Garden Photo of the Day

Beyond the Hostas

By Kim Charles

Peony 'Raspberry Sundae'

Sue Strong from Arkansas shares the sunny side of her garden world with us!

"I am sending some pictures of my “sunny garden beds” from last spring and summer.  I know most GPODers think of hostas and shade when they see my posts, but about half of my garden beds get full sun.  I have begun expanding my collection of clematis and daylilies and hope to have future pictures of both as my more recent plantings mature.  It’s been a lovely warm winter and I am way ahead of my schedule from prior years (fingers crossed it stays that way).  I am heading outside shortly to begin laying the 8-12 yards of mulch I put down annually. Happy Gardening, Susan Strong"

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Clematis "Still Waters' on back fence, 'Westerplatte' on birdhouse post, 'Duchess of Edenburgh' on right fence.

Clematis 'Duchess of Edenburgh' close-up

`Clematis 'Niobe' on driftwood

'Summer Snowflake' Viburnum

Peony 'Bartzella' in foreground and 'Wine & Roses' Weigela behind River Birch

Clematis 'Duchess of Albany'

Clematis 'Rooguchi'

A volunteer Hollyhock

Daylily 'Indian Giver' foreground, 'Double Pink' Flower Carpet Rose behind

Daylily 'Siloam Double Classic'

Daylily 'Double Charm'

View Comments


  1. floreyd 04/28/2017

    Thanks for the shot of color! Lovely gardens!

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/28/2017

    Just bought 'Duchess of Edenburgh'. Love to see yours blooming. Can't wait for mine.

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      The picture of 'Duchess of Edenburgh' above was taken last spring, its second year in the ground. Mine was slow to take off, but this spring covers the fence from bottom to top. The best thing about the "Duchess" is her long strong stems which make for a perfect cut flower! That's not something that can be said for most clematis.

  3. Maggieat11 04/28/2017

    Wonderful photos! I sure envy your awesome clematis. I just got a "Dutchess of Albany", I hope mine will be as happy as yours! (You have great birdhouses, too!) Beautiful, all of it! Thank you for sharing!

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Hi Margaret - 'Duchess of Albany' is a rapid grower so you should have lots of flowers this year. It's also a pruning type 3, so no fussing around - just cut is back each year. I know you'll love it.

  4. chelleisdiggin 04/28/2017

    Just gorgeous!

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/28/2017

    Hi, Sue, looks like you are wonderful sun gardener as well as shade. I love how adventurist you are in planting multiple clematis together in the same area so they can "compliment" each other. Ha, I can just imagine the conversation...'Westerplatte' says to ''Duchess of Edinburgh' "I love how frilly you are" and she responds "I adore your deep purple color". Just being silly! And, oh, aren't those more bell like petite blooms heart grabbers? So delicately adorable. I am quite captivated by your use of driftwood as a pole for the clematis to climb artistic.

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Good morning Michelle - Don't worry about being silly - I figure if I can talk to my plants perhaps they can communicate with each other. 'Rooguchi' is my favorite of the bell-shaped clematis. It's covered with flowers all summer long and I love the bluish-purple color. I have only recently expanded my collection of clematis (about 35 varieties currently) so many of mine are still not fully mature, but I should be able to photograph many more varieties this summer. I discovered the joy of the new smaller varieties (some only one foot tall) for growing in pots or small trellises. The driftwood was a gift that had me stumped until I got the idea to hang it vertically on the fence. It's wrapped with chicken wire to give the vines something to cling to.

  6. user-7008508 04/28/2017

    Beautiful garden. Don't you love clematis? I have planted several in the last few years and find them to be, for the most part, hardy. I buy small ones and will be sure they will not come back, but they do. Love the Indian Giver, mine died. The peonies are gorgeous. That bark is a wonderful thing for the garden. Thanks for the pics.

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Hello Pam - Thank you for the kind words and yes, I do love clematis (and daylilies, and peonies) - you get the picture. :-) I'm sorry your Indian Giver died. It's a lovely little daylily and perhaps you'll give it another try.

  7. gardencook 04/28/2017

    I love your garden palette!!! All my favourite plants - clematis, daylillies and roses!!! What could be better!!! Your clematis selection is exceptional and I like how you have blended them together!

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Thanks Sandi - I had lots of open wooden fencing so I just started attaching vinyl coated wire fencing to the posts and started planting! I didn't have a plan other than buying clematis that I liked, but they do seem to work together.

  8. pattieswinfordclifford 04/28/2017

    So pretty!!

  9. sheila_schultz 04/28/2017

    Sue, your sun gardens are as happy and charming as your shade beds and the visual of the trio of clematis playing so well with one another is quite excellent! I'm completely enamored with your 'Summer Snowflake' Viburnum, it's gorgeous. I've never seen that variety, but I won't forget it in the future. I do adore viburnum's!

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Hi Sheila - "Summer Snowflake' viburnum is a real WINNER! It requires no pruning and reblooms throughout the summer (although its finest bloom is the initial bloom in the spring). I transplanted the one pictured above right after I took that picture and had difficulty getting a good root ball. I was afraid for a while that I might lose it, but its absolutely lovely this spring in its new home. I have another that I have pruned to a single trunk and am limbing it up to make it tree form. I'll post a picture of that next year when it gets a little more size.

  10. sithanthialfred 04/28/2017

    Loved each one of those amazing flowering plants,the colors ,so subtle yet vibrant.

  11. MNGardenGirl 04/28/2017

    Wow, I don't even have the words to describe... so beautiful! I would love to take a stroll through your gardens. Thank you for sharing!

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Joanna - If you're ever in NW Arkansas, would love to have you come for a stroll!

  12. janeeliz 04/28/2017

    Your sunny garden is delightful! I'm drooling over your beautiful and lush clematis! I love them, too, but often declare that they are a test of one's patience. My clematis' Huldine 'took 9 years...and many threats...before it bloomed. I still cannot resist buying one or two each season. Have you found any of them challenging? What are your secrets/advice?

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Good Morning Jane - I, too, have 'Huldine'. I planted it last year and had some limited, but decent flowering. This year, however, it's growing quite rapidly (already to the top of the arbor) and covered with many flowers. It's a pruning group 3 clematis, which means you should prune it down to just above the first strong bud union (about a foot) from the ground. I love pruning group 3 for that reason - no fussy pruning and tying up vines. Clematis require ample water and like to be fed, too. I use the same fertilized for my clematis that I use for roses, although many I don't even fertile since I use so much compost. Some of my clematis suffer from clematis wilt which is very frustrating, but I just cut out the affected vines as soon as I spot them. The remainder of the plants seems to carry on just fine. So, I guess my advise would be to keep them well watered and feed them with a plant food that encourages flowering (like rose food) during their bloom period.

  13. Sunshine111 04/28/2017

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Your composition is excellent, your combinations are breathtaking, your photography is divine!

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Thanks Lily - The joy of digital photography - take 10 pictures, delete 9. :-)

  14. user-4691082 04/28/2017

    Oh Sue, thanks for sharing your beautiful garden! I can't believe your daylilies are in bloom already!

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Hi Rhonda - The pictures above are from last year, although I do have one daylily that has graced me with blooms already this spring. (We had a very mild winter and everything is about a month ahead of the usual schedule.) I ordered and have planted over 20 new varieties of daylilies (many quite unusual) this spring, so I should have some exciting photos of them in a year or two.

  15. cynthiamccain 04/28/2017

    I'm overcome by a severe case of plant lust. In addition to having a lovely garden, your photographs convey it beautifully! Thank you, Sue!

  16. annek 04/28/2017 have a beautiful sun garden with lovely clematis. That summer snowflake viburnum is on my wishlist

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Hello Annek - you should definitely move it from your "wish list" to your "I have it list"! It's one of my two favorite shrubs (the other is 'Quickfire' hydrangea). Both are very low-to-no maintenance and bloom all summer long. Summer Snowflake doesn't even require pruning!

      1. annek 04/29/2017

        I just looked up quickfire and it's a beauty. Okay I'm expanding my garden again. I also was intrigued by fire and ice hydrangea. Might have to splurge

        1. NWAgardener 05/01/2017

          I have a 'Fire & Ice' hydrangea, also. I bought it because it grows a little taller than 'Quickfire'. My 'Fire & Ice doesn't have as full and rounded shape as my two 'Quickfire', but it is taller and is similar in all other respects.

    2. user-7007498 04/29/2017

      Keilian, I also can also sing the praises of 'Summer Snowflake'. It's more upright than wide and takes anything Mother Nature throws at it without missing a beat. Here's a photo in my garden from last year.

      1. annek 04/29/2017

        Wow, Kevin, that photo made me lust for summer smowflake. I'm definitely getting one!

        1. User avater
          meander_michaele 05/01/2017

          Ha, I'm with you...want it...need going to look for it.

      2. NWAgardener 05/01/2017

        Wow Kevin! How old is the 'Summer Snowflake' pictured above?

        1. user-7007498 05/01/2017

          Sue, that one has been in my garden about 12 years. Such a great plant.

          I also had meant to attach a photo of V. nudum with its berries and fall color. Here it is.

          1. NWAgardener 05/02/2017

            Thanks so much Kevin - I love the fall leaf and berry color! You are VERY knowledgeable!

  17. cheryl_c 04/28/2017

    Beautiful pictures of an amazing garden~ Thanks so much for sharing! I also love the driftwood trellis for your clematis. Such a nice organic touch would be a great way to display vines in a more woodland garden also. I also love your Summer Snowflake viburnum. I have four other varieties, but haven't yet figured out where I would put any more.

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Good Morning Cheryl - Thanks for the compliment. Interesting dead tree branches also make lovely natural trellises. Hollow tree stumps make great planters, too. I like to use natural and vintage pieces in my gardens. I think they add character. What are your favorite viburnum varieties?

      1. cheryl_c 04/28/2017

        Yes, I use dead trees a lot = to hold sculpture, as a visual boundary, as a focal point. Just never thought of a trellis! My favorite viburnum is the Missouri native, viburnum rufidulum, or Rusty Black Haw which is a small tree with wonderful glossy green leaves that turn dark red in the fall, and umbrels of small white flowers, beloved by polinators, followed by a drupe of dark inky blue berries, cherished by many of our songbirdsl I also have a dentatum (unknown variety), another dentatum Blue Blaze, and two viburnum prunifolium, Forest Rouge and Prairie Classic. With all of those going together (though not all blooming at the same time) fruits for the birds abound!

        1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

          Thanks Cheryl - I'm going to research them and hopefully plant one in the area just outside my fence. It's an area that I've just started to develop and a shrub/small tree with berries for the birds would be great. Thanks again!

          1. cheryl_c 04/28/2017

            If you have only the one viburnum, and you are wanting berries, you will want to purchase one that 'goes with' i.e. can be pollinated by the one you have and vice versa. There is a lot of information about that on the Classic Viburnum web site, and the owner, Gary Ladman is probably the viburnum expert for this country. If you want to purchase from him, he is happy to help you figure out what you want/need for your purposes - he was a great help to me!

          2. user-7007498 04/29/2017

            Sue, if you are looking for a beautiful viburnum with berries, I would suggest viburnum nudum. Great looking plant with glossy leaves. 'Brandywine' and 'Winterthur' are the largest (6-10 feet in 10 years), 'Pink Beauty' is slightly smaller. I had 'Brandywine' by itself for 5 years and it berried well. When I added 'Winterthur', berries increased by about 30%. Helpful to have 2 different V. nudums, but not necessary.

  18. thevioletfern 04/28/2017

    You make me want to fuss more over my garden! Just beautiful. I love, love, love the Duchess climbing over the bird house. I just planted her last year. Thank you so much for sharing your obvious joy and passion. It really shows off!

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Thanks Kathy - the Duchess is great and will scramble over anything. I usually prune her back some after the first bloom to keep its size in check and to get some more flowering at lower levels. Bird houses and gardens belong together! Besides, each gives us one more spot to plant a new clematis. Mine are all inhabited by bluebirds this spring.

  19. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 04/28/2017

    Good morning, Susan. You've given me a bad case of garden envy this morning with your beautiful clematis and that viburnum. What a show stopper. We are supposed to start warming up out here so let the plant shopping begin. Thanks for sharing and have a good weekend GPODers.

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Hi Linda - here in NW Arkansas we had an extremely mild winter. I was able to start planting my new daylilies and clematis over a month ago. Almost two dozen of my established clematis are already in bloom. I hope the downside is not a long hot summer with the need to do a lot of watering. 'Summer Snowflake' is one of my two favorite shrubs - lots of beauty and little-to-no maintenance.

  20. GrannyCC 04/28/2017

    Very beautiful plants and photographs.I always find that my daylilys look very puny and do not have an abundance of flowers. Your clematis are spectacular!

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Thank you Catherine - I don't fuss over my daylilies at all (except to keep them deadheaded during their bloom period). I wish I had some advice. Perhaps some fertilizer? I hope your daylily luck changes.

  21. DarliBarli 04/28/2017

    How inspirational!! Your garden is lovely and I particularly like your clematis and peony choices. DUchess of Edinburgh has long beet a favorite of mine. When you say you spread 8 yards of mulch annually, may I ask what kind of mulch you use?

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Hi Darlene - I purchase my mulch by the truckload from the City of Bentonville which has a composting facility. The compost is made from horticultural/natural waste. It's very reasonably priced, it enriches the soil, and serves the same function as mulch by keeping weeds out and moisture in the soil. I don't know where you live, but many municipalities have such facilities. If not, then you may be able to get some from a large nursery.

  22. schatzi 04/28/2017

    Sue, your garden and your photography are gorgeous! Love all the clematis and that viburnum is a beauty. Glad you are having a good season. Here in the PNW we have had 7 months or rain, breaking records even for here. Everything is blooming, but I long for more than a minute of SUN! We have had so much rain that all my dahlias rotted over the winter. Had to replant. But as they say, "keeps Washington green!"

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Thanks Shirley - it seems like PNW weather has moved to NWA. We've had so much rain over the past few weeks (after a dry 2016) that the ground is saturated and the forecast for next 48 hours is for severe storms (with over 6 inches of rain) and flash flooding. Hope you get some of the sun we had all winter.

      1. schatzi 04/28/2017

        Sorry about the rain. Sure wish Mother Nature could arrange to give us the amount we need, when and where we need it! Stay dry.

  23. pjt108 04/28/2017

    Absolutely gorgeous - I have three of those clematis varieties!!

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Thank you Paula - do you have some favorite clematis?

      1. pjt108 04/28/2017

        I must say I do love my ruguchi!!

  24. tennisluv 04/28/2017

    Good morning, Sue. Loved your posting. Your clematis, daylilies, and peonies are so pretty. I'm currently trying to figure out where to put Clematis and have been giving thought to combing two different pruning groups for longer bloom time on a trellis I have set up in front of an east facing brick wall. I think the white Duchess and a c. jackmanii would be charming (and the Duchess would simplify the pruning). Do you ever let your Clematis clamber over other plants? The Summer Snowflake has just complicated a decision for a bed I am going to start this fall. I was toying with either a Cercis 'The Rising Sun' or a Chinese Snowball Viburnum (V. macrocephalum 'Sterile'); now Summer Snowflake has joined the conundrum. Itoh peony 'Bartzella' definitely on my 'to get list.' Thanks for sharing.

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Sonya - I have two Snowball and two Summer Snowflake viburnums. My vote hands down is for the Summer Snowflake. It has a lovely structure that requires no pruning unless you want to prune for a special purpose (I am limbing up one of mine to make it tree form). It also blooms on and off all summer unlike the Snowball that has one show and it's over. I checked out Cercis "The RIsing Sun' and that looks like a lovely well behaved small tree. Bartzella is one of the new Itoh peonies and it holds its flowers up on very strong stems that do not require staking. It's truly lovely. You won't be disappointed.

      I haven't mixed clematis yet, but I love the look and need to do that. I'm not sure, however, whether mixing pruning group 2 and 3 clematis would make pruning any easier as it might be very difficult to untangle all the vines and figure which belonged to which plant. I'd be afraid I'd cut the wrong ones. If you do that, let us know how it works for you.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 04/28/2017

        I have to admit that my mind also went to the challenge of untangling pruning group 2 and 3 vines. My lazy side likes the simplicity of cutting back the group 3 ones and not having to worry if I am doing things right.

      2. tennisluv 05/04/2017

        You have talked me into the Summer Snowflake since I also plan to limb it up as a small tree and under plant with shrubs and perennials. I have another location where I will put the Rising Sun Redbud. Thanks!

  25. foxglove12 04/28/2017

    So pretty and lush. My peonies are about to open, I have two new clematis and new hollyhocks for this season. Can't wait. Thanks for your inspiration! Loving that Indian giver day lily too!

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Thanks Lori - enjoy your new clematis and hollyhocks! Homestead Farms Nursery (mail order) has Indian Giver for $14 if you can't find it locally. It's a delightful daylily.

      1. foxglove12 04/29/2017

        Thank you! Just placed my order.

        1. NWAgardener 04/30/2017

          That's great Lori!

  26. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 04/28/2017

    very pretty. lots of color and I'm sure it's a real delight. enjoy!

  27. Doxnmomx2 04/28/2017

    What can I add except thank you again! Love, love, love the beauty.

  28. LaurelEm 04/28/2017

    I love the flowers! You certainly have a way of putting things together and they look good and oh so lush and healthy! There's nothing like a Hollyhock to bring in the nostalgia too.

  29. Cenepk10 04/28/2017

    Gorgeous Gorgeous Gorgeous!!!! That white Dutchess clematis is doing it for me !!!! And a volunteer hollyhock, of all the nerve !!! Had to yank all my hollyhocks out last month due to rust... broke my heart ... such a beautiful collection & garden

    1. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

      Yes, rust has been the bane of many of my hollyhocks, too. My Duchess of Edinburgh was slow to mature (three years to get a full vine), but certainly worth the wait. It is the only clematis I have that has long strong stems which makes it a wonderful cutting flower! Thanks for the kind words.

  30. NWAgardener 04/28/2017

    Thank you Diane. The bark of the river birch adds wonderful texture to the garden and compliments those plants around it.

  31. user-7007940 04/28/2017

    WOW!! Very nice. Thanks for sharing!!

  32. susan749 04/28/2017

    Beautiful photographs of a lovely garden!

  33. user-7007498 04/29/2017

    Sue, sorry to be late to the party. Now that the posts are not up until after I leave for work, I can't get on until late?.

    What happened here? I thought I fell into another world. Sue Strong and sun?
    Just kidding. Nice to see your sunnier side, Sue. I am so in love with your clematis. I am just getting into adding them over the past couple of years. You gave me some good ideas. And the birdhouse. Wow. I have nothing as cool as yours. Hadn't thought about making them supports for clematis. Great job. Now I have to go out and spend some more money. ?

    1. NWAgardener 04/29/2017

      Thanks Kevin - I planted a couple of clematis six years ago when I moved to NW Arkansas, but most of my clematis are just 1-3 years old. With the 10 I added this year, I'm up to about 65 plants (40 different varieties). At first I planted most against my fencing, but then when I wanted more, I needed to get creative. I have them planted on arbors, rose pillars, obelisks, gates, driftwood, etc. There are many newer varieties that are bred to grow anywhere from 1-6 feet to better fit into smaller gardens. I have some of those growing in pots, tubs, and others that just spread along the ground. Klehm's Song Sparrow Nursery and Brushwood Farms are two excellent mail order sources for newer varieties that are not readily available at most local nurseries. I'm planning to take lots of pictures this year since many of the clematis I've planted the past two years will be "camera ready" this year. I'll mix them up so you can see different varieties and different planting ideas. Do you have a favorite? By the way, I got the birdhouse at a craft fair for only $25 and the cedar post was even less than that. I wrap the posts with vinyl coated fencing to give the plants something to cling to. Since the coating is dark, it doesn't show too much. Birdhouses belong in gardens and I had bluebirds in four of my houses on posts this spring. The irony is I have two bluebird houses and they have never used those! Happy Gardening and it was good to hear from you!

  34. user-6536305 04/29/2017

    Sue, thanks for sharing your beautiful and colorful sunny garden. Great photos. Oh these daylilies and Clematis! Love all the blooms and color scheme. Love the bird houses and where did you get the one on the post? In search of Peony 'Bartzella' myself. How big is your garden?

    1. NWAgardener 05/01/2017

      Hello Lilian - My garden is 1/2 acre. I bought the birdhouse pictured above at a craft festival here in NW Arkansas. I believe it was only $25. I have six on posts and a few more on fences and the back of my garden shed. Birds are a delight and I like to offer them food, water and lodging. You should be able to find 'Bartzella' at a local nursery since it's one of the most popular Itoh peonies, but if you have to purchase it bare root via mail order, it's best to do that in the fall. (Lesson learned the hard way.)

      1. user-6536305 05/03/2017

        Thanks for your reply and will take your note on Peony 'Bartzella'.

  35. user-5117752 04/30/2017

    Sue, you take such stunning pics! Your design sense is just marvelous! I loved the variety of clematis and that peony, well, how lush and beautiful! And, I must make note of the little frog on the toadstool! Perfect! Thanks for sharing!

    1. NWAgardener 05/01/2017

      Thank you Judy. The frog is a hose guard. The "toadstool" swivels to make it easier to pull the hose around. I have a bird, a butterfly, and a dragonfly from the same series that I bought years ago. I like the frog for his whimsy.

  36. chelleisdiggin 05/01/2017

    Beyond the beautiful pictures, I want to say Thank You for the resources you have shared along with your insights about the plants. I am always looking for native varieties and am not always successful.

    1. NWAgardener 05/01/2017

      Thank you Chelle - In addition to the beautiful pictures on GPOD, it's the sharing of information that's so wonderful. The internet is a fantastic source of information about all plants including natives.

  37. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/01/2017

    You do sun *and* shade so well! There's a lot of flower power going on here. That's a great capture of Rooguchi. Hope your garden season is progressing well this year. Seems like everyone is having an unusual spring. Enjoy!

    1. NWAgardener 05/01/2017

      Hi Tim - thanks for the kind words. We just had close to 10 inches of rain this weekend on top of already saturated soil, so I have a good deal of washout of compost and mulch, but no serious damage. After a wonderful mild winter we are sure paying for it with this very strange spring. Oh well, gardening is always a challenge, which makes it so interesting.

  38. linnyg. 05/05/2017

    WOW - absolutely stunning!!!

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