Garden Photo of the Day

Bill & Linda’s garden in Pennsylvania, throughout the season (12 photos)

This planting bed along the front walk has Weigela "wine and roses" in bloom. Above stands tree lilac 'Ivory Silk'. Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of Bob Vivian

Today’s photos are from Bob and Linda Vivian in Washington, Pennsylvania. We visited their garden almost exactly a year ago (refresh your memory HERE), and today they’re back to share again.

Along the front walk again with snowmound spirea front and center.

Bob says, “It’s freezing outside and there’s snow on the ground. I’m guessing that this means goodbye to autumn’s glory until next year. Sigh! Thanks to GPOD and your viewers’ wonderful photos, the season keeps going on. Here’s my 2 cents worth.

Flowers, flowers everywhere. If you look closely you can see the little red table and chairs in the girls’ secret garden. That’s “Miss Kim” lilac on the left, snowmound spirea next, and variegated weigela to the right. Just above is Cotinus coggygria ‘Atropurpurea’ smoke bush in bloom.

“Despite an extended dry spell in late Summer, the garden grew like a weed this year. A sopping wet spring got things really going well and the floral display all season was wonderful. It warmed my heart.”

Beautiful, Bob and Linda!

I have a small collection of Chinese tree peonies. This one is the oldest and, therefore, my favorite. I think it is Paeonia ‘Kinkou’. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

**** The push is still on–get outside and take some last minute shots, or compile a few you took earlier in the season. I’ll be eternally grateful…. Email them to [email protected]. Thanks! ****

The Drift roses with cherubs is an expression of my feminine side; ahem! Or it’s for the pleasure of my granddaughters; Yeah, that’s it! Either way, I just adore this scenario.
Since this photo, I installed a multi stem fringe tree and Exochordia pearl bush in the lower left area. I’m anxious to see the show this coming May.
The girls will be soaring on the swing for what seems like hours, singing a song about “Wonder Pets” (?). Back & forth, back & forth. The engine for the flight: granddad.
The entrance to the front walk.
I believe that is Hosta “sum & substance” in its prime.
The view to the firepit area and the pool house beyond is framed by a kousa dogwood and a ‘Forest Pansy’ redbud. The Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’, of course, is the star of the show!
Hidden behind the ornamental grass is my granddaughters’ secret garden. Shh! Don’t tell anyone.
The miscanthus grasses are part of the landscape for the new pool. (Photos to follow)

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  1. gloriaj 11/14/2013

    Your garden has started me thinking of spring again, Wonderful colors and textures. I love the tire swing and red bench. I have the same bench and your colors gives me ideas for next spring. Beautiful

  2. Annedean 11/14/2013

    Lucky, lucky granddaughters!

  3. user-1020932 11/14/2013

    waking up to 20 degrees this was a warm wakeup! i somehow missed your previous feature so i visited this morning. Both are spectacular, i love it all. i always forget about snowmound spirea until i see them in flower. i'm also glad to see the tire swing and learn of the secret garden,,,, gotta get them interested when young and they DO remember time in the garden when they grow up. a great space you have created and a wonderful garden for the family

  4. Wife_Mother_Gardener 11/14/2013

    Nice to see a lovely garden in my area! Wonderful work, Bob & Linda!

  5. wGardens 11/14/2013

    Absolutely wonderful! Great property, great plant material. How fortunate your grandchildren are. What a beautiful influence you have on them. You will LOVE your Fringe tree. I have a male and female so I get the "cool" drupes as well.
    Thanks for sharing again!

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/14/2013

    Bill and Linda, what a wonderful secret garden location for your granddaughters...esp.during the time of year the lilac is in bloom. Forever after, when they pick up even a hint of that scent, they will be transported back to all those happy memories giggling while sitting at the red table and chairs.
    Your tree peony is a stunner...does it have a pleasing fragrance like herbaceous peonies?
    The picture that includes the pool house shows that your property has some natural woods as a back drop...all just beautiful.

  7. bee1nine 11/14/2013

    Wow! I'm in total AWE mode admiring your fabulous landscaping
    and photos. I do realize the many years here, in the making.
    And sooo agree with Annedean!
    Now, if only I can get my 'Miss Kim' lilac to produce more
    flower heads and look as lovely as yours.
    Awesome job, Bob and Linda!!

  8. annek 11/14/2013

    Right when I think I have my garden looking pretty darned good, I open up your photos and realize how much work there is to do! Your gardens are magical! All your views are lovely, but the one of the poolhouse is surreal. And I love your feminine side....I mean your grandfatherly side!

    What is the red building in the background in your first photo? Great pop of color!

  9. User avater
    HelloFromMD 11/14/2013

    I love your garden. Wonderful to see a mature garden. I love the roses & cherubs. Great balance of conifers and deciduous shrubs. So many great elements, the seating area, the low rock walls, the boulders. A very magical place for your grandchildren. All those big old fashioned shrubs done right. So many of us are turning to the new smaller shrubs due to lack of space. It's great to see the spireas in all their billowing glory.

  10. pattyspencer 11/14/2013

    Beautiful garden!! I really really love the the spirea picture - it reminded me of the bushes that were planted outside the apartments I lived in growing up.

  11. GreenGrammy 11/14/2013

    I can't decide which photo I love the most--they're all gorgeous! As a lover of the year-round interest that shrubs give, you've done a masterful job with them. I think if I had to pick a favorite it would be the lovely old tree, with the Solomon's seal and hellebore underneath, and the red bench and tire swing. Something to strive for--is it a maple? Where in PA are you located--beautiful! I agree also with those who've noted how lucky your granddaughters are to be introduced to the fun of nature and gardening, for now and for the rest of their lives.

  12. tractor1 11/14/2013

    Great photos, especially the seasonal most recent last three.

  13. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/14/2013

    Wonderful. It's great to "visit" your garden again. Thanks. I believe the tree peony is "kinkaku". It's an old, old hybrid, also known as Souvenir De Maxime Cornu,
    Hybridized by Lemoine; Year of Registration or Introduction: 1897 (info thanks to google!) cheers

  14. janetsfolly 11/14/2013

    Beautiful property, perfect pics and wonderful captions! Smile upon smile, seeing your lush and lovely gardens on this chilly morn. Went thru the series again imagining myself as a little girl there...Magic!!!

  15. bons 11/14/2013

    I was completely mesmerized by your photos, going back to each of them again and again. Simply lovely garden!

  16. northofthe49th 11/14/2013

    Beautiful! Just beautiful! And thanks to all of you who post your gardens. I love the pictures and the comments and... everything!

  17. greengenes 11/14/2013

    Well I must say what a wonderful way to wake up with a cup of tea and view these beautiful pictures! Nice use of shrubs and great bones. thanks for sharing! May you have many fun and rewarding days in your garden!

  18. GrannyMay 11/14/2013

    Bill your garden continues to enchant throughout the year. Your hard work and vision have created lots of hiding and playing places for your lucky grandchildren and sheer beauty for the adults to enjoy as well. What a happy, welcoming place to spend your days in!

    From all your lovely flowering shrubs in the spring, to the bright leaves of fall, your cherubs surrounded by roses, to the brilliant blue tire swing, the scope of your creativity is boundless. How absolutely wonderful is that last photo of the Miscanthus shining in the sunlit fall day. Yes, more photos please!

  19. sheila_schultz 11/14/2013

    Bob and Linda, you have created such beautiful magic for your granddaughters. Swinging high on their blue tire, whispering to one another in their secret garden... They will always remember these carefree days spent in your garden, smelling the roses. What lucky little girls!

  20. tractor1 11/14/2013

    That enormous tree with the swing looks like some sort of oak, it's hard to make out the leaf detail but they do look like oak leaves. Anyway, I'm loathe to make this comment but for safety I'd have an arborist inspect that tree, it's obviously old and with its multi-trunks leaning and with those deep fissures at their crotch it may need cableling or? When water collects in those fissures and freezes in winter the pressure is enormous so eventually I anticipate impending disaster. I'll say no more.

  21. GrammyGranddad 11/14/2013

    Folks, your kind words warm me like a spring morn! Thank you for being so gracious.
    We're located in the far SW corner of Pa. about 25 mi S of Pgh and 20 mi E from Wheeling WV.(zone 5b...or so)
    The large tree truck is of a silver maple. She had about a 3" caliper when we came here. She's a bit of a nuisance - helicopters, a water sponge, etc. But she gives us such magnificent shade. I call her "Mother Maple" because she anchors the entire garden.
    The red bldg. is our tool shed. It holds a lot of stuff, including a trusty old Gravely. A lower level overwinters our yard furniture.
    Thank you, Vojt, for the dead on correct name of the "Kinkadu". It was planted long ago when I was happy just to know that it was a "tree peony". I learned something today.
    Thank you again, everyone.

    Bob & Linda

  22. GrammyGranddad 11/14/2013

    I appreciate your concern, tractor1. I share it. I have an arborist friend of mine who inspects the property every year and we're keeping an eye on it. I've even tried to lighten the load up top but we know that's just a bandaid.

  23. GrannyCC 11/14/2013

    Gorgeous garden. I do like all the shrubs and trees that give structure and colour to the garden. I am sure it is a delightful place for your Granddaughters. The Tree Peony is unusual and and looks as if it is hand painted china.

  24. Kevlarster 11/14/2013

    Your landscape is truly beautiful, as good as or better than most so-called professional landscapers today are capable of. You seem to have taken a lot of factors into consideration while planning and maintaining this garden. It has an implied sense of flow that simply makes one feel good.

    Thank you and stay warm....From Zelienople PA

  25. GardenersWK 11/14/2013

    Fabulous landscape! Love the large Maple tree! and the Tree peony! and roses with digitalis! and of course the Sum and Substance hosta with the columbines!

  26. Jamesjoseph 11/14/2013

    I really enjoyed looking at your garden since I just got started. I marked some of you plants down to get this spring. I know they will grow here now since I am from Waynesburg

  27. tractor1 11/14/2013

    GrammyGranddad: Since you replied I don't think I'm breaking the new rule of not making suggestions unless requested so I will say I have a similar maple tree (the one in the photo) with multiple trunks, mine is out in the open so were it to fall it would cause no damage other than I'd have to fire up my chain saw. But I don't want to remove it just yet so I have an arborist who periodically lops the weight off the top also. It still looks okay (was just trimmed in that photo) but I know that soon it will need to be removed... I no longer permit my grands to climb on it. And Silver maples are one of the weakest wooded trees and they don't live long anyway, I'd guess yours is near the end of it's life. I can't really see how yours is situated but I know were it in the path of my home or any other structure I valued I'd not gamble on it not falling. My arborist was here two months ago to heavily prune my tree:

    You can always plant something else there and removing the behemouth would permit lots of light and space... your grands won't be on that swing much longer snyway. I hope I didn't offend anyone by my imparting knowledge.

  28. debrees 11/15/2013

    I adore your combination of shrubs - so pretty! What is the gold bush in the photo?

  29. cwheat000 11/15/2013

    Looks like your a great gardener and a great granddad. I love the wildness of the snowmound spirea with the contrasting beautifully manicured evergreens. I love hearing about the wonder pets song. My little girl recently made up a song called fashion cat. I came home from work and the poor cat had necklaces and bracelets on him and a please help me expression on his face. It sounds like you granddaughters are still at really fun ages. You have created a really magical space. P. S. That is one fabulous peony!

  30. GrammyGranddad 11/15/2013

    deprees, that gold shrub is a good old fashioned "golden mop" false cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera). I started shearing them for shape a good while ago and have moved them twice.
    The gold/green color is a great anchor for so many plant combinations.

  31. dirtgirl1949 11/15/2013

    Bill & Linda, thank you for sharing the pics of your stunning garden. Have fallen in love with the Tree Peony, the colours are just beautiful.

  32. celiahoneysuckle 11/15/2013

    The view to the firepit is my favourite. It must be beautiful in all the seasons.

  33. jeaniebeanie 11/23/2013

    I grew up in Washington (Lil Washington or Wash Pah). I lived in the area near the Washington Cemetary (but not inside it). I left the area when I was 31. Boy, was I ever shocked to see that it was in the fine gardening pick. I am so very proud of what you have done. Each season/frame was/is so beautiful. I learned a lot from your photos and your info about the plants, trees. etc. I love your whimsical (fem side) also. Are you the sole garderner? That's a lot of upkeep! Do you do a lot of hard pruning before the winter sets in (which is right about now?)

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