Garden Photo of the Day

Donna’s reclaimed-pasture garden in Washington (8 photos)

Tall grass at left is 'Karl Forester' calamagrostis, lots of Verbena bonariensis, orange short flowers are 'Profusion' zinnias, orange dahlia is the wonderful 'Andries Orange', phlox at right is 'Laura', and dark leaved tree in upper right is 'Cistena' plum.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Donna Umland

Today’s photos are from Donna Umland in Washington. She says, “My garden is located in eastern Washington state near Ellensburg, where my husband and I built our home on three acres of open range pasture 22 years ago.

Grasses are ‘Shenandoah’ panicum, ‘Gracillimus’ miscanthus, and ‘All Gold’ hakonechloa in pot. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Donna Umland

“This area, known for its timothy hay production, is very windy during spring and summer and also has very late spring frosts that limit garden choices. The garden is a mixture of shrubs, perennials, and annuals. I’ve used many grasses, which seem made for windy sites. Roses also do well.

Mid border, roses with fall flush of blooms are ‘Bonica’, to their left is ‘Monch’ aster, and the dark leafed shrub in front is ‘Crimson Pygmy’ barberry which is adjacent to a bluish ‘Montgomery’ spruce. Rosa glauca, which has such wonderful fall color and hips, backs the ‘Bonica’ roses. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Donna Umland

“Many annuals, which I start in my greenhouse, cannot be set out until at least mid-May. As you can see my garden is full of Verbena bonariensis, which reseeds ubiquitously. I absolutely love this scrim plant and find it is so easy to pull up where I don’t really want it.”

Gorgeous, Donna! We need more photos, for sure.

Another section of my garden – grass in distance is ‘Morning Light’ miscanthus. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Donna Umland

****Hey all, I’m not getting many submissions these days! I need to bulk up on posts for the looooong winter months, people, and it’s all on YOU! 😉 Get outside and take some last minute shots, or compile a few you took earlier in the season. I’ll be eternally grateful…. Email them to [email protected] Thanks! ****

I love the country garden look with ‘Blue Bouquet’ ageratum leaning toward a dark leaved heuchera, grass is a pennisetum which is just beginning to bloom. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Donna Umland
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Donna Umland
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Donna Umland
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Donna Umland

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  1. user-1020932 10/04/2013

    all great and man, what a pasture! i love any garden with lots of "verbena on a stick". favorite photo is 2nd down in right column with the swath of grass and the pine in upper left corner with Miscanthus as the bottom border but every view is beautiful.

  2. kimberlyfawn 10/04/2013

    Spectacular and inspirational!

  3. Jay_Sifford 10/04/2013

    Lovely design and execution. I'm a huge bonariensis fan as well. Great job! Thanks for sharing.

  4. mainer59 10/04/2013

    Your garden looks like a lovely estate, not a former hayfield! I love how full and lush it is. I must try that ageratum.

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/04/2013

    harsh climate plus limited plant choices does not equal dull garden! what a great job and design.

  6. gloriaj 10/04/2013

    Everything is beautiful and has a peaceful feel. When is the tour

  7. tractor1 10/04/2013

    Fantastic garden subjects for photos, I only wish it weren't so overcast a day. I too like the 2nd photo down on the left, the lighting is better, I can see some blue patches amongst the clouds. With those long distance shots one should really use a tripod to cut down on the blur. I can tell from the lushness that it was old pasture, no fertilizer needed. Perhaps a stand of Norway spruce along one property line would help cut down the wind. I need lots more photos, some with the house to get a better perspective. Thank you, Donna.

  8. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/04/2013

    My thoughts as I read your copy and looked at the pictures were similar to the ones that Vojt expressed...nothing looks limited about your abundance of and diversity in plant material. It's all a glorious celebration of fall all the different grasses, the profusion of Verbena bonariensis, the generous tumbles of blues in the asters and ageratums.
    It's all just stunning and makes me feel like humming America, the Beautiful...the line about "fruited plains" seems appropriate!

  9. hortiphila 10/04/2013

    Donna, Terrific texture and color combos. What is the silver blue/green plant in front of the beautiful Bonica Rose, and the tall evergreen, (I think), in the back on the same photo? I love the way these two plants echo each other. What zone are you in? Do you reseed the Ageratum 'Blue Bouquet' each year, or does it volunteer like the Verbena? Very Nice!

  10. flowerladydi 10/04/2013

    Absolutely Gorgeous Donna!! I too LOVE verbena bonariensis,so whimsical and airy, love the blue/purple of the ageratum which both blend so nicely with your spruce and then, there's the pop of pink with your roses,and barberry -- so beautiful together! I could just gaze at your garden all day long! And if that weren't enough, your grass looks great too!!

  11. gramamarg 10/04/2013

    looks like a botanical garden! wonderful colors!

  12. user-7006902 10/04/2013

    What fantastic mixed borders! Wonderfully balanced and planted. Inspiring.

  13. Wife_Mother_Gardener 10/04/2013

    Beautiful! I love the Verbena bon. everywhere! You planting has a lovely rhythm to it too. Thanks for sharing!!

  14. GrannyMay 10/04/2013

    Love it all Donna! The "out of control" verbena is wonderful, adding a nice touch of informality and lovely colour wherever it springs up. Your long views across the grass are gorgeous, if more formal. Great choice of plants and placement. Bonica is a rose I grow right beside my deck, where it is a never-failing source of beauty and blossoms for my vases.

  15. Annek 10/04/2013

    Sumptuously designed. I would never have believed this was an eastern Washington garden (some of my family moved near the tri-cities area years ago and I empathize with your challenges). You've taken a dry, windy locale and converted it into an oasis.

    I, too, love the expansive photograph tntreeman mentioned. Wonderful composition!!

  16. greatdanes 10/04/2013

    Oh my! (with a sigh) Will my acreage ever look as wonderful as this. I've been at it for 20 yrs. and in the midst of redoing AGAIN. Nebraska would be hard pressed to be up against beautiful Washington state. Maybe I need a few extra pairs of hands and backs to help me. Colors are fabulous! Thank you for sharing.

  17. sheila_schultz 10/04/2013

    Gazing at these photos of an incredible 'pasture' garden filled with dreamy colors and textures just makes me want to see more. Please? Your vision could not be better, from my perspective... and like many others, I love the unexpected wildness of Verbena bonariensis!

  18. KiahG 10/04/2013

    Totally gorgeous!! Love the Karl Foerster grass and the verbena in particular.

  19. CJgardens 10/04/2013

    Donna, your yard is gorgeous. I love the purple and orange mix in the first photo. The borders are wonderfully layered and love the soothing feeling from the gentle curves. Purple foliage is one of my favorites and beautiful when mixed with blues & grays. I also found the second photo down on right to be my favorite. Will be looking to add ageratum and verbena bonariensis too. You've accomplished much with your hay field. Congrats.

  20. wildthyme 10/04/2013

    I know that area well, and agree that you've done an incredible job with your weather challenges. Love the graceful sweeping curves of lawn and the lush beds. Beautiful!

  21. NevadaSue 10/04/2013

    Awesome! I absolutely love it all. Wind can be a real challenge as I'm learning here in Nevada but you have done a wonderful job of making your little spot in the word beautiful. thanks.

  22. terieLR 10/04/2013

    Happy weekend GPODers. These colorful borders just put a smile on my face. Thank you Donna and WELL done.

  23. JaneEliz 10/05/2013

    Love your garden, Donna! So spacious and wild with just the right amount of control! Gorgeous colors, too!

  24. bee1nine 10/05/2013

    This may have been pasture once, but look at it now- incredibly transformed into your own lovely and livable oasis!
    Include me in who agrees on the wonderful contrasting selection of color and textured plant, grasses ideally framing this fine acreage.
    Great job, Donna!!

  25. Verbenabon 10/07/2013

    I must say the greatest thing about sharing photos are all the wonderful comments, thank you all. To answer, I live in cold zone 5(-20), but honestly I find strong winds and late spring frosts to be the greatest challenge. 'Blue Bouquet' ageratum does sporadically reseed but it takes so long to get going I seed fresh in my greenhouse each year. The bluish shrub in front of 'Bonicas' is 'Blue Rug' juniper and the evergreen in back is 'Sky Rocket' juniper. Thanks again, Donna

  26. wGardens 10/07/2013

    An explosion of FANTASTIC!

  27. cwheat000 10/09/2013

    Glad I checked back on this day I missed. Awesome, awesome, awesome!

  28. SumHillGardener 10/10/2013

    Absolutely beautiful. I love shade gardening, but this reminds me how much more colorful the sun garden. One sees verbena bonariensis in England but not so much here. Your plant combinations are fabulous --- each plant complimenting it's neighbor so effectively. Maybe I'll stop worrying so much about losing my ash tree to the dreaded borer. Thank you!

  29. kimchurchman 06/09/2014

    Hi Donna from Moses Lake! boy don't I know about those blasting spring winds, they're ridiculous. Love your colors here, I'm doing purples, blues, and some orange sparks here 'n there. I am inspired to use more orange, seeing this. Nice ideas here. --Kim

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