Garden Photo of the Day

Fall in Nicki’s Garden

Appreciating the beauty as things go dormant

Today we’re in Lake Bluff, Illinois (north of Chicago), visiting Nicki Snoblin’s garden.

I am often attracted to pristine garden beds filled with colorful and unblemished flowers and foliage. This is real life, however, and my garden rarely looks that way. It’s been really helpful to me to follow GPOD and see what other people find beautiful in their own gardens. I’m learning to appreciate the beauty in my very imperfect fall garden. Here are some examples.

dogwood surrounded by other fall plantingsThe back corner of my yard includes flowering dogwood (Cornus florida, Zones 5–9) and ligularia (Ligularia dentata, Zones 3–8) in the foreground and Tiger Eyes sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Tiger Eyes’, Zones 4–8) in back.

Interesting bark on the dogwood.Interesting bark on the dogwood

The wild back corner, with sumac brightening it up.The wild back corner, with sumac brightening it up. That’s hyacinth bean (Dolichos lablab, annual) on the trellises (which I put up to try to obscure the utility pole), but it never bloomed. On the left in the foreground is a weigela (Weigela florida, Zones 5–9).

Japanese maple and some rose hips.Japanese maple (Acer palmatum, Zones 5–9) and some rose hips

azalea plantNow to the front yard: in the foreground, a small hydrangea (probably Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Wedding Gown’, Zones 5–9); beyond that, an azalea (Rhododendron hybrid) I’ve had for many years.

Two blue holliesTwo blue hollies (Ilex × meserveae, Zones 4–9) are planted together: ‘Castle Wall’ (male) and ‘Castle Spire’ (female, with berries).

HeucherellaA Heucherella (× Heucherella, Zones 4–9) begins to change color with the cooler weather.

begonias with some Japanese frosted grassAn angel wing begonia (Begonia hybrid, Zones 9–11 or as an annual) has been battered by wind and storms but is sticking around to the bitter end (frost is expected in a few days). On the left is a Japanese maple; on the right, Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra, Zones 5–9).

gnome gardenIt’s about time to put my gnome garden to bed for the winter. It’s in a window box on the shed; I could never keep plants alive there.

outdoor seating areaOur “summer house” transforms into an “autumn house” when we remove the tabletop and switch to the firepit.

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  1. User avater
    pattyeckels 11/10/2021

    Thank you for your pictures. With all the beautiful gardens we see here, I often wondered what they looked like in fall and winter. I would love to see more from subscribers gardens in the fall and winter. We dont change much here in the south. Lol.

  2. anibanani 11/10/2021

    Beautiful yard. Its ok to show some not so perfect vegetation. People have flaws, diseases, disabilities too and I wouldn't want to be discarded because of a flaw or dont look perfect. I make a lot of bouquets up to give away and always leave some imperfection. Beauty includes imperfections too.

    1. nicki_s 11/10/2021

      Thank you, I love that perspective! On social media people often post only what's perfect, and that can promote an unhealthy perception of beauty.

  3. gardendevas 11/10/2021

    Thanks for sharing! While the abundant summer days of the garden are glorious, I also enjoy the daily walks through to see these smaller details. It is like chatting with a neighbor, appreciating each small detail and stage.

  4. nwphilagardener 11/10/2021

    Nicki, I hope you are able to take the top vent section off the summerhouse cover before lighting a fire pit. I comment since I hope to communicate “don’t try this at home” if it’s a smoke and safety hazard.

    1. nicki_s 11/10/2021

      Good point! Before we bought the structure we checked out the height requirement for the preexisting firepit to make sure it would be safe. The first time we used it this fall, we checked the temperature at the peak and it was lower than many summer days. Also, it's a gas firepit, so there's no smoke.

  5. sagebird52 11/10/2021

    In pics 6 and 7 ( the Holly) there is a very interesting bird sulpture figure . The rest of the garden is very healthy and diverse.

  6. btucker9675 11/10/2021

    Love you garden and the gnome home window box!

  7. User avater
    simplesue 11/11/2021

    Everything in your garden still looks colorful and nice in Autumn!
    I really like that purple lawn ball- such a nice color!
    Where did you get it?!

    1. nicki_s 11/11/2021

      Sue, I've had that for many years - it could have been Gardeners' Supply or Amazon.

  8. schatzi 11/11/2021

    Very nice. I especially like the table top in the gazebo - beautiful wood.

    1. nicki_s 11/17/2021

      Thank you, my husband built that.

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