Garden Photo of the Day

A Year in a Garden

Seasons in a Michigan garden

Today we’re visiting Dale Dailey’s garden.

Spring came late this year to central Michigan, but our gardens enjoyed the cool, wet weather. This is a photo from mid-April that shows a portion of our gardens still dormant.

Spring eventually came. Flowering trees bloomed, and many other plants began to stir.

By early June, this was the scene out of our bathroom window.

Our Japanese garden has been a work in progress for three years and is nearly complete. This year I planted a border of low barberry (Berberis thunbergii ‘Admiration’, Zones 4–8) around a large section of the garden. The original center Japanese maple died, and I replaced it with a Cercis canadensis ‘Ruby Falls’ (Zones 4–8), a weeping redbud with red leaves. In a couple of years, it will be stunning.

Standing nearby is our stone Buddha surrounded by white bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis, Zones 3–9).

By mid-June, our mailbox plantings came alive when the spiderwort (Tradescantia sp.) began to bloom. We live on a gravel road, and the conditions are hot, dry, and dusty. Later, the surrounding daylilies will flower to welcome visitors.

At the same time, our dogwood tree (Cornus kousa, Zones 5–8) at the head of our alpine garden blossomed in its full glory.

The hosta surrounding our weeping cherry provide a lush setting.

My wife also added to the overall setting with creative plantings on our deck and elsewhere.

By mid-June, spring began to turn into summer, and our peonies exploded. They are particularly special because peonies were my wife’s mother’s favorite plants. The large, bright red one in front came from her garden many years ago.

Our quilt garden, which my wife designed based upon a quilt pattern, was mulched and beginning to show its colors.

Our alpine garden area features many cold-hardy cacti, several of which produce beautiful blooms. The following photo shows Opuntia polyacantha ‘Nebraska Orange’ (Nebraska oranga prickly pear, Zones 5–10) in bloom.

Finally, one of our sons recently brought his drone and took pictures of some of our gardens from its unique perspective. As you can see, over the last 25 years we have had enough time and space to create some very special places.


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

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  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 07/23/2019

    Everything is so pretty. It is especially wonderful to have that peony passed down from a loved one.

  2. cheryl_c 07/23/2019

    Dale, I'm so sorry this was not posted yesterday- as the GPOD, but am so glad I looked for it today! I love the variety of gardens you and your wife have created. The quilt garden is a totally new idea to me, and it is so special. Hope you will send more pictures in the future.

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