Garden Photo of the Day

Debbie’s garden in Alabama

Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of Debbie Bradley

Today’s photos are from Debbie Bradley. She says, “I live in Athens, Alabama. I’ve been working on this garden for 9 years. I worked at nurseries and was an independent landscape designer for several years, but changed careers so I mostly just dabble in my own yard now.

“My yard is naturally divided by the driveway, a retaining wall, and a bank around the backyard so it was easy to create rooms in each section. A large crape myrtle already established when we purchased the home allowed me to create the shade garden focused around the fountain, but everything else has been added over the last 9 years. Playing in the dirt is my healthy, happy place.”

What a serene, classy garden, Debbie. I LOVE it! Thanks for sharing it with us. ….and wow, that is one determined squirrel!

—- This is only the second garden we’ve featured in Alabama. Check out the other one HERE! —-

****Tell us your garden story…. Email me with photos and words at [email protected]. ****

Want us to feature YOUR garden in the Garden Photo of the Day? CLICK HERE!
Want to see every post ever published? CLICK HERE!
Want to search the GPOD by STATE? CLICK HERE!
Check out the GPOD Pinterest page! CLICK HERE!

View Comments


  1. flowerladydi 03/26/2014

    Debbie,,,,, I Absolutely Love it!!!! Michelle's words truly describe your yard/garden,, what a serene classy garden!! And,,, shade is my absolute favorite! I love every single photo,,, love the grand entry with the prymidial boxwood as one enters,,, your flagstone is just fabulous!,,,love the way it wraps around,, so warm, yet functional, you have done a great job with that! So love all the shade plants along the sides- heucherra, hosta, ferns, everything looks so very healthy and bright!
    Your house itself is just charming and it just all comes together so very well,, from the color to the setting,,, it appears that you are surrounded by a forest., how beautiful. It is all so welcoming and warm., with a true flair - I love it!!! You did such a great job on the swinged area as well, and that squirrel is amazing!! What fun he must have been to watch!,, albeit a bit frustrating eating your bird seed! -:)
    Thank you for sending!

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/26/2014

    Hi, Debbie, first let me express super kudos on the wonderful job you do limbing up your ornamental trees. I so enjoyed enlarging each picture and gazing up and through the trunks and branching. I'm always timid about taking pruners to errant branches but when I see results like yours, I know I must be braver. Properly "coiffed" trees do give a garden a special elegance and serenity.
    Could you please share the name of that positively glowing hosta along the side of your about a beacon of light!
    And the stretch on that squirrel is Cirque du Soleil worthy!

  3. wGardens 03/26/2014

    What a fabulous garden... and a beautiul home to create around! Love it all, too! The setting you have is SSOOOO wonderful. In the second photo down on the left, what is the horizontal branching plant to the left-center? Wish you were in NYS- I'd be calling you! Thanks for sharing~

  4. gloriaj 03/26/2014

    I am so ready to start playing in the dirt and your beautiful serene garden makes me even more ready. I love everything you have done

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/26/2014

    Yeah, what Michaele said! First thing I noticed was the beautiful, small trees and then that gorgeous hosta. A very welcoming home. Thanks for sharing warm summer pictures when I have been embraced this morning by a spring-y 17 degrees. Still, the squirrels are busy with their ritual: The Annual Shredding of the Crocuses; followed by the digging and gladiolus-bulb-toss. Apparently they don't taste as good as they smell. :(

  6. NC_Yarden 03/26/2014

    You're garden is so inviting. I love the maples...such great and manageable trees. The stones are a nice accent and frame. I can totally see a pleasant stroll followed by a relaxing sit in the shade. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing. And "yay" for Spring (but not for squirrels).

  7. OneKSGardner 03/26/2014

    Debbie I love your rock pathways and the swing looks like a place to sit and enjoy the garden. So beautiful and thanks for sharing your beautiful garden with us today.

  8. OneKSGardner 03/26/2014

    I meant to ask the bright green hosta on the side garden "stained glass"? Love it!!!

  9. User avater
    HelloFromMD 03/26/2014

    Hi Debbie,

    Love the flagstone paths and the lovely shade perennials. I too want to know the name of the gold v green hostas. I would like to know the length of your growing season. My last frost is around May 10th and first frost is late October. Did you create all your shade? You mentioned you only had a crepe myrtle to start. Can you recommend a small tree that creates shade quickly? So many have commented here that they have lost a tree and that their shade plants will now fry.

  10. tractor1 03/26/2014

    What a spectactular garden and in so private and tranquil a setting, and a very creative design with every element precisely where it belongs. I love all the stonework and all that flagstone paving is so harmonious with not a speck of nasty gravel... so much grandeur yet so relaxed. That can't be that squirrel's first time, not with how it mastered its approach and circumvented all the guards, that squirrel deserves its meal. I feed all the critters and like to share with the squirrels, they put on a fine show and really don't eat very much and most importantly they don't eat your plants... besides, bird seed is cheap, Walmart has 50 pound sacks for $18. And I just picked up a 50 pound sack of in-shell raw peanuts from the local feed and grain... at $1/lb a bargain but where to store that massive volume wasn't so simple since it had to be in my house where my cats could protect it from mice... from now on I'll stay with the 5 lb/$6 bags. Love that fountain too. Thank you, Debbie.

  11. cbctplant 03/26/2014

    Debbie...Beautiful! I too enlarged each photo and studied the details. When people ask me why I am a shade gardener, I say serenity. Your photos are the epitome' of serenity. And the more easily managed understory trees are all you need. No giant oaks or elms or maples are needed. I would say the bright hosta is 'Cathedral Windows'. You grow it well. A great internet resource for hosta variety photos is the I also love the deep blue one in Bradley5. Altho it is hard to choose a favorite, I think mine is your use of the pedestal for the trough vignette. What a special garden. Thanks for sharing!

  12. CJgardens 03/26/2014

    Beautiful yard. All the previous mentioned adjectives are very true: serene, classy, fabulous, charming, welcoming, wonderful, spectacular, tranquil, harmonious.... Would love to relax in your seating areas and just soak in the surroundings. It appears the squirrel is at a hummingbird feeder; I didn't know they would bother the nectar.
    Tim-Z-D-V, liked your story about the gladiolus-bulb-toss but am unfamiliar with the shredded crocus.
    Thanks for sharing.

  13. GrannyMay 03/26/2014

    I have to echo all the other comments - love the flagstone paths and especially the serenity created by your choice of shade plants! A beautiful setting for your lovely home!

    What is the plant you have put between the flagstones under the swing? Is it a hardy groundcover?

  14. janeeliz 03/26/2014

    Debbie, you've created an outstanding shade garden-elegant, serene and inviting. Your flagstone walks and plantings surrounding your lovely home are is the colorful silky bark on the trunk of your magnificent crape myrtle. Sure wish they grew in Maine. Squirrels add humor to a garden! Yours looks like it's doing some fantastic yoga stretch.

  15. GracePeterson 03/26/2014

    Beautiful. Restful yet interesting.

  16. GrannyCC 03/26/2014

    All I can say is WOW!! and echo everyone else's comments. Beautiful pathways and gorgeous plants. A truly charming shade garden.

  17. pattyspencer 03/26/2014

    What a gorgeous - tranquil - inviting garden!!!!

  18. celiahoneysuckle 03/26/2014

    Very nice, great design. I'm not familiar of the amount of precipitation in your area. Do you use soaker hoses in the beds? Thanks.

  19. wittyone 03/26/2014

    I think we all love to "play in the dirt". You do it with great results. I had to laugh when I initially looked at the small pic of the swing. I though that the beds in front of it and behind was a water feature and that the green in the beds was water lillies and you got to the swing using a stepping stone path. Then I wondered how you kept the supports for the swing from rotting away in all that water. Then I enlarged it and that water simply evaporated. Maybe I should get my eyes checked.

  20. foxglove12 03/26/2014

    Love the pathways, statuary and that squirrel is hilarious!

  21. debjotay 03/26/2014

    Wow, just got home from work and am feeling like a rock star! : )
    I'll try to address all your questions at once:
    I drag hoses around all summer long. With our hot, humid summers, it is no surprise that an irrigation system is high on my wish list.
    Under the swing, I have used Dwarf Mondo grass for the green space. It is a hardy perennial. It tends to like to stay on the dry side and thrives in shade.
    Our growing season is long. First freeze mid-November, and last by mid-April.
    I love Japanese Maples! They grow fast, I like to prune them up so I have the added interest of the truck structure. My other favorite to prune in a tree from is Camelia sasanquas that are more upright light Stephanie Gold or Yuletide.
    The horizontal branch on the 2nd picture down on the left is a Coral Bark Japanese Maple (Sangu Kaku). If you aren't familiar with it, it has wonderful airy light green foliage in summer, and the bark turns a wonderful red in winter. Truly one of my favorite trees. (Fast grower too!)
    Now to the hard question . . . what is that wonderful vivid Hosta. I just went out to dig around in the soil hoping to find a fragment of the tag with no luck. If my memory serves me correctly, it is Stainglass.
    Thanks to all of you for your comments. You truly made my day. If you're ever in Athens, come see me and we will have some southern sweet tea!

  22. perenniallycrazy 03/26/2014

    Shade gardens are always a favorite of mine. I love the peacefulness and serenity of your garden Debbie! Thank you for sharing.

  23. NevadaSue 03/27/2014

    Debbie, I absolutely love your garden. The winding paths and stone work is wonderful and all the greenery in the plants and shrubs give such a lush feel. I love how you have pruned up the trees as well, you give me courage to get out those loppers. Thank you so much for sharing with us. I'm still feasting my eyes.

  24. cwheat000 03/27/2014

    I don't know how I missed this one- absolutely gorgeous!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest