Garden Photo of the Day

Dale’s Garden in 2020

Views from the garden through the spring and summer

Today we’re headed to Michigan to visit Dale Dailey’s garden and look back at the highlights from the past year.

midwest spring gardenSpringtime in central Michigan began early, with many of the early risers experiencing frigid weather and snow. This is a scene from this time.

midwest summer gardenBut as the summer arrived, the same area exploded into a luxuriant scene.

Japanese gardenOther garden areas came into their own. The Japanese garden features a new central tree, a weeping redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Ruby Falls’, Zones 5–9).

dry stream areaA dry stream area in front of our house features daylilies (Hemerocallis hybrids, Zones 3–9) along each side and a purple-leaved, contorted hazelnut (Corylus avellana ‘Red Dragon’, Zones 4–8).

Escobaria viviparaThe alpine garden continued to provide surprises, particularly after a hard winter. This hardy cactus (Escobaria vivipara, Zones 4–8) was particularly spectacular.

Indian pinkAnother special plant, a Spigelia marilandica (Indian pink, Zones 4–9) came into full bloom this summer in a shady area.

geraniums with variegated leavesI have also been nurturing a group of geraniums with variegated leaves that have popped up from seed. I am hopeful that one of them will retain its variegation and be able to be propagated.

shady gardenAnother favorite spot is the shady garden area that I see as I drive up the driveway. It includes a well-established set of hostas, astilbes, epimedium, and other shade-loving plants.

spiderwortWe live on a dusty gravel road, but I have created a small, rugged garden area around our mailbox. The area features some tough spiderworts (Tradescantia virginiana, Zones 4–9) and daylilies.

overhead garden photoA friend used his drone to take an overhead photo of a section of the garden. The photo provides a good sense of the layout to the east of our house. It gives a whole new perspective to the garden.



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View Comments


  1. nwphillygardener 12/22/2020

    That drone photo is exciting. It would be great if we all could see our gardens that way. Have you seen anything from those drone images that has led to any changes you felt compelled to make. I'm intrigued to see that highly formal, bilaterally symmetrical area that your other pics didn't seem to include.

    1. User avater
      user-7007816 12/22/2020

      The symmetrical area is one that we call the "Quilt" garden because it was inspired by a quilt pattern from my wife. It is planted with colorful blocks of annuals each year to highlight the geometry of the pattern.

  2. Rebeccazone7 12/22/2020

    In the picture driving up your driveway is that wisteria on the trees in the background? I'm such an old fashioned country gardener...I think the drone would not be helpful to However, while I admired some symmetrical in other gardens, I end up happily in my ongoing mess of moving and planting in the fall, hoping it won't all have to be moved later in the summer. I'm an optimist and always trying to fit in what doesn't always work.

    1. User avater
      user-7007816 12/22/2020

      I think what you are referring to are the purple leaves of a weeping beech, Fagus sylvatica 'Purpurea Pendula'.
      It is a wonderful tree, but takes some time and space to grow.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/22/2020

    Love it all. How much land is in your garden?

    1. User avater
      user-7007816 12/22/2020

      I would guess we have a full acre of developed gardens plus the surrounding areas are planted with a large variety of trees and native wild flowers. It keeps me busy.

  4. PG20 12/22/2020

    Beautiful gardens. Love the comparison photos of spring and summer. They really highlight the promise of spring!

    1. User avater
      user-7007816 12/22/2020

      Yes, I had the same thought as I put the photos together. During these tough times, we all need the gift of spring.

  5. user-783091 12/22/2020

    Very nice!
    How do you keep the deer away from your hostas? Life expectancy in my yard would be about 72 hrs!

    1. User avater
      user-7007816 12/22/2020

      About 15 years ago, I bought a book titled "Deerproofing Your Yard and Garden". It was one of the best purchases I ever made. Basically, the book describes how to break the habits of deer. Before I read the book, we actually had a doe leave her fawn in our garden while she foraged. Deer are still around, but not in our garden.

  6. User avater
    cynthia2020 12/22/2020

    Dale - there is so much to like about your gardens. I especially liked the dry creek beds/pathways, the fountain in the Japanese garden, the Spigelia marilandica with lots of healthy foliage and flowers, and the drone photo. Thank you for sharing!

    1. User avater
      user-7007816 12/22/2020

      Glad you enjoyed it. I wish I could have shown more.

  7. wittyone 12/22/2020

    I love the drone shot. It gives so much coherence to the overall layout. So often with the pics sent to this site I wonder how this pic connects up to some of the others and usually can't figure that out. Solution=drone shots!

    Actually it really doesn't matter since I am most interested in the plantings. Having some idea of the whole design gives a whole different appreciation of the extent and design of the garden beds.

    How long have you been working on this? Looks like a multiyear project to me.

    Great job!

    1. User avater
      user-7007816 12/22/2020

      Yes, the gardens have grown and developed over the last 25 years. After having a new house built on our property, I recall going to a K-Mart and buying some boxed hosta to fill a bare area. That's how it started. i admit to being a 'builder' and the gardens have given me an opportunity to build and create. Glad that you enjoyed what you saw.

  8. User avater
    bdowen 12/22/2020

    What a detailed overview you show with your drone shot!

    1. User avater
      user-7007816 12/22/2020

      Yes, next time I will try to capture more of the gardens and some close-ups from above.

  9. User avater
    simplesue 12/22/2020

    I've been totally enthralled with your garden photos!
    There is something interesting growing every step of the way and such an enjoyable garden layout...perfect for walking around in.
    I really like your choice of plants too, and was trying to figure out what the huge maroon colored bush/tree is next to the person sitting on the that the Red Dragon Contorted Hazelnut or something else?
    I love seeing the early spring photo and the full out summer photo of the same location and of course that amazing arial photo!
    And you actually have a hardy blooming cactus, and possibly a variegated geranium...pure magic in your garden!

    1. User avater
      user-7007816 12/22/2020

      The huge maroon colored bush/tree is a variety of European beech, Fagus sylvatica 'Purpurea Pendula'. It is an amazing tree that is very contorted as it grows upward, but straightens in the process. Unfortunately, i think it will become too large for the space so close to the house. i have 7 different fagus sylvatica on our property. They are all so different and beautiful in their own right.

  10. Cenepk10 12/22/2020

    Fab U Lous !!!!! Perspective is a must to truly appreciate a garden, so I REALLY want to thank you for the drone shot. Love it all !

  11. User avater
    user-7007816 12/22/2020

    Glad you enjoyed the drone shots. I did too. I only wish I had space for a couple of other more areas.

  12. btucker9675 12/22/2020

    You have created a truly splendid garden and I thank you for sharing it.

  13. Musette1 12/22/2020

    Dale - Your garden is gorgeous (obviously) - but that drone shot is BREATHTAKING! The Spigelia is stunning, as well - I've long ogled them but don't have enough shade to make them happy, alas. But I can enjoy yours right here!
    Thank you for sharing your gorgeous space!

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