Garden Photo of the Day

Building a Dream Garden in California

A gardener's progress toward the garden of his dreams

Today we’re visiting Donald LaGrand’s garden in Somerset, California.

These photos are from October. The property is just over 4 acres and lies at the foothills of the Sierra Mountains just west of Lake Tahoe. My dream as a gardener is to have a space big enough to create a landscaped area with a massive flower bed, a large vegetable garden with a raised bed, a rose garden, a large pond with a waterfall, and fruit trees, along with paths and benches to encourage guests to meander about with a beverage of their choice in hand as they enjoy the quiet surroundings.A simple raised bed with yellow bearded irises (Iris germanica, Zones 4–9).

An assortment of flowering lavender plants (Lavandula species and hybrids) that bring beautiful color and, of course, wonderful fragrance to the garden. Lavenders come from the Mediterranean, and so they adapt beautifully to the similar climate of California.

A variegated lavender. There are several variegated lavenders on the market, but this looks to be the striking variety ‘Platinum Blonde’ (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Platinum Blonde’, Zones 6–9).

A beautiful tickseed (Coreopsis) hybrid blooming away. Coreopsis breeding has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, so if you haven’t grown these plants in a while, it is well worth exploring the new colors, habits, and flower forms now on the market.

A young fuschia in a hanging basket. The nodding flowers are perhaps best appreciated when they tumble over the edge of a basket.

A view of the setting for this garden.

Of course, it would hardly be California without some picturesque rows of grapevines, perhaps just waiting to be made into a “beverage of choice” to enjoy while strolling through the garden.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/03/2019

    Looks like you are off to a good start in fulfilling your gardener's dreams. Even though it's a ton of work (and, if you are moving around materials for planting, mulching and creating pathways, I do mean "ton" literally), the process and results are hugely gratifying. Best of luck with everything.

    1. user-6294369 01/03/2019

      Thank you! I have a 5 year plan for completing it.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 01/03/2019

    Great work!

    1. user-6294369 01/03/2019

      Thank you!

  3. wittyone 01/03/2019

    There's nothing like a real plan to keep you going in the right direction. You are off to a wonderful start and have lots of room to spread out in and a beautiful canvas to work with. Send more pictures as things develop.

  4. btucker9675 01/03/2019

    With those surroundings, you will surely continue to be inspired in the making of your gorgeous garden. Are those California poppies in the raised bed with the yellow iris?

  5. cheryl_c 01/03/2019

    Beautiful plants in a beautiful setting. Best wishes to you as you continue to explore plants suitable for your climate, and discover unexpected pleasures and treasures along the way!

  6. Musette1 01/03/2019

    Donald, you're off to a great start! It is a lovely garden!!! Digging the variegated lavender, but not as much as I'm digging the tractor!!! Oh, for that tractor! ;-)

    1. user-6294369 01/03/2019

      Thank you!!?

  7. user-6294369 01/03/2019

    Thank you ?

  8. User avater
    ShannonGalloway 01/14/2019

    I really like this flowers.

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