Garden Photo of the Day

Collect Rare Plants to Make an Exciting Garden

These New York gardeners love propagating and growing the unusual

Today’s photos come from John Story and Diana K. Weiner and feature their garden in the Sullivan Catskills in New York. They write that their passion is propagating and planting interesting plants and hosting garden parties to celebrate the season. I wish we all could be invited to those garden parties! They sound like a lot of fun. But here’s a virtual garden party with some of their favorite images from their garden.

Unusual plants are a feature of this garden. This planting is presided over by a variegated red bud (Cercis canadensis ‘Alley Cat’, Zones 5–9) and is filled with unusual plants, such as the Japanese cobra lily (Arisaema ringens, Zones 6–9) on the right side of this picture. It can be a bit of work to track down unusual plants for the garden, but that can be part of the fun for plant nerds! It is very satisfying to locate a hard-to-find plant and then have it thrive in the garden.


This planting has a romantic, cottage-garden feel to it. A tall milk thistle (Silybum marianum, Zones 5–10) on the left has classic purple thistle flowers and spiny foliage dramatically marked with white patterns. Spikes of purple flowering sage (Salvia nemorosa ‘May Night’, Zones 5–9) bloom between poppies (Papaver somniferum, annual) and huge spikes of blue delphinium (Delphinium elatum, Zones 2–7).


An ‘Aphrodite’ sweet shrub (Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’, Zones 5–9) stands at the back of this bed, fronted by the purple patterned leaves of Persian shield (Strobelanthes dyerianus, Zone 11 or as an annual), creating a planting that doesn’t depend on flowers for color.


Bring on the flowers! Huge flower heads on the panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, Zones 3–8) on the back left are fronted by masses of good-old impatiens (Impatiens walleriana, Zones 10–11 or as annual).


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View Comments


  1. Maggieat11 10/23/2018

    Beautiful! Love what you have done. The Persian Shield works perfectly in your planting. I'd like to see more photos. Your home is lovely, also.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/23/2018

    Wow, who wouldn't love to have that particular 'Alley Cat' hanging out in one's garden....the variegation of those leaves is really striking. And, in that same photo, my eyes are drawn to the little pool of radiant sunshine that I'm guessing is some variety of carex. Thanks for sharing a delightful cyber tour of your garden, John and Diana.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/23/2018

    Wow ! How do you keep all this beauty weeded?

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