Garden Photo of the Day

Blooms, Despite Weather and Wildlife

A garden that keeps on keeping on

Welcome to Evelyn Drake’s garden!

I so much enjoy photos from others’ gardens, so I decided it was time to share. We wouldn’t have this post otherwise! I garden in rural northwestern Illinois, where the weather and wildlife “visitors” can take their toll. While I like to think there is a plan, I’m a sucker for anything new, and so it often becomes “cramscaping.” I really enjoy taking advantage of volunteers, and so I watch for them as I am weeding. We had a very harsh winter, and I’m hoping it has not hurt too many plants!

This tree peony (Paeonia hybrid, Zones 3–8) had more than 150 blooms! I counted them while deadheading.

Tree peony ‘Spring Carnival’

The bed with the prolific tree peony (upper right) has grown this year, making room for this delphinium (Delphnium elatum, Zones 3–8), which bloomed really well despite wind damage twice during the summer.

A favorite clematis mingles with daylily ‘Stella d’Oro’ (Hemerocallis ‘Stella d’Oro’, Zones 3–9) in bloom.

Early season in the back perennial border.

A little later in the same bed, the bush clematis and stachys ‘Hummelo’ (Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’, Zones 4–8) were in bloom.

Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora, Zones 4–8) in bloom.

It’s not really meant for them! Harry Lauder’s walking stick (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’, Zones 4–8), a white birch (Betula sp.) started from a friend’s seedling, and a new planting of winterberry (Ilex verticillata, Zones 3–9) make up this small bed. The Harry Lauder’s walking stick is kind of taking over. Maybe the deer will prune?

Later in summer, daylillies (Hemerocallis hybrids, Zones 4–10) steal the show. They are very tolerant of our weather.

More daylilies

‘Pinky Winky’ hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pinky Winky’, Zones 3–8) and newly planted ‘Grace’ smokebush (Cotinus ‘Grace’, Zones 5–8). The rainbow steals the show, though.

Same bed, a little later, different angle. The large-leaf plant is a volunteer Nicotiana (ornamental tobacco, annual) that always draws attention.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/05/2019

    I totally understand with the cramscaping. Everything is so pretty. Are you living on a farm or is there just one near you?

    1. gardeningisfine 04/05/2019

      Thank you! We garden on 1.5 acres of our 10. In addition to ornamentals we have a substantial vegetable garden. The rest of the 10 acre plot is farmed by a neighbor. The oats were lovely last year.

  2. garden1953 04/05/2019

    Beautiful gardens in what looks like a beautiful setting. Love your plant choices! Thanks for sharing.

    1. gardeningisfine 04/05/2019

      Our rolling hills are lovely in this area. We enjoy the view! Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed!

  3. nwphillygardener 04/05/2019

    You've got a lovely oasis there! Appreciated the chance to see it. Hard to image that if deer are living nearby and drinking from the birdbath that you could have such a lovely collection of day lilies……. those buds be such a favored snack.
    And that tree peony with 150 blooms is amazing. Thanks for counting and reporting….. I will be thinking of that as the World Record until I see anything close. I never have.

    1. gardeningisfine 04/05/2019

      Thank you! I hope our daylilly luck holds this year also! Woke up today to see a deer still sleeping just behind the perennial bed. The tree peony was one of my 1st plants here, and the first time trying one. Hit the jackpot I guess. The buds are just starting to show color.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/05/2019

    Looks like your entire garden is a full and overflowing "pot of gold" at the end of the rainbow. Your large flower daylilies are practically decadent in their flamboyance of color and substance. And, I agree, your bloom filled tree peony certainly seems like one for the record books...what an amazing beauty.

    1. gardeningisfine 04/05/2019

      Thank you! I was amazed at the quantity of blooms on all of the daylillies last year. Must have been a perfect season. Buds on the tree peony are just starting to color up. -30 temp evidently did not faze it!

  5. User avater
    simplesue 04/05/2019

    I just loved seeing your pretty garden and the wide open land of Illinois. The deer, the rainbows, the fields, the pretty. Thanks for sharing the photos here.

    1. gardeningisfine 04/05/2019

      Thank you for your kind words! Sharing a garden is a big part of enjoying it, and it’s so nice to hear all the feedback. It is a pretty part of the state.

  6. cheryl_c 04/05/2019

    Evelyn, we are so pleased that you made the decision to jump in with pictures of your wonderful gardens. I love the many surprises - clematis NOT on a trellis, Harry Lauder next to a birch, and, in the photo with the rainbow, I cannot decide which piece I love the most - the hydrangea, or the cotinus underplanted with a spreading juniper! Delightful!
    Thank you.

    1. gardeningisfine 04/05/2019

      Thank you! So nice to get such great feedback. The juniper is one of the original plants (we have been here 16 years), and I have been wanting purple leaves to compliment it. Hoping the continues has survived!

  7. btucker9675 04/05/2019

    What a beautiful garden in a beautiful bucolic setting! Cramscaping is my new favorite term and I intend to continue... Your peonies are astonishing. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    1. gardeningisfine 04/05/2019

      Thank you for your kind words! I think most of us gardeners have the tendency to cramscape. There are so many lovely plants!

  8. carolineyoungwilliams 04/08/2019

    Thank you so much for sharing Evelyn. I really enjoyed the Peonies, they are one of my favorites... and boy, didn't they put on a show. :-) Absolutely love them.

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