Garden Photo of the Day

Azaleas, Ferns, and More Spring Favorites

Stars of the season in Ohio

My name is Luana Carpenter from Massillon, Ohio. I think for those of us living in colder climates the anticipation of spring is such an exciting time—watching plants emerge from the ground and grow by leaps and bounds, and buds slowly opening overnight.

I want to share a few of my favorite spring blooms from my garden. Alliums are one of my favorite spring flowers, as well as the delicate flowers of aquilegias and Solomon’s seal.

One of my favorite azaleas is ‘Golden Lights’, with its yellow-orange blooms—a real standout next to the soft pink azaleas.

The ostrich ferns and hostas seem to grow overnight, and the garden pond comes back to life with the fish and frogs out of their winter slumber. Soon we’ll see toads laying their eggs and hundreds of tadpoles emerging.

Birds have been busy building nests in boxes, shrubs, and trees. I’m already seeing fledgling birds learning to fly. It’s a happy time!

Delicate columbines (Aquilegia vulgaris, Zones 3–8)

Water features are always a hit in gardens with humans, but they are especially so with the frogs, toads, and other animals that live in and around them.

The birds living in these houses have a pretty great neighborhood, backed up by huge flowering azaleas, including Luana’s favorite ‘Golden Lights’.

Pure garden magic. This mixture of shrubs and perennials with great foliage and flowers is just amazing.

Close-up of Azalea ‘Golden Lights’. This hybrid deciduous azalea was developed at the University of Minnesota and is impressively cold-hardy in Zones 3–7.

A tapestry of shade perennials, with the fronds of the Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum, Zones 4–9) providing great contrast to the broad, green hosta leaves.

Ornamental onions (Allium sp.) are the fireworks of the spring garden.

Looking across the garden through a cloud of flowering allium.

Huge ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthopteris, Zones 3–7) taking center stage.

A final wide view of the garden, with ample seating area, the pond backed by ostrich ferns, and paths leading on to more beauty beyond.


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View Comments


  1. garden1953 05/27/2019

    One of the prettiest gardens I’ve seen. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. hummerlu 05/27/2019

      Thank you

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 05/27/2019

    Those columbines & that water feature are amazing! So very pretty!

    1. hummerlu 05/27/2019

      I love columbines too, they seed all over but thats ok. My daughter called them "fairy flowers" when she was little.

  3. cwalda 05/27/2019

    The alliums are spectacular! You have a lovely garden with wonderful diversity of plants. ?

    1. hummerlu 05/27/2019

      Thank you, just love Alliums. Have some shorter larger blooming ones just getting ready to bloom, can't wait! There are just so many wonderful plants out there and I've worked hard to get as many in my garden as I

  4. paiya 05/27/2019

    Luana, we feel like you do- it is so exciting to watch “ old friends” re-emerge after the winter ! Your garden is luxuriant and diverse, and we enjoyed “wandering” through it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. hummerlu 05/27/2019

      Thank you, I hope to share again when the garden really gets blooming. "old friends", thats exactly what our plants and gardens are.

  5. User avater
    simplesue 05/27/2019

    I'm inspired & impressed with that little bit of paradise you have created! Love what you have done! And finally I have been able to ID a mystery orange azalea I have thanks to you! What a great habitat for all the little creatures in nature! Just wonderful! Your water feature is so natural looking, something that is not that easy to accomplish, but you did it!

    1. hummerlu 05/27/2019

      Thank you so much, we love the pond too. It's been in a long time and we've made several changes through the years but I always wanted to try to keep it natural looking. We have toad tadpoles right now. Fun to watch. Don't you just love the Azalea!

  6. btucker9675 05/27/2019

    Your daughter was right - fairy flowers, indeed! Thanks for sharing your marvelous garden.

    1. hummerlu 05/27/2019

      Thank you

  7. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/27/2019

    Your garden is a delight, Luana. It's filled with wonderful plants, fun whimsical touches and comfy seating areas. What's not to love. I always get a stab of allium envy when I see them looking so healthy and being such happy garden inhabitants. Have yours spread a bit on their own or did you artfully place them so they look like a naturalized colony?

    1. hummerlu 05/27/2019

      The Alliums have spread on their own, they've been in a long time. The critters move them around and they pop up in other beds in the Spring. I have some taller and deeper purple Alliums in a front bed and some shorter larger blooming ones just coming into bloom in front of the Azaleas. I just love them, just wish they bloomed longer

  8. carolineyoungwilliams 05/29/2019

    Luana, Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden. I love the flowers but I really enjoyed your area for the birds and that you included water. A win Win situation for you and all of God's creatures.

  9. User avater
    CynthiaDow 07/09/2019

    It's Awesome!

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