My name is Cheryl Henley. I have been gardening in the heavy, rocky, clay soils of the Wasatch Mountain foothills at about 4000 feet for 30 years. My husband and I live on the eastern side of the range, so days are shorter even on the longest summer days as the sun plummets behind the mountains. But the beautiful mountains and clean air, as well as the little creek running in front of our house, make the short-season and short-day challenges so worth it. I love taking garden photos, so I have way too many, but thought I would send some of last spring in anticipation of the next season to come.
Every year as the snow starts to melt I announce to my husband that this year the garden will be disciplined for sure! But alas, the borders and beds remain jumbled like the wild hawthorns and oaks growing all around them (so much shade), pretty but invasive plants try to take over, and some plants just can’t take the dry air, intense sunlight, and Zone 5 cold. Also, I neglect the “lawn” and keep working to eliminate grass completely. And dandelions abound, early food for bees.
Some years snow doesn’t melt until May, but last year it started to clear early in late March, and crocuses (Crocus sieberi ‘Tricolor’ Zones 3–9) made their brave entrance.
Happily speading Scilla siberica (Zones 2–8) pop up through native gambel oak (Quercus gambelii, Zones 4–8) leaves around a more intentional group of ‘Tete-a-Tete’ daffodils. Peach-leaved campanulas (Campanula persicifolia, Zones 3–7) are also coming up. They spread like a ground cover with tall stems of blue and white bellflowers later in the spring.
Hellebores carry on their show in the narrow shady garden behind the house. Behind them loom masses of Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ (Zones 3–7) started from three small plants. Beyond the ‘Jack Frost’ are some hyacinths and epimediums. Some dandelion leaves embarrass us from the right photo edge.
Primroses do pretty well and don’t seem to mind the clay.
New yellow tulips came up in early May for their debut season.
One of my favorite shrubs, Darts Gold ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius, Zones 3–7), lights things up with some daffodils and ‘Princess Irene’ tulips.
The purity of apple blossoms—it’s easy to tell they are in the rose family.
The new yellow tulips evolved into this glowing warmth as they opened. Amazing!
Lovely wiry epimediums (probably Epimedium × warylense ‘Orange Queen’, Zones 5–8) slowly spread. This silvery dead nettle (Lamiastrum galeobdolon ‘Herman’s Pride’, Zones 4–9) stays in a polite clump with nice yellow flowers.
Snowdrops (Galanthus) by our oldest homemade rustic bench.
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.
If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.
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.
Get our latest tips, how-to articles, and instructional videos sent to your inbox.