Garden Photo of the Day

Eliminating Invasive Weeds to Make a Garden

A gardener turns a weedy hillside into a beautiful garden

Tom Charbonneau is sharing his garden with us today. Here’s what he has to say about it:

These photos were taken in my Zone 4 garden in Arden Hills, Minnesota. Twelve years ago this was mostly buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica, a highly invasive European shrub), and it continues to be a work in progress. Initially, because I had so much space on a hill, I would buy one of everything I liked—and I liked everything! But from a distance they just had little impact. Fine Gardening magazine, among others, taught me the importance of large plantings and repeating the theme. There are lots of special plants mixed in with the more prominent displays, so that from up close and from a distance there is a lot to enjoy in this cottage garden.

I ordered the daylilies individually from various catalogs and have not been disappointed. However, the deer like the daylily buds, so it’s a challenge. I’ve tried various repellents with mixed results. If the deer are hungry, they will eat anything! I especially like the taller “spider” lilies that poke up over shorter plants.

I keep working to push back the buckthorn, but it is an endless battle. There is a 15-acre nature preserve that abuts our backyard, and it’s awful how invasive the buckthorn is.

The path from the garage to the kitchen.

Liatris (Liatris spicata , Zones 4–9) providing food for a monarch butterfly.


Hosta, maiden-hair fern (Adiantum pedatum, Zones 3–8), and foam flower (Tiarella, Zones 4–9).

The backyard hill.

A wren house is surrounded by many varieties of hosta, as well as some bee balm (Monarda, Zones 4–10) in the background.


Daylily ‘Wilson Spider’

Daylily ‘Buttered Popcorn’

In the spring, many wildflowers grow at the top of this path, which starts in the yard.



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View Comments


  1. User avater
    user-7007816 07/31/2018

    Tom, What a great job you have done. I have had a similar experience clearing an old pasture for our garden, so I can appreciate the work you have done. You definitely have developed a nice feel for selecting and combining plants.

  2. rosys_villa 07/31/2018

    Tom, your gardens are so beautiful! I could get lost in all the beauty. Perhaps I'll drive around Arden Hills until I catch a glimpse of them.... I live in Roseville! ? Congratulations on creating such a dreamy place!

  3. Maggieat11 07/31/2018

    Lovely! A beautiful job. Wish I could visit and see up close what you have done. Nice selection of plants... love the rock work/steps! The Wilson Spider Daylily is gorgeous!

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 07/31/2018

    Well, it certainly seems that you are a person who knows how to wage "war" and come out the victor. I don't see a hint of any buckthorn in the land you have claimed as garden beds. Your plant selections, stone pathways, patio and walls are all very beautiful and so inviting for a walk about. Love your objects of garden ornamentation that add another kind of visual interest. You have done (and, no doubt, will continue to do) a masterful job!

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 07/31/2018

    Oh, my! It is all gorgeous but I especially love your hostas. They are amazing & so big. And I have to add that sitting area you have at the end of a path -- I would love to take my coffee & sit there.

  6. Sunshine111 07/31/2018

    Thank you for sharing your garden. It was lovely to see your creation.

  7. btucker9675 07/31/2018


  8. carolineyoungwilliams 08/01/2018

    Tom, thank you for sharing your flower gardens and hindsight gain from trail & error. Your hard work have truly paid off because your yard is beautiful. Looking forward to more photos.

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