Garden Photo of the Day

Flowers in a Turkish Garden

Looking closely at beautiful blooms

My name is Bilgehan Ogel, and I live in Ankara, Turkey. Yes, a difficult part of the world politically, but also very rich in terms of nature. We do not have too much rain, 380mm (15 inches) per year, and the average temperature is 11°C (52°F). This means that watering is important in summer, and winter can be intense.

I have a small garden, 65 feet by 82 feet, with a small house in the middle. So I don’t have a lot of space for a beautiful garden design. However, I have learned a lot from Fine Gardening. I just love to watch the flowers at high magnification, so I am a fan of macro photography. Also, wildflowers take my attention a lot.

I love bulb flowers. I try to design my garden so that there will be flowers throughout the early spring and summer.

Wild crocusWinters can be cold in Ankara, sometimes –15°C (5°F) at night. The first blooming flowers in the spring are always the wild ones.  Wild crocus is always the first one to bloom, even coming up through the snow! In late February, I always drive to the location where they bloom, which is 200 km (124 miles) from Ankara.

Iris reticulataIris reticulata (Zones 5–9), brave member of the garden—that’s not my description, but I love it. It blooms just after the wild crocus, even in late February through the snow.

striped crocusNow it is time for the narcissus and my favorite crocus, the striped crocus (Crocus vernus, Zones 3–8).

Bellis perennisBellis perennis (Zones 4–8) flowers are so tiny (only 5 cm, or 2 inches, tall) that I can’t believe how they resist the winter. I grew them from seed, but they continued to flower for years. I took this photo on April 14. They are under a tall pine tree, so I think they love shade. (Editor’s note: Bellis perennis is not widely grown in the United States but is best grown as a winter or early spring annual in most of North America, as it doesn’t thrive in hot summer temperatures.)

Inverted tulipInverted tulip (Fritillaria uva-vulpis, Zones 3–7) is native to Anatolia. I purchased a bulb three years ago. She loves cool, damp soil, which I don’t have in my garden. However, she gives me two blooms every year—but only two blooms, never three! The flower is only 1 cm (0.4 inches) in size.

When June arrives, it is time for the princess of the garden: iris. After a strong winter, the irises are happy! This is the bearded iris ‘English Cottage.’ I was surprised when I looked at this flower closely and saw how beautiful the bluish-purple lines on the petals were.

Iris 'Sen-Lac'The bearded irises: Iris ‘Sen-Lac’

Iris 'Pink Taffeta'Iris ‘Pink Taffeta’

When June arrives, it is time for lilies and dahlias. Lilies are very sensitive. I have to protect them in cold weather with mulching. I think Asiatic lilies are more resistant than Oriental lilies.

dahliasBy the end of June, it is time for dahlias. They are a bit more demanding than the daffodils and irises. Watering is important. However, if you water too much, then mildew can be a problem, especially in hot weather. However, I love especially the dinner plates. This picture is of dahlias and my daughter.


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.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

View Comments


  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/19/2020

    Your macro photos are stunning, Bilgehan. It is gratifying to see the subtle color differences and the details in texture when one gets the chance to become immersed in the close up a particular bloom. Your daughter is a beauty and is well suited to be surrounded by equally gorgeous flowers.

    1. Bilgehan 02/20/2020

      Thank you Michaele

  2. mainer59 02/19/2020

    I love your photos! Here we are interested in native flowers. Your bulbs are your natives. How lucky can you be to have such wonderful flora!

    1. Bilgehan 02/20/2020

      Thank you so much

  3. deeinde 02/19/2020

    Beautiful flowers and pictures!

    1. Bilgehan 02/20/2020

      Thank you very much

  4. User avater
    bdowen 02/19/2020

    Wonderful post- your macro photograph is outstanding. Interesting to here about gardening in another part of the world and an area that gave us many of our flowers.

    1. Bilgehan 02/20/2020

      I was thinking the same, when I read the Fine Gardening :)

    2. Musette1 03/10/2020

      I agree!

  5. coastalgardener 02/19/2020

    How wonderful to learn more about gardening in Turkey. I was interested to see that I grow some of the very same plants here in Massachusetts! Your close-up photos are have such a good eye for tiny details. Thank you for sharing these lovely photos.

    1. Bilgehan 02/20/2020

      Thank you

  6. User avater
    simplesue 02/19/2020

    I'm so inspired to see your fabulous photography of your garden's flowers- especially of the Crocus tommasinianus, aka woodland crocus, aka Tommies!
    I'v been looking up info on them for plans to plant the in the lawn.
    I've been looking for the most "blue" shade of the crocus such as that first one you posted at the top.
    Is that one a Woodland Crocus? and can you (or anyone who knows) share the name of it? or recommend one in that color I tried to describe?
    Such a perfect shade of bluish-purple!
    And oh I wish I had a young photo of myself with a giant flower just like that one!
    Great portrait! Great photography!

    1. Bilgehan 02/20/2020

      Thank you :) The flowers are beautiful. I only try to reflect their beauty

  7. btucker9675 02/19/2020

    Such beauty! Love the crocus stubbornly seeking the sunlight even through the snow. I had many varieties when I lived and gardened in northern New Jersey and the sight of those blooms in late snowfalls always lifted my heart. Thank you for sharing these astonishing photos, especially the dahlias and your lovely daughter. Blessings!

    1. Bilgehan 02/20/2020

      Thank you :)

  8. arboretum 02/19/2020

    Really loved learning about your specific experiences there in Turkey.Botanical history teaches us that so many flowers originated in your country and region.
    Thank you so much.

    1. Bilgehan 02/20/2020

      The interesting thing is that most of the bulbs are imported from Netherlands! Science is an important tool. To know how to propagate :)

  9. RB2T 02/19/2020

    When we hear about Turkey in the news, it is usually not good news so it is lovely to know about your garden. The pictures are beautiful. I'm in Manitoba, Canada where the crocus is our provincial flower. Its appearance in spring is a sign of spring after our cold winter.

    1. Bilgehan 02/20/2020

      As I said It is a difficult part of the World politically. Close to petroleum fields unfortunately. However, the crystal clear sea water, the generous nature is our happiness (At least for most of the Turkish people)

  10. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/19/2020

    Bilgehan, I love, love, love seeing gardens from other countries. Thank you so much for sharing yours!

    1. Bilgehan 02/20/2020

      Thank you Treasuresmom :)

  11. Irene89 02/19/2020

    Beautiful, thank you for sharing! Right now at the school where I work in Vermont, we have an exchange student from Turkey!

    1. Bilgehan 02/20/2020

      Thank you. I hope the student is a hardworker :)

  12. Cenepk10 02/19/2020

    It is wonderful to hear from a gardener in Turkey. Beautiful flowers, photos & daughter !!!

    1. Bilgehan 02/20/2020

      Thank you :)

  13. [email protected] 02/19/2020

    Almost thrilling to see this from Turkey! Once again, we see how much more we are alike than different from our neighbors around the world. Here in Washington state, I, too, grow some of the same flowers- Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful photos!

    1. Bilgehan 02/20/2020

      Nature is wonderful. and full of surprises. I hope the poeple will recognize this in the future. Then they will share flower photos not weapons :)

  14. user-5117752 02/20/2020

    Bilgehan, I'm so excited to see your beautiful photos and to learn that we grow the same kind of plants!!! I live in the mountain part of North Carolina and garden with a passion too. My crocus are just starting to bloom as well as daffodils, snow drops and, one little iris. Spring is arriving a bit too early here but i'm loving every bit of the new growth popping up. I would love to see a long shot of your gardens with your beautiful daughter planted in the middle. Thank you so very much for taking the time to share!

    1. Bilgehan 02/20/2020

      Thank you very much. Spring arrives to Ankara this year very early as well. The daffodils and crocus are not affected but the fruit trees will definitely. Because, most probably in late march the temperatures will go below zero for a couple of days and all fruit flowers freeze. I wish a colourfull spring to your garden :)

      1. Musette1 03/10/2020

        we're having much the same concerns here in zone 5b/6a (Central IL) - I have a couple of peach trees and am hoping it stays cold enough to keep them dormant. Last year we had a late freeze and it was heartbreaking!

  15. darylsavage 02/25/2020

    Beautiful shots! Especially the one of your daughter with dahlias. Thanks for sharing, so interesting.

  16. Musette1 03/10/2020

    Bilgehan, these photos are stunning and reflect your passionate interest in gardening. The world is full of beauty and it's a wonderful thing to see! I especially love that inverted tulip - and the photo of your beautiful daughter amidst the beautiful dahlias! Happy Gardening!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest