Garden Photo of the Day

Flowers Big and Small

From rock garden to huge magnolias

Today’s photos come from Elle Ronis, whose 15-year-old garden is remarkably beautiful and diverse.

Tufa is a porous limestone rock that is prized for making rock gardens like this. Combining the tufa rock with a well-drained soil mix creates the perfect conditions for many alpine and rock garden plants to thrive. Rock garden plants are prized for their small, compact forms and for the way many of them (as you can see here) go all out when it comes to flowering.

Around the deck, roses and dahlias lean in to share their beauty.

Roses and clematis are a classic combination. Here a Jackman clematis (Clematis ‘Jackmanii’, Zones 4–8) showers its rich purple blooms over a red rose.

Rocks in the rock garden recreate the conditions that plants native to mountaintops are used to, and they also provide great visual contrast to the delicate flowers.

Hellebores (Helleborus hybrids, Zones 4–9) are the stars of the late winter/early spring garden. They are tolerant of shade and drought, they resist deer damage, and they bloom when most of the garden is still dormant.

Adonis vernalis (Zones 2–8) is another plant that blooms very early in the spring. The standard form is a simple, bright yellow flower, but there are many unusual selections, such as this one with a very striking mass of green inside the yellow petals.

Tree peonies (Peonia rockii, Zones 4–9) display their stunning spring blooms, while a yellow rose (perhaps Rosa hugonis or a similar species or hybrid) blooms overhead.

With plantings all around, the deck is a beautiful space to sit and enjoy the garden.

These benches are almost being swallowed up by a massive, flower-laden rhododendron.

The huge flower and leaves of Magnolia ashii (Zones 6–9).


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View Comments


  1. nwphillygardener 09/17/2019

    Thanks, Elle, for some wonderful photos of a garden with a quality of floral abundance. Between the rock garden and tree peonies, early spring must be such a riot of color! It must make for a challenge to keep the show going after such a spectacular opening act.

  2. User avater
    user-7007816 09/17/2019

    Elle, your garden is stunning. I particularly like your rock garden with its color and diversity.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/17/2019

    That rock garden and magnolia are totally amazing!!

  4. btucker9675 09/17/2019

    So much beauty! Thank you for sharing this!

  5. user-7525974 09/17/2019

    Elle, all those flowers are amazing and gorgeous. Please tell me about the flowers in the second to last photo where caption says Rhododendron flowers almost cover the bench. What are the white flowers and what are the pink flowers?

    1. foodempress 09/17/2019

      Thanks for the comments! The pink is a Rhodes and the white is a fragrant abelia

  6. User avater
    simplesue 09/17/2019

    Everything in your garden is so impressive, but I was just amazed with both photos of your rock garden. It's the prettiest and most natural rock garden I've ever seen. And I'm growing southern magnolias hardy to my zone 6b, so I recognized that as a magnolia blossom but thought , "no, it can't be!" So when I read your caption that it was- I was very surprised, never saw one like that ever!- So unusual and very outstanding! I also like knowing the age of your garden. It's encouraging to see how established it looks at 15 years.

  7. cheryl_c 09/17/2019

    Elle, such a great job making such diverse areas of your garden come alive with so much beauty and diversity.
    Please tell us what zone you are in, and maybe what part of the country (are you in the USA?)

    1. foodempress 09/17/2019

      Zone 7A and Ct.

  8. avongardener 09/17/2019

    Beautiful garden! Peonies with the yellow roses look stunning. Thanks for sharing.

  9. carolineyoungwilliams 09/17/2019

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden Elle. I especially love your Peonies/Rose space and the Rhododendron. They are absolutely gorgeous.

  10. User avater
    RonaldTague 10/08/2019


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