Garden Photo of the Day

Beauty in the Pacific Northwest

By Kim Charles

Cherry Ong sends an infusion of fall beauty from British Columbia, Canada.


"I'm sharing some October photos of my fall garden.  It took me a long time to see the beauty of fall. I have GPOD especially to thank for this eye opener though I admit I still struggle to find the beauty especially when nonstop rain takes over in my Pacific Northwest garden and everything turns to mush. Like Jeff, I am ready to fast forward to Spring already.  Anyway, thanks for keeping all of us focused and happy with gardens all over the world during these dreary months.  I surely appreciate it!"


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  1. jeffgoodearth 12/02/2016

    All beautiful as always,Cherry! I love fall with the intense colors and full bounty of what the garden has produced after a good season. Not sure how I would handle non stop rain though. I will, however, be ready for spring again on 26 December

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Me too. I'm toughing it out till the winter solstice... and then the daylight increases and I know I will be ok. Otherwise, I'd consider putting grow lights on myself too. Thanks very much for all that you have taught me and all that you will be teaching me in the future. I am not the same gardener that I am without your guidance. Wishing you the happiest of holidays my friend!

  2. user-3565112 12/02/2016

    Good morning Cherry, Every plant in your photos looks terrific & the Calicarpa stands out. I took my granddaughters to a small gift shop called the Calico Cat & Sophia saw that plant & loved it. In the 3rd. photo from the bottom is that an ornamental pepper ? I hope you get a break in the weather and are able to spend some time outside enjoying your garden. Good luck, Joe

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Thanks Joe. I have no regrets planting that Callicarpa. She seems to get more beautiful with each passing year, just like a fine bottle of wine. The third photo from the bottom is Sarcococca ruscifolia, sweetbox. It is situated by the front entrance and has a lovely vanilla fragrance right in the middle of winter when it flowers. Perfect to welcome guests to the home. Winter is a welcome break so that I can cook during the holidays but we hope to snowshoe and see some majestic local scenery this winter. Happy Holidays to you and yours Joe!

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 12/02/2016

    Hi, Cherry, so great to enjoy some photos from your fall garden. For some reason, I'm particularly captivated by the positioning of the large leaves of what Diane has identified as a ligularia. They look like an elegant metal birdbath sculpture. And, in that same, your hydrangea blooms up in the right hand corner still have so much color...such a warm dusky pink. Mine have all transitioned to beige, tan and other words...dried and dead. Your garden is such a wonderful tapestry of texture and color.

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Thanks Michaele. First of all, how's your recovery? I hope all is well. Second, just like chocolate, I haven't met a ligularia that I don't like. Here's a photo of one of its last foliage hurrahs. That hydrangea you are my neighbor's - quite a great borrowed view when you have a picket fence it between. I do have hydrangeas but the transition to decaying colors varies with the species and locations of the shrubs.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 12/03/2016

        What a beauty...even in its waning days. I love all the subtle variations of it this color all through summer?
        Thanks for asking about my recovery. I'm doing darned good and am happily back outside doing my fall gardening chores.

        1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

          It's a like kelly green topside with a dark burgundy underside and veining through summer.

          Glad you are "darned good." I wouldn't have it any other way. Your positive spirit likely has a lot to do with it.

  4. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/02/2016

    Good grief, how large is that beautyberry? I live in the deep south and have the native in a pot so I can keep it watered. But oh my, how beautiful yours is.

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      I think it's about 8 feet tall right now. I do not cut it down for the winter but we do trim it when it is overpowering its neighbors. Thank you treasuremom and happy holidays!

  5. Chris_N 12/02/2016

    As the days get shorter and colder, photos of gardens like yours help keep me going. The beauty berry is indeed beautiful. What is the variegated plant with the pink inflorescence in the third photo?

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/02/2016

      Skimmia 'Magic Marlot'. Impossible to find. Not hardy enough for us inlanders.
      :( I want it anyway.

      1. NCYarden 12/02/2016

        Ha, so true. I tried Skimmia for years. I swear I moved those 2 plants a billion times hoping to land the magic spot. The real magic came when I finally accepted the truth and yanked the last little twigs and leaves. Aaahhh no more worrying.

        1. User avater
          Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/02/2016

          That is always a sad and freeing day when one has to acknowledge reality!

        2. User avater
          LindaonWhidbey 12/02/2016

          Oh, I'm so glad that I'm not the only Skimmia mover. It's the most well traveled plant in our garden:)

    2. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Thanks Chris. Tim is right on - that is Skimmia Magic Marlot. I've been researching how you guys can bring them across. Will let you know when I successfully figure it out.

      1. Chris_N 12/03/2016

        Thanks, Tim and Cherry for the ID. I don't feel so bad about not recognizing it. Almost every reference to it I found was from the UK which usually means that it likes cool, moist climates, ie, not the Midwest.

        1. perenniallycrazy 12/04/2016

          But don't you live in the PNW?

          1. Chris_N 12/04/2016

            I'm in Wisconsin which is closer to the Atlantic Northeast than the Pacific Northwest although really nowhere near either. :-)

          2. perenniallycrazy 12/06/2016

            I'm trying to think who else is in Wisconsin. I think I got you confused with Chris in Seattle. Sorry about that, but I am always happy to make a new gardening friend. Happy Holidays! Hope we can all meet at a garden show sometime in the future.

  6. Jay_Sifford 12/02/2016

    Good morning Cherry. I enjoyed these photos very much. As always, I'm impressed with your understanding and implementation of garden juxtaposition. My eye was also drawn to the ligularia. I do pretty well with the farfugiums, but wish I could grow ligularias. They wilt and melt here in our summer heat and humidity.
    I find great philosophical insight in my garden that migrates over into my personal life. My garden is my best teacher. I've learned to live in the moment and to savor the unique experiences that each day bring my way. I say this because I too used to want to skip over fall and winter. My garden has taught me that there is beauty in each moment, each day, and each season. For that lesson I am grateful.
    Enjoy your winter, my friend.

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Awwww Jay. So so true! Your comments only show how much wisdom and integrity you have as a designer and as a human being. I respect your philosophy and patience and have learned from them time and again. I hope you are able to share photos of your beautiful garden this winter... I am looking forward to seeing those conifers rule.

      Happy Holidays Jay! Time for me to swtich hats now to holiday cook. Regards.

  7. NCYarden 12/02/2016

    Good morning, Cherry. From these photos I find it hard to believe you struggled to find excitement and beauty in you wonderful garden. I am completely delighted looking at these. As usual it is a treat to see it displayed. I am mesmerized by your must have the most prolific plants in the NW. And love those "cranberry-coffee beans" (haha) of the Sweetbox...such a little trooper in the garden. There is much to be enjoyed obviously in your garden...each season gives us something, which makes the daily stroll most interesting. It sharpens our eye to the hidden beauty even when we will feel it all looks lean and tired - it's in there. Thanks for sharing.

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Gosh David, thanks very much for your kind words. My garden is way small compared to yours and I've had to look to closer and closer during the colder months of fall and winter for anything beautiful and living. I guess the drive to garden is stronger than ever thanks to all of you so one must find more ways to enjoy the outdoors. I'm looking forward to seeing your winter garden and its gorgeous bones. Enjoy your rest... I will be switching to cooking for the holidays now. Hope you have a fun filled one!

  8. greengenes 12/02/2016

    What a wonderful surprise Cherry! Everything sure looks green and lush in your garden! But yes, the rain... it is hard to cope with at times and makes one yearn for spring! There is beauty in everything it just makes us look at things a little differently than we have before. Your skimma sure has kept its good looks! Thanks for sharing!

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Thanks Jeanne. If I can only bring you some Skimmia..... I will continue to research and scheme and when the time is right, it just may happen. Thank you for continuing to inspire us with your garden, your garden design and your DIY garden projects... my hats off to ya! Happy Holidays to you and Robin!

  9. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/02/2016

    What a treat today, Cherry. Great photos. I'm especially enjoying some of the broader views today. Your Skimmia 'Magic Marlot' is like an enormous diamond in your jewel-encrusted garden: such an eye-catcher.
    My prejudice against fall was part dread of winter and part delusion that it was somehow too fleeting to care. Coming home from work in the dark didn't help. But somehow realizing that fall was no less fleeting than spring, and having a garden so full of spring ephemerals, helped my brain to make the switch and open my eyes. Winter interest is the next step, although there is still a part of me that thinks I care about winter interest in the garden when I am snug in my house about as much as I care about nighttime interest in the garden when I am asleep...... :)

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Well Tim, you read my mind for sure. I surely feel what you feel about the fleetiness of fall and the frigidity of winter, but then like you I long and love to garden so I had to open my eyes to more possibilities and time to do so. My hubby added spotlights to the garden 2 winters ago and it has really cheered us up a lot during these dark and wet months. I should send you some photos sometime.

      Thanks very much for teaching me a world of learning in the gardening world and beyond. I truly hope we meet each other some day soon. Happy Holidays!

      1. digginWA 12/03/2016

        Cherry, we have landscape lighting in our front beds and I firmly believe it is the only way to survive these dark latitudes. It expands one's sense of space outward beyond the wet glass, into what is a dark morass without it. Thinking now of splurging on a set of lights in the back beds.

        1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

          Wow Tia! I love it!

          1. digginWA 12/05/2016

            Thanks, Cherry. Just want to point out the lonicera, propagated by Miss Greengenes herself.

          2. perenniallycrazy 12/06/2016


        2. User avater
          meander_michaele 12/03/2016

          Gorgeous effect.

          1. digginWA 12/05/2016

            Thanks, Michaele. The intent was to light the pot, of course, but the shadow of the heron cast on the house was a surprise bonus effect. I hadn't planned on leaving it there but now I have to!

          2. User avater
            meander_michaele 12/05/2016

            Oh, yes, I would feel the same is too pretty not to keep year round.

        3. User avater
          Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/05/2016

          Beautiful, Tia. Are you able to leave Fuchsia autumnale out all winter? I know cooler weather certainly brings out the leaf color.

          1. digginWA 12/05/2016

            You know, I didn't think it would survive zone 8b and I cut it back hard last fall, used the cuttings in arrangements, and planned its replacement Then we had a mild winter and it came back in force, making it all the way to the ground this year. Plants are always ready to show us who's really in charge, aren't they?

          2. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/05/2016

            That's amazing, Tia, although I would suspect some hardiness based on its response when I leave my containers out until the last minute!
            Plants definitely tell us who's in charge, although mine often do so by dying...... :)

  10. user-4691082 12/02/2016

    I am so used to seeing your containers, that I was surprised to see your actual gardens! Beautiful! I also have had no luck with skimmias. The place I had them was shady, but a little too wet. I have never seen or heard of the cultivar you have. Yummy...

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Thank you Rhonda. My garden was featured years back on GPOD and I thought everyone was pretty tired of seeing it so I don't really send photos of it anymore: Since then, I've run out of real estate so I focus on containers or plant and help with my friends' gardens. I wonder what hardiness zone you're at? There are always other perennials that shine in hardiness zones similar to yours. I usually look to perennials grown in Japan as our climate is similar so perhaps you can look into a country that has a similar climate to yours for inspirational plants. I'd love to see your garden so I hope you share some photos soon (if I missed them, please send me the link...) Happy Holidays!

      1. user-4691082 12/04/2016

        Thanks Cherry. I'm a little dim about computer things, so I don't know how to send a link! LOL! You have to remember that some of us have only joined in the last couple of years, so we never got to see those amazing before and afters. Please send photos again in the spring!

        1. perenniallycrazy 12/06/2016

          Will do but we make a deal that you will do the same...that way it will be twice as much fun. Happy Holidays!

  11. user-7007498 12/02/2016

    Hi Cherry. Great to see pictures of your garden again. The 2nd photo really shows off your talent as a gardener. Fantastic collection. Really love the last photo of the Callicarpa under planted with the Euphorbia. Hopefully the rain slows down in the PNW. We just received 2 inches of rain slowly over 2 days this week (first rain since September 6).

    Thanks for sharing your garden

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Thanks Kevin. We only had 5 rain free days for the entire month of November. They forecast a storm this weekend so signs do not point to a slowdown, but like I told Sheila, I'm counting the days till the Winter solstice and the days will get longer again. I comfort myself by visiting different nurseries and checking out areas where year round hiking is allowed, weather permitting that is. I'm glad you finally got rain on your end. I can hear your Japanese maples rejoicing! Hope to see your winter garden and its fine bones soon. Happy Holidays!

  12. sheila_schultz 12/02/2016

    Oh Cherry, Cherry, Cherry... you've got this gardening thing down! I've watched your gardens progress and thrive thru the lens of your camera over the years and it's been a tutorial of what to do right when it comes to the use of textures, colors and shapes. Your small spaces are filled to the brim with beautiful lushness. You've learned your lessons well my friend, your gardens are a delight.
    PS The nonstop rain would be really hard to take day in and day out, but it sure is the magical elixir for gardens!

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Thanks very much Sheila. Don't I know how precious water and the rains are given that I grew up in a country where drought rules and water was rationed. I'll be ok afrer the solstice - 19 days to go - woohoo! I hope you do send in photos of your garden migrants. It's always interesting to see everyone's prized collection especially yours, Tim's, Pat's and Jeff's.

      1. sheila_schultz 12/03/2016

        Thanks Cherry... your positive vision for all of us gardeners reawakens the reasons we started digging in the dirt in the first place!

  13. OregonGardenGal 12/02/2016

    Your photos are an inspiration! I love the textures and especially the variegated skimmia, beautyberry, mahonia, and ligularia. Lovely the way you put them together! It's dark and rainy here in Oregon too but we made it through November and I spied a few daffodil leaves and viburnum buds yesterday.

    1. OregonGardenGal 12/02/2016

      Think I imagined the mahonia as I look a second time!

    2. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Thank you Nancy. Lucky for you to have daffodil leaves and viburnum buds already. I think you can grow ANYTHING in Oregon - it is beautiful state. I've been there several times before and each time we visit somewhere new and beautiful. Hope to do the same within the next 2 years. I'll send a shout out to your garden recommendations then. Have a wonderful weekend and happy holidays!

      1. OregonGardenGal 12/04/2016

        Yes. Be sure to let me know when you come down this way. Grace Peterson and I live about 10 miles apart. I am sure we could put our heads together and come up with a pretty good list for you. Happy holidays to you!

        1. perenniallycrazy 12/06/2016

          Oh wow! Double trouble and doubly delightful I'm sure. Thanks for the invite.

  14. schatzi 12/02/2016

    Beautiful as always, Cherry. Great photos as usual. Thanks for sharing.

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Hi Shirley. Thanks very much! How are you and your garden? I must put out a request for photos of your garden or any gardens in your neck of the woods.

  15. edithdouglas 12/02/2016

    Really lovely and nice to see a B.C. garden. Thanks.

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Thank you Edith. Have a wonderful weekend inspite of the rains.

  16. Meelianthus 12/02/2016

    Goodmorning Cherry ~ So nice to see your gardens again, always look forward to all of the interest you have to share. It is difficult to be bright eyed on these dark, dreary, and very wet PNW days so photos are always a welcome site. I don't think I have ever seen such an enormous beauty berry! Soon the Sarcacoca will be in bloom and it does make winter days a bit more enticing - so here's to the "mush" in the PNW, it will make for a great Spring. Thanks Cherry for your Fall beauty.

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Nice to hear from Linda and thank you. I see the 5 rain free days for the entire month of November has dragged you down as well. The way I see it is we're only 19 days closer to the winter solstice and the days will become longer again. I do hope I can make it out to the NWFGS 2017 as with you and the rest of the crew. Fingers and toes crossed! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  17. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 12/02/2016

    Good morning Cherry. It's always a treat to see your garden which looks amazing despite all of the rain this fall. Your second photo demonstrates a melding of plants that we're working toward in our still immature garden. That ligularia is eye catching as is the callicarpa. I also like the cypress by your front door which gives a look of sunshine on these gray fall and winter days. Don't worry, the NW Flower and Garden Show is just around the corner:)

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      I so love the NWFGS! I love the PNW inspite of the rain but I guess having had only 5 days rain free for the entire month of November can be a downer even for any PNW gardener. This was certainly the reason why I changed up my frontyard containers with those paired Thuja Forever Goldies because they really bring that lightness and happiness that northern exposure needed.

      I love any kind of ligularia... I wish I had enough real estate to grow every kind along with ferns and all kinds of leafy shade perennials. I'm almost pretty sure your garden on Whidbey is dreamy and I would love peeks of your immature garden. It certainly brings back fond memories of mine (My garden was a DIY project by me and hubby in 2008-2009).

      Happy Holidays!

  18. user-7007940 12/02/2016

    Beautiful garden. I live in the Seattle area so I am used to the rain as well. I don't mind it at all. I have the same combination of Beauty Berry and Glacier blue euphorbia in my backyard, albeit, my plants are still young. I love the winter interest of the translucent purple berries. And of course, a winter garden can't be without Sarcococca. I have three of those in my garden too. The fragrance is so powerful.

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Right on! We PNW gardeners must stick together. Thank you disqus_JoeAnthony.

  19. Cenepk10 12/02/2016

    What ????? Cant see the beauty??? You have your hands over your eyes ? Amazing, Cherry !!!

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      I've got prescription lenses... and grew up in a tropical country.... that would probably explain why. Thanks Cenepk. Happy Holidays!

  20. tennisluv 12/02/2016

    Cherry, a little late commenting on your lovely garden. Until this year, when I lucked on this Fine Gardening blog, I too did not appreciate the beauty of Autumn. Your garden blows me away. I especially love Callicarpa (Americana?) with the Euphorbia (Silver Swan?). Just have to find a place in my pending garden for both (new 'used' home and garden). With the drought in the southeast (Georgia) I have had to postpone doing anything (time to plan ...) and your garden gives me both pause and ideas.

    1. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

      Thank you Sonya. Sounds to me like you have an exciting garden planning and execution coming soon. I love planting up new gardens and been doing it with friends since I've run out of space to plant on my own. The shrub is likely a Callicarpa Americana or Bodinieri Profusion (I'm sorry I forgot to write it down when we planted the garden bed in 2009). The euphorbia as its feet are characias Glacier Blue. The original ones we planted were characias Tasmanian Tiger but they didn't make it even after replanting a second time around. If it helps you with your planning, the garden bed with the Callicarpa is right beside an Emerald Cedar hedge and the Callicarpa and Euphorbia has fluorished there inspite of it. I'm looking forward to photos of your garden - before and after. Happy Holidays!

      1. tennisluv 12/04/2016

        Actually, since I haven't been able to garden this summer due to our
        severe drought plus getting settled into a new home with all that
        involves, I have learned to enjoy the fruits of others labors. I found
        myself enjoying the plantings at and around my closest neighborhood
        shopping center, many plants still blooming (Knockout Roses,
        Loropetalum, native grasses (species unknown), Cortaderia selloana
        with it's tall white plumes, Taxodium distichum with it's lovely
        changing color), in the late afternoon sun yesterday. Like you, my fingers are itching to be outside playing in the dirt. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

        1. perenniallycrazy 12/06/2016

          Sounds like your garden is the best kind - the one that never quits. I already know that you will have a successful and loved garden given the amount of thought and planning you are giving it. I can't wait to see the transformation. I love before and afters.

  21. perenniallycrazy 12/03/2016

    Thanks Diane. Yes, the ligularia is none other than Britt Marie Crawford, an all time slug favorite. I know what you mean by the Callicarpa during Spring and Summer, but you know how the stars of the garden are.... the spotlight shines on a some with each passing season. Wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays! Spring can't come early enough for me always.

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