Garden Photo of the Day

Deb & Ray’s garden in Illinois

We enlisted our niece's husband to build the garden shed I've always wanted. The window boxes are planted with wax beans, leaf lettuce and cilantro to ensure that our resident bunnies don't harvest them before we do! Tiger lilies and a red 'Cuthbert Grant' rose frame the shed which is fronted by a circular flagstone patio planted with several varieties of thyme. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Deborah Rees

Today’s photos are from Deborah Rees. She says, “My garden is in South Elgin, Illinois, a far west suburb of Chicago. When my husband, Ray, and I moved to our typical suburban home in 1986 there was only lawn. Little by little we have added plant materials and hardscape including a brick patio, gazebo, arbors, ornamental lily pool, and the gardening shed of our dreams. My borders are a constantly changing mix of easy-care perennials, biennials, annuals and bulbs. We have recently retired and are enjoying spending more time than ever in the garden.”

This angel is nestled by a Stachys monnieri ‘Hummelo’ – definitely one of my favorite plants! The angel and plant look pretty against the blue cedar in the background. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Deborah Rees

That shed is, indeed, DREAMY, Deb! And the garden is just as! More pictures, please!

**More info in the captions**

This is prime time to take some photos in your garden. So get out there with your cameras and send some in! Email them to [email protected].

This is a view of our largest border from the small brick patio behind the shed. In summer this border is filled with orange tiger lilies, ‘Cuthbert Grant’ roses and purple phlox. Two tuteurs add structure to the border. If you look closely you’ll see the station platform for a garden railway in the lower right side of photo – my husband’s hobby! As fall comes it will be filled with pink and purple asters and goldenrod. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Deborah Rees
This is a close-up of the thyme patio. I love the quilt-like effect of planting different varieties of thyme and the aroma when you walk on them. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Deborah Rees
This photo shows a beautiful purple clematis covering the arbor leading to the gazebo (located off the patio). To the left of the arbor is a contorted hazelnut tree. An autumn clematis blooms later in the fall on the other side of the arbor. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Deborah Rees

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  1. user-1020932 08/21/2013

    another great space with a garden shed that looks better than the house i live in! i'm glad you pointed out the railway station or else i would have missed that. fun!

  2. flowerladydi 08/21/2013

    Charming! Love the shed,,, Love your tyme,,, how wonderful it must be to walk through with all that fragrance.,,,, and I love the angel with the Hummelo,,,
    You and your husband have done a great job - what fun it must be to watch the train ' roll on through '!

  3. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 08/21/2013

    Great job. I'm a huge fan of your thyme tapestry!

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/21/2013

    Hi, Deborah, Happy Retirement to you and your husband and your delightful garden areas. I couldn't help but notice the attention to detail in the finishing trim touches on your shed...they definitely add to the charming impression it give.
    I suspect that lots of fun things are going to be added to your husband's railroad route now that he has more free time to enjoy his hobby.
    I hope you share another round of pictures that show more fully your gazebo and the lily pond. I'm sure they are very lovely.

  5. tractor1 08/21/2013

    Oh no... only five photos, I need at least fifty.... what an enchanting garden! I'm not going to wax on about that shed, I can give kudos for eternity.... does it have heat and water, I could winter vacation in it. Thank you for sharing your wonderful garden, Deborah.

    Today is hectic, bringing electric out 350' to my barn.

  6. wGardens 08/21/2013

    A fabulous shed! I'd like one just like it... only bigger. It looks great. Nice job with your "quilt". And I think we need more photos....

  7. rwotzak 08/21/2013

    I love your thyme patio (and everything else in your beautiful garden)! I would seriously consider replacing my tiny front lawn with thyme. Is it a lot of work to keep the weeds at bay?

  8. rwotzak 08/21/2013

    ...and I'm with tractor1--we need to see more photos your garden.

  9. GrannyMay 08/21/2013

    What a darling shed! And I can see the railway tracks and station looping in front of it, maybe to transport your vegetables back to your house. Love the thyme tapestry! Like Meander1, I hope for more photos after seeing just a tantalizing glimpse of your gazebo.

  10. debrees 08/21/2013

    Thanks for all the wonderful comments! I have already sent more photos.

    To answer the question concerning the upkeep on the thyme walkway--- It does require some upkeep, including weeding and trimming the taller thymes after blooming. However, once the mats are established, weeds have a hard time pushing through and upkeep is less. I have thought of doing this to the strip of lawn we have between our front sidewalk and the street and would highly recommend it for a tiny lawn that is sunny and dry.

  11. sheila_schultz 08/21/2013

    You are brilliant to raise your vegies out of the bunny's way, and what a wonderful excuse for a delightful shed! (I bet they do enjoy resting on your very cool thyme patio, though.) I'm with everyone else, Deborah, more photos please!

  12. Wife_Mother_Gardener 08/21/2013

    Lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  13. PamWittenberg 08/21/2013

    Amazing! I agree...more pictures are required! That's does it, I'm replanting my sidewalk strip with thyme in the fall once the summer heat has passed...

  14. debrees 08/21/2013

    Regarding the questions about the shed. . . Brian did run electricity to the shed. We have talked about adding a heater so we could putter in the shed in cooler weather. There is no water, but there are plans to run a hose back to it. Right now it houses all the garden tools, pots, fertilizer, etc. It also has a miniature door in back for Ray to run his trains into out of the weather.

  15. cwheat000 08/21/2013

    I too am glad to hear you sent more photos. It all looks wonderful and of course that shed and thyme patio are divine. I too am a big fan of that betony. Oddly enough I don't see it used more. It is so easy and the deer don't touch it. P.S.- that clematis is pretty killer too.

  16. ancientgardener 08/21/2013

    What a dear little garden shed. I hope you have some grandchildren to play house in it. I had never heard of your stachys "Hummelo". It's already on the top of my shopping list for next spring. Hope it's not difficult to find. And then there's that lovely angel statue... Guess I'd better save my Christmas money gifts. You and your husband have created a paradise and at 85 years of age I am here to tell you that taking care of it will keep you young and active long after many are sitting in a nursing home.

  17. PatsyAnn 08/21/2013

    Deb and Ray, I am in love with the thyme patio. What happens to it during the winter? This could be the answer for my "hidden garden."

  18. debrees 08/21/2013

    About the thyme in the winter question - I think it stays somewhat green under our snow in northern IL although you can't really see it. It is at its prettiest when it greens up in the spring and starts blooming (as in the photo). There are many types of thyme, I would suggest the lower growing ones for a patio if you like a neat appearance.

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