Garden Photo of the Day

Escape From the Cold and Snow

New England gardener shares her trips to warmer places

Barbara Cain lives in Norwell, Massachusetts. She’s shared some photos from her garden with us before. See some of her favorite tropicals in her garden here. But of course this time of year, a garden in Massachusetts doesn’t have a lot of flowering going on, so she sent some photos that are a bit of an escape from the winter weather.

On a recent trip to San Clemente in southern California, Barbara spied this planting. The tall arching flower spike is Agave attenuata (Zones 9–11), surrounded by the bright orange flowers of an aloe, possibly Aloe spinosissima (Zones 9–11).

Aloes are native to Africa, where the bright red and orange flowers are pollinated by small nectar-sipping birds called sunbirds. There are no sunbirds in California, but this local hummingbird is happy to make sure all the nectar doesn’t go to waste.

Agaves are native to the Americas, with this species hailing from central Mexico. As you can see, the hummingbirds are happy to pay it a visit as well!

Another shot of the beautiful aloe flowers. If you love the look of aloe blooms but live somewhere too cold for them, consider a red-hot poker (Kniphofia sp. and hybrids, Zones 6–9), which has similar-looking flower spikes but is better suited to cold climates. We’ve got articles about red-hot pokers here and here.

Barbara also found a break from the winter cold closer to home in the greenhouse of the South Shore Natural Science Center in Norwell, Massachusetts. This is one of the tropical pitcher plants (Nepenthes) in the early development. The tendrils at the end of the leaves swell to form a new “pitcher” in a remarkably short time.

And here is a pitcher about ready to open and start capturing insect prey to supplement its diet.


Have a garden you’d like to share?


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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 12/17/2018

    Great pics of the hummingbird!

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 12/17/2018

    What a wonderful series of pictures, Barbara. They definitely warmed my spirit and, anything that includes a hummingbird is a delight.

  3. paiya 12/17/2018

    Excellent photos; “catching” a hummingbird is not easy to accomplish. The aloes and agaves are fascinating & complex, and, in their own way, are beautiful

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