My name is Bill Goff, and I garden in the suburbs of Pittsburgh in Zone 6b. I am a retired musician. After retirement, I took the classes needed to become a Penn State Master Gardener, where I discovered I wanted to take good photos of my gardens for PowerPoint presentations. For that, I needed a better camera, and then I needed classes to learn how to use the camera, and then I needed different lenses and more classes and on and on. So, in reality, my passion for gardening has added for me a new passion of photography, for which I am truly grateful!
I took this photo of my perennial border the morning of May 23. I have a fondness for peonies (Paeonia hybrids, Zones 3–8) and the May/June perennial garden. There is so much that blooms right about this time, and the difficulty is what NOT to include. I also have an affinity for soft and cool colors, as you can see by this photo. Peonies included here are dark pink ‘Morning Lilac’, tall soft pink ‘Bev’, and, in the foreground, ‘Red Charm.’ Companions include the purple-rounded heads of Allium ‘Globemaster’ (Zones 5–8), the deep blue blooms of Iris siberica ‘High Standards’ (Zones 3–8), and the airy, light blue blooms of Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ (Zones 4–7). This is, for me, a beautiful time to be in the garden.
One end of the sunny perennial border includes the hot colors of ‘Tropicanna’ canna lilies (Canna ‘Tropicanna’, Zones 8–10 or as a tender bulb), yellow Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ (Zones 4–9), which is a favorite of pollinators and provides lots of blooms in August and September when there is often little color in the garden.
A shaded area of our backyard contains a hosta bed surrounding a patio. The shade is provided by a dawn redwood tree (Metasequoia glyptostroboides, Zones 4–8), which has a fascinating history. We love to spend time outside here when the evenings are cool. Blues and greens of hostas have a calming effect, and you can’t go wrong including mixed cultivars, since they harmonize so well together.
Over the years, my gardens have included more and more pollinator-friendly plants, since basically all pollinators are in deep trouble. Here, a yellow tiger swallowtail enjoys nectar from a Verbena bonariensis (Zones 7–9 or as an annual) flower, which is a tender perennial in our Zone 6b.
Hummingbirds can’t resist the red flowers of canna lilies in the garden.
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Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!
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