Garden Photo of the Day

An Art Teacher’s Garden

Combining colors and textures with a professional eye

Today we’re visiting with Nancy Clark.

I’ve been gardening since 1986 and have a 3-acre shrub-and-perennial garden situated on a 16-acre property. As a retired high school art teacher, I’m still trying to apply design principles to my garden.

bulbs shrubs and perennialsPerennials, shrubs, and bulbs are all mixed together here, with a large blue-glazed container in the middle as a focal point.

asiatic liliesThis is the same part of the garden, seen from the other side a little later in the season. Annuals are now growing in the blue container, and Asiatic lilies (Lilium hybrids, Asiatic group, Zones 4–9) that were just foliage in the previous photo are now coming into bloom.

Bears breechesBear’s breeches (Acanthus mollis, Zones 7–10) has bold, glossy leaves and tall spires of white-and-purple flowers. Here the dark colors of the flowers show off all the better for being planted in front of a brilliantly yellow-foliaged barberry (Berberis thunbergii, Zones 4–8).

begoniasA rich planting of foliage in a variety of colors and textures provides a wonderful backdrop to this planter of showy begonias (Begonia hybrid, annual).

green gardenIt is easy to see Nancy’s background as an art teacher at work in the garden in its expert combination of different textures, heights, and points of color that glow against the green background.

pink gladiolusStandard garden design advice is to put taller plants in the back and shorter ones in the front, but this is a great example of why it can be great to mix it up. Here, taller gladiolus (Gladiolus hybrids, Zones 8–10 or as tender bulbs) in the foreground frame the shorter plants behind them without blocking the view.

coleus in a potThis gorgeous coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides, Zone 11 or as annual) looks like it might be the variety ‘Redhead’. Nancy has allowed it to have even more impact in the garden by planting it in a tall container set up on a plinth to give it more height.

wide view of gardenNeatly mown paths lead you on to explore.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 01/11/2021

    Really beautiful! Going to have to come back later & really study the individual pics.

  2. User avater
    user-7007816 01/11/2021

    Your gardens are absolutely stunning, some of finest presented in this series.

  3. sheila_schultz 01/11/2021

    Nancy, your richly layered designs are like eye candy. They could not be more beautiful and intriguing. You must smile everyday as you gaze out your windows!

  4. PG20 01/11/2021

    Beautiful. Love how a coleus can stand alone and be such a statement.

  5. User avater
    cynthia2020 01/11/2021

    Hi, Nancy. I like all of the trees and shrubs. I love all of the green with the different heights and textures. The judicious use of bright flowers, foliage, and ceramics is so pleasant to look at. Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden with us.

  6. coastalgardener 01/11/2021

    Your artistic creativity really shows in this lovely garden. Thanks for sharing it.

  7. User avater
    simplesue 01/11/2021

    Ohhhhh, your garden is what I'm trying to achieve but in a tiny urban yard..I .love what you did here- it's perfection!!!
    I'm a retired illustrator and graphic artist and you have inspired me!

  8. blondie3 01/11/2021

    I Love the path, I find it so inviting to wander through a garden and see what there is to see. Thank you for sharing.

  9. cheryl_c 01/11/2021

    Wonderful and out of the ordinary plant choices and ways of displaying them. I love the Bear's Breeches backed by the yellow fine barberry foliage. Your glads are wonderful punctuation marks! Thanks so much for sharing.

  10. poest 01/11/2021

    The Acanthus in the picture is not a Mollis. It is either a Spinosis or a Hungaricus, or perhaps of another type. Mollis has fat leaves w/o the fine texture.

  11. btucker9675 01/11/2021

    Absolutely beautiful garden artistry!!!

  12. user-5117752 01/11/2021

    Ohhhh, I like that "garden artistry"!!! I think those words say it all!!! Thank you, Nancy, for taking the time to share with us all!!!

  13. NATIVE_HAVENS 01/11/2021

    Really beautiful work! You have such an eye for form, texture, color, etc. That narrow upright Boxwood is too cool. I wish I had you as an art teacher!

  14. User avater
    bdowen 01/11/2021

    I love the title for your "Art Teacher's Garden". Your eye certainly shows up in the colors, arrangements of plants and the light as you took your photos. I've found there is a big difference between my own "teacher's garden" when school kept me busy until summer and called me back in August when the garden was still growing. A retired art teachers' garden is a year round gift.

  15. DallasPlantLover 01/14/2021

    Wow! Just wow! Your gardens are an absolutely gorgeous inspiration. Thank you for sharing them with us. 😍

  16. User avater
    Betty_Coggins 02/09/2021

    How beautiful it looks

  17. User avater
    Betty_Coggins 02/09/2021

    I definitely support this idea with the garden. At once it is visible that the person who is familiar with art made out it. Honestly, I also love art. And I like to browse various services on the Internet. Because it can be useful. I am a writer but not everyone has a knack for writing and my colleague with whom we discussed gardening asked me for advice on a writing service. And I boldly advised him a service which collected all possible reviews of writing services. I liked the papersowlcom review. The review is very informative and properly designed. We can say that it is almost as beautiful as this garden.

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