Garden Photo of the Day

Cindy’s Wisconsin Garden

For the love of peonies

A peony covered with bright pink flowers

Today we’re visiting Cindy Lindstedt’s garden in Wisconsin.

I have been gardening for 25 years, am certified as a Southeastern Wisconsin Master Gardener (SEWMG) and am a member of the SumMerDel Garden Club (towns of Summit, Merton, and Delafield in southeastern Wisconsin).

My husband of 52 years and I live on 142 acres in Jefferson County, a rural area west of Milwaukee, where he drives to our family business, Advanced Plating Technologies.

I have approximately 20 separate “themed” gardens on the property, from the entranceway drive-through log archway to the rock wall garden to the bear garden, rock garden, hosta gardens, ice house garden, gardens surrounding the log home decks, and, yes, even a vegetable garden. This keeps me happily busy throughout the growing season.

Most of my plantings are labeled not only because I’ve donated plants to the annual Southeast Wisconsin Master Gardeners plant sale and needed to know the cultivar, but because, like children, I want to know their identity—names and habit.

My husband is the trees-for-tomorrow poster boy, having planted hundreds of trees on our property. Two of our favorites are the Princeton maples (Acer platanoides ‘Princeton Gold’, Zones 3–7), which almost glow in the spring, and the fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus, Zones 3–9).

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE peonies, the old-fashioned herbaceous kind you have to “hoop” lest their heavy blooms flop, tree peonies, and Itoh (intersectional) crosses.

My gardens are a dynamic, ever-changing, ever-being-refined work of art. They have come a L-O-N-G way from my early days of enthusiastically saying “yes” to whatever plant anyone wanted to give me and plopping it into my hodgepodge thickets. Many of my more aggressive plants have been relocated to what I call my prairie garden, where they can fight it out on their own.

We have hosted several garden tours through the years, some as fund-raisers for local causes, some just to allow others to savor the beauty of God’s creation.

The kiss of the sun for pardon, the song of the birds for mirth;
One is nearer God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth.

I have a sign I picked up while traveling in Germany that reads, “Andere gehen zur THERAPIE. Ich gehe in mine GARTEN.” (Others go to THERAPY. I go in my GARDEN.)

That says it all!

A peach iris in bloomIris ‘Cherub’s Smile’ (Zones 3–9)

A white peony with a dark centerJoseph Rock peony (Paeonia rockii, Zones 4–8)

Three lavender peony flowers‘Guardian of the Monastery’ tree peony (Paeonia ‘Guardian of the Monastery’, Zones 4–8)

Several soft pink peony flowers‘Princess Saho’ tree peony

A magenta peony with many layers of petals‘Leda’ tree peony

A purple iris ‘Armageddon’ iris

A bright red peony in a garden in front of a log home‘Scarlet O’Hara’ herbaceous peony

Bright red peony flowers over a mass of fern-like leavesFern leaf peony (Paeonia tenuifolia, Zones 4–8) is the first peony to bloom in springtime.

Tall spikes of pale yellow flowers in front of a flower gardenBaptisia ‘Carolina Moonlight’ (Zones 4–9), with Amsonia (Zones 5–8), ‘Coral Charm’ peony, white gas plant (Dictamnus albus, Zones 3–8), ‘Pink Hawaiian Coral’ peony, Siberian iris (Iris siberica hybrid, Zones 3–8), ‘Cameo Lullaby’ peony, and ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ peony

A peony covered with bright pink flowersPeonia lactiflora ‘Largo’

pink peony growing next to a plant covered in white flowers‘Coral Charm’ peony with white gas plant


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. Jay_Sifford 06/22/2021

    How beautiful. Peonies work so well in your climate, much better than here. Thanks for sharing.

  2. User avater
    user-7007816 06/22/2021

    Beautiful gardens and setting. Must be a full time job keeping them in such great shape.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/22/2021

    Love the peonies.

  4. nwphilagardener 06/22/2021

    Thanks for this showcase of some of your peonies, Cindy. It's clear from your intro statement that there could be many more photo series to share with us and I hope you'll curate more. They would be great inspiration, and we are glad you're labelling and sharing the cultivar names with us

  5. User avater
    simplesue 06/22/2021

    You have a fabulous garden and log home!
    Wow, and it's all set in beautiful surroundings of trees, and nature and great views.

  6. Maggieat11 06/22/2021

    Absolutely gorgeous. (And your home is beautiful too!)
    Thank you so much for sharing. Wish I could attend a garden tour there .... It's swoon worthy! 🍃

  7. User avater
    carolcowee 06/22/2021

    Lovely gardens. You must have an army of helpers! Hard to imagine the whole garden covered in snow and having it all come back in the spring! I feel sorry for my poor garden here in Redding, CA, triple digits daily and no rain the whole summer…I’m thankful to have anything green! And nice to enjoy your lush garden…thanks for sharing and great photos…

  8. btucker9675 06/22/2021

    Where to start.... those peonies.... that fern leafed peony.... that baptisia... Everything is just spectacular! Thank you for sharing your beautiful place with us.

  9. Cenepk10 06/22/2021

    So beautiful!!! Fern leaf Peony ???? Never heard of such. Be still, my heart. Beautiful garden & I thank you for sharing.

  10. sheila_schultz 06/22/2021

    Cindy, your gardens make me smile with their lush beauty. The peonies you featured are so full and wonderful, but the queen of the group is definitely the fern leaf peony with her feathery leaves. She is magnificent! The rest of the garden you have shown us is equally impressive, especially as a frame for your awesome home! I second the request for more photos showing your different garden areas, the views you have teased us with are beautifully curated. More please!

  11. darylsavage 06/22/2021

    Really appreciate all those cultivar names, which we usually don't get. The gas plant is one of my favorites; very underused. Mine has just finished here in Jersey. As beautiful as the flowers are, I love the giant swallowtail caterpillars which come after the flowering. I did not know it is a host plant for them when I bought it. Those caterpillars are so goofy looking, I get such a kick out of them. Thank you for sharing.

  12. mikefraser 10/18/2021

    I was reading your article about gardening and I loved it! I feel like we have some common interests. You’ve got the right idea when you said “beautiful gardens are both a rite of passage and an expression of who we are on the inside.” It sounds like you love flowers too, which is awesome because my family owns a flower garden that would be perfect for hosting weddings or events! We grow peonies in our garden year-round (and they're very popular!) but our specialty is August to November with over 5 acres filled with these gorgeous blooms around every corner. hedge trimmer

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