Garden Photo of the Day

Cynthia’s Garden

Blooms of the North Lot Garden

slope garden full of perennials

When we moved to Hamilton, Ohio, in 1998, we purchased the adjacent lot to our north, so we call it the North Lot Garden.

The slope above the retaining wall was covered with winter creeper (Euonymus fortunei, Zones 5–9) and scrub trees that overhung the house. We cut down the trees, and with a lot of effort we removed the winter creeper.

It is a steep slope, so planting was a challenge. I relied on oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia, Zones 5–9) and crape myrtle to anchor the area, gradually filling in with perennials. It is a sunny, south-facing slope that welcomed coneflowers (Echinacea species and hybrids, Zone 4–9), reed grass (Calamagrostis × acutiflora, Zones 5–11), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida, Zones 3–10), Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum, Zones 4–9), and other sun-loving perennials.

I took the Master Gardener class from the Ohio State Extension after retiring in 2011. I enjoy working on public gardens with new friends and learning more about unusual and/or hardy plants that I can add to my garden.

wild ginger next to a fern‘Brilliance’ autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’, Zones 5–8) and wild ginger (Asarum canadense, Zones 4–6) border the path in the shade of the house.

garden bed full of coneflowersConeflowers and Joe Pye weed dominate the slope between the oakleaf hydrangea, accented with Stokes’ aster (Stokesia laevis, Zones 5–9) in the foreground and a few Verbena bonariensis (Zones 7–11 or as an annual) interspersed.

pink bee balmReed grass anchors the slope among the bee balm (Monarda spp., Zones 4–8) and Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum × superbum, Zones 5–9) that always bloom on my birthday. Hummingbirds are frequent visitors to the bee balm.

slope garden full of perennialsPhlox (Phlox paniculata, Zones 4–8) bloom just above the retaining wall, with crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia, Zones 6–11) in the background.

pink oakleaf hydrangea bloomsWhile this oakleaf hydrangea is turning pink for summer, blue mist (Caryopteris × clandonensis, Zones 5–9), in the background, is not yet blooming.

Joe Pye weed in front of tall treesJoe Pye weed is standing out against the backdrop of shade trees.

Stokes asterStokes’ aster shines out in purple splendor.

phlox in front of hydrangeaThe phlox almost looks fluorescent against the hydrangea blossoms.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    user-7007816 07/29/2021

    I particularly like the naturalistic feel of your garden. Well done.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 07/29/2021


  3. sagebird52 07/29/2021

    Its beautiful and a pollinator / bird natural haven . Wonderful

  4. btucker9675 07/29/2021

    Love this garden! The photo with the wild ginger and ferns especially - looks so cool and peaceful. Excellent work creating a wonderful space.

  5. User avater
    simplesue 07/29/2021

    That's a super amazing perennial bed that you made on a slope above a retaining wall! That must have been hard to do and it turned out just beautiful!

  6. ellen_h 07/29/2021

    What a beautiful garden! I can empathize with the winter creeper issue - I planted one pot maybe 15 years ago, removed it about 8 years ago but it had started producing berries that the birds spread and I am still finding it on our property here in North Alabama. I know you must have worked hard to be rid of it.

  7. wittyone 07/29/2021

    I bet being able to acquire the adjacent lot with the steep grade descending down toward your house has made a big difference for you. All those plantings that you have put in surely must soak up a ton of water that could otherwise create problems for you. How smart of you to deal with possible water problems and create all that beauty right next door in one fell swoop.

    And daisies on your birthday---who could ask for anything more?

    Nice job!

    and doing all that planting has really made a difference in the amount of runoff that ends up down at your house.

    1. wittyone 07/29/2021

      Oops. Just scratch out that last sentence.

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