Garden Photo of the Day

A Vibrant Chicago Spring

By Kim Charles

Diane is embracing all that spring has to offer in Chicago, ajuga and all!

"As most of us know, I can not get enough of the vibrant spring colors, especially after a long winter. Now we are in a rainy, cold spell that does not want to let up here in Chicago Land, but watching plants emerge and grow is so exciting!  Last Fall I removed what little grass I had left in front, added the flagstone in order to walk through, and still create a border. I planted 'Chocolate Chip' ajuga as a ground cover. I had been wrestling with grass for years. It always looked great in Spring, but as the summer wore on between the root competition of the big silver maple ( I would love to take it out! – it is the ONLY thing that was in my yard when I moved in 21 years ago! ), and just the beating of the sun, it would end up a mess.  I am amazed at how much the ajuga has spread!  As soon as the flowers are finished, I will cut them off and then the yard will look more like a yard, yet will be more durable!  Some pics from the front, some from the back. I hope you enjoy them!"

Have a garden you'd like to share? Email 5-10 photos and a brief story about your garden to [email protected]. Please include where you are located!

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

You don't have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

Follow us: @finegardening on Twitter | FineGardeningMagazine on Facebook @finegardening on Instagram

View Comments


  1. jeffgoodearth 05/15/2017

    Looking good, Diane! What is the plant in the 3rd pic? A weeping juniper of some variety?

  2. Maggieat11 05/15/2017

    Nice transformation, Diane, from your single Silver Maple! Love your use of all the conifers as well. Those rich purple tulips are terrific.

  3. user-4691082 05/15/2017

    What a beautiful yard! I love how you did the flagstones out front. I'm looking forward to the pics of the ajuga when it takes over. The cracked mirror is cool! You have created mystery around every corner! Great job, Diane.

  4. frankgreenhalgh 05/15/2017

    Hello Diane - Your excitement for spring and the colour it brings to your garden is very evident and contagious. I like Rhonda, love your new stone path and the mirror (my eyes may deceive me but it doesn't look like it is cracked to me ????). The containers of tulips and the bird-like ornamental planter with pansies (behind the beautiful purple tulips) also look great. Cheers from Oz

  5. user-7007498 05/15/2017

    Good morning, Diane. What a beautiful garden to start out the week. I love the container in the first picture. It looks awesome planted with the tulips and the sedum 'Angelina' in front of it.

    Is the chamaecyparis 'Lemon Twist'? I have never seen it pruned up, but it looks fabulous done that way. The flagstone walkway looks great. Sounds like a good idea to get rid of the lawn. The ajuga will do fine amongst the roots.

    Well done. Thanks for sharing your garden with us.

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/15/2017

    Looking at the other front yards across the street, yours definitely belongs to the person I'd want to stop and chat with and get to know.. Great job on the new pathway and plantings...they'll age with grace and interest. And, wow, I have never seen a Threadleaf Chamaecyparis treated as standard...very cool! No wonder it piqued Jeff's curiosity. Does what appears to be a topiary framed flamingo have a particular kind of plant starting to cover it? I can't quite tell. And, yes, those purple tulips are yowza!

  7. Doxnmomx2 05/15/2017

    What a treat! Colors and textures are divine! Thank you!

  8. frankgreenhalgh 05/15/2017

    Diane, it is nice to have you respond so quickly to our comments - and your response continues to demonstrate to me how polite you guys are in your part of the world. I'm sure Rhonda doesn't mind since she is such a good sport and has a delightful sense of humour as well. Right Rhonda my good friend????

  9. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/15/2017

    Just bonkers, Diane! I love the colors, shapes, textures, plants, flowers; everything. Nice to see your garden at different times of year. That mirror is a standout in your garden because of that amazing frame. Stunning. I can't quite picture it in a home, but the whimsical scrolls of the frame in the garden harmonizes beautifully.
    I wish I were as nice as you; I have to bite my tongue to keep from correcting people.......

  10. sheila_schultz 05/15/2017

    Morning Diane! How wonderful that you live in a walkable neighborhood, your front yard is simply outstanding! The curved flag path is dreamy and naturally draws the eye towards your awesome plantings. Texture reigns in your world and you have successfully painted a welcoming vision of beauty... I love every detail! Where are you located in Chicagoland? We lived in Wilmette for 34 years.

  11. user-3565112 05/15/2017

    Good morning Diane , " An addiction to gardening is not at all bad when you consider all the other choices in life" Cora Lee Bell Your garden photos are terrific & I am sure your neighbors enjoy your efforts . The last photo with all the different hues and textures is outstanding.
    Good luck, Joe

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 05/15/2017

      Another good quote, Joe:)

  12. foxglove12 05/15/2017

    So pretty, love your combination of colors and textures.

  13. anitaberlanga 05/15/2017

    this is such a fun garden! I love the pops of violet & purple - is that a repurposed bedpost? All the little whimsical touches are just delightful!

  14. LaurelEm 05/15/2017

    Oh My, what you have done with your whole lot. All the whimsy! I love it.Your garden is a stellar work and just shows how to blend color and texture beautifully to make full advantage of the views.

  15. GrannyCC 05/15/2017

    Beautiful garden. Love all your colours and textures. I am sure your garden is out standing in the neighbourhood .

  16. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 05/15/2017

    Good morning, Diane. You definitely have outshined your neighbors. I love your new front bed and those purple tulips. Thanks fir sharing.

  17. user-7007498 05/15/2017

    Run out of room? I am sure you can work something in with the ajuga?

  18. gardencook 05/15/2017

    You have lovely gardens and you are wise to remove a lawn that doesn't satisfy you. I have very little lawn on my property as most of it is garden beds - so much prettier, don't you agree? I especially enjoy your pops of colour with the tulips and all the spring flowers! Love your swan among the purple tulips which are gorgeous! The flagstone walk is a very nice feature!!! I have a passion for hostas and I see you do as well!!!

  19. Meelianthus 05/15/2017

    Beautiful photos Diane, a very photographic garden indeed! The last photo is very rich and diverse and you have created a lovely landscape. Thanks for sharing all of your hard work.

  20. tennisluv 05/15/2017

    Diane, your tulips and conifers are so beautiful. I can only echo all the sentiments that the others who got to enjoy pictures earlier in the day have said. Beautiful garden & wonderful idea to replace lawn. I have an area in my landscape that has Ajuga planned for it (haven't decided which kind). I just hope mine grows as well as your seems to be doing. If yours doesn't fill in my summers end, I will be surprised - next spring for sure. Thanks for sharing.

  21. schatzi 05/15/2017

    Beautiful, beautiful! Love the rich purple tulips and the orange ones in the 1st pic look like Princess Irene to me, one of my favorites. Yes, I am also loving all the gorgeous spring greens and bright colors. My rhodies and azaleas are glorious right now. And it is still raining much of the time and it's half-past May! Still too cool to put out heat loving crops so they are still under the lights in the kitchen and dining room. Come on, Mother Nature!

  22. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/15/2017

    By the way, is the hosta right behind the Threadleaf Chamaecyparis as gargantuan as it looks in the picture? Love the large lush leaves! Do you know the name of the variety?

  23. janeeliz 05/16/2017

    What a gem of a garden, Diane! So inviting...starting with your dramatic walkway, the sense of secrecy, and intimacy you created; the lush planter overflowing with color....I just love it all!

  24. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/16/2017

    I love it when a plant is given the perfect name...'Regal Splendor' rules! You have to wonder if it is possible it will get even more grand?!

  25. user-7007498 05/16/2017

    I was just kidding, Diane. I just know all of us struggle with creating "just one more space-to squeeze in a few extra plants".
    Actually, the ajuga, by itself, looks fabulous against the pathway.

  26. user-3565112 05/16/2017

    Good morning Diane, Cora Lee Bell was the author of the quote. Corabell was the 1st name of my paternal Grandmother. I do enjoy your gardening style & skill with combining textures.
    Good luck, Joe

  27. user-6536305 05/16/2017

    What a beauty!!!! Love all your tulips, so colorful and vibrant - a truly spring garden treasure!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  28. Meelianthus 05/17/2017

    Yes, I truly agree, if you love it, it is a passion - however can sometimes be physically hard work - or maybe I am just getting a little older than I want to admit :(
    Thanks, Linda Skyler

  29. tennisluv 05/17/2017

    Ajuga 'Black Scallop', as I plan to add a border around it with either Blue Fescue or Lamb's Ear and think the contrast would look good. Putting these in an area between two Red Maples where I will need tough plants to compete with the tree roots for water and root space. I think the Lamb's Ear will be more able to handle the competition than the Blue Fescue.

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest