Garden Photo of the Day

Carol’s Calendar-Ready Garden Views

Favorite shots from a year in the garden

Today’s photos are from Carol Verhake.

Every year since 2005 I have created a wall calendar featuring photos of my garden. I looked at every calendar recently and enjoyed seeing how my garden has changed over the years. I also took note of some consistent components. I thought I’d share some of my 2021 calendar photos with you as a way of celebrating a year in my garden. I suspect I’m not the only one to spend extra time in my garden this year, so perhaps the idea of a photo calendar will appeal to other Fine Gardening readers.

climbing asterAmpelaster carolinianus (climbing aster, Zones 4–8) was a gift from a friend. I was thrilled to see it blooming in my Berwyn, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b) garden in early January.

Arum italicumArum italicum (Zones 5–9) pops up here and there. I love its variegated, arrowhead-shaped leaves and its evergreen/winter interest.

Aster Vibrant DomeAster ‘Vibrant Dome’ (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Vibrant Dome’, Zones 4–8) pairs well with the changing foliage of my nearby anemone ‘Pamina’ (Anemone hupehensis var. japonica ‘Pamina’, Zones 5–8).

Multi-Blue ClematisClematis ‘Multi-Blue’ (Zones 3–9) is a relatively new addition. It’s very showy, and I like its color and texture adjacent to the Digitalis purpurea (foxglove, Zones 4–8), a treasured and long-standing plant in my garden, originally from my parents’ garden in Illinois.

Helleborus orientalisMy 1.3-acre property is adorned with many large, naturally occurring boulders. One of the boulders looks like it has a roof, so it’s been dubbed “House Rock.” House Rock appears in many of my calendars, and 2021 is no exception. It’s pictured with Helleborus orientalis (Zones 4–9) in the foreground.

Illicium floridanumI adore Illicium floridanum (Zones 6–10). The anise-scented leaves, the beautiful flowers, and the deer resistance are fabulous features. The flowers of ‘Woodland Ruby’ are quite special when observed up close.

Soul Fire dawn redwoodMetasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Soul Fire’ (‘Soul Fire’ dawn redwood, Zones 5–8), which was introduced to the market recently, has amazing golden needles that light up the landscape. I’m honored to own this newbie to the horticulture world.

Summer wine ninebarkSummer Wine ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Seward’, Zones 3–8) has arching burgundy branches. I was able to capture the moment it bloomed with an old-fashioned pink azalea (originally on the property when I bought it in 2000) as a backdrop.


Have a garden you’d like to share?

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!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

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View Comments


  1. nwphillygardener 11/17/2020

    The photo of the ninebark in front of the azalea is dramatic and spectacular. Thanks for sharing it with us, along with the rest of the great plants at your garden.

    1. carolverhake 11/17/2020

      So glad you enjoyed the photos!

  2. Rebeccazone7 11/17/2020

    I'm in envy of the Clematis, as it's one of the things I continue to try and have no luck with. It's not fond of serious sandy soil. I'm not familiar with ninebark, but I love it's intricacy. I'm now on overload for next year's additions.

    1. carolverhake 11/17/2020

      Glad I gave you some ideas for your garden. I've been fortunate with the Clematis. They seem a bit slow to get started, but I love them!

  3. reginamelo 11/17/2020

    How lovely your garden is Carol, and what a great idea to create a flower calendar, but only this year I decided to do it, and it is so much fun to put the calendar together.

    1. carolverhake 11/17/2020

      So glad you put a calendar together. It's great fun to review it even after the year has past!

  4. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/17/2020

    What a lovely idea to create a calendar. All is so pretty.

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/17/2020

    Just discovered by putting two & two together, that I follow Carol on Facebook. Her page is Lasting Landscapes by Carol.

    1. carolverhake 11/17/2020

      Thanks for following me.

  6. User avater
    user-7007816 11/17/2020

    Beautifully done. Thanks for sharing.

    1. carolverhake 11/17/2020

      I'm so glad you enjoyed!

  7. User avater
    cynthia2020 11/17/2020

    Carol - I enjoyed looking at your lovely photographs. Several of the flowers, like the Illicium floridanum, I have never seen before. Thank you for sharing!

    1. carolverhake 11/17/2020

      There are so many wonderful Illicium. They smell like licorice and are deer resistant and evergreen - a lovely addition to the garden!

    2. carolverhake 11/17/2020

      There are so many wonderful Illicium. I encourage you to add some to your garden!

  8. btucker9675 11/17/2020

    I love rocks in the garden so the photo of House Rock and the hellebores was my favorite. Also love ninebarks - they always remind me of a Victorian greeting card. Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden!

    1. carolverhake 11/17/2020

      I'm glad you enjoyed the photos - I share your passion for rocks - I have a number of large boulders and enjoy them all!

  9. cheryl_c 11/17/2020

    Carol, both your photos and your gardens are beautiful. I was taken with both the photo of the ninebark with azalea as background color, and with your aster Vibrant Dome with the anemone giving complimentary support. Great job!

    1. carolverhake 11/17/2020

      Thanks so much for your kind words. It's such an honor to share my garden and photography with other passionate plant people!

  10. Maggieat11 11/17/2020

    Gorgeous photos. Thank you for sharing.

    1. carolverhake 11/17/2020

      Appreciate your kind words!

  11. User avater
    bdowen 11/18/2020

    Your post has given me a list of new plants to search for. My favorite of your photos is the ninebark blossoms backed by the pink azalea. I also make a calendar every year from my photos, two for myself: one to write in and one to save for the photos (though I actually save both).

    1. carolverhake 11/21/2020

      I'm glad I provided some inspiration. So glad you are already making photo calendars featuring your garden.

  12. User avater
    simplesue 11/18/2020

    I love that idea of making a calendar with garden photos from the year before!
    Oh that photo of all the lavender- of the Foxgloves and Clematis!!!
    I too have 3 Dawn Redwood's, grown from seeds and they grow really fast, I really like them and would love to see how yours looks in another couple years...looks like a nice shade of bright gold green!

    1. carolverhake 11/21/2020

      I'm excited to see how Soul Fire grows also - it's an amazing color - a true beacon in the garden!

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