Garden Photo of the Day

Embracing the Subtle Beauty of Autumn

A gardener celebrates subdued colors at the end of the gardening year

Today’s photos come from John Markowski, who sent in these enchanting images of his New Jersey garden in its autumnal beauty. (If you’ve not seen John’s garden before, catch the earlier posts, starting here.)

A fall fog in the garden. Fog always turns a garden into a magical place, transporting us to another world. In this shot, subtle colors mingle beautifully, and plants that might have been overlooked at other times of the year have their moment to shine. In the foreground, a hemlock tree (Tsuga canadensis, Zones 3–10) glows bright green against the fading browns of the perennials and ornamental grasses behind it.


Another shot of the garden in fog. As gardeners, we can’t summon up fog, but if you garden in a climate that is prone to foggy weather, you can certainly revel in the mystical effect it creates when it arrives. I love how here a dark conifer looms, half-seen in the mist behind masses of lighter-colored ornamental grasses and other perennials.


Ornamental grasses are the queens of the fall perennial garden. Here a large planting of Japanese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis, Zones 6–9) shows off its feathery plumelike seed heads. Since ornamental grasses often don’t show their true beauty until the end of the year, now is the time to look around nurseries and public gardens and notice which plants are looking their best so that you can add them to your plantings come spring.


Some grasses, like other perennials, can create a wonderful see-through effect. This planting looks all the better for being seen through this thin veil of grass seed heads—something to keep in mind when designing a garden. Of course, usually you plant taller perennials in the back and shorter ones in the front, but if a plant is airy enough, you can break that rule to great effect. Learn more about designing with grasses here.


A dreamy planting along John’s driveway. By mixing many different perennials, grasses, and even shrubs into the same planting, he has created a diverse tapestry of texture and color. We can help you plan for an awesome Autumn! Read this.


Have a garden you’d like to share?


Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/22/2018


  2. Chris_N 10/22/2018

    Great fallscapes. Keeping the garden interesting.

  3. perenniallycrazy 10/22/2018

    Fall magic is in the air when John steps into GPOD. Beautiful!

  4. cheryl_c 10/22/2018

    John, what great pictures of your fabulous garden. I love the way the upright Japanese silver grass is backed up by the upright white pickets of your fence! Serendipity? or planned? Please send in more pictures soon!

  5. btucker9675 10/22/2018

    Thanks for these beautiful photos - they make me miss my lovely NJ garden even more!

  6. user-7017435 10/22/2018

    The fog gives a w new & mysterious look to your terrific gardens. Thanks for submitting your photos of your fall gardens I. Good luck, Joe

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