Garden Photo of the Day

Choosing Plants for Color All Year

Chicago gardener layers perennials for continuous color

Today’s photos come from Pallavi Divekar of Chicago.

I started this hobby around 2008 after being in my house for three years and watching what was blooming in the yard. There were boxwoods and evergreens in the front yard, and crabapple trees, birches, and pines in the backyard. There were absolutely no flowers, except a few tulips and irises that bloomed in spring. That’s when I decided to add more colors to the yard. My garden has evolved out of the hard work and patience I’ve put in over the last nine years. I am so proud that I do all the digging, watering, fertilizing, and planting without any help. Over the years, I’ve learned the trick of having tulips and daffodils for spring, lilies for summer, and mums for fall in the same area. Planting perennials that survive Chicago’s cold and learning about new plants has been quite interesting.

Some hostas, phlox (Phlox paniculata, Zones 4–8), and other perennials, with colorful annuals in containers. This spot is covered by red and yellow tulips in spring.


Daisies (Leucanthemum × superbum, Zones 5–8) and echinacea (Echinacea purpureaZones 3–9) at the mailbox, which are covered by mums in fall.


The backyard spot for annuals, which is my family picture spot for my parties.


The lovely purple phlox adds beauty to the front yard by multiplying each year. I have divided them in several spots in the front yard.


After getting rid of the pines that were there when we moved in, I added several plants, including shrubs and perennials in the backyard. This rose was a nearly dead root that my neighbor was going to throw away. I planted it, and in two years it was a big bush. (Editor’s note: I think this rose might be the variety ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’).


The bench is my relaxation spot, where I go to sip my cup of tea in the morning or evening and to watch the clouds, birds, and butterflies with that cool breeze and peace around.


My grandma was a passionate gardener, and we had so many fruit and flower trees back home in India that we hardly bought any flowers from the market for any rituals where we offered flowers to god.

My dad says I got my grandma’s genes for sure. This spot was full of pine trees that turned brown and had to be cut down. I planted perennials to fill the space.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/12/2018

    Congrats on the gratifying transformation of turning your blah yard into a flower filled wonderland...esp. impressive with the backstory that you did all the plant selecting, digging and nurturing all on your own. Your bench area is lovely and good for you for putting it to personal use. You did a wonderful job with everything.

  2. Maggieat11 09/12/2018

    Not only enjoyment for you.... but for your friends and neighbors that can enjoy the ever changing palette of colors throughout the seasons. Well done.

  3. cheryl_c 09/12/2018

    Good morning, Pallavi - and what a treat we have in the pictures you have sent in! A delight of colors varieties and textures, especially impressive in your cold climate and with your having gotten no help (except the donation of an almost dead rose from your neighbor!) Isn't gardening an amazing hobby - so much to learn, so many ways to enjoy it, and such variety in what can be grown. Thanks for sharing your projects and the finished product - a bright start to our days!

  4. Sunshine111 09/12/2018

    It is so lovely to see the efforts of your labor! Congratulations !?

  5. btucker9675 09/12/2018

    Very happy looking garden! Your story of bringing the "dead" rose roots back to life reminds me of my previous garden in NJ - a neighbor had pulled up several "dead" rhododendrons and had them by his curb. I promptly picked them up (with his permission - he thought I was a loon), pruned and planted them and within 2 years they were huge and beautiful. He could hardly believe that just a little care and the correct growing conditions could work a miracle! : ) One year after Christmas, neighbors had thrown out one of those gift blue spruces in a decorative pot so I rescued it, planted it by the stream in our back yard and a few years later it was almost 6 feet tall and gorgeous! Rescue dogs, cats and plants!

  6. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/12/2018

    What a gorgeous rose!

  7. wittyone 09/12/2018

    You've done a great job with your yard. I think that doing all the work yourself is what distinguishes a "real" gardener from a "semi" gardener----- someone who wants a lovely landscape for their home and has someone else come in lay out a plan and then do the actual implementation and subsequent plant care for them. Sort of the difference between a working artist and someone who appreciates art. Doing the hard work involved in gardening makes for a stronger connection between the gardener and the land that they care for.

  8. sandyprowse 09/13/2018

    A gorgeous garden and your sense of pride in creating and maintaining this beautiful oasis is heartwarming. I do believe i will keep my eye out now for any supposedly “dead” rose along the curbside also. A fantastic story. Well done!

  9. ancientgardener 09/13/2018

    Love that bright red daylily. I always enjoy seeing what others put in their pots. They are like miniature gardens and if you don't like how one turns out one year you can always try something different the next.7

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