Garden Photo of the Day

Connie’s garden in Illinois

This photo and the next one were taken at the end of July from a little bench against our garage wall looking towards our house. Although some daylilies have finished blooming in these pictures, my love of this plant can still be seen in the photos, as well as purple coneflowers and phlox. Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of Connie Holroyd

Today’s photos are from Connie Holroyd in Western Springs, Illinois. She says, “When my husband and I moved into our little English style house in 2001, we faced a back yard rectangle of grass infested with creeping Charlie, and a weed-filled bed along a fence. Our back garden is only about 80 feet long and 50 feet wide, but we’ve still managed to plant 18 trees over the past 13 years as well as many dwarf lilacs, viburnums, Knockout roses, and evergreen shrubs.

“Mark is British and we wanted to create an English-style flower-filled garden. We started by removing large sections of grass, having a small brick patio installed, and a flagstone path leading from our house to the garage. We put a fountain surrounded by boxwood in the center to add a little formality and attract birds, along with several bird feeders. With the exception of hardscaping and planting trees, we do all the work ourselves.

Mark loves the sound of water outside, so in early 2012, after we lost a mature eastern redbud, we moved about 50 perennials from a garden bed and had a small koi pond with a waterfall installed next to the patio. In the first 2 photos, the pond can’t be seen because we wanted the feeling of separate “rooms” and seating areas even though our garden is small.

“We’ve planted hundreds of perennials, including purple coneflowers, Joe Pye weed, old-fashioned phlox in several colors, shasta daisies, coreopsis, geraniums, lamb’s ears, and my absolute favorite plant-daylilies. In spring we enjoy bearded irises, clematis, ranunculus, and forget-me-nots. Our large perennial bed along a 60-foot fence is 18 feet at its widest point, and we allow everything to reseed which means the bed is beautifully full of color from May through October (and also prevents weeds from getting foothold!). We admit to being enthusiastic gardeners, and can’t imagine that we’ll ever stop tending our little garden oasis.”

Gorgeous, Connie! We need LOTS AND LOTS more photos.

—–Winter is the perfect time to take a photographic stroll through the photos you took in your garden this year……and then send some in to me at [email protected]!

When we had our old garage rebuilt in 2010, we moved a small fairy garden to an expanded space next to the new garage. Mark added a miniature working pond with a waterfall last year. Most of the miniature garden is planted in perennial herbs such as sage, creeping thyme, rosemary, lavender, and basil, along with miniature junipers. Local children (and many adults!) enjoy visiting our fairy garden!

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View Comments


  1. user-1020932 01/22/2014

    abundantly full and over flowing,,,,just how i like it! and i always like seeing features that draw in children, they do remember. the fairy garden does just that and i'm sure the koi/ up close and personal/ is another irrestible feature. beautiful back garden and how many "kodak moments" have been snapped back there?

  2. gloriaj 01/22/2014

    Connie don't tease us send more of your wonderful garden. I know it is so relaxing sitting by your pond with a cup of coffee/tea and listening to the sound of the waterfall watching the Koi play. I love what you did with the front yard in the second photo. Love all your flower. Don't wait long send more pictures.

  3. greengenes 01/22/2014

    Well goodmorning! What a wakeup with your garden, Connie! Again...all the daylilies! Love it. What a wonderful thing to do with your husband! I wish mine liked gardening. You guys did a nice job at design, too. Oh happy days! Thanks for sending these in, and would love to see more!

  4. GardenGrl1 01/22/2014

    Wow! I love the separate rooms in your garden! I would probably play with the koi all day. :-)

    The fairy garden is adorable! I think it is wonderful that you share it with others.

    Thank you for sharing, I look forward to more photos of your beautiful garden.

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/22/2014

    Gosh, Connie, as I was gazing upon the first three pictures, the word "enchanting" kept coming to mind and then I came to the fourth picture and I had to add capital letters to my reaction of "ENCHANTING". Regardless of age, we all love a fairy garden and yours has so many adorable elements. Mark is a masterful maestro of miniature construction and has created a captivating vignette of magic. You both must have so much fun planning, doing and enjoying all your projects.

  6. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/22/2014

    Quite an enthusiastic garden in what appears to be a very picturesque neighborhood. So welcoming!

  7. Srasgarden 01/22/2014

    I absolutely love starting off the day by looking at pictures of beautiful gardens, especially when it's 8 degrees outside, the wind is howling and we have had yet another snow storm in Connecticut. These pictures, plus studying gardening magazines and seed catalogues make spring seem possible. Beautiful!

  8. flowerladydi 01/22/2014

    Love it, Love it, Love it!!!! I can just see myself taking a stroll with my morning coffee and checking it all out,,,,, absolutely lovely!!!!,,, so much to look at!
    Would love to see more!!!!

  9. mainer59 01/22/2014

    Each section is lovely on its own, but it is a real credit to your creativity that the different parts are so different from each other. I love the way the pond is hidden in plain view. What is the blue flower in the foreground of the first picture?

  10. bee1nine 01/22/2014

    Connie and Mark, Splendid job in creating your lovely English-style flower-filled garden! Offering a very welcoming
    and inviting feel. And as so captured with the soothing koi
    pond and yes, to lure me in, being a "fairy fan" took much
    delight in your enchanting and charming little fairy garden!

  11. cwheat000 01/22/2014

    I too love English gardens and am growing deeper and deeper in love with daylilies. Therefore, it is no wonder that I absolutely adore this garden. I ask everyone who grows daylilies, what their favorite varieties are, because I want to try some more. Please share more pictures sometime.

  12. wGardens 01/22/2014

    Ah, wonderful photos to greet us this morning... especially welcoming today as it is MINUS 20 here! Brrr! So many things to look at in your gardens... love it. How nice to have a water feature too... so captivating for adults and children alike! Love to have you show me around.... more photos please!

  13. tractor1 01/22/2014

    That's a lot of exquisite garden for a small space and albeit it consists of separate areas they all mesh well into one. I love your fairy garden, I almost expect a miniature Lionel to come chugging by. And your koi pool blends in so well, very well cobbled coping... do you use a heater during winter? Eastern redbud unfortunately is not a long lived tree, if you get thirty years consider yourself lucky. I'd like an introduction to your eighteen trees, more pictures please, Connie.

  14. ancientgardener 01/22/2014

    What a lovely garden. You make it all seem effortless, but I know hours of work have gone into it. I. too, love Coneflowers and there are so many interesting varieties these days. One of my shade gardens has suddenly become filled with sun because the neighboring farmer removed a hedge row which has been there for probably hundreds of years so I shall truly study your beautiful front yard to get ideas for the change.

  15. annek 01/22/2014

    Am I in London? Your plan for an English garden succeeded beautifully! And, like meander, I'm ENCHANTED with your fairy garden. Love the day lilies and coneflowers

  16. sheila_schultz 01/22/2014

    Connie and Mark, your passion for gardening is quite obvious in these photos. Your flowers are beautiful and the overall feel of your yard is so warm and welcoming. And... I'm with Jeff when it comes to adding features to a garden that excite a child's imagination. Between your incredible fairy garden and wonderful koi pond, you must have to lock the gate at night to keep the the little ones out of the backyard!Yeah, I think we need more photos.

  17. ptkmwilk 01/22/2014

    Love the fairy garden in particular. I would have loved to see a before photo too.

  18. celiahoneysuckle 01/22/2014

    Very lovely. Immerse yourself in that garden and all woes will go away for a while, yes?

  19. Connie51 01/22/2014

    Good morning all from snow-covered Western Springs, IL! Thanks so much for all of the amazing comments so far--really appreciate them, especially the comments about separate rooms because we worked to do that in a small space. Thanks for asking for more photos! I have a Flickr page listed in my profile if anyone is interested in checking it out.

    In answer to Tractor1, funny you should mention a Lionel train! Mark has plans for a garden railway in the fairy garden this spring (fairy sized!), with a tunnel behind the waterfall. Regarding the pond, we build our own greenhouse over the pond around Thanksgiving, leave the fall running, and put an oil-filled radiator under the greenhouse. So happy that we haven't lost a fish yet, even with -45 wind chill.

    To cwheat000, the daylily lover, large-flowered varieties are my favorites, like Dallas Star (that's the pale pink one still blooming in July in the front, and a spider variety, another spider called Flutterbye is gorgeous. I buy all online for better variety at Oakes Daylilies.

    Mainer59, the blue flower is an annual salvia in a pot called Blue Frost--stunning color and blooms all summer, especially with an occasional trim.

  20. quinquek 01/22/2014

    Yes, I think "enchanting" is really the correct adjective for your garden. What happy neighbors you must have if they can catch a glimpse of what lies next door! The Fairy Garden is wonderful and I love the koi pond. You've really succeeded in blending the plants and design so well. It has a really completed look.

  21. wildthyme 01/22/2014

    Connie and Mark, you've done such a lovely job with this garden. The plantings are wonderful, but my favorites are the pond, because you've made it look so natural, and the path, because it's so inviting and functional with the large stones. What a nice surprise on a cold Montana morning! Thank you for sharing.

  22. GrannyMay 01/22/2014

    Connie and Mark you've done a great job with your English garden! My favourite view would have to be the koi pond, or maybe that curvy path meandering through from the garage to the house, or the wonderful daylilies! Love to see more photos.

  23. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/22/2014

    Hi, again, Connie, my eyes perked up at your mention of Oakes Daylilies. I am a big fan! Their fields are located about a 45 minute drive from where I live. They have an open to the public festival during the height of their growing season, oh my! They have very generous sized display clumps which are well labelled and beautifully presented. It is quite a treat to walk the paths among them. I am sure I am quite comical as I stop and scribble notes to put certain ones on my wish list. People come from quite a distance to attend so you and Mark wouldn't feel lonely if you ever decided to make a trip of it. There is another treasure trove daylily specialty place in the Knoxville area called Champion Daylilies and its offerings are wonderful also. I have bought some real favorites from both places. I, too, am a sucker for daylilies.
    Mark's plan to put the train track through your fairy garden sounds awesome. We'll all be looking forward to seeing pictures of that completed project.

  24. satisfaction 01/22/2014

    Lovely! I just keep looking at the second picture. Great design. It is so inviting and refreshing to see the pictures in winter as I look out my windows to everything white. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Connie51 01/22/2014

    Hi Meander1--I'm SO jealous of your proximity to Oakes Daylilies! Anyone who comments on my daylilies gets a recommendation to Oakes' web site from me. They usually send me an extra clump of a "surprise" daylily if I order a few, and they're always superb quality plants. Mark has become a reluctant lover of the plant--too many leaves and not enough flowers for his taste! But what an incredible flower, right?! This year I'm going to try to hybridize again--tried once before with no success--but what a thrill it would be to see one I've created myself!

    We have The Fields on Caton Farm about 30 minutes from me, but they don't sell online. That doesn't stop me from visiting when the fields of daylilies are blooming and buying a few.

    I'm SO eager for Spring, and will definitely post train pics!

  26. GrannyCC 01/22/2014

    Love the English Cottage garden feel. Quite a feat to keeping the Koi alive over the winter. Beautiful wandering paths and lush healthy looking plants.

  27. Connie51 01/22/2014

    To Sheila and Jeff (and anyone commenting about children in the garden)--When I'm outside and children walk by the fence with an adult, I ask the adult if it's OK if I show the kids the fairy garden and the fish. They never say no! I tell them the fairies move at night, and I move them around to encourage the kids to come back and see for themselves. Children are curious and ask questions, and I like to encourage future gardeners. Growing up outside of Chicago, I practically lived outside, even in winter, so I think it's preferable to sitting in front of the television.

  28. user-1020932 01/22/2014

    connie i'm with you about children in the garden and they do remember and they do come back to it! gotta get them while they are young. i love planting vegetables with children and seeing their faces when they get to eat that first strawberry that they grew and they ALL love to water the plants. they will remember your garden for always i think

  29. Meelianthus 01/22/2014

    Goodmorning Connie, You and your husband have wonderful garden vision. What a labor of love! It is all so beautiful and inviting - and fun. My son use to run his LGB train thru our gardens when he was young, and all though a lot of work was great fun for all. You have created a beautiful wonderland.

  30. Marsha1 01/22/2014

    Connie, thanks for posting your garden! It's great fun to look at, just beautiful. I like to visit Hornbaker Gardens in Princeton, IL for daylilies (also online). They have fields of them, and hosta, too. They also have wonderful display gardens all around the property for inspiration. Most of my daylilies are from Hornbaker's.

  31. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/22/2014

    Hmm, Marsha1, the Hornbaker Gardens you just made mention of have a great website. Looks like a delightful place to visit, shop and feed the addiction!

  32. AnneinQC 01/22/2014

    Hello Connie

    what a wonderful garden, I also would like to see more photos. I almost don't want to believe your area is only 80 x 50! And 18 trees and shrubs! are any of the large trees in the photos yours? I also have a small lot and have planted quite a few small trees (under 20)so now I don't feel so bad! and you still have room for perennials - that's the thing, I wouldn't want to forget those. Well you are inspiring for sure. And the fairy garden is so sweet, great idea for young children to see. Thank you so much for sharing, and I love your house too!

  33. NevadaSue 01/22/2014

    Delightful! what a treat for a morning in the garden. I love the walks and the pond right by the patio. It might be small but you have made it a feast for the eyes. your selection and placing of plants makes it truly refreshing. Love the colors.

  34. CJgardens 01/22/2014

    You have done wonderful things in your small backyard. Great design to have all the separate rooms in a small space. Love the English garden look using so many midwest natives. It's great that you share your love of gardening and plants with the children in the neighborhood.
    Hope you will share more pictures. Now I have to go check out Hornbaker's website.

  35. Connie51 01/22/2014

    Marsha1, I've just bookmarked the Hornbaker Gardens website--thank you! I really admire your garden and your ability to combine different colors and textures. I also love your use of daylilies. I can appreciate how you feel about the loss of your tree. Our neighbors lost a very large maple last year that shaded half of our front garden. I went from shade to full sun with a hosta and shade perennial bed, so I just started transitioning to full sun perennials. Like you, I've got lots of plants I can divide and move, so I'm doing my best to see it as a "making lemonade from lemons" scenario!

    AnnieinQC, the tree in the first picture is an Apple Serviceberry, and the trees in the second picture are village parkway trees that include a very mature maple and hackberry. We planted a weeping cherry at the end of the pond berm that's lovely in spring, and 12 arborvitae along our south lot line (behind the serviceberry). Mark loves viburnums, so we have 6, and Miss Kim dwarf lilacs, so we've managed to squeeze in 6 of those too! Good thing he's such a great hole digger!

  36. sheila_schultz 01/23/2014

    Oh my goodness... what a wonderful venue GPOD is for all of us gardeners to just chat and comment about what makes our souls sing? I mean, how often do you smile with the general posts on other sights you check out during the days/weeks?
    Michelle... hope you are keeping warm and cozy and that you are smiling with Connie's post!
    You all continue to make my day. Thank you.

  37. BethinIowa 01/23/2014

    Connie, your yard is my dream yard....rooms, pond, fairies, flagstone path, beautiful English garden-inspired paradise. Thank you for sharing this enchantment with those lucky enough to see these photos.

  38. Connie51 01/23/2014

    Sheila, I just discovered this blog last week and completely agree with you! This has been such a wonderful experience, and every single comment here truly made my day. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to share your thoughts!

  39. cwheat000 01/24/2014

    Thank you Connie and everyone for all the day lily info.

  40. delancey 02/01/2014

    Hi Gardeners:
    I'm now caught up on the last few weeks of the beautiful garden of the day photos -- it was like a mini vacation -- thanks, Michelle and contributors. Connie; one of the loveliest day lilies I've seen is a stunning red, Royal Mountie (now on my very long wish list and appropriate for a Canadian garden the province of New Brunswick). Your fairy garden is lovely. I want to add a miniature garden, but it will have to be in the shade, so any suggestions for tiny, not too rampant, zone 5 perennials would be much appreciated. I was pleased to see the hypertufa gnome houses last week in Lori Capener's Layton, Utah garden. I'd been wondering how hypertufa would work for buildings.
    Since it's sunny and the first of February, I'm going to pretend winter is almost over...

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