Garden Photo of the Day

Cherry’s garden in British Columbia in fall, Day 1

Underplantings showing some of the thriving evergreens in the yard right now including Skimmia japonica (male), Helleborus argutifolius 'Silver Lace' and Asplenium scolopendrium (hart tongue fern).  If anyone was looking for a large evergreen perennial that does well in full shade, look to growing Asplenium scolopendrium.  She is very low maintenance, self-seeds but is not invasive. Simply uproot the younglings and relocate to a new area in the garden.  I love the way the red maple leaves are sprinkled all over the green.

Today's photos are from our good friend Cherry Ong in Richmond, British Columbia (We've visited Cherry tons of times, but the original is HERE). She says, "Fall as we all know it has finally arrived here in the Pacific Northwest, so I took some snaps of the yard on this cold crisp day.  I've tried to capture what I think best represents fall in our urban lot so here goes…" Gorgeous, Cherry! You are so amazingly good at creating stunning textural and colorful contrasts. ***More fall photos from Cherry tomorrow!***

SEND ME PICS OF YOUR GARDEN! Email me at [email protected]. Thanks! –Michelle

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Skimmia japonica (male) and Helleborus argutifolius 'Silver Lace' looking spiffy these days.  Plant your skimmias by an entryway and walkway and you will be rewarded with beautiful blooms in the fall, winter and spring and a sweet scent during the winter months.  Apple green flowers emerge from 'Silver Lace' during late winter or early spring. You can't lose with either one or both combined.

Another shade winner is this very well behaved perennial called Asarum splendens 'Quicksilver.' I've had this handsome specimen with arrowshaped silvery dark evergreen leaves since 2008 in the same spot without any major issues.  Hardy to Zone 6 so you may want to be brave enough to try them in the shade close to your homes.

Hosta 'Big Daddy' bidding us farewell but Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' still showing off.

I love heucheras!  I consider them the equivalent of the coleus in the perennial world. Heuchera 'Carnival Watermelon' shines here with its peachy green leaves.

Geranium phaeum 'Margaret Wilson' (Mourning widow) shines afoot 'Ukigumo' sparkling in the shade with its almost iridescent lobed leaves. Not your typical autumn colors but very much a winner.

Another Skimmia japonica (male) shrub. This one has emerging greenish white florettes.

A view from the sideyard this November.  Hydrangea 'Quickfire' obscures the beautiful branching of Acer palmatum 'Waterfall.' I hope you can see her. 

A pleasant surprise by the containers on the sideyard showing the lovely comingling of Cotinus coggygria (purple smokebush) leaves, soft plumes of Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' (purple fountain grass) and the bright gold needles of Thuja plicata '4ever Goldie'.

Our winter containers.  It is nice to have something bright and colored by the backdoor during the fall and winter months.  After all, it's going to be awhile before we can plant again.

Container underplantings. I usually keep all perennials and plant up annuals in between these perennials during the summer months.

A couple of my fall and winter container favorites: Gaultheria procumbens (wintergreen) and Carex oshimensis 'Evergold'.

Heuchera 'Carnival Watermelon' still peachy and bright against Thuja plicata '4ever Goldie' branches.

My singular herb pot which I will count on for a lot of winter soups and stews.

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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/11/2014

    Cherry, when it comes to plants, you are the queen of co-mingling ...every grouping is the picture of such happy harmony! Honestly, I feel like a kid in a candy shop just gobbling up all the goodies as I devour the elements of your compositions. It certainly seems like you have lots of vibrant colors and interesting textures to keep you company throughout the winter. And, oh yes, I need to do some homework on skimmias...they sound like a wonderful multiple season garden winner.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/11/2014

      Thank you meander1. Means a lot coming from you. I don't think I will ever tire of Skimmias and other winter evergreens.

  2. Nurserynotnordstroms 11/11/2014

    Yes we have finally started to color up here in PNW. I loved all of your information with each photo. I would like to add Skimmia Japonica to my gardens I am so glad you showed that plant Cherry. I hope tomorrow we get to see some overview photos of your yard because I imagine it is stunning with your intuitive pairing of your plants. I can't wait for tomorrow. Cherry will you please tell me what camera you shot these photos with I am gathering information as I would like to get a camera to shoot gardens. Any recommendation would be very much appreciated.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/11/2014

      Thanks for your kind comments nurserynotnordstrom. I think you will immediately fall in love with the variegated skimmia. I was smitten instantly.

      Here are several overview shots of the backyard and frontyard during the summer. I hope this is what you are looking for. I don't have a lot of them as our wide angled lens is broken.

      Our urban yard is quite small - about 500 sq ft each in the front and backyards. As you can see, it is filled to the brim which leaves me no choice but to garden in containers at home and help my friends makeover their own gardens. My family and I madeover three gardens this summer with the help of the homeowners and their families. It was a wonderful experience!

      PS Sorry about the three duplicated photos below. I tried to delete them but can't figure out how. The last photo was taken late summer. Most of the garden was planted in 2008 to 2009.

      1. Nurserynotnordstroms 11/11/2014

        Cherry you are very gifted ,you have an amazing eye for color,texture, movement and all in a small garden space. I really appreciate you sending these I have enlarged each one to fully enjoy what you have done. We had to get all of the pots in as we had frost last night our first of the year. Time to snuggle in and read all of my gardening books and magazine. I wish we got Fine Gardening more often,oh well the blog is a good supplement.

        1. perenniallycrazy 11/11/2014

          Regarding your question on cameras used, I use my cell phone (first and fourth photos above - a Sony Xperia M2 which takes 8 MP photos) and an SLR camera. We have an old Sony SLR A100 with a 35-105 mm zoom lens.

          I already moved the succulent pots out of the way 2 weeks ago but still wrestling on whether to individually pot them up and bring indoors. Sigh. Enjoy snuggling in winter. You're thinking what I'm thinking because I have a pile of books and magazines waiting for me.

          1. Nurserynotnordstroms 11/11/2014

            Thanks for your reply.

  3. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/11/2014

    What a treat this morning, Cherry! Brava! That male skimmia is beautiful and the Asplenium is positively tropical: it sent me scurrying over to Plant Lust to find out that it is hardy to zone 6a. It's a must-have! Love your comment about heucheras being the coleus of the perennial world. I can't get enough of them and always considered myself the king of heucheras, but I have been dethroned because I've never even heard of "Carnival Watermelon". Thanks for sharing and putting me on the plant-prowl. Your garden is amazing!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/11/2014

      Thanks Tim. You're right about the tropical look of Asplenium. It reminds me of a similar looking fern that grew on tree branches in my grandfather's backyard in the Philippines. Happy plant-prowling!

      PS Some overview garden photos below under nurserynotnordstrom comments if you want to examine the scale of the plants above, too.

    2. sheila_schultz 11/11/2014

      I'm with you, Tim... Carnival Watermelon is on my 'wish list', too, if it can handle our zone 5. What a gorgeous heuchera.

        1. sheila_schultz 11/11/2014


          1. perenniallycrazy 11/11/2014

            That is Heuchera Paprika in photo 11 (combined with Euphorbia Tasmanian Tiger and Juniper Goldstar. Also a zone 4-9er (-25 F).

          2. sheila_schultz 11/11/2014

            Okay... I'm starting a notebook titled 'Ideas from Cherry'!

          3. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/12/2014

            Cherry and Sheila, I've attached some through-the-season pictures of my newest favorite Heuchera: Rio. I moved it in June, but it is the same plant, I promise. May, June and October. A great performer for me so far!

          4. perenniallycrazy 11/12/2014

            Wow! Will definitely be on the lookout for her next year. Thanks.

          5. sheila_schultz 11/12/2014

            I find it fascinating how Heuchera's change their colors from season to season, and how their color can change so dramatically with light differences... but still be healthy plants! I use these plants for our clients with complete trust in their beauty throughout the season.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/12/2014

        I just posted three photos of one of my new favorites: Rio. See in the comment below. On my computer I only see two, but the middle one pops up if I click on the question mark. Milkweed seeds still not ripe.....but we've only dipped below freezing once so far. That's changing this week! Enjoy your snow!

  4. user-7007083 11/11/2014

    These pictures make we want to cry that I live in zone 5! I have garden envy right now! Beautiful garden, a real treat to the eyes!

  5. NCYarden 11/11/2014

    Cherry, your Fall garden is a such a pleasure to see. I love Fall, but as a gardener here in NC, Summer really dictates the quality of this subsequent season, often wreaking a bit of havoc on the plants and prematurely diminishing some of the display. Again I am a bit jealous of you PNWers. I really like your skimmias. I tried for years to keep a couple going here, transplanting them a few times hoping to provide a better site, but ultimately to no avail...just barely a survival effort. I guess it's just too hot and/or humid here. After hearing from one of my nursery friends that it just isn't going to happen here, I let the last one go about a year ago. Sigh. But how delightful to actually see what it was supposed to look like. They look fantastic. I do see your Acer palmatum 'Waterfall' - love it. Fortunately mine is still covered in bright yellow leaves, a really bright spot in the woodland understory. The Heucheras look wonderful in both your containers and in the ground. What a fantastic Fall scene you have there. Enjoy the season, and thank you for sharing.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/11/2014

      Thank you David (NC Yarden). I'm sorry to hear about your troubles growing Skimmia. Sounds very similar to fellow GPODers frustration over growing Hakone grasses too. Heard from tntreeman/Jeff Calton that the only Hakone grass he's seen thrive in TN is one by a water feature and in the shade. I'm not sure if my logic is far fetched, but wondering if that would work for Skimmia as well. It's too bad they do not indicate humidity hardiness for perennials. Would love to see your garden again - unforgettable! Have a nice week.

  6. user-7006958 11/11/2014

    Thanks Cherry for delighting us with your beautiful foliage rich garden! Love it all and thanks for the comments and plant names!

  7. greengenes 11/11/2014

    Good morning Cherry! All nice combinations and I will for sure try the hart tongue fern! I just purchased the thuja plicata "4evergoldie" and I think I will go back and get a couple more. It sure can brighten up an area! Your beds are beautiful and the hanecelo.... grass sure adds a lot of movement and grace! Enjoy your fall and I am biting at the bit for tomarrows pics!

  8. GrannyMay 11/11/2014

    Hi Cherry, such a treat to see your garden for two days in a row! I love your plant choices and how you always have everything looking so perfect. Sheer beauty! When would you cut back that variegated Euphorbia? Some of mine have been losing their lower leaves in the last couple of weeks and I'm taking that as a hint to do something. For some reason Heucheras have not been very happy at my place. Seeing your enthusiasm for them, I'll give them another try. Do you have them in the ground or only in containers?

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/11/2014

      Thanks for your kind comments Granny May. I cut back my Euphorbia in the Spring when the bracts look tired. I had tried several kinds of Euphorbia in the garden, but the one that has outlived them all is Euphorbia Glacier Blue. I believe they normally sport a leggier look during the winter months. The one in the container above is Tasmanian Tiger which is a parent of Glacier Blue. I had Tasmanian Tiger in the garden before but they didn't make it through the first winter. I am trying them out in containers this year to see if they fare better as they are reported to be less vigorous. I found a photo of Glacier Blue in the garden last winter.

      I have heucheras planted on the ground and in containers. I had problems with heucheras in the past and I was told by the staff at Phoenix Perennials that generally, the purple and green heucheras do well in the ground while the orange and lime ones do better in containers (though tntreeman's lime heucheras do fabulously in the ground but this may be related to their dry weather.) They do appear leggy in about 2-3 years no matter where they are planted so be ready to divide and conquer. It takes an entire year for a heuchera to grow after division so make sure you plant up your divisions in the early spring. (I try to divvy them up, pot up the extras and then before you know it, they are ready for fall and winter containers.) Keep them moist in the first after replanting. For the most part, the colored ones do like part sunny locations. The green ones do well anywhere. They also respond well to fertilizer, too. Happy to share some plants with you when we meet!

      1. GrannyMay 11/11/2014

        Thanks Cherry! I already cut back several of my Euphorbias because they were looking pretty bad. One of them is a large blue/grey one that looked good till a few weeks ago. I also have a variegated one that might be Glacier Blue - looks like your photo. It survived last winter. I'll try to include photos now.

        1. GrannyMay 11/11/2014

          Here is the last photo - this euphorbia has been cut back now.

          1. perenniallycrazy 11/12/2014

            Both varieties are looking very healthy and lively. How much cutting back did you do? All the bracts? When I cut down mine in the late winter or spring, majority of the old bracts are dried already. I usually wait till the flowers are halfway up or all the way up before cutting down the oldies.

            What's the name of the 2nd euphorbia? I love anything blue.

          2. GrannyMay 11/12/2014

            I've been cutting down all the bracts to several inches above the ground, either late fall or winter, before any new growth shows. I don't know the name of the bluish one. I was hoping maybe you did! I don't even have any photos of it in bloom. Just a few when it was just bushing out.

            I'll have to try it your way with the cutting back.

  9. Cenepk10 11/11/2014

    STUNNING !!!! Cherry !!! You've mastered that combining thingy !!!! Nice work- Looking forward to finding skimmias for my garden..

  10. sheila_schultz 11/11/2014

    What a gift to check GPOD on this snowy and very frigid CO morning to see your magnificent fall gardens and containers! There aren't enough words in my vocabulary to tell you just how special your gardens and containers are... your sense of design continues to blow me away.
    I've used Thuja plicata '4ever Goldie' in containers from time to time, but not in my gardens... that has to change next year. It's the whole package with it's color popping texture! And Heuchera 'Carnival Watermelon' rocks, what an absolute beauty. I WANT that plant, actually, I WANT several!
    As usual, I'm also planning on stealing yet another idea from you. Looking at your winter container photo, it hit me that if you have a container in or next to an in-ground garden space, use one of the same plants in both locations. I mean it's so obvious how your heuchera ties both the 'high and low' visual together. Yeah, I know both are in pots in this photo, but the idea is so easily transferred to other applications.
    Another thing you have done that gives me pause for thought is that you left the dying leaves from your Hosta 'Big Daddy' standing. I cut dying hosta leaves back way too soon most times, I lose the blending of colors and leaf shapes.
    Seeing gardens and containers through your eyes is better than reading any gardening book, Cherry! Keep those photos coming ;)

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/12/2014

      Awww, thanks Sheila. Seriously, I look to you, the entire GPOD family and the Fine Foliage sisters Karen and Christina for inspiration. Like you, I am also guilty of cutting back hostas way too early until I saw Andrey's garden last week.

  11. ingehaneke 11/11/2014

    hi Cherry i love your garden, you have wonderful soft Colors, i wonder if they would do as well in Austria ?

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/12/2014

      Thank you. That is an interesting question. What is your hardiness zone there? And up to what temperatures and conditions do you have in the summer and in the winter? Vancouver is predominantly wet (it rains 9 months in a year). Our hardiness zone is 7b. Our summers are not too hot and humid.

  12. Meelianthus 11/11/2014

    Goodmorning Cherry ~ I do so always enjoy your garden pics. Wonderful Fall colors you have created in your different areas. Isn't that a great joy to stroll thru on these cold mornings while breathing in the fresh air. I too love the Hart's Tongue ferns, they are so very hardy and always stately looking. I have one that is quite huge and although something nibbles on the fronds it stays attractive all year even in bright sun. I really love your Skimmia, I have not had such good luck with mine looking so healthy, I think my ground is too root bound. Have you found the Asarum 'Quicksilver' to be at all invasive? The Asarum I planted years ago is SO invasive and I can't get it out of my gardens! Looking forward to your next batch of pics Cherry. Thanks ^_^

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/12/2014

      Sorry to hear about your skimmia troubles. My friend Sylvia had troubles with her Skimmia too (latest post on her garden makeover). The leaves were whitish when we madeover her garden. She also thought they were leggy. We trimmed them back and amended the soil with compost and the plant rebounded. The great thing with Skimmias in these parts are they are widely available and quite reasonably priced. You can also ask for cuttings from fellow gardeners as they root easily.

      My Asarum Quicksilver has been a small well behaved clump for the last 6 years. There are many varieties but this is the only one I have tried.

      Thank you. Always nice chatting with you.

      1. Meelianthus 11/12/2014

        Thanks Cherry - always fun.

  13. perenniallycrazy 11/12/2014

    Nice to hear from you again Pat. Thank you!

  14. GrannyCC 11/12/2014

    Gorgeous Cherry!!! Love all the textures, leaf shapes and colours.You have given me lots of ideas for shade which I seem to be getting more of. I too love the Heuchera. They are certainly a pop of colour. I can see that there a lot more choices out there that I am not aware of.

  15. user-1020932 11/12/2014

    always always always a knock out. Cherry you are the bomb

  16. annek 11/12/2014

    Cherry, I'm speechless. Your combinations, colors and textures are simply exquisite! Skimmia is my new favorite plant! You have wonderful talents in choosing which plants live next to one another. So sorry my post is a day late. (Michelle Gervais, any luck on getting me back on the GPOD email list?)

  17. thevioletfern 11/13/2014

    Amazing foliage and combinations. I can tell you are in a warmer zone than I, but I am still quite inspired! Just love that Geranium Margaret Wilson and what a beautiful collection of heucheras you have. My oh my!

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