Garden Photo of the Day

Betsy’s Georgia Garden

Dreaming of flowery days to come

Large heads of white, round hydrangea flowers

Today we’re visiting Betsy Keith’s garden.

I am a retired teacher who has enjoyed doing lots of catch-up dividing and rearranging of my garden in the past two years. As I eagerly await the arrival of spring here in Marietta, Georgia, I have reflected back on some of the seasonal highlights from the past year. At this time of year, I need to reassure myself that there really will be a burst of color in the landscape in the near future.

Clumps of white daffodils next to a lawnAll is at rest now, but the daffodils will be starting their cheery show soon. This is the variety Narcissus ‘Sir Winston Churchill’ (Zones 5–8).

Cool Wave pansiesHere in the sunny South, we enjoy our pansies and violas (Viola × wittrockiana, cool-season annual) all fall, winter, and spring. These are the ‘Cool Wave’ pansies, which form clumps up to 2 feet wide.

Large white hydrangea flowersAs spring gives way to early summer, the hydrangeas put on their inimitable show in pinks, whites, and blues. I have ‘Annabelle’ (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’, Zones 3–9), ‘Endless Summer’ in both blue and pink, ‘Penny Mac’, ‘Bloomstruck’, ‘Masja’, ‘Wedding Gown’, ‘Queen’s Lace’, ‘Merritt’s Pride’, ‘Merritt Supreme’, and ‘Summer Crush’ (varieties of Hydrangea macrophylla, Zones 5–9).

shade garden with blue hydrangeaEndless Summer’ hydrangeas in blue contrast nicely with the hostas under a vitex tree (Vitex agnus-castus, Zones 6–9).

pale yellow dayliliesAnother early summer delight is the cheery ‘Chicago Gold Strike’ daylilies (Hemerocallis ‘Chicago Gold Strike’, Zones 3–9) that greet guests as they enter the side garden. Typically these bloom from June 1 until late July. They contrast nicely with the ‘Needlepoint’ holly (Ilex cornuta ‘Needlepoint’, Zones 7–9) that they are in front of and echo the golden color of the Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Aurea’ nearby.

White and yellow daisies growing togetherBecky daisies (Leucanthemum × superbum ‘Becky’, Zones 5–8) and ‘Moonbeam’ coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’, Zones 4–9) form a color echo at the entrance to the front garden. Both bloom continuously all summer. The Becky daisies are an excellent cut flower, lasting two weeks in a vase if cut when they first open. They have also remained standing without staking even through hurricane-force winds. They are hard to beat!

yellow lilies growing around a birdfeederYellow lilies (Lilium hybrid, Zones 4–9) put on quite a show for the birds feeding nearby. They reach over 6 feet tall at maturity and bloom for about three weeks. They bloom at the same time as the vitex tree, which provides a feast for the bees.

garden bed at its summer peakThe garden reaches its summer peak when the vitex trees are in their initial full bloom along with the ‘Disco Belle’ hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Disco Belle’, Zones 4–9), roses, Peruvian daffodils (Hymenocallis festalis, Zones 8–10), hydrangeas, hostas in pots, red coleus for depth, and white SunPatiens (Impatiens hawkeri, annual), which glow both day and night.

pink Orienpet lilyThe view from my kitchen window shows an Orienpet lily (Lilium hybrid, perhaps ‘Black Beauty’, Zones 3–8) framing the treeform ‘Limelight’ hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, Zones 3–8) as it comes into bloom. My coffee tastes even better when I get to enjoy newly opened lilies and roses right outside the window. Variegated Japanese iris (Iris ensata ‘Variegata’, Zones 5–9), white SunPatiens, and a couple types of green and white caladiums (Caladium hybrids, Zones 9–10 or as annuals or tender bulbs) echo the white of the ‘Limelight’ and are easily visible at night.

Flower garden with large pink hibiscus flowersA close-up of the west bed shows the ‘Disco Belle’ hibiscus in full bloom as well as the Peruvian daffodils, red coleus, ‘David’ phlox (Phlox paniculata ‘David’, Zones 4–8), SunPatiens, and blue agapanthus (Agapanthus hybrid, Zones 8–10). The back of the border features papyrus (Cyperus involucratus, Zones 8–12), which reaches over 6 feet by the end of the summer. A coral bark maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’, Zones 5–9) adds wonderful texture and color all season.

A garden path lined with yellow grassesOne of my first projects after retirement was to divide my ‘Pee Dee Gold Ingot’ liriope (Liriope muscari ‘Pee Dee Gold Ingot’, Zones 6–10) and extend the border of the path on the side yard. A ‘Limelight’ hydrangea is flanked by ‘Miss Muffet’ caladiums on one side, and another one has ‘Raspberry Moon’ caladiums at its base, echoing the flowers in the pot. A ‘Florida Sunshine’ anise (Illicium parviflorum ‘Florida Sunshine’, Zones 6–9) continues the golden theme. Purple ‘Rozanne’ geraniums (Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Zones 5–9) bloom continuously from spring to a hard frost.


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View Comments


  1. blondie3 03/08/2021

    Your garden is very beautiful, being retired has served you well, thank you for nice

  2. PattyLouise 03/08/2021

    Beautiful! Love the liriope lining the path!

  3. pam_clemmons 03/08/2021

    Delightful! Obviously a work of labor AND art!

  4. wittyone 03/08/2021

    Oh,I do admire the clean cut edging of your beds, it makes such a wonderful frame for the flowers.

    I also greatly envy you those Chaste Trees. I have two but this far north they have to be cut back in early spring and so can't function in tree form. They are so beautiful done that way.

  5. User avater
    simplesue 03/08/2021

    Your garden is a masterpiece painted with plants! pretty and tidy too, I only dream of my garden being so neat and clean as yours!
    Love your plant choices and sure wish I could grow some of those in my growing zone!
    Keep up the good work- it's super nice!

  6. User avater
    treasuresmom 03/08/2021

    All that color is out of this world!

  7. PG20 03/08/2021

    Beautiful. Love the mass plantings.

  8. alicefleurkens 03/08/2021

    Betsy. That is a beautiful garden. Alice

  9. User avater
    bdowen 03/08/2021

    So colorful! You are making good use of your retirement in creating so much beauty. It's a lot easier when you have the year instead of two months of the summer/ teacher's garden. Thank you for sharing from another retired teacher.

  10. moyra_b 03/08/2021

    Stunning! I especially love the pansy and violas...rarely see such a beautiful mass!

  11. jagardener 03/08/2021

    Wonderful show of color. I love the us of the blue pots throughout.

  12. User avater
    pattyeckels 03/08/2021

    Absolute perfection!

  13. Cenepk10 03/08/2021

    Stunning garden !!!! You obviously have your irrigation spot on. I’m about 30 miles from you & happen to know this firsthand!!!! ( that your irrigation would need to be working to keep everything that picture perfect). Fabulous design. Loved it !!!

  14. carolineyoungwilliams 03/08/2021

    OMG!!! Betsy, I am in love with your garden....every single detail...every single layout. It is absolutely gorgeous. Your garden got me so charged up until I can't hardly wait until get off work and go play in the yard. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing haven. Keep up the good work. I look forward to seeing more of your garden.

  15. bsavage 03/08/2021

    Wow, wow, wow!!! So beautiful! And so perfectly manicured!

  16. User avater
    johninsancarlos 03/08/2021

    Beautiful garden! I love it all - all the different colors, the flowers that are massed, the crisp edges, a beautiful lawn, even the picture perfect mulch. It's a visual delight!

  17. OneKSGardner 03/08/2021

    A beautiful garden so well cared for. Love the distinctive lines between lawn and garden! What kind of water system do you use?

  18. user-6933052 03/09/2021

    Love the big sweep of white daffs - and jealous of the plentiful pine needles available for mulch.

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