and red and pink bee balm combo - such punch! I love starting my day looking at a beautiful garden - thank you.

  11. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/18/2016

    Rita, your roots definitely go deep. Those are some healthy looking flowers. Love an overcrowded garden. Your grass is so healthy, too. I think my favorite shot is your lush shade garden. My roots are in Iowa as well; farm country but not on a farm. Still, the mix of cool wooded acres and verdant farm land puts green in your heart.

  12. User avater
    HelloFromMD 10/18/2016

    Hi Rita, such rich color in your gardens! I love the color red and your monarda is spectacular. Do you remember the name of the red one? Also love the combo of the red and pink bee balms. The clematis in the top photo is stunning.

  13. WinstonSalem 10/18/2016

    I can tell you really enjoy your gardening. I especially like the shade garden with the hostas. It inspires me to add more hosts even though they are a favorite of deer. The color combination of the monarda and phlox is very striking. Great choices. Now I want to dig up another garden and plant it in my yard.

  14. schatzi 10/18/2016

    Lush, full, happy and healthy - beautiful! Love the sweeps of color.

  15. user-4691082 10/18/2016

    Rita, is that a Nellie Moser clematis? It's lovely, as are all of your gardens. I see you have an actea also. Don't they smell heavenly in the fall? I love your cramscaping! Kevin, wonderful treat with the video! Thanks to both of you!

  16. donna_stiner 10/18/2016

    Beautiful!! A labor love.

  17. MNGardenGirl 10/19/2016

    So beautiful. Please share more pictures soon.

  18. Cenepk10 10/19/2016

    Beautiful!!!! Love that azalea/ hosta bed. Makes me smile.

  19. Cenepk10 10/19/2016

    Maybe those aren't azaleas- Are those phlox in the photo with the healthy stand of red & pink ?

  20. foxglove12 10/19/2016

    Beautiful! you found your calling!

  21. user-7008283 10/21/2016

    lovely photos. I'm going to do a border like the penultimate photo. What are the yellow daisy type flowers towards the bottom left?

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