Garden Photo of the Day

Bill’s Pittsburgh Garden

A retired musician becomes a gardener and photographer

sunny perennial garden border with bright orange and yellow flowers

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!

perennial garden border with red purple and pink flowersI 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.

close up of bright purple globemaster alliumI love alliums, and this one is ‘Globemaster’. It is the perfect foil for pink or white peonies and a cultivar I use in the May/June perennial border.

sunny perennial garden border with bright orange and yellow flowersOne 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.

large plantings of hostas next to patioA 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.

butterfly on a Verbena bonariensis flowerOver 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.

close up of a large daylily gardenA patch of mixed daylilies (Hemerocallis hybrids, Zones 4–9) always makes me smile in July. These are underplanted with about 100 daffodil bulbs, which give early spring color here.

hummingbird sipping from a canna lilyHummingbirds can’t resist the red flowers of canna lilies in the garden.


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View Comments


  1. MohawkValley 06/01/2023

    Absolutely stunning ! I love that hummingbird . My cell phone camera has a challenge with capturing my hummingbirds . Ha . Beautiful job , beautiful photography . An artist is an artist ... Peace from the Mohawk Valley in central NYS .

  2. btucker9675 06/01/2023

    Your garden and your photographs are fabulous. Your perennial border is perfection in my opinion!!

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    simplesue 06/01/2023

    So nice to see a Pittsburgh garden featured, and it's a fabulous garden- and your photography is excellent!
    I'm so impressed with your hummingbird photo- perfection!
    What a spectacular perennial border you've created! I just love what you've done!

  4. User avater
    cynthia2020 06/01/2023

    Bill - thank you for sharing your terrific gardening and photography with us! I especially liked the the perennial border photo.

  5. User avater
    user-7007816 06/01/2023

    Some wonderful photos of your amazing garden. It motivates me to get my camera out. Thanks for sharing.

  6. User avater
    bdowen 06/01/2023

    Beautiful photography! Like Monet creating a garden to paint, your garden is your photography subject. Beautiful.

  7. sheila_schultz 06/01/2023

    Photography and gardening go hand in hand, especially if you are passionate about surrounding yourself with so many plants that bring in the pollinators that are seeking nourishment. Well done on both your luscious gardens and your photos! Keep enjoying your passions, you are obviously good at both.

  8. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 06/02/2023

    Very nice garden and photos, Bill. Thanks for sharing :)

  9. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/06/2023

    Bill, I don't know if you will see my comment but everything is so very lovely.

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