Garden Photo of the Day

First Year of a New Garden

New garden already looks pretty great!

Welcome to Amy Derhalli’s garden!

I live in Camas, Washington, on the Columbia River, Zone 8, at about 500 ft. elevation.

This is the garden’s first year. It’s big because I added 16 inches of premium top soil before I planted anything. Before that, it was compact clay filled with daylilies and weeds. I did inherit the Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium maculatum, Zones 3–8) and palm trees (Trachycarpus fortunei, Zones 7–10), but I added the coneflowers, blanket flower, cannas, phlox, crocosmia, artemisia, cardinal flower, dahlias, and monarda.

A wide view of the garden shows how lushly everything has grown in after just one year. This is a good example of why it is worth investing in improving your soil before planting, as everything will grow bigger, faster, and happier if their roots are in soil that is to their liking.

Zooming in a bit, the palm to the left and the tall Joe Pye weed to the right were there before this garden started, but everything else is new.

Everything looks better backlit! The sun streaming over the top of the hedge gilds all the flowers with a little extra magic.

Another view of the garden, with a bit of the seating area.

One final shot of the garden bed. I hope Amy will send us updates in future years. If this is what one year looks like, it is very exciting to think what future years will bring!


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View Comments


  1. marthaveronesi 08/23/2019

    What a lovely garden you have made in just one year! . So pretty!!!! Thanks for the sharing!!!! Ioved seeing your garden.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/23/2019

    Congrats, Amy, on how lush and filled in your garden bed looks already. It has to be hugely gratifying to look across the expanse of the lawn and see such an interesting tapestry of colors and shapes. The backdrop of the solid green hedge allows all those bold colors to pop and be real eye catchers.

  3. wittyone 08/23/2019

    This is just spectacular. I love the pre-garden Joe Pyeweed----one of my favorite natives. It provides a wonderful backdrop for all the others that you have added.

    You are so right about improving the soil before planting. It's such a hard thing to do when all those ideas about what to plant and where are dancing around in your head and is one of those things that is so often overlooked in a rush to get on with the really fun part. It does make a world of difference in the growth of the plants.

    I hope you have plans for additional beds to add to this one and will be sending us pics to admire.

    1. amycd 08/23/2019

      The beds circle the entire backyard and are growing away, I picked what I call the Hot Garden to feature this round

  4. btucker9675 08/23/2019

    Beautiful!!! Such a lovely colorful way to end the week!

    1. amycd 08/23/2019

      Thank you! The waiting for soil BEFORE planting anything was the hardest part by far! I’m so glad I waited...

  5. User avater
    simplesue 08/23/2019

    Never saw such a great first year garden! It looks so established and which with healthy plants! Great compositions on the flowers and plants you chose and they all work well with the few things that were all ready there. Great work, it turned out beautifully!
    And you are so right about bringing in good top soil in the very beginning! I wish I'd done the same.

    1. User avater
      simplesue 08/23/2019

      oops a spelling error, it should have said "thick" not "which", I'm sure you figured that out.

    2. amycd 08/23/2019

      The last house I used a pickax and swore I’d never do that to me or plants again...

  6. moyra_b 08/23/2019

    Beautiful! That's quite an amazing hedge as a backdrop!

  7. kcjmc 08/23/2019

    What is the hedge that so beautifully provides the ideal backdrop for your beds? It looks like Italian Cypress trees planted closely so that they do form a very tall hedge, but not sure, so thought I'd ask.

  8. User avater
    treasuresmom 08/23/2019

    Is that a mimosa on the far left in pic 2?

    1. amycd 08/23/2019

      It is an arborvitae hedge. The far hedge is gold cypress but I’m not sure it’s visible

    2. amycd 08/23/2019

      Yes, that’s a mimosa

  9. maryannborcherding 08/23/2019

    Amy what a beautiful garden and great pictures too. I live in Vancouver and I know that Camas has very rocky soil. Good for you to add all of that soil on top of the beds so that the plants can grow. I'm sure it is wonderful for you to see the fruits of your labor.

    1. amycd 08/23/2019

      Thank you. I think double digging the soil is unnecessary when you are going to plant the whole thing and can dig as you plant

  10. amycd 08/23/2019

    Thank you all so much for your time and comments. I am new to gardening but have studied up for a five acre garden we originally had planned. For three years I read Rosemary Verey, Graham Stuart Thomas, and even the great Gertrude. It’s hard to plan a garden with out dated names of plants but with the rabbits I decided to stick to the common, poisonous plants and have been at battle ever since.
    Wish me luck, gardeners are the best people on earth!!!

  11. mjensen 08/26/2019


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