Garden Photo of the Day

Darlene’s garden in South Dakota

Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of Darlene Thorson

Today’s photos are from Darlene Thorson. She says, “Greetings from the Black Hills! We live on one of the busiest streets and in an older area (not historical) in Rapid City, South Dakota. It’s a mostly unkempt neighborhood. We hope to encourage others to know that it doesn’t matter where you live, it’s what you put into it, and even possible on a limited budget.

“We have converted most of our lawn area to perennials, grasses, and a few more trees. Our zinnias (started from seed) are our favorite annual, with some reaching six feet tall by the end of the growing season. We added a vegetable garden area (now with raised beds) to the right of the zinnias.

“Our community is very proactive in reclaiming and recycling. We have wonderful compost available at our landfill for unbelievably low prices. We added rain barrels to our home and greenhouse in late summer. Our pergola has a hidden clothesline with four lines, each sixteen feet long (shown in the winter photo). We have our own red wiggler worm bin for composting kitchen scraps and also added a bin for larger fishing worms. We are really looking forward to spring and summer after going through winter storm Atlas!”

Those veggies, Darlene–so wonderful! And those zinnias are ridiculously happy. Thanks so much for sharing your garden with us! ***That makes 49 states we’ve featured!! Tomorrow we’ll visit our 50th state–Mississippi!

—-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]!

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View Comments


  1. dirtgirl1949 01/29/2014

    Darlene, what a beautiful garden, well done for creating such an amazing area and hopefully providing inspiration to your neighbours to follow your lead. Yours is a true garden in every sense, I love it!

  2. user-1020932 01/29/2014

    what a great wakeup. i love this urban farmstead and what a great example for the entire community. this entire property puts a BIG smile on my face

  3. wGardens 01/29/2014

    LOVE the efforts you - and your community- put forth on the "green" efforts! Great use of space. Your raised garden is wonderful... the zinnias are glorious; your bounty, gorgeous!

  4. briandowns 01/29/2014

    Fantastic Festuca!

  5. flowerladydi 01/29/2014

    What fun! I'll bet people stop along the road to take a closer look,,, especially if you are one of the few who garden! You must be so pleased!,,,, and your garden ( veggie ) looks like it is VERY productive!! Hopefully others will follow suit!
    Love the butterfly,, zinnias are great!,,, and love what you did with the front lawn are,,, all of it is so fun!, and beautiful and ecological!!! Great job!!

  6. greengenes 01/29/2014

    South Dakota Sun! Oh My! Love those zinnias! When I grow them here in Washington state they seem to just rot sometimes. But I love them so. What a beautiful garden! I am so excited for you and what you are doing, being a forerunner to gardening! And to recycle stuff that is so good. Wish I lived closer to see more! Your crop of produce is yummy looking as well, Thanks so much for sharing with all of us! And I hope you don't get any more bad weather!

  7. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/29/2014

    Well, Darlene, your pictures reveal you to be a force of nature in human form...making such a positive impression on your land...creating beauty and your can-do spirit and enthusiasm for all things gardening. Your zinnias are gorgeous and look like a line of cheerleaders celebrating your successes!

  8. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/29/2014

    Great marriage of beauty and practicality. You are are leader!

  9. tractor1 01/29/2014

    What a tidy vegetable garden, and great produce! I love it all, the zennias are so lush. And that's one happy bunny. Thank you, Darlene, you're setting a fine example for your community.

  10. user-7006902 01/29/2014

    I LOVE those words "converted our lawn" ... and it is beautiful. Those zinnias are the perfect side order to your vegetable garden. I am lusting after those FRESH veggies and that greenhouse! You are an inspiration. Spring will be very welcome this year.

  11. GrannyMay 01/29/2014

    Darlene, your statement "it doesn't matter where you live, it's what you put into it" is one that we all can learn from. Your garden is wonderful! It feeds the spirit as well as the body, and does so beautifully! Thank you!

  12. pattyspencer 01/29/2014

    Didn't know zinnas could get to tall! Hope others in your community follow your example - very inspirational!

  13. sheila_schultz 01/29/2014

    Your actions definitely speak louder than words, Darlene. Very cool!

  14. ancientgardener 01/29/2014

    Your entire garden SHOUTS loving care. I, too, am a zinnia lover, from the short to the tall ones and yours are splendid. I am really at war with bunnies but have to admit they are so cute. Your produce is picture perfect and made me so hungry for a fresh tomato sandwich. You are a true gardener.

  15. GrannyCC 01/29/2014

    Love the garden and all the wonderful produce. Just shows what you can create in a small place. Truly living off the land.

  16. quinquek 01/29/2014

    What a great and productive veg garden! Puts me to shame, the state mine's in. I love the idea of hidden clothes lines, and the greenhouse is clearly needed and put to great use. Looks like you're headed towards 4 Season gardening! Good luck with the rest of winter...

  17. wittyone 01/29/2014

    It looks as though you have put lots and lots of time and effort in to producing this wonderful space. Have you been working on it for a long time now? How much land do you have there. Looks as though you have used just about every inch very effectively. It must be wonderful to have such a nice greenhouse and living where you do getting a head start on seedlings must prove useful.

    I hope your neighbors realize what can be done with some effort and imagination and your area turns into a garden of eden.

  18. cwheat000 01/29/2014

    Darlene, that is one impressive garden. You must have made some great soil and care for your garden diligently. Kudos to you. Your harvest looks delish! I am curious as to what tomatoes you grow? How I long for a garden tomato in January. Love those zinnias!

  19. perenniallycrazy 01/29/2014

    Darlene, your smile in that top right photo, says it all! Bounty, beauty and cheer all in one. Thanks for brightening our winter day =).

  20. Meelianthus 01/29/2014

    Darlene ~ I love the butterfly photo, looks like such a treat for both of you. I enjoyed the peek into your greenhouse, looks very productive. What a wonderful assortment of veggies too. Great job! Thank you.

  21. Wife_Mother_Gardener 01/29/2014

    Wonderful garden, Darlene! Definitely an inspiration.

  22. thegardenlady 01/29/2014

    Fabulous greenhouse! Brilliant garden.

  23. janetsfolly 01/30/2014

    Every shot in this post makes me SMILE, even the wascally wabbit! This is the work of a dedicated gardener who obviously loves making the most of what's available. Great job, Darlene! And thanks for including the shot of yourself, calm and happy in your green world!

  24. GardenSmiles 01/31/2014

    Thanks for all of the very encouraging comments. Gardening is certainly a labor of love! Looks like our new garden name should be "urban farmstead" via tntreeman. Visitors have said it looks like a little farm, no chickens in the city though! In response to wittyone's questions: We bought our home in late 2006 and updated windows, siding and roof since then. The yard was a blank slate with green grass and several roses(kept a few favorites). We started working on our yard in 2007 and hopefully keep progressing. We have only .16 acres or the equivalent to 7,000 square feet in our entire lot. In response to cwheat000 our tomatoes are Early Girl, Beefsteak, Beef Maestro, Sun Gold (cherry tomato) and
    Principe Borghese (Italian plum). greengenes...Paul said the zinnia is actually a desert plant, so that's why they love the South Dakota sunshine! Thanks again and happy gardening! Darlene

  25. palmgirl 01/31/2014

    I love your garden, the beautiful flowers and vegetables are truly a delight.

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