Garden Photo of the Day

Agaves in Ontario

Overwintering tender plants for dramatic effect

giant agave in a pot in front of large planting of dahlias

Alice Fleurkens in Sweaburg, Ontario, has shared her garden with us several times on the GPOD, but today she sent in some photos of a friend’s garden, which is just gorgeous.

This is my friend Anna’s garden. I had not been there for quite a while, and boy was I blown away by her little piece of paradise. Her plants have grown to sizes I had never seen before. Anna and her husband, John, really do not have any lawn; their whole backyard is flowers and vegetables.

close up of container plantings with bright red and yellow flowersLook at all the planters Anna makes. She told me they were nicer earlier in the summer, but I think they are still beautiful. The bright red flowers are from begonias (Begonia hybrid, Zones 9–11 or as an annual) and canna (Canna hybrid, Zones 8–11 or as a tender bulb).

close up of container with spiky foliage and red flowersThis begonia is covered with blooms.

two giant agaves in pots on each side of a garden benchLook at these gigantic agaves (Agave americana, Zones 8–10). Anna told me she has had them for about eight years.

giant agave in a pot in front of large planting of dahliasIn the winter, the agaves go in the garage. You can see they are set on wheels to make them easier to move. And can you believe the size of the dahlias (Dahlia variabilis, Zones 8–11 or as a tender bulb) in the background? Just totally amazing. I think they are probably 5 to 6 feet tall.

variegated agave next to a conifer, hydrangea, and pink flowersA smaller agave in a ceramic pot and potted angel’s trumpets (Brugmansia hybrid, Zones 8–11) add flare to this planting.

garden bed with various trees, shrubs, and an ornamental grassThis is the side of Anna and John’s garden. There are all kinds of different small sedums between the rocks. Two weeping copper beeches (Fagus sylvatica, Zones 4–7) have dramatic foliage and fit well in the narrow space.

large mexican sunflower growing between various foliage plantsThis orange flower, Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia, annual), was supposed to be 6 feet tall but grew to about 9 feet.

close up of garden bed with rock wall in front of a fenceAnna John have built many rock walls around their property.

close up of large hydrangea in a garden bedA beautiful hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata, Zones 3–8)

small tree with orange flowers growing in a containerThis tree with the orange flowers is just gorgeous. It is a lantana (Lantana camara, Zones 8–11). Lantanas are usually grown as annuals in cold-winter climates but can develop into large shrubs or small trees if overwintered. From the wheels on the platform the container is sitting on, it looks like this goes into the garage for the cold months of the year like the agaves.

large variegated agave growing next to steps to houseWhat a view of the huge variegated agave with ivy (Hedera helix, Zones 4–9) cascading down the retaining wall behind.


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View Comments


  1. sandyprowse 09/27/2023

    Alice, thanks so much for showing us Anna’s garden. It is just spectacular. I can certainly see why you were “blown away”!
    Lucky neighbours living close to that beauty.

  2. User avater
    bdowen 09/27/2023

    The size of those plants is impressive. Even on wheels, they must be a challenge to move into their winter home. I would love to see the "bones" of the garden during the winter after so much color during spring/summer/fall.

  3. user-7821942 09/27/2023

    Wow! Anna's garden is amazing but the agaves are mesmerizing. So impressed with her dedication to caring for them. Thank Anna for allowing you to share her garden with us.

  4. User avater
    cynthia2020 09/27/2023

    Hi, Alice. Yes - do thank Anna for sharing with us. The shapes and great health of those agave are impressive. And to have a huge lantana plant as a "standard" - with a single tree-like trunk - if standard is the right term - I have not seen anything like that.

  5. User avater
    simplesue 09/28/2023

    Oh those sculptural Agave plants are spectacular, as is the whole garden!
    Love that statue holding the the dish nestled in with the plants.

  6. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/28/2023

    Wow, so neat!

  7. btucker9675 09/30/2023

    Fabulous garden - those agaves are spectacular. I have two mangaves in pots and am now totally hooked on them! The color of that angel's trumpet is gorgeous.

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