Garden Photo of the Day

Almost fall in May’s garden on Vancouver Island

Today’s photos are from May Kald out in British Columbia, on Vancouver Island! (Revisit past posts from May HERE.)

May says, “I was hoping to send fall photos this time, but fall is slow to show her colours for us this year. Instead, some photos of containers on my back deck. We have had a long summer of drought, meaning more sunshine for the containers, which grew very lush this year.

It all began with a light purple/pink petunia edged with green. I’m usually not fond of petunias, but the colours of that one called to me, and I walked around the nursery with it, looking for other plants to join it in a container. A ‘Martha Washington’ geranium was added, then a dianthus, succulents, and a dark sweet potato vine. Yes!  It set the mood for other containers.

The purple of Colocasia esculenta leaves and eucomis flowers were added when a deer trampled the first containers. Encouraged by the look of the first few, I created more and more, adding  some with warmer oranges and yellows as well as some with just succulents.

It became a moving picture – I would move them around the deck for more or less sun as the summer days grew longer, then shorter. Yes, containers are another way to feed the hunger for more plants!”

May, your containers are stunning, as usual, but that pic of the froggie on the colocasia leave stopped me in my tracks. ADORABLE. Can’t wait to see the fall batch of photos you’ll be sending in soon…….  😉

Hey everyone–the last couple of days I’ve been splitting up the photos with the text in the middle, rather than a ton of photos followed by text. Which format do you prefer?

Help me keep kicking out posts all winter long–send me photos of your gardens NOW! Email me at [email protected]. Thanks! –Michelle

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View Comments


  1. user-1020932 10/08/2014

    May, it's all beautiful as i always know it will be. i'm never disappointed with anything in your garden. i'm with Michelle, , , that frog is the perfect garden accessory. i would like nothing more than to sit on your deck and talk plants with you. it's all just snazzy!
    p.s. if that stone trough goes missing , well, ,,,,,,i don't know nothin' about nothin' :)

    1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

      Jeff, it was GPOD and contributors to it like yourself, who inspired me to look beyond my normal safe choices and to try anything that caught my eye or my tickled my sense of humor. There is always something to WOW and something to smile at in your garden photos, I have learned a lot from you. Thank you! I'm happy to talk plants anytime, but my deck is too small, now that is is full of containers - maybe we could all meet in the middle somewhere.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/09/2014

    Ahh, May, what a fun summer you obviously have had playing musical chairs with your gorgeous containers. I actually got a giddy vicarious thrill thinking of you dashing about the nursery as you gathered up the various candidates for your beautiful creations. I certainly understand the beguiling hold that lime edged petunia had that helped inspire your color scheme. Your various groupings work together perfectly and make your deck look like a tropical paradise. Obviously, the little frog is certainly enjoying his vacation at your place!

    ps. Michelle, I think I would most like the words of the photo contributor to come first as the person sometimes shares a special bit of info or plant id that adds to the first looking over of the pictures. Of course, since I pretty much always go up and down multiple times, I'm flexible.

    1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

      Michaele, you always have the perfect words and descriptions! You must have been following me - that is exactly how it has been this summer, dashing around with the plant "swatches", selecting, discarding, having a great time creating patterns in my head. Enjoying the results. Then shuffling everything around, like turning a kaleidoscope to make new patterns. It really was a lot of fun.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/09/2014

        May, I just have to say that I keep reading this comment over and over! Such a literate, fun description of the joy in creating something beautiful!

        1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

          We share the joy, Tim, both in anticipating how it might look, then, with luck, in the finished product.

          1. sheila_schultz 10/09/2014

            I agree with Tim, May. Your words beautifully describe the emotions that occur when a combination comes together, be it in one container or many!

  3. perenniallycrazy 10/09/2014

    Talk about saving the best for last! Such an amazing array of containers May - I adore the colors. What better way to accessorize your sanctuary and make room for more plants (I totally agree on your philosophy.) Do you ever visit the Lower Mainland? We gotta have our own local GPOD reunion one day. =)

    1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

      Thanks Cherry! I rarely get over to the mainland, but you're more than welcome to drop by if you're in this area. I have learned so much from you and Jeff and the other great GPODers. Love what you do in your garden and for friends. Sometimes I wish I were 20 years younger so I could start my garden all over again. No, only if I won a lottery and could hire Jeff and his team.

      1. perenniallycrazy 10/09/2014

        I second that. Thanks for the invite! I will certainly keep that in mind. Please look me up when you're in town too.

  4. GrannyCC 10/09/2014

    Gorgeous May as always. I feel very lucky as I get to sit on your deck and tour your beautiful garden and go shopping with you when we both feel the need of more plants.

    1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

      Ah Catherine, a lot of my containers owe their existence to you. You were with me the day I fell for the green-edged petunia, patiently waiting, even suggesting plants to add. Thank you! Also, since you and I never go anywhere, be it for lunch or some other meeting, without one of us suggesting a stop at a nursery or two, my plant inventory grew larger practically every time we got together! As did yours, though you are better able to resist temptation! Looking forward to many more happy hours "just browsing".

  5. grannieannie1 10/09/2014

    Love your photography, May, and your groupings of pots, textures, plant forms go on and on in beautiful waves around your deck. It looks like a wonderful place to sit and drink in color.

    1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

      What a lovely way to describe the deck! I'll now see it with fresh eyes, an excellent reason to share with others whose opinion you value!

  6. NCYarden 10/09/2014

    Stunning, May. And that is a garden well contained...haha. Everything looks so fresh and healthy, especially for the end of summer with a drought as you described. You've done a wonderful job keeping all those gorgeous plants happy. Not to mention you Pacific NW'ers seem to be able to grow's amazing. The color bursts are exciting, and I have to agree with you that the petunia is definitely unique enough to overcome any previous bias.
    Thanks for sharing

    1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

      Wish it were contained! Ha! More containers have already magically appeared from somewhere and Fall is definitely on its way, begging for a new look, however temporary. By the way, bedraggled and slug-eaten is a more accurate description of some of these containers now!

      1. NCYarden 10/09/2014

        It's still magical, nonetheless, May. And we all know the "endless garden creep" we promise ourselves we won't let happen. And yet, more plants! Not so bad by my standards...there are worse afflictions.

      2. sheila_schultz 10/09/2014

        Funny thing about no containing our container lust. As much as I love being surrounded by containers, especially on the patio, the walking around space gets smaller and smaller as the summer goes on. (Our poor German Shepherds have to dodge and weave when they are on the job... squirrel patrol!) Anyway, this year the patio really seemed to shrink, but now that the containers have been emptied... it's huge! And very boring and colorless! Lucky you, May, that you are still enjoying the lush beauty on your beautiful patio!

        When do you start planting in the spring?

        1. GrannyMay 10/10/2014

          Sheila I have hardy perennials, shrubs and small trees in some of the containers, so they never all get emptied and I'm never without something to fuss over. For many years I had a fir tree in one of my large wheeled containers. At Christmas I would decorate it with all the traditional lights and ornaments and push it close to my living-room window, where it became my Christmas tree, protected by a roof overhang. It finally grew too tall and was no longer happy being confined to the same pot for so long, so a neighbour took it. I'll be getting a new one this year. As for when I start planting in the spring, I never really stop gardening - just take a break if there is snow on the ground or we have a hard frost. A lot of the local nurseries close for January and I can't wait for them to open again!

          1. sheila_schultz 10/10/2014

            Want to share some of your energy level with this old fart? I dream of being able to garden 12 months out of the year, but truth be told, 6 months seems to be my limit. Although... maybe if we didn't have to do the take down and set up... it might be doable??? 'Might' being the operative word?
            We sooo need to be neighbors! We're definitely friends!
            Keep sending in the photos May

          2. GrannyMay 10/10/2014

            I wish I did have energy to share Sheila! I keep up the gardening by slacking off on the housework (Shh, don't tell my grandchildren). Obviously I have my priorities right. :) So much depends on your climate and the kinds of plants you grow - I don't usually need either "take down" or "set up", except for shutting off the outdoor water and putting away hoses. This may change if I succumb to tender succulent lust, which I am trying hard to resist. So far my outdoor plants stay outside, where they survive winter or not. The indoor plants stay inside all year. Oh oh, I just remembered I may have a few exceptions.

  7. user-1020932 10/09/2014

    May, one question. i grew that petunia one year, i was drawn bythe color combo and i think it was called almost picasso or something like that. tell me, did you notice a particular smell from this plant? or was it just me smelling that

    1. User avater
      meander_michaele 10/09/2014

      I did a google search on it last night,Jeff, using the tag words "petunia green edged pink" and came up with a selection called 'Pretty Much Picasso" so you came real close to the name. I was surprised to read some blog posts where people had a disappointing experience with it ...based on May's success, it would seem to be a hands down winner. I guess like you, she has that "secret sauce" thing going on where plants decide to grow and look as wonderful as possible!

      1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

        Michaele, thanks for finding its name. I would use it again. It grew very quickly, especially after the deer trampled the container, smashing the geranium and causing me to rearrange the plants that survived. For a while, it dominated the container, however, it did suddenly go downhill about a week ago. Time to go plant shopping!

    2. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

      Jeff, I didn't notice any particular smell that I can recall. Not even a fragrance, which some petunias have. But the container also had a geranium, with its particular scent and a fragrant dianthus.

  8. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/09/2014

    May, these are such works of art! The containers brimming with plants look like floral centerpieces for the dining room table, and are wonderfully balaced by single specimens, like the eucomis in that elegant, shiny black pot. Do you know what the ghostly silver succulent is, on the table in the off-white pot? A kalanchoe? Love it!
    Someone should let that cool frog know about his camoflage-failure! :)

    1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

      Thank you Tim! I just did a search through my photos to see if I could find a name for that succulent. It was labelled Kalanchoe pumila, blooming in May with clusters of pink blossoms. Oh oh, I guess I'll have to move it indoors if I want to keep it.

      Froggie played hide-and-seek with me. He would pop up in the most unexpected places, rarely in a good spot for a photo, but I could often hear him even if I couldn't see him.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/09/2014

        Thanks so much for the ID! cheers

  9. greengenes 10/09/2014

    Hi May! Oh what a great sight to wake up to! Its all so lush and full of color! I grew those same petunias this time around. I love the colors of it.Your deck seems to really have a tropical vibe and would be fun to sit and sip and share gardening with some one else. All the colors seem to just make a wonderful place. It would be fun for whoever could, to be able to meet up somewhere and share and maybe go on some garden tours! Are you going to go to next years "Flower and Garden" show in Seattle? Thanks for brightening up my morning!

    1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

      Jeanne, how perfect that we chose the same petunia! Do you have photos? I love your garden and everything that you have in it - beautiful and fun! Thank you for liking mine! It would be fun to meet and talk plants. I am definitely thinking of going to next year's "Flower and Garden Show" in Seattle. We'll have to arrange something, with Cherry and others who are not too far away.

  10. user-5829577 10/09/2014

    May, these photos are fabulous. I viewed your past photos and loved the evolution that your garden made - one picture more inviting than the next. I have trouble with containers as some years they are just flops but will keep in mind the way you went about deciding on plant combinations. Obviously, you have an artistic eye because visualizing sitting on your deck area stimulates all senses (the taste being the cup of morning coffee). The frog, an added bonus. You can tell that you love your space and in past photos the way you combine shrubs is as artful as your containers. Thank you for sharing.

    1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

      Thank you! Ah, if all the containers were successful! I'm often glad I don't do this for a living, When a combination flops I can just re-do with something else and don't have to face a disappointed client! Just smile and keep on trying. And take photos of the ones that did work!

  11. user-5829577 10/09/2014

    Michelle, The first day you split the photos with text I thought it was done. After I caught on, I like the format. It gives a minute to think, read. Change is good - keeps one on their toes.

  12. user-7006958 10/09/2014

    Lovely! Just lovely!

    1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

      Thanks Daniela! I love your blog!

  13. christianesterges 10/09/2014

    a splendid show ... Lucky you ... here in Brussels it's a windy , rainy autumn already !

    1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

      Yes, lucky to have a long summer. Our rain is coming, we hope! It has been too dry for too long! If only we could share the rainfall as easily as we share our gardens.

  14. Nurserynotnordstroms 10/09/2014

    Good morning May,oh my your pots are so inspiring and yes when you look close at all of the photos you can see you were playing musical pots. I too love the little stone pot I have been doing hypertufa but only have one potted up, the rest were all ornaments for the gardens. We were fortunate to have had a lovely summer like you but it was difficult for a few plants. We had a new neighbor take down some trees and changed how much sun we get in our yard. We will have to adjust next year. Do you remove and store all of your empty pots when your annuals are finished or remove and replace plants through the fall? And oh to have a a real plant enthusiast (partner in crime) at the nursery with me. Someone to help me justify just why I need one more plant. May your gardens are overwhelmingly beautiful thank you for letting me peek into your private space.

    1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

      Hi Nurserynotnordstrom, so sorry, I have always been terrible at remembering names! It is so nice to be able to share with fellow enthusiasts and discuss the whys and wherefores! This summer was challenging in the lack of moisture and higher temperatures. I think some plants just got steamed rather than refreshed by the extra watering! Good luck with the extra sunlight, more reasons to shop! And often, established plants will cope with a change.

      I too love the natural hypertufa/concrete look and finally went to a class to get some pointers. I had done a small birdbath on my own years ago. Now I have made several decorative items and hope to make lots of rustic containers for succulents. Hey Jeff, I would gladly partake in an exchange of garden pots and ornaments - when you want a new look, exchange instead of buy.

      My gardening methods are quite haphazard. I do make plans to remove, clean and store my empty pots at the end of the season - and that rarely happens. Instead, I either see something I like and empty a pot to make room for it, or something gets very ratty looking and gets tossed when I finally notice. I end up with a few empty pots in the late fall, but then like to fill them with peatmoss and stick in odds and ends of decorative branches and the occasional temporary 4" pot of pansies, decorative peppers, or other colourful seasonal teasers.

      1. sheila_schultz 10/09/2014

        I'm sooo relieved to know that I am not the only container lover that doesn't scrub and disinfect the pots at the end of the season. I know I should and keep telling myself I will... then I get over it! Whew...

      2. Nurserynotnordstroms 10/10/2014

        Yes I am the queen of forgetting names,doesn't bother me in the least. I need to get out this weekend and move some things in we have lots of rain coming. I love this forum being able to talk garden. Thanks for the reply, enjoy these amazing fall days and the fall smells

  15. annek 10/09/2014

    Mmmmm, just luscious May. The Frog looks like he belongs on a National Geographic special, he's so vibrant on the dark colocasia leaf. And the strawflowers! I love their happy faces and textural feel. What an inviting patio! What is that lovely leafed vine (?) growing over your arbor? Even your umbrella whispers floral love. More, I would love to see more!

    1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

      Thanks AnneK! The frog was actually quite a wise fellow. He realized that the Colocasia leaf would catch the morning dew and it would flow to the middle where he sat, before dripping off the bottom. The sun had just reached him when I noticed him sitting there. The vine over the arbor is a pale purple Wisteria sinensis. I do love it, but would never, ever plant one so close to the house again. It does battle with Clematis armandii and rose 'New Dawn' to see who will be on top! Every time I think of painting the structure, I get distracted by pruning one of them instead.

      1. annek 10/10/2014

        Ha! I can just see the speared leaves of the wisteria battling with the twining clematis and thorned rose...a battle for sure!

      2. annek 11/13/2014

        Ha! Chore creep, for sure

        1. GrannyMay 11/13/2014

          Yes! But I MUST paint it next summer. It's funny how your eye can skip over things that you don't want to see, but the camera does not.

          1. annek 11/14/2014

            Truer words were never spoken! Would love to see your painting!

          2. GrannyMay 11/14/2014

            Ooops! I meant I need to clean the structure and give it a coat of paint! I'm definitely not an artist, but yes, if I were, I would do a painting of this scene as my eye, not the camera, prefers to see it.

  16. sheila_schultz 10/09/2014

    Oh May, your combinations are positively delicious! I think when there is a thread of a specific color running through large groupings of containers, it makes the whole space so comfortable and inviting. Then add to that all the different plants, textures, shapes and sizes... you really created a paradise on your patio! Isn't it just a kick to wander thru the nursery and find 'the' plant that inspires you? Then you get to wander the aisles for the next hour or few and find companions! I start smiling when those 'aha' moments occur ;) Your work is beautiful, May!

    1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

      Well, I had to take a break from enjoying all the great comments to walk the dog.... Lacey does a wonderful job of trying to keep assorted critters from munching on my favourites. Sheila, you are most deservedly the queen of containers, so any approval from you is doubly precious! We share the joy and the passion and I definitely learn new things each time you post your photos. Thank you!

      1. sheila_schultz 10/09/2014

        You make me blush, May, especially since I took some notes for next year from your photos ;) Wish I could go nursery hopping with you, we'd get into such trouble and have way too much fun!!!
        Most times, all it takes is seeing a plant thru another set of eyes, then the possibilities just explode and we can make it ours! A different plant here, a different texture there... that's the fun for me, and I'm guessing it's the same for most of us that like to paint with plants.

  17. schatzi 10/09/2014

    Lush and lovely! Gorgeous form, color and texture contrasts. That adorable little green frog (we call them green tree frogs around here for some reason) is quite common in the PNW. We often see them and hear them calling to each other. I once found one 6' up in a dahlia flower! They don't seem to care about camoflage. And don't ask me how it got there, but it did. I really disliked Picasso until I saw what you did with it, May. Absolutely beautiful container combination, in all its iterations. And as much as I love succulents, it never occurred to me to combine them with geraniums etc. An idea I will have to copy. It is too beautiful not to. We should all plan to meet at the Seattle Flower and Garden Show next Feb. So many of us live in the PNW that it should be doable. And what fun to actually meet and talk with each other. Great idea, Jeanne. Let's work on that. And anyone else who can make the trip is welcome too. It is a great show - one of the biggest in the US. Michelle, I too like the commentary up front, but the new format is so fabulous that I'm easy - any way you want it.

    1. GrannyMay 10/09/2014

      Hi Shirley, thank you! GPOD really is one of the nicest way to learn about gardening and gardeners! I love that we have so much in common and can enjoy what others have done. It inspires and renews us. I've been smiling for hours, reading all the wonderful comments. I do hope we can meet at the Seattle show.

  18. Meelianthus 10/09/2014

    Goodmorning May ~ I view your gorgeous pots and feel as if summer is still in full swing ! You have an amazing creativity and love of colors that is just beautiful. I don't know what more can be said after all the incredible comments by GPODers. I am crazy about the purples in your first photo - purple being my favorite color (must be my age!). I share your feelings about selecting at the nursery. It is such a special time to just let your mind wander and dream of color combinations. I spend hours and hours at the nurseries and never tire of looking - of course my dreaming far out paces the space in my gardens!! Oh well.
    Your deck is such a wonderful spot, you brought amazing life to it. Thanks for sharing and maybe I will see you at the NW Garden Show. ^_^

    1. GrannyMay 10/10/2014

      This has been so much fun. Responding to wonderful comments is a lovely way to spend your time! The sun is shining, the temperature got up to 20 C./ 68 F. again and it does NOT feel like fall. I love purple too, always did, and now that I'm 71, feel free to combine it with a lot of other colours in whatever way my mood dictates. I can just image a group of GPODers let loose together in a great nursery. Happy chaos! Of course the same thing could happen at the NW Garden Show. Hope it works out.

      1. Meelianthus 10/10/2014

        Yes GrannyMay, I hope it works out too. That would be fun. We are the same age so both of us have been gardening for many moons. Isn't it a great way to spend time. I never tire of gardens and just love seeing others creations. Thanks GrannyMay

  19. user-7007140 10/09/2014

    Yummy! More gorgeous containers to ooh! And aaa ah! over. Very creative and beautiful, May, so glad you shared these. I love that you are able to move the pots around to create new areas of art. So clever.
    Another "gotta save this" for my deeper study. This past month has provided us all with so much inspiration.
    Love GPODers.

    1. GrannyMay 10/10/2014

      Thanks Eddi! I love GPODers too. I now look for lightweight pots to make life a little easier. The pot-lifter, mentioned a few days ago, is a wonderful tool, but it still takes 2 people to use. Most of my friends are my vintage (i.e. NOT young!) so I don't like to ask for help if I can avoid it. I made a plywood gizmo on four large casters that I can tilt down, shove the pot onto it, then roll to where I want it. Even so, the large pots don't travel around as much as the smaller ones!

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 10/10/2014

        I know what you mean May, about finding lightweight containers more appealing as we get a little (ha, a lot) older. I have taken to painting plastic or fiberglass types a color I like if the original color doesn't seem attractive to me. I've been on a teal kick lately and have enjoyed putting pot groupings together with tones of teal as my unifier.

        1. GrannyMay 10/10/2014

          Good idea! So often I like the shape, but not the colour. Can you recommend a particular brand or type of paint? And do you have to prepare the surface first? I've been toying with the idea of making Hypertufa pot-covers, i.e. making standard pot size (1 gal., 2 gal, etc.) hypertufa pot shapes that you just slip your actual nursery pot into. Of course they would be heavy, but I like the look of them.

          1. User avater
            meander_michaele 10/10/2014

            I've been buying the little sample size of Behr paint with primer (from Home Depot) that has on the label it is ok for interior/exterior. That way I can look at color chips and have it custom mixed. I must admit that I don't do any surface prep since this stuff already has primer in it. I spray the finished job with a clear protectant. I will report in next spring on how they lasted through the winter since I am leaving them outdoors.
            Love your idea for the hyperturfa pot-covers! We sure know that hyperturfa can withstand the elements.

  20. schatzi 10/10/2014

    One more comment on the frog.The National Audubon Society field guide to the Pacific Northwest calls it the Pacific tree frog, Hyla regilla. Plain green, reddish or brown, with dark brown spots and irregular stripes. I have seen them in both green and brown, and occasionally will see a bright green one with copper stripe down each side of its back. truly a beautiful frog. and the most common frog in the PNW. Isn't it nice that the critters enjoy our gardens too.

  21. jeannetrimble 10/10/2014

    Wonderful garden! Then the little frog just took it over the top for me. Thanks for the great pictures. You made my day!

  22. NevadaSue 10/10/2014

    May, I love your garden! :) The lushness and beauty is amazing. I've been on Vancouver Island and I Know it is a wonderful place to grow gardens. Your creativity makes this garden shine. Thanks so much for sharing and I would love to see more anytime.

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