Garden Photo of the Day

Crazy for Plants

By Kim Charles

Donna Bogumill of Olympia, Washington shares one heck of a garden with us complete with sound and movement.

"I love gardening in the Pacific Northwest! With so many wonderful nurseries and an almost limitless palette of plants that grow well here, my biggest challenge is containing my out-of-control plant lust. Over the past 13 years, I have been steadily expanding the garden area over our two acre property in Olympia, Washington. About a third of our place is wooded. We've left most of that natural for the wildlife that share this home with us.

Over the years, I've planted hundreds of varieties of perennials, grasses, bulbs, shrubs, and trees. More plants seem to follow me home every time I venture out to a garden tour or nursery.  The last words I usually hear as I head out the door are "Don't bring home any more plants." Like that's going to stop me.

I like to focus on foliage color and texture, especially in the shady areas. I also enjoy large sunny areas filled with both foliage plants and flowers. We added a water feature last year, which brings new elements of sound and movement to the garden.  

This is my favorite time of year. Many of the May flowers will be fading soon, but that's okay. A whole new cast of characters — including peonies, astilbes, astrantias, and kousa dogwoods — are ready to burst onto center stage. That's one of the joys of gardening — there's always something to look forward to!"

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  1. bsavage 06/12/2017

    Simply stunning! Is that Chihuly glass in the first picture? Love the glass sculptures!

    1. user-5627921 06/13/2017

      Thanks, Brenda. I wish I could afford Chihuly glass! These glass sculptures are treasures brought home from the Northwest Flower and Garden Show this year.

      1. bsavage 06/14/2017

        I couldn't afford Chihuly glass either, LOL! Do you know the name of the artist that did your pieces? I would love to add some to our garden!

        1. user-5627921 06/15/2017

          I can't seem to lay my hands on the card with the artist's name. If I come across it soon, I'll let you know.

          1. bsavage 06/16/2017

            Thanks. Your gardens are so pretty!

  2. tennisluv 06/12/2017

    Oh my! Plant lust for sure today. You certainly have a way with combining foliage and flowers into a beautiful garden tapestry. Monet would have had a field day painting your Pacific Northwest landscape. Not a single favorite in the offering; every picture has something that snagged me. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Sunshine111 06/12/2017

    The first picture is my favorite, but the white lupines with the alliums is a close second. My lupines are also blooming now but they are blue, and my alliums are also in full glory. I never thought of using white lupines but I'll think about it now!

  4. jeffgoodearth 06/12/2017

    man, oh day! This all looks great. I would be bankrupt if I lived in PNW as I could never stop buying plants. You have done a wonderful job with everything and I am especially envious of the Ligularia as mine look like swiss cheese this year.

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/12/2017

    Your climate must be perfect for gardening. Everything is so lush & just beautiful.

  6. user-7007498 06/12/2017

    Donna, I am really enjoying breakfast while looking at your garden. Will need to return to these photos later after work. Plant lust is such a terrible disease to have, especially when followed by plant buying. I think all of us here suffer the same fate. My wife always rolls her eyes when I tell her I am going out for just a bit.

    The garden is beautiful. The Japanese maple adjacent to the spruce is a wonderful color contrast, and the glass sculptures behind them are stunning. I love the other photos full of plants and gorgeous textural contrast.

    You have created a wonderful garden. Thanks for sharing

  7. user-7007960 06/12/2017

    Lovely, lovely! The water pond is a gem with the natural stones and the glass features! All of your plantings are so lush and healthy too. I know the feeling of putting a "cease and desist", on buying more plants. The huge issue for me is the creation of more planting beds. Kill the grass, rototill, amend the soil. Back breaking or try to hire it done! Thanks for sharing. I live vicariously.

  8. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/12/2017

    Hi, Donna, you certainly have an artist's touch in creating beautiful landscape portraits...except you use a shovel and trowel instead of a paint brush. Love the curving tumble of Japanese forest is so graceful and serene. And, oh my, the shooting spires of the white lupines elicited a sigh of admiration and appreciation...and, yes, an attack of plant envy...because no amount of sweet talking on my part could get them to survive my east TN heat and humidity. Your garden is truly a vision of absolute loveliness.

  9. floreyd 06/12/2017

    Brava! Well done! Really lovely photos of what looks like a beautiful, peaceful spot.

  10. user-4691082 06/12/2017

    Donna, what a delight to see your garden today. It is stinking hot here in Pa, and I don't even want to go outside! Your garden is beautiful and I have climate envy! Tell us more about the glass and the water feature...ahhhhh.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/12/2017

      The 90's today here, too. July in June....what's next!?

      1. user-4691082 06/12/2017

        Well, all i know is- I can't divide anything right now!

        1. User avater
          Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/12/2017

          I actually planted a few small things over the weekend because, despite the forecast heat, there seems to be plenty of rain and cloud cover to accompany it. Stay cool!

          1. user-7007498 06/12/2017

            I just finished my planting this weekend as well. At least until I see some other great plant I just have to have. ?

          2. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/12/2017

            I still have some annuals to get out, and like you, I may plan to be done, but there's always a new seduction or a change I want to make!! :)

      2. Meelianthus 06/12/2017

        Oh! we would love some of that heat - 58 here today and really chilly!!

    2. user-5627921 06/12/2017

      Thanks for the kind words. I do love our climate -- though the tomatoes would like a little more heat. It's 63 degrees here today, at 4 in the afternoon. The glass was purchased last year at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. The highlight of our water feature is a natural stone bubbler purchased from a local landscape supply business. I believe the stone came from Montana. The other rocks are from our property -- mostly rocks we dug out when building the pond. Rock are something we have in abundance!

  11. user-7008585 06/12/2017

    Loved seeing your garden today! Living in Portland, Oregon and having a daughter on property in Olympia I can identify with your plant choices. What an eye for combinations you have - well done! I can only hope that the yellow lupine I put in this year do half as well as yours in the pictures...

  12. NCYarden 06/12/2017

    Wow, packed! Beautiful blend of foliage and flowers. That Hakonechloa edge is impressive. Love the water feature, a must-do in my own space that has yet to occur. I completely concede the same plant soon as I say no more plants, I am holding at least two before I finish the declaration. But it keeps the garden fun & exciting. Thank you for sharing your wonderful garden.

  13. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/12/2017

    There truly is always something to look forward to in a garden, and your garden is jam-packed with great plants full of texture, color and visual interest. Love that big, blue penstemon. The water feature is simple and lovely; a rusty slate? Your Hakonechloa border is wonderful. How long has it been in place? Is it starting to run a bit?
    The color on the rhododendron in the second photo is just delicious.

    1. user-5627921 06/13/2017

      Hi Tim, Thanks for the kind words. I'm not sure what type of rock our bubbler is, but it's a solid stone with a hole drilled through it for the water. I fell in love with it at the landscape supply place and had to build a pond to incorporate it into our garden. The Hakonechloa border has been in place for about 5 years. I had to remove some this year because it was beginning to overwhelm the hellebores. Not too much of an issue with it trying to run, though.

  14. CTpat 06/12/2017

    Donna, you have a wonderful eye for combinations of both color and texture. I am especially drooling over your Hakonechloa edging (can't I figure out someplace to put one here?), and your lupines. On which subject: can anyone tell me why mine change color? Last summer I bought one yellow lupine plant and planted it in the garden. This year, in the same spot, I have a couple of pink and one purple lupine--and no yellow. This is not the first time this has happened. No other lupines in my garden anywhere. Suggestions appreciated. I'd love to have a clump of either purple or white ones--but at the moment I'm convinced the purple will be pink by next year, since that's the one color I don't want.

    1. Luvfall 06/13/2017

      I know that the Russell hybrids have inconsistent color. There are some lupinus that are sold as specific colors - the Gallery series and The Nobles are two that I have seen and they may have more consistent colors. I just planted a Gallery yellow and I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

      1. user-5627921 06/13/2017

        I've had good luck with the Gallery series. Those shown in my photos are Gallery White and Gallery Blue.

        1. CTpat 06/13/2017

          Thank you. I'll see if I can locate those and give them a try,

  15. gardencook 06/12/2017

    Love your gardens and I know definitely what plant lust is!!!!! I get the same response when leaving the house to go to a nursery, etc. Everything in your garden looks so lush and healthy! You do have a great growing climate. Hope to see more!

  16. Cenepk10 06/12/2017

    Stunning. All my favorites in one garden !!!!

  17. LaurelEm 06/12/2017

    Everything looks so healthy and fresh. I love your style of garden and colors! Great Job!

  18. user-7007688 06/12/2017

    Donna, absolutely fantastic property! The gardens exude a peacefulness that must be so pleasant to escape to when "life" just gets a bit stressful. I hope you will share more of the garden perhaps in other seasons. You are my hero.
    Steve of Salt Lake City

  19. greengenes 06/12/2017

    Your gardens are a tapastry of the northwest! I love how you plant and cram. I too have that problem with plant lust. But it sure gives such interest thru all the seasons. I really like the yellow rhody! Hasnt this year given us such lush growth on everything? Its amazing! Well happy gardening Donna! Thanks for sharing your love of plants!

  20. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 06/12/2017

    Good morning, Donna. What a treat you've shared with us today. I see a plant in every photo that I either have and love or need to acquire but in my case, my husband's plant lust is as great or greater than mine so we may have to join 'plants anonymous'. Your garden layers are so impressive and well put together. I especially like that blue penstemon And the dark leaves of the ligularia amidst all of the yellow. You seem to do a better job than us of keeping rabbits, deer and the bigger than ever snail population from feasting on your plants. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Jay_Sifford 06/12/2017

    Just stunning! All those foliage colors and textures together make me really happy.

  22. schatzi 06/12/2017

    Simply gorgeous! The texture contrasts are amazing. Especially love the first and next to last pictures. The colors and textures in the lead picture are gorgeous, but it is all beautiful.

  23. user-6861263 06/12/2017

    Just beautiful! You've massed everything to show them at their best, and love the pops of gold and textural interest. I was in Vancouver last year and am very envious of your cool climate. You've done a beautiful job.

  24. annek 06/12/2017

    I just have chime in agreement to those beautiful white lupines, the fabulous grass, and your adroit plant combinations. well done!

  25. user-3565112 06/12/2017

    Good afternoon Donna, You have another in a long line of terrific PNW gardens. Every scene is well done with foliage ,color & texture beautifully blended. You are lucky to have so many garden centers available. In Maryland , independent garden centers are a dying breed with several closing every year.
    Good luck this summer, Joe

    1. user-5627921 06/12/2017

      Hi Joe, Thanks for your kind words. I know what you mean about the independent garden centers. We've lost several good ones in the last few years. So sad. Fortunately, we still have a lot of great resources to support my plant addiction! Donna

  26. erla 06/12/2017

    Hi Donna. Your plants are so lush and beautiful. How do you get your Hakonechloa to be so big and full? I'm in Oregon and my never look that beautiful. Also, what is the plant with the blue flowers? I probably should know, but it is gorgeous. I'm with you on being unable to resist a new plant and I get the same warning when I'm heading to a nursery. We are so blessed to live in the Pacific NW!!

    1. user-5627921 06/12/2017

      Yes, we are blessed to live in the PNW! The Hakonechloa has been in place for about 5 years now. It really took off a couple of years ago after we removed a large hazelnut that was shading it. I've always thought of it as a shade plant, but it seems to be thriving even more now that it's in full sun. I apply a layer of compost each spring, but do nothing else to it. In fact, I had to dig out some this year because it was overwhelming the hellebores. The blue flower is Penstemon ovatus.

      1. erla 06/13/2017

        Thanks for your answer. Maybe mine are in too much shade. We have a heavy oak woods behind our house. My Penstemon that I've tried in the past never make it through the winter. Yours is gorgeous.

        1. user-5627921 06/14/2017

          Penstemon ovatus is one of my favorite plants. It's native to lower elevations of the Western Cascade Mountains, so it does well for us here. I've lost a few plants when they get shaded or crowded out, but then seedlings pop up in unexpected places -- usually exactly where they need to be!

          1. erla 06/14/2017

            Thanks for the info. I found this great website on the Penstemon I thought you might like to read. I do water during the summer, but the ground drains quickly. I think I will try a different bed and see what happens. Erla

          2. user-5627921 06/15/2017

            Thanks for the tip on the website. I'll check it out.

  27. Beezos 06/12/2017

    SO jealous of the gorgeous row of hakone grass! Here in Oklahoma it's a struggle to keep it alive let alone thrive like yours is. Kudos on a beautiful garden.

  28. Meelianthus 06/12/2017

    So much has already been expressed and I agree with all of it - you have done a stunning job with your gardens, beautifully arranged, full and so healthy looking. All of the PNW rain really has made everything grow so beautifully this year. I must not curse it so much :) In the 6th photo down, the light green bush on the left with leaves that look like fingers, I don't recognize that as something I am familiar with (unless it is a Rhody), what is it? Thanks for sharing your glorious gardens Donna.

    1. user-5627921 06/13/2017

      So true about the rain. I have to admit that I was complaining about it a lot this year -- but the plants loved it. The bush you asked about is Sanguisorba hakusanensis 'Lilac Squirrel'. In a few weeks, it will be covered with dangling lilac-pink bottle brushes.

      1. Meelianthus 06/13/2017

        Wow! that sounds like an amazing bush. I have never heard of it but am going to look for it at my nursery. Looks very interesting. Thank you.

  29. Luvfall 06/13/2017

    Totally love your rock fountain! Is that lovage I see in the last picture? I planted some last year and it seems to be a rapid grower.

    1. user-5627921 06/13/2017

      Thanks! I love my rock fountain, too! No on the lovage, though. I haven't tried growing it.

  30. user-7007125 06/13/2017

    Love the comment as the May flowers fade!!! My garden every two weeks in Cloverdale BC is different. It goes strong in good years till October.I have a shade garden, I have a small area for tomatoes, 3 hanging baskets with Tumbler Toms this over and above my other tomatoes. I try to plant for the hummingbirds. I have three rose bushes, big guys over 25 yrs old, with a bit of pruning in the fall and early spring, some good compost in the spring they thrive. Our birdbath adds so much to our garden... on hot August evenings the birds line up on the fence and take turns drinking and having a bath. Share your know how and your plants!!!

    1. user-5627921 06/15/2017

      Hi Diane, thanks for sharing. Your garden sounds delightful! What a treat to have roses that are over 25 years old!

  31. user-6536305 06/14/2017

    The water feature is awesome! Your focus on foliage color and texture has shown great results - a truly master piece. Beautiful glass sculptures! Do you leave them out all year? Thanks for sharing.

    1. user-5627921 06/15/2017

      Hi Lilian, thanks for your kind words. The glass sculptures are new this year. I plan to take them in for the winter, just to be safe.

  32. lynneleslie 06/15/2017

    Thanks for sharing your gorgeous garden. Has inspired me.

  33. linnyg. 07/19/2017

    Just getting to the June FGOD posts! I'm from Olympia (OHS '68) and used to live at 2908 Lybarger St SE (lived at 2713 Hillside Drive before that) ~ I used to explore the area to the north between our Lybarger house and Henderson Blvd. ~~~ lots of wild roses. Anyway, I used to 'rescue' tiny evergreen seedlings and plant them beside the Lybarger house --- some of them may even be there now! My folks grew a whole hedge of blueberries in the back yard. I was always trying to plant this or that flower I found --- your pictures remind me of the best of the '60's back there. Thank you so much for the pleasant memories. I remember a neighbor had a wonderful Daphne bush and I was so delighted when a Daphne variety was able to grow in our zone 5 Denver area. Is that Chihuly glass in your cover picture? We just visited Seattle and went to the Chihuly Glass and Gardens ---- WOW!

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