Garden Photo of the Day

EJ and Wally’s leap-of-faith garden in Illinois

The pond as it is today.

Today’s photos are from EJ and Wally Rebman. Wally says, “In 1994 I told our son’s friend, who had graduated from college in architecture, that we wanted a pond in the backyard. In a week he presented us his plan and 2 months later 36 tons of gigantic stone was delivered, and that’s when we looked at each other and said, “What are we doing?”.

Jack, our garden prowler.

We trusted Matt (the designer), so we all dug in. The hole was dug, the liners installed, and the placing of the boulders began. By winter it was filled with water and the stream bed was started. In the years since the pond has become our “peace place”.

This is the entrance to the woodland area from the pond.

We live in Rockford, Illinois, in a wooded area that we left wild while we were busy raising our three children. As the pond has matured, it has become an oasis for us as well as nature’s visitors, such as dragonflies, butterflies, bees, birds, toads, and frogs, to name a few.”

Need we say more?

What a beautiful pond, Wally and EJ. So smart of you to trust Matt! And the rest of your garden is wonderful, too. I love the wood fences and those wonderful bricks!

One of our residents must be waiting for a fly.

Hey folks–help me keep kicking out posts all winter long–send me photos of your gardens NOW! Email me at [email protected]. Thanks!

Sweet woodruff loved this wet spring.

One of our favorites, Jack-in-the-pulpit.
You pass under the trumpet vine to use the side entrance.

Hyacinth bean vine cascades over our front entrance.

Early spring brings forth Virginia bluebells, Celandine poppies, Dutchman’s breeches, bleeding-hearts, and more.
The bees and butterflies visit the sunny part of the garden.

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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/02/2014

    Thought the first picture looked familiar but when I got to the one containing Jack, my senior brain woke up and whispered to me, "we were here recently"...can't forget an awesome looking dog like Jack!
    You might change these pictures out when you get to work, Michelle, but I'm enjoying them all over again.
    I didn't make a point before of commenting on how delightful all those woodsy early springtime flowers must be. Question for the garden owners...have those Virginia bluebells spread so generously on their own or is that the number of clumps you planted originally?

  2. user-1020932 10/02/2014

    it's deja vu all over again! :) but seriously, this garden deserved a 2nd look and i'm much too lazy to re check previous posts. i'm glad to see it again here

  3. Jaynespaulding 10/02/2014

    Shady woodland gardens are my favorite. Thanks for sharing your piece of paradise this morning!

  4. MichelleGervais 10/02/2014

    Wait? I posted these already? Sigh. I must REALLY be fried from my summer of frantic work travel. How the heck did this happen?

    1. Meelianthus 10/02/2014

      I don't think anyone really cares Michelle - we just love to look at garden pictures -
      thanks for all your postings and hope your schedule has calmed a bit now.

  5. MichelleGervais 10/02/2014

    Yup--just figured it out. It was one I asked our web producer to post while I was away on a long trip and didn't have time to hustle to post extra beforehand. I almost never do that! So sorry Wally, EJ, and all the GPODers. Tomorrow I promise something new! Not that Wally and EJ's garden doesn't deserve second, third, and fourth looks! :-)

  6. user-7007242 10/02/2014

    I live in central MN - where can I get sweet woodruff, Virginia bluebells and Dutchman's breeches?

    1. user-5829577 10/06/2014

      Thank you Jennie - most of my plants are shared by friends. I have a friend who shared the sweet woodruff and Dutchman's breeches with me before they moved and the bluebells were here, and here, and here, and here. They are very busy in the spring! If you ever drive by Rockford, IL (northern IL) I will be more than happy to share all three.

      1. user-7007242 10/06/2014

        Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity! I don't drive in your direction, but will keep my eyes open for sources near here. I did get some jack-in-the-pulpit a couple years ago from a friend. :-)

  7. GrannyMay 10/02/2014

    This is a memory test. :)

    I usually do a quick scroll through, then start all over and really study each picture. So I got to the Sweet Woodruff picture before my brain kicked in and told me I had seen these before. I didn't mind having a repeat.

    1. Meelianthus 10/02/2014

      GrannyMay, that's funny as that is exactly what happened with me. Thanks for attaching the beautiful Fall pics of your garden. I love the fullness.

  8. Nurserynotnordstroms 10/02/2014


  9. GrannyMay 10/02/2014

    For those who need something new to look at with their coffee, I'm attaching a couple of small photos of fall colour in my garden, both featuring Hydrangea macrophylla. Hope you like them!

    1. MichelleGervais 10/02/2014

      GrannyMay, send tons more to me for a post!!

      1. GrannyMay 10/02/2014

        I seem to have been too busy (gardening?) to get a bunch together now. I'll try. I did send you some to post near the end of June. When they didn't get posted I thought they must have got lost in the shuffle somewhere, then I got busy and forgot to ask.

      2. Nurserynotnordstroms 10/02/2014

        Michelle did you get my photos I sent several weeks ago?

    2. User avater
      meander_michaele 10/03/2014

      GrannyMay, I know I'm a day late in asking this but, thanks to the new system, maybe you will get the email note to check the comments. Anyway, do you remember the name of the hydrangea in the second picture? Is that it's color as it has transitioned from white through to the dusky pink? And what is the blue toned plant off to the right. It's a lovely grouping and all comes together so beautifully.

      1. GrannyMay 10/03/2014

        Hi Michaelle, that is a dwarf blue Hydrangea macrophylla that I lost the name of. It is one of those that are either pinkish or blue depending on the acidity of the soil. To my surprise, this year it was more pink, now turning brownish for fall. Most years it has lost its blossoms to the deer, and at the risk of tempting fate, I'm going to say that I finally seem to have that under control (probably only till they find a new way in!). The blueish low plant is actually across my front walk from it, not next to it, and is a white-flowering groundcover Hebe. Sorry, I don't have its name either.

        1. User avater
          meander_michaele 10/03/2014

          Thanks for the background info on the hydrangea. Hmm, the plant name "hebe' sounds familiar to that, I feel that it has caught my eye in a previous gpod posting and I have asked about it before. Ha, maybe in one of your earlier sharings? At least, I am consistent in liking something. I'm always on alert for appreciating the blues in other people's gardens...not that I want us all to be "blue" as in sad...heaven forbid!
          Real good luck in maintaining your deer free status...I will knock on wood with you in mind.

  10. GrannyCC 10/02/2014

    I thought my brain was playing but never the less it is a lovely garden. Thanks May for the look at your garden we need more.

  11. schatzi 10/02/2014

    GrannyMay, your shots are beautiful too. As for the repeat, fret not Michelle, we are all enjoying the recap. The pond alone is worth it. Beautiful woodland scenes too.

  12. Aarchman07030 10/02/2014

    Well--I missed the first time around, and I LOVE this garden, so maybe Michelle posted this for me. I mean no criticism of all the beautiful, magical and inspiring gardens I've seen in GPOD postings, but this garden is my idea of heaven. Thanks for posting!

  13. NevadaSue 10/02/2014

    Michelle, it is so nice to see these pictures again. :) I love this garden. It is beautiful that is why you posted them again. Thanks for the second look. That pond is amazing and I could look at it all day.

  14. Nurserynotnordstroms 10/02/2014

    GrannyMay just on the off chance new photos went up I took a look during my lunch,so I really appreciated seeing your pics. So lovely with the hints of fall, thank you for posting these for all of us to see. I love your layering technique, the textures and the colors you put together.

  15. user-7007243 10/03/2014

    An utter delight!

  16. charmdreier 10/06/2014

    Wow! EJ & Wally: your garden is absolutely breathtaking-- I feel at peace just looking at the pictures! I can only imagine how much more wonderful it is in person with the smells and sounds and the 360 degree view. Amazing! Kudos to you :)

    Please visit my blog!

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